fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


28/09/2023 - A Trio Of Nice Chub


With the river peaking at nine feet last week, I was more than happy, as the river needed a good flush, hopefully some salmon would come up river, but nothing like I thought, one angler had a 16 lb fish, another was lost, but apart from that, the news from those in the know was grim.

Three Feet On The Gauge

Sadly I couldn’t get a lift to the river when I wanted, but after several days with conditions being near perfect, I got a lift, sadly for only three hours or four hours, but better than not going. My friend David fished for salmon while I targeted the chub. I was travelling light, rod reel and end tackle made up, all I would need to do is add some plasticine, in my shoulder bag I had some Garlic sausage, prawns and cheese paste. Landing net with a piece of sponge to sit on completed my gear. Walking across the meadow I disturbed a hare, probably the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, it was a rusty colour, more like a fox.

I chose a swim on the inside of a bend where the water flowed slightly slower over gravel, with a depth around four feet, I got the feeling any fish would be in this slightly slower water, also with plenty of food from minnows and other small fish, my only problem might be trout. I’d just sat down when a kingfisher perched on a branch of the willow bush a few yards downstream, an area where I would try and get the bait under. No doubt this bird was hoping for a minnow, within two minutes it dived, I gave it ten out of ten for performance, no Olympic diver could achieve such a performance, as quickly as it dived, it was back on the branch with a minnow, what amazing birds they are. As I sat thinking what bait to start with, two cormorants appeared from downstream. No doubt hoping to feed in my area, taking my starting gun from the bag, I switched off the safety firing a shot, the sound reverberating around the area, both birds quickly disappeared.

Cheese Paste Is A Winner

With a lot of colour in the water I chose to start with some very smelly cheese paste, probably three or four years old, moulded a lump the size of a Walnut around a size 4 barbless hook, hopefully a big chub would hunt it out?

Casting in the faster water I held the rod high allowing some line to come off the spool under tension, at the same time I slowly moved the rod in the direction of the bush, it worked, I tightened the line with my finger over the spool, feeling happy the direction the line was now going as the bait rolled towards the bush, turning the handle I engaged the line, then slowly lowered the rod, with the bait in the targeted area, I sat waiting for a bite.

Some thirty minutes later the rod tip pulled round savagely, what I would call “The perfect bite” “I missed it, not knowing what I’d done wrong as I cursed” Rebaiting again repeated the procedure as cheese paste rolled under the bush. I holding the rod line over my index finger, I hoped for a similar bite. Twenty minutes later, I felt a light pluck on the line, then a more determined pull. Lifting the rod I felt the pull of a fish, then it was gone, inspecting the hook it was needle sharp. “What was I doing wrong” I asked myself?

After about an hour having missed two more good bites, I got a good hook up, the fish certainly used the power of the fast flow but after some minutes I had the fish over the net. “That a good three pound chub” I thought. After slipping out the barbless hook I walked upstream some twenty yards then released my prize, walking back to my swim I thought “At long last a chub”

Rebaiting with cheese paste I worked the bait into the same area, within five minutes, I had a good pull, followed by a hook up, this fish went off powerfully into the fast water then downstream, with the rod well bent, a strong fighting fish taking line off the reel, I started thinking “Is this a five pounder” The fish really did use the fast flow to its benefit, but slowing I was gaining the upper hand, eventually I had the fish in the quiet water, after some head shaking, I was able to draw the fish onto the surface, then into the net. Not a five pounder, but a good four on the scales it weighed 4lb 2 ounces. I ended the session with another 3lb fish. I then got a call from David to say “I will pick you up in fifteen minutes at the farmhouse”. David didn’t get or see a salmon but had four trout on salmon gear. The end of a good but short session.



Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]