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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


12/10/2015 - A Rise In River Levels For A Day - Also More Litter

Monday 5th October a quiet day, there were a gaggle of Canada geese on the bottom beat which I soon got rid of, a shoal of nice grayling were feeding in the fast broken shallow water on the bottom beat which is encouraging. Sadly no rain to report according to BBC weather it’s not likely for the next 10 days. After walking both beats I returned home around 1300 hrs, after a sandwich and brew, I made up several bags of liquidised bread, then cut two large loaves into chunks which were then hung in the airing cupboard to dry out. Then spent the rest of the afternoon listening to Thelonius Monk, Harry James, Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa, after tea I read a few chapters from my latest novel The Bourne Ascendancy before having an early night.

Tuesday 6th October another bright warm sunny day, the river Ribble is now bare bones, I’ve given up fishing the Ribble until we get some rain to give the river a big lift. Not being able to drive so far these days I’m missing out on fishing a decent still waters, thankfully a reader of this column has asked if I would take him down to fish the River Wye, I said “Yes if he done the driving” so we will have three days on the river in a couple of weeks’ time. Hopefully I can sort out a decent barbel swim where he can get his string pulled, while I try and catch a few chub or grayling. A week later I will be back again with my friend Albert and John for a week, then hopefully when I return, my local river it will have a good flow so I can target the chub and roach.

Wednesday 7th October thick cloud with rain showers, my river Ribble has about an inch and a half of extra water today, though I think it will have more water tomorrow following the rain during the night and today over Settle area which is where we need the rain to fall. Walking both beats this morning I scared off a group of 8 goosanders feeding in the cabin run, though I’ve a licence to cull these fish eating birds which really do a lot of damage to fish stocks, yes they might be small fish but these are also tomorrows better quality fish we all want to catch. My licence is for just 2 goosanders what a crazy situation, the powers that be don’t have any idea or care what happens in the aquatic environment. After sweeping out the cabins then making a brew, I went into town, where my first call was the Council offices to speak with someone about the awful state of the streets especially cigarette butts outside taxi ranks, betting shops and pubs, also the amount of fly tipping. It seems some offences are dealt with by Lancashire CC other offences by Ribble Valley Council, why do the powers to be in the UK make such crazy decisions, we only have to look at the new plastic bag regulations. It should have stated no bags will be given away whatever the purchase from any shop, we all know the damage done by plastic bags in the countryside coastline and oceans. We have the dog walkers who will clear up after the dog, then leave the bag tied in a bush or thrown in the nearby field, stream or river. After meeting the person responsible I then went off to the library for some books I’d ordered, I was back home for a late lunch around 1330hrs. Having tidied up my study, I then tidied out the shed where I keep all my baits, then found I was short on Cheese and Sausage sizzle dumbells, also my supply of dried bread stocks were very low which will need replenishing, so it’s a visit to the supermarket tomorrow to stock up on large uncut loafs.

Thursday 8th October I had a smile on my face this morning as I drove over the River Ribble to see 2 feet of extra water, seeing the extra water has encouraged me to call my friend Mick. Pulling into a lay bye I called him to see if he wanted to go roach fishing tomorrow Friday? he quickly agreed, we made arrangement to fish late afternoon into the evening, if roach were not present then the dace and chub might feed. In the car park I changed into Wellington boots then walked the bottom beat, spotting several salmon moving up river, after walking the top beat I checked my mink traps finding 1 mink which was quickly dispatched. After a brew I went and introduced some of my last cheese dumbells into two spots, saving a few for the weekend when I hoped to have a late evening session with my friend John who has offered to drive me home afterwards. Back home I walked around the village collecting a bin liner of rubbish, then made up several bags of cheese and sausage sizzle flavoured crusts which will be given away at a demo I’m giving next week to show how simple it is to get success with Lone Angler flavours and baits.

