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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


20/11/2015 - Winter Has Arrived

A winter chub simlar to my first of the session


Having heard the weather forecast this morning, then seen the hail and rain hammering down, I thought is it worth the effort of going to the river, yes of course with a falling clearing river, hopefully the chub would be willing to feed. I doubt if you will find a better quarry during the autumn and winter months than chub which are certainly a fish for all season’s weather and water conditions, the only time I find it a complete waste of time is when rivers are high and coloured with snow broth. As I drove out my garage I noticed the rain had ceased, arriving in town I could see patches of blue sky, was it going to be my lucky day I thought. Fifteen minutes later I arrived at the syndicate car park, getting out of the car I felt the icy cold wind from the North West causing me to shiver. Pulling on an extra fleece I then checked the water temperature getting a reading of 43 degrees F, with chub my quarry I walked upstream putting a handful of mashed bread, adding four or five hook bait size samples of bread flake into three spots that I thought might hold a chub. I then went downstream where some riverside alder had created some overhead cover with branches trailing in the water, at the downstream end of the alders the water slowed up creating a nice crease what made it even better was a raft of rubbish. Half a dozen bait size pieces of bread flake were dropped so they got washed under the raft. Looking downstream I could see the sky suddenly turn as black as old Nick, I was more like dusk than midday, the wind increased shaking the last of the leaves from the alder trees. Looking downstream I could see curtain of rain across the meadow and river heading upstream, I made a quick dash upstream to the cabin for shelter. With no let-up in the weather I set up my Jetboiler as the water started to boil, I dropped in a sweet and sour chicken and pasta boil in the bag meal, eight minutes later I’d got a hot tasty meal. Thirty minutes later the squall had passed over, looking skywards I could see light clouds the odd blue patches of sky, the wind had abated, it was a different world.

Chub and Trout

Outside I put together my Richard Walker M1V Avon, Mitchell 300 reel 1953 vintage with 6lb bs line to which I tied on a size 4 barbless hook, making an ideal chub fishing outfit. Weight would be LG shot the number depending on the water flow in each swim. In my shoulder bag I put a loaf of bread some cheese paste and sausage paste. Picking up a piece of sponge to sit on I headed upstream to my first swim, a slow deep pool under a large oak tree, pinching on 2 LG shot some six inches from the hook then baited with a chunk of crust, with a light underhand cast I dropped the bait within a foot of the bank. Five minutes later I felt a light pluck then the tip pulled round, I connected with a fish which moved quickly towards the centre of the river. After a spirited fight I netted a fine chub pushing 4lbs which was quickly unhooked then released. Baiting with another piece of crust, I cast further downstream getting a take on the drop which turned out to be an out of season brown trout of 2lbs plus which was quickly released, in the next two casts I had two more trout of similar size then moved to my next spot. Just as I sat down behind some straw coloured reeds, suddenly the wind increased to gale force the sky turned black, within minutes I was hit by hail and heavy rain, its times like this I give thanks for my military quality Gortex camo gear with its hood. Baiting with a chunk of crust, I made a cast towards the centre of the river, then slowly worked the bait downstream after a couple of minutes I got a savage take connecting with a hard fighting fish, after a few minutes I netted another out of season brown trout probably weighing around 4lbs.

Soft Cheese Paste

Moving the shot up the line some 15 inches I baited with a pigeon size piece of cheese paste then cast out into the faster water, then lifting the rod every three or four minutes I slowly I bumped the bait down the swim, after some ten minutes I got a good pull connecting with a good fish, I knew immediately this wasn’t a trout but a chub. After a few minutes I got my first glimpse of my quarry a chub of 4lbs plus, perhaps 5lbs, suddenly the fish dived towards some branches in the water, despite cramping on the pressure to pull it away from danger, the fish won the contest. I left some slack line for a couple of minutes, nothing happened, I reckon the fish had slipped the hook. I pulled for a break, as I increased the pressure I felt some movement eventually pulling a large branch into the bank. Checking the hook on my thumb nail, I found it as sharp as when I’d started.

Having lost the fish I chose to move to my next spot catching a chub about 3lbs a trout about 2lbs both on cheese paste, after a thirty minute spell with no more interest I moved off to another spot well downstream to the alder trees. Creeping into position I moved 2 L G’s down the line within 6 inches of the hook, then baited with a piece of crust quietly dropping the bait in just above the raft as it landed it spiralled down through the water well under the raft, a minute later I’m hooked up to a fish, after a spirited fifth a netted a chub around 4lbs. With the light fading it was time to leave so I could be home before it was dark. Within a minute of pulling out of the car park the rain and hail sheeted down one more. Back home I sat down to a beef stew and dumplings.




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Martin James Fishing
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