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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


26/01/2015 - Stret-Pegging Proves A Winner

My newly created swim by nature during a big storm


Stret-Pegging Proves A Winner

I arrived on the banks of the River Ribble today to find 6 feet of dirt swirling muddy coloured water with a temperature of just 40 degrees despite the warm overnight rain, sadly the big rise in the water level was caused by snow melt from the surrounding hills, I sat quite despondent at the water’s edge watching all kinds of rubbish floating downstream to the sea. During the previous 4 days I had been baiting 2 swims with either Lone Angler Sausage Sizzle or Cheese Mania paste, the third swim was baited with sausage sizzle flavoured bits of bread flake. My first swim was newly created by nature during a big storm a couple of weeks ago, a large ivy clad tree crashed into the water but it’s still partly attached to the main trunk, it couldn’t have happened in a better place. In time I reckon it will prove a great fish holding area, also a refuge for the smaller fish from the beaks of cormorants and goosanders, to ensure a big flood doesn’t tear the tree free I have spent a day with ropes and barbed wire fixing the length of tree in the water firmly to the trunk of another tree.

I tried to fish this new swim but the water was far too fast, so I moved upstream to my second choice spot, after an hour without a sign of interest, I moved to my third choice spot where I was surprised to find a nice looking swim close into the bank, ideal for float fishing I thought, Putting together my 13ft Lone Angler float rod matched with centre pin reel holding some 6lb line I attached a balsa on quill float, then a size 8 hook. Attaching a large plummet I quietly checked the length of the swim finding an average depth of 4 feet of water, After putting a dollop of Vaseline on the base of the plummet then dropped it back in the swim, I then slowly retrieved it to find small bits of silt in the grease, I though “Yes a firm bottom of silt that will do me”. Before going off for a fresh brew and some toast, I introduced a small amount of mashed bread in at the head of the swim in the hope that if there were any fish in the area they would get interested in the tiny items bread going through the swim also any fish downstream might be encouraged to move upstream for the source of food. After a twenty minute break I hobbled back to my swim cursing the plantar fasciitis: that is causing me a lot of pain, but it’s no use sitting indoors if I want to try and catch some fish, it’s a case of grin and bear it.

Back in my swim I introduced three pieces of sausage sizzle flavoured bread flake, having checked the depth previously and set the float two feet over depth I pinched on 5 BB shot bunched together about 15 inches from the size 8 hook the baited with a piece of flake I cast out then set the rod in the rest, watching the float settle downstream at about 45 degrees, within minutes float moved out into the stream and slowly submerged, the answering strike connected with a good fish, not sure if I had a trout or chub, slowly I started getting line back on the reel but with the muddy water I didn’t get to see the fish until it was close in and ready for the waiting net, “That’s a nice chub I said to myself” as it was enveloped in the mesh and lifted clear of the water, It weighed 4lb 1 ounce I was more than happy even more so as it wasn’t a trout that can prove a nuisance. In fact I don’t enjoy catching trout unless I’m fly fishing for them.

Rebaiting I cast again then watched the float settle, ten minutes later with no sign of a bite I lifted the rod allowing the float to move three feet further downstream, this was repeated again fifteen minutes later then as the float settled I had a savage take which dragged the rod tip down, no need to strike the fish had hooked itself. A few minutes later I netted my second fish of the session a better chub this one which weighed 4lb 4 ounces. I put I a small handful of mashed bread the size of a golf ball, you must be careful in low water temperatures not to introduce too much feed, unless you know the chub are in a good feeding mood. Rebaiting again I cast into the swim a further fifteen feet downstream then watched the float settle as it did so it disappeared striking I got the response I expected as the rod tip pulled down and the reel grudgingly gave line, The fish powered out towards the middle of the river were the water was very fast flowing also there were some big rocks I clamped down hard not giving an inch of line at the same time swinging the rod over to my left trying to pull the fish in towards my bank and the slower water. I worked for a few seconds the fish held its ground then gave up the struggle. And a few minutes later I netted a good chub. On the scales it weighed 4lb 7 ounces. “That’s worth a picture I thought” I then carried the fish about forty yards upstream before releasing it as I had done with the previous fish. In the next two hours I caught two more nice chub all 4lbs plus but the 4lb 7 ounce fish was my best of the session. I can’t wait to get on the river tomorrow more so as its likely to be a cloudy night and hopefully a rise in the water temperature, but then for the next few days its forecast very cold conditions so it will probably be grayling on the float and chub with crust flake and a small crumb feeder.








My best chub at 4lb 7 ounces

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Martin James Fishing
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