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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


10/01/2016 - A Good Session On The Ribble - But It Wasn’t Easy

It was around 1100hrs when I pulled into the car park to find I’d got the stretch to myself, today my plan was to fish upstream close to a small copse, sadly it’s not possible to fish the copse these days, in the past I’d caught good roach further upstream, several over 2lbs also good chub, my chosen spot today was where a small stream flows down the bank into the river an area that has often been a good for roach, most of the anglers I see fishing the water target barbel, which are not on my list of interest. Roach are often my target fish followed by chub. Checking the water temperature I got a reading of 43 degrees F good news as the temperature had remained stable for the past 5 days, putting together a rod and reel I attach a float and hook, then hooked on heavy plummet which was covered with thick coating of Vaseline, after spending some fifteen minutes checking out the swim I was happy to find thirty feet downstream some two rods lengths out from the bank the river started shelving up from around eight feet to five feet which had to be a great spot with food being trapped in the area making it an attractive spot for fish to feed , sadly it lacked any plant life, if it had been on my stretch of river I would have planted water-crowfoot, the river bed was a mixture of fine silt and sand with some fine gravel, just upstream where I sat a large tree beech tree had fallen in the river some years ago, creating a slight breakwater with a steady flow of water which I reckon was suitable for roach my target fish.

Small Cage Feeder with Liquidised Bread

Tackle was a soft Avon action rod, small fixed spool reel with 3lb line, I then added a running a running link small bead then small swivel, to which I added a two foot hook link of 3lb bs line and a size 10 barbless hook which completed my set up except for a small 20 gram feeder which would be clipped onto the sliding link. Using a bait dropper I put in ten droppers of liquidised bread with some grains of corn and chopped worm. Having got everything sorted I went back to my car for a brew also a boil in the bag meal of sweet and sour chicken with pasta which would keep me satisfied for a few hours. Half an hour later the heavens opened up again, thankfully I was well knitted out with good waterproofs, though the cold south easterly wind had a chilling effect.

Lots of Missed Bites

Back in my chosen spot I attached the swim feeder to the link, filling it with liquidised bread I baited with a small cube of crust, then made a cast downstream. Within minutes I had two sharp taps on the rod tip then a steady pull sadly I missed the bite, for an hour it was just a series of missed bites, I tried corn, corn and worm cocktail, bread flake and cheese paste. I got very exasperated at the missed bites. Having given the problem a lot of thought I come to the conclusion it would have to be float fishing with my 15 foot rod or my cane pole, the latter if it’s a calm day as I really enjoy using the pole with its spot on control of the float, it also makes for a good laying-on style especially if the fish want an anchored bait. Though my mind was on roach, the bites could have course come from dace, I ruled out small chub as they are quite a greedy creature I reckon I would have hooked a few.

A Trio of Big Chub

Having had a fruitless session I decided to try for a chub so moved downstream a few yards to a small pool over hung by a large tree where in the past I’ve caught some good fish, to fish the spot I had to slide down the bank then sit on a bit of sponge, having baited with a chunk of crust and with the overhanging branches I had to take in some line until the bait was about a foot below the rod tip, with a gentle under hand swing I was able to drop the bait out a few feet in the flowing water, then allowed the bait to go downstream so it rested underneath a large willow bush. Ten minutes later I had a quick tap followed by the tip pulling round, striking I connected with a powerful fish which fought strongly all the way to the net, now come the difficult part getting the fish in the net due to my confined spot, eventually I got lucky. On the scales it weighed 5 lb 1 ounce having coped with the with major flood conditions for several weeks the fish was in excellent condition, but as we know fish can cope quite easily with these conditions despite what the doom and gloom merchants say. In the next couple of hours I had two more chub over 5lbs best at 5 lb 4 ounces, one on cheese paste the other on lobworm.




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Martin James Fishing
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