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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


19/08/2016 - Lone Angler Sausage Sizzle Flavoured Corn For chub

My tackle


 Having been told by some anglers about big chub they caught on the fly when salmon and sea trout fishing, I realised I should broaden my outlook, having taken note of where the fly fishers have been catching, I made the long down river then across a field followed by a long trek downstream to a well-known pool. Beech oak and willows trees on the far bank reached down to the water’s edge, leaving very little room to manoeuvre on bank, I could of course fish from my right hand bank looking up stream, though I felt I would have better control of the tackle from the tree lined far bank, the bank I was standing entailed a long cast, it could prove difficult with a float, also I would have to use a fixed spool to reach the far bank swim, controlling the float as I trotted the far bank seam, with a very fast flow of water between myself and the swim would be very difficult, should there be a strong downstream wind I reckon it would prove impossible to present the bait correctly for this old man. If I could fish from the opposite bank swim it would allow me to run a float down the swim just a rod length out. That evening I made a few phone calls and got permission to fish the other bank, the following morning I visited the farmer having got permission from the farmer to park close to his house knowing my car would be safe I handed over a bottle of Grouse whisky as a thank you. Taking a made up rod and reel along with a bag containing bits and pieces including half a pint of cheap corn soaked in sausage sizzle which I use for feeding, but for hook bait I use Green Giant Niblets, I also had a bag of white and brown crumb. I made the long walk across a field, through some trees and bushes, then a field down towards the river then through another small copse at the top of a steep bank, I carefully made my way down the bank where I found a small gap in the brambles and foliage to the water’s edge. Sitting down on the bank among the nettles, thistles and balsam I watched the water flow, noting the small changes in the water flow, the two small rippled sections also a small boil. I wasn’t fishing today but gaining as much knowledge as possible about the swim, time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted, plumbing the swim, then running the float through I found an average depth of around 5 feet through the twenty yard long swim ending in a shallow area where a tree was blown in last winter creating an area full of snags. Now having checked out the swim for depth and obstructions I was happy with what I found. Time to put in some bread feed and corn, half an hour later I spotted the odd chub and trout intercepting the free offering of food. Thinking to myself the trout could prove troublesome, but as I would be using a barbless hook they could be unhooked in the water causing no problem. Having spent some two hours at the waterside, my head suddenly erupted in pain as if thousands of wasps were stinging me, I’m getting to the stage of thinking these shingles will never clear, it’s now nearly five months but as the doctors told me it will be a long time to clear as my immune system is low through my MS. These attacks happen around four or five times a day. No way could I continue so made my way back to the car then off home


Tackle and Bait Requirements


Arriving on the river the next morning around 0600 hrs conditions looked good overcast sky with light upstream wind , my line of attack was just past the seam some ten feet out from the bank, with no problem mending the line I chose to use my 101/2 foot Aspindale Avon matched with a centre pin reel with 5lb line, it’s about the heaviest breaking strain of line I would want to use with this rod, in another area of the river I might have gone for a line of 4lb BS, but there was a chance of hooking up to a big brown trout or chub both approaching the 6lb mark. Looking at the collection of floats in my float tube I spent a few minutes thinking what float to use, Avon or Stick eventually choosing the former designed to take 7 BB shot, then tied on a size 12 barbless hook, setting the float around five feet from the hook I pinched on four BB egg shot some eighteen inches from the hook. After running the float down the swim a few times and making some small adjustments I then pinched a BB egg shot under the float with another BB about six inches from the hook, then run the float through the swim a couple of more times and feeling happy with the set up. You might ask why I’m using six shot when the float is designed to take seven, the reason is the extra weight of the bait either two grains of corn, pinch of bread flake or pea size piece of cheese paste which will make up the difference. A very useful tip I was told many years ago is back shotting the float with size one shot just a few inches behind the float, if the shot appears above the surface of the water your checking the float too much, another useful tip that often works is to overshot the float, should it keeps dragging you’re not holding the float back enough. I then spent some time making up some fine bread crumb mix using brown and white crumb with a few grains of corn added, I let it settle to soak up all the moisture before fluffing it up then putting it through my small sieve, then looked around for a few small pebbles, I would add one to each ball of ground bait that I dropped in at the head of my swim so it reached the bottom before exploding hopefully attracting fish upstream and encourage them to feed. Looking across the field on the opposite bank I spotted a cormorant coming in from over the trees, picking up my ten shot 9mm starting pistol, flicking off the safety two shots had the black predator disappearing quickly over the horizon, thankfully it’s not often one of these predators is seen in the summer months. I then spent feed two or three gains of corn every few minutes, a young kingfisher flying upstream changed direction towards a rock some five feet from me then perched, a minute or so later it was hovering and fluttering its wings some six feet above the water before diving then returning to the rock with its prize a minnow which was quickly swallowed, after puffing up its feathers it flew off upstream, then a Peacock butterfly settled on a thistle head, no doubt like me you get great pleasure at seeing nature close up. In fact without these sights and sounds of the countryside angling wouldn’t be so enjoyable, that’s why I don’t fish the hole in the ground fisheries.