I will also be demonstrating how they can use cheese or sausage sizzle paste baits straight on the hook, also you want miss so many chub as you often do when fishing the bait on a hair. I enjoy teaching newcomers to the sport, helping the more experienced newcomers, my reward is having them call me or write later telling me how they had a good catch or caught a good fish. I then made up some mashed bread for tomorrow, after giving it a good pounding I added some porridge oats to slightly stiffen it, usually I use bran but find it hard to get hold of it these days with so many pet shops closing, the new big pet stores don’t seem to sell bran. Making up a golf ball size of the ground bait I dropped it into an old bath where I’d created a slight flow with the aid of a hose pipe, so I could time how long it took to break down, I was impressed how small particles dropped away from the ball of bait, eventually after 14 minutes the feed had broken down being dispersed in the water flow. I was more than happy with the consistency of my feed, I then made up several slices of bread for punch, having cut off all the crust I put the slices of bread in the microwave for some 12 seconds then roll out the slices before wrapping in cling film before putting in the freezer. I liquidised half a loaf bread, should I want to use a small feeder, also knowing I might well be using tares in conjunction with hemp, I painted some hook shanks with tippex before sorting out my basket. After a brew I went off to the council tip with a load of rubbish I’d collected also the green cutting brambles etc from my neighbours garden, I was also asked if I had for an old printer which I did. Back home I sat down to tea, then spent a couple of hours reading.

Friday 9th as I walked the bottom beat of the fishery today, I could see a load of rubbish had been dumped on the opposite bank, driving round to the area I found several large card board boxes full of waste strew all over the place, as always I’d got a pair of gloves so packed as much rubbish as possible in the back of my car then went to the council tip, having sorted out that lot I returned for the rest of the rubbish. If I’d left that waste it would have ended up in the river, if by chance it hadn’t it would have been an eye sore eventually rotting down then being scattered around, I despair of these scum bags. Having walked the banks then checked the cabins I went off home to get ready for a session after roach further down the river, sadly the sky had cleared leaving bright sunshine and blue sky, at least I could fish that magic hour before dusk then into the darkness.

No Roach Only An Eel

Mick and myself arrived on the river at 1430hrs to find very little flow, we missed out by 24 hrs. , it’s the old story we should have been on the river yesterday, still that’s fishing, after sorting out our gear we went off down river probably a mile, having chosen an area to fish I went to work with a plummet with a covering of Vaseline at the base, small particles on the bottom will get stuck giving me an idea of the bottom, I could only find 2 feet of water, 10 yards further down the river I found about 4 feet, sadly over soft mud and rotting leaves, not in my opinion a suitable area for roach. I then moved up river as I did so I met a members who wanted to have a chat, I reckon I spent a couple of hours discussing all aspects of river fishing from how to use LG shot, how make and flavour mashed bread with Lone Angler flavours, the benefit of fishing with soft action rods, why I use both braid and nylon lines, the use of liquidised bread with punch bread on the hook and how to prepare it. As Alec said “It’s been like having a personal Master Class”. I reckon this is part of the angling scene, helping other anglers. Meanwhile Mick had caught a few small roach fishing liquidised bread in a small cage feeder using red gentles as bait. It was time for a brew with a club rule of no stoves on the river bank which I agree with as we once had an idiot that nearly caused a major fire in a car park some years ago. With the Jet boiler you can safely use it in the car so no problem, as we were having a brew another member stopped for a chat by the time we got back on the river it was 1830hrs. I started off fishing 2 LG shot fifteen inches from a size 10 hook with bread flake, nothing, then moved the shot within 6 inches of the hook baiting with crust, again nothing. Moving the shot up the line I baited with several red gentles, five minutes later I had a good bite hooking a fish that did bend the rod, eventually an eel about 2lbs was within reach, sliding my fingers down the line I was able to slide out the barbless hook then watch the fish swim off. As I did so I witnessed for the first time the  biggest bat in the UK, the Noctule This bat has long narrow wings and flies in a straight line, very high and fast. , but it's still smaller than the palm of your hand!  I changed back to fishing crust, ten minutes later I had two quick knocks then a slow pull, missing the bite like a beginner it was abysmal angling on my part. I fished on with crust but no more bites, as a thick mist descended over the water, we fished on for another half an hour, then agreed we were probably wasting our time so packed up. I must say it had been a very pleasant session on the river something I’ve badly missed as I don’t feel happy driving in the dark. Hopefully next time we get to visit the river it will have a good flow where we can be searching the swim long trotting float .

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Martin James Fishing
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