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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


14/07/2016 - Lone Angler Cheese Dumbells and Paste Prove A Winner

My chub swim

On Monday when I arrived on the banks of the river Ribble around 0600hrs, there was probably some 5 feet of extra water the colour of dark chocolate, the weir pool was a swirling foaming mass of angry water, how fish live in such places I never know but they do so, it never amazes me the way fish can surmount this fast flowing boiling water leaping the weir with ease to head upstream to spawn later in the year, I watched a salmon estimated around 25lbs jump the weir with ease. Having walked both beats with Roger I found two small areas of water about the size of a large farmhouse kitchen table which I felt would hold a chub or two, having introduced a handful of cheese dumbells in both swims we headed off to the cabin for breakfast, both of us feeling hungry after a two mile plus walk. Scrambled eggs bacon and beans had never tasted better followed by a good size mug of tea. Roger had come to fish for salmon, he had no chance so after breakfast he left for home. I went off downstream to try my two baited spots, fished an hour in each swim but nothing so packed up.

Day Two

It was around 0700hrs when I arrived on the river to find the water had dropped to a nice level, it probably had two feet of extra water good for salmon and chub. it was the latter which were my target fish, after issuing a guest permit to a salmon angler I went off well upstream to fish one of my favourite chub swims over hung by a row of large beech and sycamore trees with a few willows and alders. After baiting with about twenty LA cheese dumbells, I went off to the car park then put together a Chapman 500 cane rod with a lovely soft action, matched with a Mitchell 300 reel filled with 6lb Gamma line to which I attached a size 8 barbless hook then lightly pinched on three LG shot two feet from the hook. Conditions were good with a light wind, warm with low light level, baiting with a 10mm cheese dumbbell, I’ve heard several anglers say they have difficulty in getting the dumbell to stay on the hook, I’ve not had a problem, the secrete, if it’s a secret is slowly push the hook into the dumbell then roll the dumbbell around the bend of the hook. In a four hour session I had two bites hooked two fish, then lost both fish. After a three hour session I left to check the bottom beat and talk with the members.

Day Three Chub Get In On The Act

It was about 0700 hrs when I pulled into the car park to find the river perfect for salmon, trout and chub which again would be my target fish, still suffering from shingles after some fifteen weeks I’ve not been able to fly fish as I’m unsteady on my feet so it’s the coarse fish I seek.. After issuing a guest permit to an angler who had travelled from Lincolnshire, then walking the beat with him, I left him to try for the trout while I tried for the chub. Back in the top car park I walked across the meadow then scattered two large handfuls of cheese dumbells in the swim, which I’ve often fished knowing it like the back of my hand, even after a big flood it doesn’t seem to change. In the car park I put together the tackle I’ve been using quite a lot this season, Chapman 500 cane rod with a lovely soft action, matched with a Mitchell 300 reel filled with 6lb Gamma line to which I attached a size 8 barbless hook, today I chose to fish a paternoster rig that I’ve used on and off for some fifty odd years, using of a 4 turn water knot I tied in a foot of line about two feet up from the hook to which I added a shot wrapped in Plasticine, I can then adjust the amount of Plasticine needed to counteract the flow in various parts of the swim, this gives me a very sensitive set up. (See Pic) Into my bait and hemp bucket went camera, scales, starting pistol to scare off any cormorants or goosanders, box of hooks another small box containing shots swivels and float caps, bag of Lone Angler 10mm cheese dumbells also a bag of cheese paste, I cannot fault this paste its soft and pliable no problem in pulling a hook through, unlike some paste baits and fish just love it. I’m often asked what bait I’m using? when I say “Cheese paste” many anglers tell me it’s a winter bait, how wrong they are. It’s an all-round the year bait for most fish from roach to carp. Back in the 40’s it was a good bait, as a young cub on a camping trip I caught my first ever chub on a piece of cheese. I also rate cheese as a good bait for roach summer and winter, when the first triangle cheese sections in silver paper appeared, anglers quickly got in on the act using the soft creamy cheese for roach. Fishing for Wensum and Waveney I found roach loved a pea size piece on a size 16 hook.

