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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


10/05/2015 - Litter LG shot sea trout and much more

LG shot as I often use them

Monday 27th April another cold day with showers and strong wind, done some work on the top beat before checking anglers on the bottom beat, it was around 1400hrs before I had a break a mug of tea and sandwich, cleared away a lot of rubbish by those who go out into the countryside at weekends depositing their litter too lazy to take it home I collected 2 large bin liners of rubbish, plastic bottles, beer and soft drink cans, also some lazy dirty mother or perhaps father dumped a nappy full of waste on the edge of a public footpath, do these slobs have no shame. When I arrived home about 1700hrs I had an e-mail ref Protect-the River Lambourn which I quickly signed and left a message. Then sent an e-mail to all those on my list requesting they sign, once again it shows the EA isn’t fit for purpose, recently there was a case where a farmer caused a fish kill, he was let off by the EA who asked him to make a donation to charity when he should have been prosecuted.

Tuesday 28th April Another cold windy day with showers at around 1100hrs we had a heavy hail shower, it was so bad I couldn’t see across the meadow for some minutes. I spent a couple of hours cleaning then polishing fly lines on ten salmon and trout fishing reels, also attached new leaders where needed. My friend Simon is getting married to Tracy in three weeks’ time, then they are off salmon and trout fishing in Scotland, as he is busy in his cycle shop I offered to make sure his reels were in tip top condition. After a break with a mug of tea, I spent an hour or more sweeping out the cabins also doing some simple maintenance work that was needed. After walking the bottom beat I checked out the top beat, while there I called the shepherd to let him know one of the lambs didn’t look so good. Today I found some toad spawn in the river which is rare, I felt I should transfer it to my pond, not having any fish in the pond they would have a far better chance of survival than in the river.

LG Shot In the not too distant future Lone Angler will have LG shot in its portfolio, this product is not new as some anglers think, I’ve used this size shot for many years finding it perfect for much of my fishing. You might well ask why use LG shot rather than a normal leger weight? We all know fish don’t like feeling resistance when taking their food, with LG’s you can spread the weight so there is virtually no resistance. See pic IMG 0900 Many times I can get away with one shot on other occasions I might need six more shot. By spreading the shot you offer a bait with little resistance, I usually start off spacing the shot an inch apart, but this can be up to four inches, as a chub gently picks the bait up in its lips then rises to an even keel that fish will hardly notices the weight of one shot, remember much of the food fish eat is struggling to get away so fish expects some resistance. Then as the fish moves further away there is slight resistance of the next shot allowing resistance to build up slowly. How do I know these facts? because I’ve spent literally many hundreds of hours over many years not fishing but quietly watching fish in their environment. There are many anglers today using LG shot after I’ve explained my way of using these weight, that have then seen their results improve.

Wednesday 29th April another cold windy day with heavy showers including hail, apart from walking the beats and doing some general maintenance, I also spent a couple of hours in a hide shooting grey squirrels, I got 5 also a mink that appeared about thirty minutes after getting in the hide, I feel it was on the prowl for duck eggs, as several ducks have nests in the bankside a few yards back from the water edge. At about 1400hrs I returned to the cabin for a bowl of soup, then sorted out some of my fly boxes, it’s amazing how many flies I’ve collected, at 1700hrs I returned home.

