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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


02/02/2016 - Storm Henry pushed me off the River

Just arrived home from a windswept River Ribble where despite the windy conditions I enjoyed some good sport with grayling trout and chub, I arrived around 0900hrs to find a bank high coloured river, checking the water temperature I got a reading of 44 degrees F, 2 degrees F up from the previous day, walking upstream I found some slower water on the inside of a bend with an average depth of around 5 feet over gravel and small stones, with a high bank and hedgerow I was sheltered from the 25 mph wind. Having put in some mashed bread and several droppers of gentles I set about covering 2 stiles with chicken wire so my member could negotiate the stiles in safety when the trout season starts on March 15th, today was the first day of salmon fishing it was nice to see Harry and Matthew on the river with their fly rods, as they said” We don’t expect to catch but it nice to be back and make a few casts”

A Good Chub

An hour later I was back in my baited swim to try for a chub, within minutes of casting out I had a good over wintered trout around 3lbs which was quickly unhooked in the water, this was followed by two fish around 2lbs mark. I put in two fistfuls of mashed bread in which I had enclosed a stone to help get the feed on the bottom. Extending the hook link I baited with a chunk of flake then cast out onto the edge of the slower moving water, where I slowly work the bait downstream by lifting then lowering the rod tip at the same time letting an extra foot or so of line off the reel. A few casts later the bait had travelled about five yards when I felt a savage take, line was pulled from the reel as what felt like a good fish headed out into midstream, swinging the rod to my left I cramped on as much pressure as I dare then felt the fish grudgingly coming into the slower water, soon I had my first glimpse of a chub about 4lbs another minute or so and it was in the net, nicely hooked in the scissors. Having unhooked the fish I lowered the net tight to the bank alongside the reeds then watched the fish swim off upstream tight to the bank. Hearing some small noise I looked upwards at an alder tree to see about 20 or more long tailed tits working along the many branches, it amazes me how these tiny birds cope with the wind which was slowly increasing in strength.

Grayling also a Sea Trout put in an Appearance

After half an hour without any interest, I put in 4 droppers of gentles then changed my tackle over to a small black cap feeder with a size 12 hook on a two foot hook link, baiting with 5 gentles I filled the feeder then dropped the bait close to the bank a few feet downstream then sat holding the rod, within minutes I felt a tap then a determined pull at the same time setting the hook into a fish within thirty seconds I realised I’d hooked a grayling by the twisting of its body in the water flow, soon a fish around the pound mark swirled on the surface which was quickly netted, having returned the fish, baited the hook, then filling the feeder I dropped the baited hook and feeder in roughly the same spot, five minutes later another grayling was hooked which felt a better fish, it was around the one and a half pound mark, in the next hour I had eight more fish between a pound and a pound and a half. Then nothing for quite some time despite putting in several droppers of gentles, nothing wanted my bait. Then out of the blue I got a determined pull setting the hook into a powerful fish which took line off the reel with ease as it moved downstream and out into the main flow, trout I thought after some ten minutes I was gaining line suddenly a good fish swirled on the surface, I got a quick glimpse of the fish saying to myself “That’s a sea trout” as it dived once more taking line. It was a few more minutes before I had the fish ln the net, heaving a sigh of relief as I did so. It could be described as the perfect sea trout weighing around 4lbs plus when released it powered away towards the main flow. After catch three more grayling I noticed the way the large trees on the far bank also on my side of the river were swaying in the increasing wind speed, I though “Should I be fishing this area”, then I heard a loud cracking then breaking of branches as a tree crashed down from the top of the opposite bank dragging small trees with it. Having enjoyed some good sport I headed off to the farm yard car park, on the way having to negotiate a steep bank where the wind was doing its best to push me over, twice I lost my hat as it was blown back down the hill, eventually an out of breath tired angler arrived back at the car feeling quite shattered but it had been worth all the effort and tomorrow hopefully my friend David and myself would repeat the process.

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Martin James Fishing
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