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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


10/02/2014 - Nine Chub and a Lost Salmon

It’s been a tough week on the River Ribble, the water temperature for the first 4 days of last week was 39-40 degrees F, also the river was up and down like a yoyo. Thursday the W/T went up 3 degrees to 43F while the river dropped 2 feet during the day, though Mark Hyde and myself fished on into dark without a fish, but we did get quite a few bites. Mark had his bites on lobworm, while I fished a soft paste. I would get two sharp knocks then nothing on retrieving the tackle I could see where a fish had taken a small bit of paste, this happened several times even when I changed to sausage sizzle flavoured crust I had the same problem just a couple of quick knocks then nothing.


Friday and Saturday I fished another stretch of the Ribble, again no fish, I didn’t even get a touch. Sunday the river had over 7 feet on the gauge as it was Kate’s birthday we went out for lunch so apart from walking the beat I didn’t fish. Sunday night the sky was clear I though it’s going to be a cold night, pulling the curtains on Monday morning I could see the ground white with frost the pond and bird bath were ice covered, not the best conditions for a day’s fishing but hopefully a chub might pick up a bait.

                                                       Tackle and Bait

 Arriving on the bank of the Ribble around 10’oclock the gauge was reading 3 feet with a W/T of 39 degrees F with a touch of colour, it was going to be a roving day fishing all the quiet spots up and downstream of the car park. Tackle was the Trefor West chub rod, 6lb line a small Shimano fixed spool reel with a size 4 Pallatrax barbless hook and sometimes using a very small Stonze weight wrapped in plastacine other times free lined paste. As many of you know I always fish soft baits today I had balls of Sausage Sizzle and Ocean Pride paste, when I get a pot of paste the first thing I do is empty the pot into the food mixer and give it a quick whisk breaking up the paste. I then add a drop of cooking oil in the case of sausage sizzle I also add a squirt of the flavour then whisk it up into a soft paste. I also had a tub of lobworms and some bread.

 Slinging my small bait and tackle bag over my shoulder I picked up rod and landing net then headed off upstream into the wood where I had several spots that might produce a chub. I would fish fifteen minutes in each spot, if no sign of interest I would move on to the next one. The spots I chose to fish were mostly tight to the bank under over hanging tree or bushes where often there was a slow moving scum line. Arriving at my fifth choice swim I could see a line of small whirlpools which I find attractive to chub. Deciding to try a lobworm hooked once I then added a small bit of rubber band to keep the worm in place. I let the bait drift slowly downstream, then felt a light pluck followed by a more positive pluck. Striking I hooked something that moved out in the middle of the river and downstream at fast rate, the rod was well hooped over the reel grudgingly giving line. I immediately moved as far downstream as possible until a tree blocked my progress. Thankfully the fish changed direction swimming towards my bank allowing me to get some line back on the reel. suddenly the fish rolled on the surface a salmon about 10 to 12lbs silver bright as a new pin. Suddenly it shook its head then the line went slack the fish was gone, it was fun while it lasted.

                                                    Chub Take Ocean Pride

 I then moved upstream fishing three other swims before heading off downstream for a mug of tea, back at the car I sat thinking about the fishing and trying to find a reason for no bites from the chub despite the low water temperature. Lunch break over I moved off downstream, the first swim I chose was a quite backwater, fishing a free lined piece of Ocean Pride within a couple of minutes I hooked my first chub after a brief struggle I netted a good chub well over 4lbs, on the scales it weighed 4lbs 10 ounces. My next cast slightly further out into the side stream where I quickly had another take a chub 4lb 6 ounces. Things were improving. One fish would have been welcome but a brace was in my book an excellent result. I fished on for another fifteen minutes without a touch them moved off downstream to fish a swim underneath a large willow bush which also had a good raft, dropping a piece of Ocean Pride on the edge of the raft I allowed the flow to take it well under the raft. Within a minute I had a good pull another fish was hooked which really did give a good scrap that put a bend in the rod. After a few minutes I was able to net a chub which I thought might go 5lbs, on the scales I got a reading of 5lb 5 ounces. After a couple of picture’s I walked well upstream with the fish before releasing it, saying to myself “Time for a brew”

 After a brew I continued on my way downstream fishing a dozen or more spots taking another six chub, three more 4lb plus chub on Ocean Pride and three on Sausage Sizzle. As the light started to fade I spotted some grayling feeding on chironomids or as they are commonly called buzzers a non-biting midge, as I sat on the bank hoping for another chub I watched a big brown trout feeding in earnest on the surface taking chironomids. Not long now before another river trout fishing season starts I thought. I then packed up and headed off upstream to the car park, putting away my gear I then changed my boots and was now ready for home another good day on the river wit Lone Angler paste baits doing the business once again.







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