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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


12/01/2016 - Hard Going On The Ribble

This morning looking out the window I could see snow on the hills, the garden pond had a coating of ice, yesterday the river had 9-10 feet of cold dirty coloured water with lots of rubbish, I didn't know what to expect when I arrived for short session but fish I would. My plan was to fish for roach but with a water temperature of 40 degrees F the river flowing fast with a lot of swirling water I gave up that idea and chose to fish for chub with a smelly piece of Lone Angler cheese paste. I had on a thick jacket topped off with my waterproof camo coat, felt hat also a warm neck muff, even a pair of gloves. Tackle was quite simple a soft Avon action rod, fixed spool reel with 6lb bs line to which I attached a size 4 barbless hook, two feet from the hook I had seven LG shot spread two inches apart, the thinking behind this is as follows, a fish will pick up the bait feeling hardly and resistance from only one shot it moves away feels another shot but the resistance is negligible, I feel chub are very prone to any resistance and will drop a bait immediately, how many times have you had a knock then nothing for a few minutes, you bring in the tackle to find an imprint of the chubs lips. I feel my shotting pattern helps to alleviates some of those missed bites. After a fresh brew I made off downstream to my chosen spot close to an alder tree, Baiting with a pigeon egg size piece of cheese paste I cast a few yards to a spot where I could work the bait downstream so it come to rest on a seam or crease. About half an hour later I had a sharp tap on the rod tip, I quickly pushed the rod forward giving some slack then watched the bow in the line as it tightened I set the hook in what felt like a heavy fish, I reckon I had the fish on for about two minutes then started to gain some line suddenly all went slack. The line had broken between hook and shot, no doubt cut off on a rock, a problem many anglers have experienced. Tying on a new hook I moved the shot around so I had a couple of feet between hook and shot then baited with another chunk of cheese paste fishing the bait in the same crease. An hour later with no bites I had a fresh brew, back in my swim I rebaited then sat back watching for a bite as I did so a barn owl flew low over my head then quartered the nearby field, what more could an angler wish for on a very cold winter afternoon. Suddenly the rod tip pulled round striking I connected with my second fish of the session. Eventually it was in the net, a very long lean fish, on the scales if went 5lb 4 ounces which surprised me as I thought it might be a scraper five. After a quick picture by Dave I watched it swim off strongly, before casting out again I checked the water temperature getting a reading of 38 degrees F. With only half an hour left I fished on missing three bites but I don't know how they were missed. With rain falling the temperature dropping we called it a day. Hopefully later this week I will get the chance to fish a weir pool.




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Martin James Fishing
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