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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


07/09/2015 - A Great Weeks With Lots Of Chub

My winder with hook line float and shot

A Great Weeks With Lots Of Chub


My First Chub


I've just had a few days on the River Wye with my friend Dave Whyte, while he fished for barbel I targeted the chub, I've been a fan of this fish since I caught one about 8 or 9 inches when on a camping trip with the Cubs and Scouts as a 9 year old, not having any tackle I visited the local barber who sold a few items of tackle, I got a cardboard winder holding a length of flax line a hook to nylon with float and shot. Back at the campsite I looked around to find a suitable branch that I could turn into something looking like a rod, finding one I thought would do, I used my sheathe knife to trim off all the small twiglets ending up with what today we would call a whip. I now needed some bait, so went off looking for Brown Owl having found the lady, I asked for a bit of cheese? she said "What's it for" I simple said "I want it for bait to catch a chub" I was given a big chunk of the stuff. With my friend Billy Race we went off to where we had seen the chub, they were still there, after tying on what we thought was enough line I moulded some of the cheese around the hook then quietly lowered it into the water. The float went under pulled down by the weight of the cheese, adjusting the float I dropped the tackle in once more, the float lay flat on the surface, in the clear water we could see the cheese, soon lots of small chub descended on the yellow food. I reckon we waited about half an hour suddenly the float moved along the surface before disappearing. I missed the fish, a lot more bites were missed before I caught my prize, I sent Billy off to look for Brown Owl to ask if she would take a picture, few minutes later Brown Owl appeared with a breathless Billy, meanwhile I'd got in the water so I could keep my prize alive, a picture was taken using a Box Brownie, releasing the little chub I said to Billy "Lets catch some more". During the next three days Billy and myself took it in turns to use the tackle catching more little chub, of course we thought they were monsters, all caught on tiny pieces of cheese the size of a BB shot. Today the chub is still one of my favourite fish probably second only to the roach.


Bank High River


On Sunday30th August around noon it started to rain which continued throughout the day and night, before travelling to the Wye I‘d booked Sunday dinner at the Granary café these days it's called lunch, I'd had dinner there on several Sunday's in the past, I doubt if you would find better food at the right price, also the red cabbage is something not to be missed. In the rain we trudged around the local book shops, where I was lucky to find a shop selling jazz CD's I got Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey CD's for just £8-00. It was around 1800 hrs. when we got back on the river, I caught 5 chub averaging 3lbs plus also a small barbel around 6lbs, while Dave had 3 chub.



Bank Holiday Monday 31st August despite the rain the town was packed, with little parking, again we visited the book shops, as we headed back to the car park some three hours later I noticed an old gentleman trying to cross the busy road, not a single motorist stopped for him, I said to Dave "I‘m going to stop the traffic then we can help the old gentlemen across the road". Having got him across the road both Dave and myself then had to lift the old fellow under each arm to lift him up the high pavement. It turned out he had been a member of Bomber Command during World War 2 as a radio operator/ gunner, after a brief chat then making sure he could get home OK, I thanked him for his service in defeating the Nazi's.


On the river I found it flowing fast and coloured, it wasn't a bread crust or flake conditions, but a good soft smelly paste Cheese, Ocean Pride or Sausage Sizzle, I reckon all three baits would be suitable, I then went off looking for a quiet stretch of water, finding a swim where several trees were overhanging and low to the water, several yards out from the bank a large tree was in the water creating a breakwater. Chub swim I though then fed in some hook size pieces of cheese paste with a couple of handfuls of dumbells, Caviar pellets also cheese favoured bread mash. Back upstream where David was fishing I put the kettle on for a brew, an hour or so later I walked slowly down river with rod reel, box of hooks and LG shot some bait also a piece of sponge to sit and of course a landing net. In a couple of hours I had 9 chub between 3 and 4lbs with one fish of 5-1-0 I was more than happy.


The next day Tuesday 1st September my friend Tony Booker a retired London Fire Brigade Chief turned up for a couple of days, it's a great experience to watch Tony float fishing I've always learnt something new from this Buckinghamshire angler, he ended with a good mixed bag of roach, dace, chub also a good trout. 1700hrs I called Tony and Dave for dinner I'd done a sweet and sour with rice, having finished eating they went off to the river. Having washed then drying the dishes, I made David and Tony a mug of tea delivered to their swim, I chose to fish a swim downstream catching a few chub around the 3lbs plus mark on luncheon meat what I call a kebab set up where three or four bits of meat are on the hook and line, a fish will often snatch a piece where you rarely have a chance of hooking the fish, but when it comes back for a second bit its often full of confidence, often giving a slight tap then a good pull which is rarely missed.


