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


31/12/2014 - Chub for Christmas

Link leger


It’s been tough on the River Ribble for the past couple of weeks which started with the river being well over the gauge which gives reading up to 6 feet, we estimated 9 or 10 feet of flood water, it’s the highest I’ve seen the river for several years with the water lapping the edge of the car park but the water temperature was 44 degrees F when I did find a slack I caught chub good ones around 4lbs. As Christmas approached the water dropped as did the water temperature down to 38 degrees F it then went to 44 degrees F peaking at 46 degrees F. Just after dawn on Christmas Day I pulled into the car park to find the weather quite pleasant with a light wind, checking the water temperature I got a reading of 42 degrees F I had hopes of catching chub perhaps some perch. My mate Brendan would turn up about 1300hrs after visiting his Mum, we planned to have dinner around 1500hrs which included either apple or mince pie with custard if we had room perhaps a bit of each. I chose a swim near the bottom of the beat baits were crust, flake, cheese paste and lobworms, I put together a chub rod matched with a small fixed spool reel 6lb line with a size 6 Pallatrax barbless hook, instead of lightly pinching on my LG shot I’ve reverted back to an adjustable link leger first used in 1950’s with a slight difference instead of using a BB shot to stop the link sliding down to the hook to I used a float stop My links are made as follows I double over about 8 inches of 6lb line then pass the loop through the fine wire holding the float stop then pull the stop off the wire onto the link leaving a small loop for the reel line to go though, I then pinch on one or more LG shot as needed as a fish picks up the bait it feels little resistance even when using several shot I doubt the fish will feel the resistance as it would with a heavy weight. See pic IMG 0720

                                                                Brace of Chub

I started off fishing with just 3 LG shot link stopped about 4 inches from the size 6 hook baited with a cube of Cheese Mania flavoured crust which I’d prepared at home the day before then put in the freezer overnight, as the crust thaws out it takes on the cheese flavour I’d smeared around the inside of a plastic freezer bag. Making an underhand cast I dropped the bait under the trailing branches of an alder tree 10 yards downstream, within a minute I had my first Christmas Day fish a chub which weighed 4lb 11 ounces. Rebaiting I made another cast to the same spot this time the bait was taken on the drop another good chub weighing 4lbs 13 ounces, my third cast accounted for a brown trout pushing 2lbs. An hour later with no more bites I moved into another swim close to a big oak tree as I got down the bank I blinked then said to myself “No it can’t be an otter print” two perfect foot prints were in the fine silt I was gutted this was the last fish killer I needed, I can deal with cormorants, mink and goosanders but not otters. I walked away feeling quite depressed, then moved about a mile upstream. At 1300hrs with no more bites I had a brew with a mince pie, then walked right to the bottom of the beat at 1500 hrs. I made my way upstream for dinner and meet Brendan. Following a good dinner and warm drinks we made our way to our separate swims two hours later with no bites I called Brendan he like me hadn’t had a touch with a falling air temperature frost starting to cover the tackle and fields we decided to call it a day. I reckon it was a wise decision. Next morning the surrounding hills were snow covered the fields white with frost. Back on the river just after dawn I got a water temperature reading of 38 degrees F after filling all the bird feeders, then spreading plenty of sunflower hearts and broken peanuts under the hedgerows I returned home for breakfast.








Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]