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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


13/03/2022 - A Stret-Pegging Session with Six Good Chub

My stret-pegging swim

As I had not been feeling good over the past few days due to my 1 kidney causing me a lot of pain, I’ve been stuck indoors, today I just had to get out on the river, though I did doubt the wisdom of going, as there has been a lot of snow on the hills. Thankfully having thought of the snow, it quickly disappeared into the river, giving a rise of around two feet on the height. I reckon snow broth is often the kiss of death for chub, but I have found roach are often willing to feed. Checking the level this morning I had a smile on my face, for me it was spot on, though many anglers I know wouldn’t even try saying “Too much dirty water” The water temperature was 42 degrees F, later in the day it went up to 43 degrees F. In my bucket bag I had a loaf of bread, a bag of smelly cheese paste along with a box of lobs. It was around 0900 hrs when I pulled into the farmers back yard where I have permission to park, twice a year he gets a good bottle of spirit, his wife some flowers. My reward, is the car is safe, I also have the fishing with peace and quiet.


Tackle Choice


I had a 12 foot Milwards Swimmaster, a ten foot Avon action cane rod, along with a 14 feet acolyte, also a 10 foot soft glass Avon action rod, with two centre pin reels holding some thirty yards of 4lb BS line. The reason for having two rods, is when stret-peggingyou often have to fish close in, hence the short rod. Having got my Milwards rod out then added the reel, I thought “There is no way I would be able to fish more than an hour with this outfit, so put the rod away, choosing to use my Acolyte. Today I chose a balsa body float taking 6 AAA shot which were bunched some fifteen inches from the hook the size 8 hook with another AAA some four inches from the hook which was tied direct to the 4lb bs line. As I had a walk about a hundred and fifty yards I carried the rod down to my first choice swim, I then went back for my bucket bag, landing net, seat etc. Stowing all my gear behind a huge beech tree, I picked up the rod then went and looked at five swims, starting at the top.

I checked the depth using a piece of plasticine as a plummet. Writing down the depth of each swim with other notes about the swims, then put in a cricket size ball of mashed bread at the head of each swim. On average all swims were around six feet deep, two over fine gravel, two a bit rocky. The bottom swim was rocky for some two feet wide out from the bank. I was then lucky to find a stretch of gravel with small stones, averaging nine feet deep, starting eight feet out from the bank which was, seven to eight feet wide. Some twenty minutes of casting and retrieving the tackle dragging the plasticine along the bottom, I then reckon I had a good idea of what I was fishing over, the pace of water was quite steady compared with the flow down the middle of the river.


A struggle To Find The Fish

I decided to miss out the two top swims, starting in the first gravel swim, spending half an hour with no sign of interest I moved down to the next one, another half an hour with no sign of a bite. I then moved to the bottom of the swim, having adjusted the float, I baited with a piece of crust, then cast out every ten minutes I would lift the tackle allow a few feet of line off the reel then sit holding the rod. Occasionally the float moved a few inches out towards the faster water causing me to get excited, but nothing happened. I’d been baiting, then working the bait down the swim for around an hour, suddenly the float shot downwards causing the rod tip to dip savagely, lifting the rod I was immediately forced to give line as the fish moved out into the faster water, then dashed off downstream, all I could do was keep some pressure on the fish, at this time I didn’t know if I had a good chub or trout, though I did think it was the former.


A few minutes later the fish started to tire, so I was able to draw it into the quiet water where I felt I had control. A few minutes later I had the fish hugging the bottom but not going anywhere, I just slowly pumped the fish towards the surface where I got a glimpse of a nice chub, pushing the net out and a foot under the water, lifting the rod I pulled the fish over the net, then it was mine. Scales, weigh bag and camera had been laid out before I started fishing in the hope they would be used. On the scales my prize weighed 4 lb 7 ounces.


Five More Fish


In the next three hours I had five more good chub, one I estimated around 3lbs, all the others were 4 lb plus fish, all caught on crust from the same swim, every fish caught was taken well upstream then released. I did try trotting for a while with no sign of a bite, when Stret-Pegging I felt I was in full control and confident I would catch. Conditions in this first swim were idea for this method I returned home feeling a bit better, even though the pain hasn’t receded, it was so nice to be back.

My best chub

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Martin James Fishing
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