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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


13/04/2015 - A Week of Habitat Work and Teaching

Tracy at the water's edge


Monday 6th April weather very foggy and cold it was around 1400 hrs. when the fog had gone, so bad were the conditions I moved my fly casting lessons to the back end of the week. I then collected 5 large bin liners of rubbish which included 11 footballs, yes that is correct and thankfully the local council tip was open so I got rid of all the rubbish. I then went off down to the bottom beat where I met up with my friend Albert around 1300hrs, over a fresh brew we had a good chat about everything piscatorial, including Albert’s ambition to fish the River Kennet so I have put plans in place to achieve his ambition.

Tuesday 7th April Another very cold morning foggy morning when I really did need a fleece, certainly not a morning for fly fishing, so I paid a visit to Skipton, where it was warm and sunny, I also caught and removed 4 poachers from the Bradford City AA water. Shopping finished I arrived back home at 1100 hrs., grabbing a sandwich for lunch I headed off to my water stopping off at the library to return some books and collect some new reading material. Back on the river I spent some time working on anchoring and building my rafts, which are there to encourage the fly life, also offer cover to the small fish. Eventually the fog disappeared making it nice to feel the warmth. After a brew with a sandwich I then had an hours fly fishing with a size 18 Greenwell’s wet fly catching 3 nice trout averaging 14”. All the frog spawn in my pond has successfully turned into a black mass of tadpoles, seeing the tadpoles I put a wire mesh fence around the pond with just a small gap at one end allowing the frogs and newts access, also a place for a hedgehogs to drink, if I didn’t fence the pond off the blackbirds would take most of the tadpoles, the frogs need all the help we can give them.

Wednesday 8th April at 0700hrs this morning the sky was blue with bright sunshine, no sign of fog which was nice, I had arranged for my pupil to meet me at 1200hrs, with the changed in the weather I called to see if Tracy wanted to meet me at 1000hrs the answer was an affirmatives “Yes”, conditions on the river were ideal to learn fly casting, Tracy was getting married next month to Simon so I needed to teach her to be a proficient fly caster. After an hour I realised this lady would be a good pupil, Tracy could use both right and left arm hand coordination, I soon sorted out her right hand arm coordination was the best, I then got her to put left foot forward, followed by the hand grip also where the thumb should be, explaining why and how important this was. Just before we had finished for the day Tracy was now casting some forty feet using a single haul, I heard Simon say “They are good casts Tracy” I feel when teaching that you should make it relaxing, it’s not a muscle job but timing ladies seem to be very good at learning. I then went off for a brew then spent some time finishing off the breach in one of the croys before having half an hour of casting catching one nice fish on a size 18 Greenwell’s wet fly about 14” Pic IMG 0849 IMG 0835 IMG 0837

Thursday 9th April At 0800hrs his morning the weather was perfect for giving a fly casting lesson, I picked my pupil up at 0930hrs and by 1000hrs we were on the river bank, the wind was about 5 mph so no problems and no excuses for not making some nice casts. After a few introductory words Tracy was making some nice cast with 30 feet of line, I then and her make a few casts with a single haul took her onto the next step of using 2 false casts at the same time extending some extra line Tracy with hitting the 40 feet mark. I felt pleased for her as she is so keen to prove she could hold her own with other fly fishers. During the couple of hours casting, Tracy spotted a grass snake swimming across the river it’s the first sighting this year, lesson over I dropped her off in town while I went off back to the river checking out the bottom beat before having my lunch. After lunch I had two guest so I showed them several pools worth fishing then left the two anglers to try their luck. About 1600hrs I made some tea and coffee for my guest which I served on the river bank but sadly I didn’t have any biscuits. When arrived home I found a package from Lone Angler with my order of LG shot so no longer do I have to keep calling in tackle shops for LG shot often to be told “I don’t know anything about LG shot”, some even tell me there is no such thing. So if you need LG just go on the LA website, when I get time I will do a feature explaining how and why I use these shots.

Friday 10th April I was on the river around 0930 hrs. to meet two guests, after explaining where to fish the rules and tactics I left them to enjoy the river, I then went off and cut some fifty more willow shoots, which I planted out on the top beat, after collecting two large bags of rubbish I paid a visit to the local council tip. Back at the cabin I had a fresh brew with a banana sandwich, during my break I spotted 2 Red Admiral and 5 Peacock butterflies, this made a total of 6 Red Admiral’s and 8 Peacock butterflies during the course of the day. After lunch I had an hour fishing with no success, I didn’t even see a fish move so around 16-30hrs after another interesting week I packed up then went off home.


Tracy was a good pupil

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Martin James Fishing
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