A Big Brown Trout

Arriving in my swim I settled down behind the long grass, reeds and balsam, then threw in a few cheese dumbells also half a dozen pigeon egg size pieces of cheese paste, after putting landing net and weight mat ready, I like to start off as if I’m going to catch. I then baited the size 8 barbless hook and made a cast downstream to where the creamy white foam had gathered at the base of a large tree, then sat holding the rod, within ten minutes I watched the bow in the line tighten then the rod tip was slowly pulled round, the answering strike connected with an angry powerful fish which shot out into the main flow then went off downstream, I reckon it was around five minutes before I gained control and started to get some line back on the reel, the fish hung deep in the water, occasionally I felt a strong head shake as the fish tried to get its freedom. Slowly I was winning and drawing the fish upstream to the waiting net, then it bolted and I was forces to slacken finger pressure off the spool. Thankfully it was the last strong movement by the fish, as I got my first glimpse of the fish I gasped at its size, nor a chub as I expected but a big brown trout approaching 5lbs, it was a magnificent looking fish scale and fin perfect, pulling the fish over the net, I dropped the rod then used both hands to swing the fish out onto the bank. It was hooked in the scissors quickly sliding out the hook, lifting the net off the weigh mat I walked upstream to release my prize, brown trout are very fragile so it was important to release the fish as quickly as possible, lowering the fish in the water I watched it for about thirty seconds then it swiftly moved out into the fast well oxygenated water. I punched the air with joy.

Several Big Chub

Rebaiting I cast out then sat back holding the rod as I did so I watched a kingfisher dive from a nearby branch returning with a bullhead in its beak, after turning the fish it flew downstream no doubt to feed a youngster, as if a switch had been pulled the water surface was a hive of activity trout rising swallows and martins hawking the surface lots of aquatic insects hatching off and very quickly the wagtails and ducklings appeared to join in the feast, it was a wonderful spectacle and one that made me feel privileged to be part of. Suddenly I got a savage pull on the rod tip then found myself hooked up to a heavy fish that slowly took line off the reel, “Chub I thought could be a good fish” it slowly moved downstream but after about five yards then turned towards midstream and the faster flowing water, a few more yards of line were taken, then the fish made a mistake by moving upstream giving me the chance to retrieve line as with most summer chub it tended to stay deep in the water, but soon the pressure of well-balanced tackle had the fish coming towards the net, “that’s a big chub” I said to myself then pulled it over the net. Dropping the rod I grabbed the handle with both hands having seen the size of the fish I lowered the net partially in the water so I could get scales and weigh bag out, it weighed 5lb 3 ounces with the fish back in the net, I then hurried well upstream to release the fish. Then as I watched the fish swim off strongly I realised I hadn’t taken a picture. In the next 5 casts I hooked and landed four good chub I estimated as all good four pound plus fish. Throwing in a handful of cheese dumbells, half a dozen pieces of paste, I then hooked on a cheese dumbbell then wrapped it in cheese paste, an underhand cast had the bait alongside the creamy foam. Within five minutes I had a slow pull on the rod tip then connected with another good fish, for several minutes it was give and take but slowly I was winning the tussle as I gained line back on the reel, soon it was head shaking and swirling on the surface then I pulled the fish over the net. That’s another five pound fish I thought, after unhooking the fish I lowered the net back in the water while I got scales and weigh bag, then the camera was made ready. The fish weighed 5lb 6 ounces after a quick picture I returned the fish to the net then dashed off upstream to release my prize. What a morning I thought a big brown trout and two five pound plus chub. During the next couple of hours I had two more five pound chub 5lb 2 ounces and 5lb 4 ounces also three more chub all 4lbs plus. I fished on for about an hour without any sign of a bite then returned to the cabin for lunch. I then had another hour, but with no sign of fish returned to the bottom beat to see how my members catching to find some nice trout had been caught two salmon hooked and lost. What a day I’ve had, it doesn’t get much better.













Paternoster rig

5lb chub

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Martin James Fishing
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