Wednesday 2nd September Tony certainly has the right idea for comfort with a bed chair in his van where he can lie in bed, even make a brew, about 0900hrs I found Tony wasn't in his van, he'd disappeared to the river at dawn, when I met up with him he'd caught some nice chub and barbell, after chatting for a while I said, "I'm off to cook breakfast please come in twenty minutes", I served Tony and Dave eggs, bacon, beans, with amug of tea also fresh wholemeal rolls I'd got from town. Breakfast over Tony and Dave went off to the river, I sat down for my breakfast and to read the paper. After I'd done my chores, I went off downstream to feed a swim well down the beat, in an area where the river flow split causing the water to flow left and right near the centre of the river to meet about twenty yards further downstream just before a small island creating a slow pool. The water was about 8 feet deep flowing over a mixture of gravel and pebbles. My idea was to heavily bait this area every hour through the day with a mixture of mashed bread, pellets, cheese dumbells, hemp and chopped worms, I then went back upstream to my base where I sat reading few chapters from a Tom Clancy novel. An hour later, repeating the baiting process every hour, 1430 hrs I took David and Tony a bowl of soup with a fresh buttered rolls for a late lunch, Tony was leaving for home about 1500 hrs. having said my good byes to Tony, I went off and baited my swim once more but I had no intention of fishing until the next day, I wanted to concentrate the fish and get their confidence At 1700 hrs we had dinner, after clearing everything away I had a brew before fishing a swim just below David. Who said "I bet you can't catch a chub in ten minutes", I caught one in four minutes, then got another challenge "Catch another one in ten minutes", I got a chub within a minute of casting out. Half an hour later as I was talking to Mike O'Neill when I hooked a good fish saying "Got to go I've got a good fish I will call you back" It wasn't quite a five pounder weighing 4 lbs-14 ounces I fished until 2300hrs catching 12 chub around between 3.5 lbs and my best at 5-4-0 directly I laid this fish on the mat I could see by the size of the shoulders with a solid pigeon chest, it was a good one.


Lots of Chub


Early Thursday morning 3rd September I went off downstream to feed my chub swim with lots of feed mixed in a heavy bread feed, adding a stone as I wanted the feed down on the bottom quickly, though I must say I wouldn't have been happy without my studied wading boots and staff, the flow against my legs was quite powerful, I wouldn't be able to use a landing net, should I not be able to unhook the fish in the swim I would have to wade ashore leading the fish like a dog on a lead. Having baited the swim I made my way upstream, as it was market day we were going into to town, I got some lovely wholemeal bread also some Welsh Cobs, back at base I cooked breakfast of eggs, bacon, tomatoes and sausages, we also shared the wholemeal loaf, I said to David "That small loaf was £2-50 I reckon worth every penny" he agreed it was delightful. I then went off and baited my swim again before doing the chores. Around1200 hrs I pulled on my waders then picking up tackle bag and other equipment I headed off downstream, first thing was to work out what weight I needed, having pushed my way well out into the river I tried with 4 LG'S but ended up with 6 LG's. Back onshore I put a small bucket of mash in my bait and hemp bucket shortening the strap so it would hang around my neck. I also added cheese and sausage sizzle paste some flavoured crusts and a few lobworms. The landing net was placed on the shore with the handle in the water should I need it, I then waded out into the river until I was between the two fast flows of water. Baiting with a chunk of cheese paste, then dropping in a chicken egg size lump of ground bait in the left and right flows of water I made a cast ten yards downstream allowing the bait to slowly moved downstream feeling it moving over the gravel. Every two or three yards I would either hold the line taught or lift it off the bottom, as I lifted the bait off the bottom a few inches I got a hit eventuallythen wading to the shoreline to netthe fish about 3 1/2lbs. In three casts I had three fish all like peas in a pod but great fun. David turned up to see what I was doing so I got him to take a quick pic of the next fish, as he returned up river to his swim I waded back out in the river where I caught more fish all of a similar size as the time flew by I was getting more tired, my feet ached, in the strong cold wind I started to shiver and yawn, from my experience outdoor exercises I've took part in I though perhaps hyperthermia was setting. At around 1800 hrs. I'd caught twenty chub plus one barbel which really did give me the run around in the fast water. by wading across and downstream to a quiet backwater I was able to eventually net a fish about 6lbs. I could best describe getting back up river as staggering and stumbling often sitting down for a few minutes every time I felt light headed. Back in the cabin I made a strong brew then necked a load of currents and sultanas from an army ration pack. Thankfully I'd prepared a beef curry for dinner, switching on the gas at low, I let the curry slowly warm then simmer, while I wrapped myself in my sleeping bag. An hour later feeling slightly better I called Dave to say dinner in 15 minutes then put the rice on to cook. After a big helping of curry I did feel a lot better telling Dave as he went off to the river "I would be down later" Around 1900 hrs I went and fished next to Dave fishing until 2230 hrs catching 9 more chub on luncheon meat or cheese paste. Back in the cabin I had a glass of sloe gin which was nice a warming, while Dave had a glass of whisky, we followed this up with a mug of strong tea.


Friday 4th September, It was late when I got up this morning feeling rather groggy and finding it difficult to walk more like a stumble, after a wash and shave I cooked breakfast for Dave and myself, he went off fishing while I washed and tidied up, then sat around all day reading or sleeping. 1600 hrs having cooked tea I called Dave, tea over Dave went off fishing while I tidied up also putting away my gear in the car, an hour or so later I got a call from Dave asking me to come and take a pic of a good barbel, IMG 1083 a fish weighing 10lbs 7 ounces. We celebrated with a mug of tea, then sat around talking about our good weeks fishing, having loaded Dave's gear in the car it was time to head off home.


The average size of chub

Another chub

Dave Whyte

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Martin James Fishing
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