Thursday 30th April, I was on the river today at around 0800hrs, the river had about 6 inches of fresh water which hopefully would encourage the fish to move I decided to fish for sea trout, choosing a 7 weight outfit with floating line nine foot leader with an 8lb tippet, tying on a size 12 Bloody Butcher I was ready to go. Within an hour of fishing I had two sea trout of 14”, losing two fish then nothing for about half an hour, changing to a Snake fly which has proved a good pattern in the past, first cast I got a hit as the fly was swinging past a large rock, after a good fight during which the fish went skywards on three occasions I eventually netted a fresh fish of 16”. Pic IMG 0903 My top 4 sea trout flies, top row L-R Snake fly - Dunkeld bottom row Teal blue and silver – Bloody butcher. Around 1130hrs with no more takes I went off for a late breakfast / early lunch then sat reading the paper with a cup of coffee. I then went up the top beat, sitting beside a big pool in the warm sunshine I put the following in my note book. It’s a lovely day blue sky a few fluffy clouds a light wind with the river flowing left to right birds were singing a few ducks sleeping on the grassy bank with sheep grazing in the meadow, looking across the river I could see primroses and bluebells, the willows and hawthorns looked beautiful with their new cloaks of green, downstream a good fish swirled on the surface as it took a large olive. Overhead a Hurricane fighter was going through its paces no doubt getting ready to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the thrashing we gave the Germans who had bought so much misery to so many, known as Victory in Europe. My mind went back to those dark days of World War 2 when my friends and myself would jump clap and cheer as we watched the Hurricanes and Spitfires going into attack the German bombers and fighters, later in the war we would watch them try to destroy the doodle bugs. Our escape from all the trouble and strife of war was Bakers Meadow with a small stream at the bottom where we caught Three-spined sticklebacks and Minnows, along long the far bank were a row of Dutch Elms and beyond them was a saltmarsh with several creeks, were we watched enviously the grey shadows swimming, of course we didn’t have any tackle for these fish. Today I’m living free in peaceful England beside a delightful river giving thanks to all those who gave so much that I can do the things I love today. After an hour or so sitting quietly beside the river I thought I’d better get some work done, including some fencing that needs repairing, having put some barbed wire around one of the salmon pools which hopefully will deter poaching. I then some barbed wire along the field side of a small copse, the farmer at my request sprayed the fence line with slurry, hopefully this should stop the local yobs from camping, lighting fires and dumping their waste in the copse. 1600hrs I returned to the river which had risen about 15 inches in a couple of hours also it started to colour up. I was hoping to fish for the sea trout but gave it a miss. Back in the bottom cabin I put the kettle on for a brew. Waiting for it to boil I made myself a beef sandwich, sitting in the doorway I could see lots of sand martins and swallows hawking the surface of the meadow for flies, I then spotted a mink creeping along the bank no more than twenty yards away, quietly moving across the cabin I retrieved my rifle off the table, moving slowly back to the open door, I took careful aim then shot this evil killer, that mink given the chance would tear the young from their holes in the sandy bank, more sand martin’s saved also lots of ground nesting birds. After a break I went off downstream to the bottom of the beat looking for signs of moving fish given the rise on the river, perhaps a salmon will show, having walked the bottom beat I didn’t see either a salmon or sea trout. On the top beat I spent a couple of hours walking the bank with gun in hand, reaching the copse I shot a grey squirrel, which I cut into three chunks then baited some traps in the hope I might get another mink. A 2000hrs with the temperature dropping I decided it was time to head off home after a nice day on the river.

Friday 2nd May 0800hrs another long day on the river, which overnight had dropped about a foot and flowing clear, first job was to check my mink traps I had one mink in the second trap checked, which was quickly dispatched, half an hour later I shot one of the biggest rats I’ve ever seen, I’d noticed this rodent as I checked my traps, back in the cabin I found a pot of Lone Angler sausage sizzle paste, knowing the area where this rodent lived I put down three large pieces of paste near its hole in the bank, then sat quietly with the rifle at the ready, within twenty minutes the rat was eating the first bit of sausage sizzle, lifting the rifle I sighted on the head breathed in then breathed out as I held my breath I gently squeezed the trigger killing the rodent, how I hate these horrid things, I kicked the other bits of paste in the river. Around 1100hrs lots of Hawthorne flies started to appear which lasted until about 1400 hrs., sadly the wind was in the wrong direction to blow these land based flies onto the water, where they would be taken avidly by the trout, a member Tony Nickleson had a sea trout estimated at 3lbs last night, I had one of similar weight this afternoon on a Teal blue and silver. Tracy the lady I’ve been teaching caught her first brown trout today, Pic JPG 132 I’d planned to have fish and chips for tea, as I started to drive off to the shop at 1600hrs, I thought to myself “I shouldn’t be eating this type of food” then returned to the car park and the cabin, where I opened a can of soup, though I must admit I was sorely tempted. At 2000hrs I left the river for home.

My top 4 sea trout flies, top row L-R Snake fly - Dunkeld bottom row Teal blue and silver Bloody butcher

Tracy the lady Ive been teaching caught her first brown trout today,

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Martin James Fishing
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