fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


28/06/2016 - Another Day Another Place

All I neede for a days angling

It was around 0600hrs when I arrived on the River Ribble to find it flowing clear with about six inches of fresh water, after slowly walking upstream I come across a foam covered bay over hung by trees, on the outside of the bay the water was flowing at a fast walking pace, from past experience I reckoned there was four to five feet of water, through polaroid glasses I could faintly see a lot of swaying water crowfoot some six feet out from the edge of the foam covered pool, I got the impression the chub would be using the foam as cover. I needed to attract the fish out into the flowing water, using a fifty fifty mix of Lone Angler Ocean Pride with liquidised breadcrumb I added enough water to bind the two mixes, I wanted it to break up into a cloud like effect in mid water in the hope the chub seeing this attracter drifting past their resting place would be attracted to investigate and then hopefully home in on the pigeon eggs size pieces of Lone Angler cheese paste. For about half an hour I fed in small chicken egg size lumps of ground bait, eventually it worked as I noticed the odd dark shape of a chub, at one time I had a chub intercept the ground bait mix as it was sinking.

On Tuesday I float fished today, I was going to free line cheese paste, using a Chapman’s 500 rod given to me a few weeks ago by my old friend Mike Harris who recently but sadly passed away peacefully with his family around him. Mike wasn’t just a friend, he was a person I could trust my life with, who always gave me good sound advice, like me he enjoyed roach fishing and jazz music, also in his younger days he enjoyed wildfowling on the Medway marshes, he will be sorely missed Rest in Peace dear friend. In the near future I hope to fish the River Beult in his memory for roach, a water we both fished often. I matched the rod with a Mitchell reel 1953 vintage filled 6lb BS line, then attached a size 4 barbless hook with a Palomar knot. As I sat flicking in pieces of cheese paste I heard the haunting call of the oystercatcher as a pair flew downstream with their pink legs with black and white plumage, their flying displays are thrilling to watch, the pair settled on a pebble bank fifty yards downstream, a few minutes later a kingfisher flew past, a good salmon rolled under the far bank trees, its sights like these that make me feel privileged to be an angler. It was time for a brew, so I fired up my Jetboiler, it’s an excellent bit of equipment, I purchased mine in Oregon USA many years ago it’s been a faithful servant ever since.

As I was having my brew another member turned up, who said “Are you fishing for barbel” my answer was “No I’m chub fishing” after talking for a while I suggested he go and fish Oak tree length as there were a few trout feeding on buzzers, also to fish the tail of the big pool for the sea trout, he thanked me for my advice then departed. It was time to fish, baiting with a pigeon size lump of cheese paste I cast at the head of the swim then worked the bait downstream, On the fifth cast I connected with my first chub around 3lbs, noticing the mouth was clean with no sign of ground bait which is how it should be if the mix is right. I then missed two takes before connecting with the next one again a chub around 3lbs again a clean mouth. I then had a quiet spell for some twenty minutes, before hooking a big powerful fish which shot off downstream some fifteen yards then swirled on the surface head shaking as it did so, a trout around 4lbs. I slowly worked the fish upstream, some five yards from the net it slipped the hook. I sat there for probably thirty minutes without any sign of a bite, neither could I see any chub in my swim, the trout had really spooked the chub which is often the case. I then started to feed the swim with my crumb mix in the hope of the chub returning. A salmon rolled in my swim, as I sat there resting the swim hoping the chub would return, a kingfisher flew low and fast under my rod, minutes later a second kingfisher done the same. As the sun rose higher in the sky I lost my shaded swim, thinking to myself the chub will perhaps be harder to catch. Half an hour later I cast a chunk of cheese paste into the head of the swim then slowly bumped it down the swim, a good solid pull and I connected with another chub around 3lbs, the colouring of the chub today was so much different from the chub on Tuesday which had a golden touch about them. It’s amazing how you get different coloured fish from the same water as I was only about a mile upstream today.

How Lucky Can I Get?

Baiting with another pigeon egg size bit of cheese paste I dropped it in at the head of the swim, it had travelled about five yards when the rod top pulled down savagely, I didn’t need to strike a powerful fish was hooked and took line off the reel at a fast pace, “This is no chub, or barbel I though, to the best of my knowledge there were no carp, perhaps a sea trout” suddenly a salmon about 12lbs shot skywards then threw the hook. It was fun while it lasted. I had three more chub of similar size to the other fish when again I got a powerful take and immediately thought salmon as the fish took off, then for some unknown reason it moved into the deep quiet water of the bay. This gave me time to moved downstream so I was below the fish in an area where I could wade out into the stream, any moment I expected the fish to move out into the fast water, it just seemed to plod around in the pool, slowly I was gaining line as I increased what pressure I could with my light rod. At one time I pointed the rod down the line then slowly walked downstream, the fish followed obligingly, I would I looked around for a place to beach the fish then walk upstream towards the fish taking in line, eventually I got my first glimpse of the fish thinking that’s about 10lbs. I reckon I needed some place to tail the fish, downstream a small stream entered where I could beach my prize, I slowly moved towards the spot leading the fish like a dog on a lead expecting the fish an any moment to wake up. Eventually fifteen twenty minutes later the fish was mine, nicely hooked in the scissors, I then held the fish by its tails with my other hand under its belly then waded out virtually up to my chest so I could release my prize in the faster water. After about five minutes the fish moved its tail strongly in my right hand but I didn’t let go I wanted to make sure it was ready, after the fish tried a couple more times to escape my grip I let it go watching it swim off strongly, then punched the air with joy shouting to no one “Yes” I reckon Mike Harris was looking down and guiding me. All on a rod built in the 60’s with a reel from the 50’s.

Another salmon Hooked and Several More Chub

After getting out of the water I took off my cloths to wring out as much water as possible, with the sun beating down I hung my shirt and socks on the branches of a willow tree to dry, time to fish checking the hook I found it sharp then baited with another piece of cheese paste. In the next two casts I had two more chub, then hooked another salmon which immediately shot skywards throwing the hook. Over the years I’ve hooked the occasional salmon and landed some but never hooked three fish in a session except when fly fishing. I had three more chub then for an hour I could get a touch, I tried cheese flavoured crust and bread flake still nothing with the time around 1300hrs I decided it was time to go off home.It had certainly been an exciting morning, as I walked back upstream I come across two people doing a survey og the aquatic insect life and remarking they were getting their best ever count, just goes to show that all the work I’ve done on the river is paying off.


Small ball of feed

One of several chub

A monthly check on aquatic insect life

Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]