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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


14/08/2015 - Nuisance salmon take bait intended for a chub

Monday 10 August no fishing today lots of jobs around the fishery including pulling balsam, will it never end. I started off erecting some coils of barbed wire close to the fence along our boundary which is well over grown so hopefully anyone climbing over the fence will not see the wire then get caught up. I also erected some snags in three pools which hopefully will snag any nets, these I can retrieve quickly when the water level improves. After a brew I spent an hour pulling balsam, I must say it was hard work I reckon coming up to 79 I do more physical work in my old age than I did in my 50’s. I then staggered back to the cabin for a brew and rest, my back felt as if it had been stretched on a rack. I then had some maintenance work to get done in the car parks and around the cabins. Despite the showers I managed to get everything done, I then sat down to read the paper with a brew and sandwich. After a final walk around the fishery I changed into my shoes then went off home feeling tired with an aching back. During the evening I had a teach in which was well attended.

Tuesday 11th August After walking both beats on my fishery, I spent an hour helping a member with his casting before going off to pull some balsam, half an hour later with an aching back I decided I’d had enough. My eyes were giving me trouble, so decided to go home and have a rest, after a brew and a sandwich I got everything ready for a show on Sunday. I also spent some time in the garden experimenting with some cork balls and paste baits so I could watch how the set up looked in the water.

Wednesday 12 August I arrived on the river this morning at 0600hrs then realised it was the start of the grouse shooting season, looking back some thirty odd years I remember dropping my son off at the Duke of Devonshire’s estate where he would experience his first day as a beater on the moors, while I went off to meet up with the guns where I would be working my black lab Drake. On another 12th August I recorded a programme with Olympic shot Mike Meggison of the Kelbrook shooting school who also access to a grouse moor giving my listeners the outdoor experience of the Glorious 12th. I’ve had many great days on the moors, sadly those days are long gone, though I envy those who can still go out and work their dogs. I was on the river early today, as I wanted to target some chub I’d seen yesterday one of which I thought might go 6lbs, my bait would be two big lobworms fished on a barbless hook to some 10lb braid, arriving in the area where I’d seen the chub I spotted what looked like a big fish all I could see was a dim outline of a fish close to a tree that crashed in the water last winter. I wasn’t sure if it was a chub or sea trout, so with an underhand cast I dropped the bait a few feet upstream with a slight plop. In less than a minute I couldn’t see the bait, relying on touch, suddenly I felt a pluck then two more plucks thinking this feel like a sea trout. Pushing the rod forward to put a bow in the line I watched as the bow suddenly tightened then felt a determined pull on the rod, I tightened then felt the powerful surge of a heavy fish being forced to give line, I suppose 15 -20 yards was taken before I started to get control as the fish kept low in the water immediately realising this wasn’t a sea trout, neither did I think it was a chub, pike or salmon I thought, then cursed as I didn’t want either, after some ten minutes or more I started drawing the fish towards me then got my first glimpse of the fish, a salmon the last fish I wanted, this would be then end of my chub fishing then cursed. Looking around I found a spot a few yards upstream where I could beach the fish. Eventually it was mine but I can’t say I was happy as I watched a very dark fish swim off hoping it would reach the Redds further upstream where it would spawn successfully in the autumn. I then went off to the cabin for a brew with some toast and marmalade while reading my newspaper. Breakfast over I went off to the bottom beat where I surprised 4 cormorants, which quickly dispersed when I fired three shots, then issued a guest permit to one of my members for his guest wishing them both a successful day, after checking my boundary fences to make sure it was difficult for poachers to gain access. I then met up at the bottom of the beat with a friend so we could put down some coils of barbed wire in the hedgerow and undergrowth where it wouldn’t easily be seen. In return for my friends help I spent an hour or so helping him with his casting, then giving him a few fly patterns I put him in an area where I’d seen some trout. While I then went off to pull more balsam for an hour before sitting in the woods with a rifle getting two grey squirrels plus a rabbit which I quickly paunched, later back at the cabin I skinned and jointed the rabbit, the two back legs for dinner tomorrow, the rest would go in the freezer for a pie later in the year, the squirrels were chopped in half then put in my mink traps nothing gets wasted. About 1500 hrs I walked across to see how Mike was getting on with his fishing, he’d got a nice brace of trout around 16 inches which he’d harvested on my advice. We then went back to the cabin, where I made him a bacon and egg sandwich, while I made do with a brew. After a long break where we sorted out the world’s problems as we often do, we both went off home.

Thursday 13th August It was about 1000hrs this morning when I arrived on the river, taking the rifle from my car I walked both beats and the two copes also checking the mink traps, but nothing was found. Near the bottom beat I watched a couple of coloured salmon swirling around in a pool waiting for a rise on the river so they can move upstream. I also spotted seven cormorants but until September there is nothing I can do except using my starting pistol that does move these predators on but then only onto to another stretch of river or a nearby still water. It was around 1250hrs when I arrived back at the cabin having walked over two miles, but an enjoyable walk where I also observed two good shoals of dace, some nice grayling which will please my fly fishers during the autumn and winter months, at the mouth of a side stream I watched three good chub which I reckon would have been interested in a bait if I could drop a bait into the stream allowing to drift downstream. Sadly I can’t fish for these chub until November 1st as I have a bait ban in place on the bottom beat, fly fishing only, it wouldn’t be right for me to break my own rules. After lunch I spent an hour pulling more balsam, it’s also amazing how every time you walk the bank thinking it’s clear you will see more 1500hrs with cloud building up the wind increasing I chose to call it a day and return home early to listen to the cricket.

Friday 14th August at 0600hrs this morning I pleased to see the leaden grey sky virtually touching the roof tops with rain falling and no wind to push it quickly away, I certainly had a smile on my face, hopefully it will become heavy perhaps torrential lasting for a couple of days, just before 0800hrs I hear the weather forecaster saying the rain would last until early afternoon, hearing this I grimaced, they were the last words I wanted to hear. At 1000hrs I was walking the river bank with a smile on my face as the heavy rain continued to fall, tiny field side streams which had been dry now had an inch or so of water. At 1300hrs as I made my way to the cabin for a brew and sandwich I could see a slight change in the water colour with a visible disturbance of the plant life, hopefully all the silt gathered on the plant life would get swept away giving the plants that lovely green colour. A salmon rolled in one of the pools no doubt sensing the fresh water entering the river, with luck by midnight that fish might be making its way upstream hopefully followed by many more. After lunch I ready a few chapters of my latest book, then went off in the copse to check my mink trap still nothing found so I got rid of the bait. Back at the cabin I got the fire going so I could get rid of the rotting mink bait. I don’t believe in leaving waste meat around in the countryside to get maggot infested, definitely not hygienic. After another brew I tidied up around the cabin the making sure the fire was out left for home. Tomorrow I will be at the Prince Albert Angling Society junior open match then on Sunday I will be at the Cheshire Game and Angling Fair promoting Lone Angler baits also discussing fly fishing for pike..


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Martin James Fishing
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