During the next twenty minutes I feed my swim with four chicken egg size balls of bread feed, along with three or four grains of corn every few minutes, then sat back hoping the fish will settle in the swim. I’m never in a hurry to start fishing feeling by resting the swim the fish will settle and feed with confidence. Having said that in the first hour of working the float through the swim, feeding three or four grains of corn every cast, I never had a touch, didn’t even see a fish flash in the swim. Having put in three golf ball size of bread feed, with a handful of corn, then walked back to the car for a brew and a small bowl of crunchy oat granola fruit nut. Thirty minutes later I’m back in my swim, in went a chicken egg size lump of crumb with a few grains of corn, five minutes layer I trotted the float downstream a few feet before it reached its limit I held back the float, suddenly it dipped the disappeared at the same time the rod tip pulled downwards, as I felt the fish I said to myself “That’s a trout” after a decent struggle bringing the fish upstream I was pleased to see it was a fine brown trout around 2lbs which was quickly unhooked then released, in the next four casts I had two more trout of similar size. Fifteen minutes later I had my first chub half way down the swim, it went off with a powerful surge, if I hadn’t known otherwise I would have thought I’d hooked a big trout, perhaps a salmon. After taking some line the fish moved out into the fast flow, the well balanced tackle had the fish coming upstream towards the net. Two or three minutes later the fish swirled on the surface, as it did so a kingfisher flew low to the water underneath my rod as it headed upstream. Putting on a bit more pressure I hauled the fish into the net, That’s a good 4lb I thought. My problem was I had to release the fish back into the swim, it wasn’t possible to move upstream to release the fish without scrambling up the high bank, I wasn’t prepared to risk a fish by doing so.


The Chub Move In


Having released the fish safely I made another cast the float travelled about five yards then dipped, a nice grayling about a pound, in the next five casts I had three more grayling of similar size, I feel the grayling probably take the corn as it resembles trout eggs, Putting in two handfuls of golf ball size bread crumb with a few grains of corn, I rested the swim for ten minutes before making a cast, the float .travelled some ten yards then moved to the right disappearing as it did, the strike connected with fish that thought it was a salmon or barbel, I thought trout as line was ripped off the reel, after a minute or so the fish slowed then hugged the bottom, “That’s a chub” I thought as I slowly gathered line back on the reel a couple of minutes later I had the fish in the waiting net about 4lbs. In the next eight casts I caught 5 chub all of similar size. As I stood up to reach for my camera I felt dizzy then started to blackout, suddenly my shingles erupted in pain as I staggered about in the confined space of my swim then heard something break, looking down I could see I stood on my landing net handle it was broken in two places. Sitting down I waited some fifteen minutes for the pain to subside, there’s nothing the doctors can do about the shingles except give me pain killers, I want to go down that road. Fifteen twenty minutes later I made the long trip back to the car for my other net. The next half an hour I tried my best to get more chub , not a bite even the trout didn’t want to eat, I tried corn, bread, cheese paste still nothing.


Laying On


I then fed about twenty marble size balls of Lone Angler cheese paste in the crease or as others call it the seam where the faster water meets the slower water, it’s one of the best areas of water you can fish especially in low water temperatures. moving the float three feet up the line the shot were bunched eighteen inches from the hook, baiting with a large pea size bit of cheese paste, I made a cast across the crease into the fast water, then guided the tackle into the crease. Fifteen minutes later the float moved out towards the faster water, striking I connected with what I thought to be a good fish, with some head shaking the fish occasionally taking off a few feet of line before I got it back on the reel again. Slowly I was winning the fight but the fish wanted to stay in the fast water but eventually it gave up, then I was able to draw across the crease and towards the net as the fish disappeared into the mesh I thought “That’s a 5lb fish”, on the scales it weighed 4lbs 13 ounces. In an hours fishing I had three chub around 4lbs and seven trout which really did prove troublesome. Feeling quite tired and suffering from trouble with my right eye, I packed up and headed off home after a good session, despite a broken landing net handle.


I wouldn’t want the reader to think I catch on all my trips, I don’t, on average I will fish at least five sessions a week, some weeks its every day, often around dawn for a few hours but I get blanks session also lose fish, recently I lost a chub that I estimated at 7lbs plus, having caught chub to 7lb 10 ounces I know what a seven pound fish looks like, in this instance I had the fish on for nearly fifteen minutes having hooked it a long distance twice it rolled on the surface in front of me, then diving on both occasions. The second time I felt the line touch one of the many big rocks, then the line went slack and my trophy fish had gone. The only bite of the session.








Back shotted float

One of several brown trout

One of my many chub

Another good chub

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Martin James Fishing
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