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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


20/10/2016 - An Exciting Hour Catching Chub

All I needed for my session.

Feeling fed up and not having fished for the past 4 weeks because of shingles causing poor eyesight in my right eye, I couldn’t reach some of my favourite swims, to make matters worse the weather forecast of cold easterly wind with a low gin clear river didn’t offer any encouragement. Around 1000 hrs. I decided I was going fishing despite the pain, choosing a spot close to home where I had permission to fish, having got to know the owner through my charity work who hearing I was an angler said “Come and fish when you like” I hadn’t fished this area for a couple of years, thinking one fish probably a chub, a fish for all conditions would make my day. Having put rod reel landing net tackle bag with bits and pieces in the car, I was off for the ten minute drive from home, pulling into a lay-by alongside the windswept river looking bleak under a grey sky with its wind ruffles surface, I shivered, as I looked upstream a kingfisher flew low under the middle arch of the bridge then perched a few yards downstream on the branch of a willow tree. As I watched the bird it dived returning in seconds with a fish in its beak, having turned the fish it was tapped on the branch then swallowed its prey which looked like a bullhead, the kingfisher then ruffled it feathers as if to say ”That was good” then went off upstream. Kingfisher is certainly the perfect name for this bird which always brightens my day at the waterside and usually catches its prey. By this time I was feeling quite cold asking myself “Is it really worth the effort”? Thankfully common-sense prevailed as I quickly pulled on a thick coat then my boots and over trousers, immediately feeling warmer. Tackle was a Chapman 500, which I find to be an excellent chub fishing rod, if you hold the rod then push it forward when you feel a touch the fish don’t in my opinion feel any resistance when taking the bait, I then strike as the bow in the line tightens. I matched it with a Mitchell 300 reel with 4lb line with a slack clutch using a finger on the spool if needed, usually I use 6lb line but in the clear open water with no snags I thought the 4lb was adequate to which I attached a size 4 barbless hook. Weight would be either the baited hook, perhaps with 1 or 2 LG shot lightly pinched on the line depending on the swim being fished, my bait would be balanced crust with Lone Angler cheese paste to counterbalance the weight of the hook. Into my bag went a catapult, some cheese paste, a loaf of bread along with some shot, hooks and scales along with a plastic weigh bag the latter two in case I should get a good fish. See pic of my equipment for the session, that’s all I needed. With bag over my shoulder, rod and landing net in hand I walked off upstream, after about 800 yards I chose to fish a far bank spot where a large over hanging willow tree with many of its branches trailing in the water which offered some shelter for any chub, I chose to fish a balanced bait of crust with Lone Angler cheese paste, fifteen minutes later with no sign of a fish, I’m on the move. My next spot I chose was the mouth of a stream on the opposite bank, the water flowing from the stream into the river created some water movement, I gently cast the balanced baited hook up into the stream, by lifting and lowering the rod I eased the bait downstream towards the river, as the bait settles a few feet downstream of the stream I had a savage pull which was missed. Was it a trout or chub I thought? I didn’t find out as fifteen twenty minutes with no more bites, I’m on the move again, further upstream I come across a large tree that had been in the river for a few years, in the past I’ve been lucky to catch chub from this spot but under better conditions, would they be in the area today? also would they feed in the horrid conditions? I guessed the depth about 3 feet, where usually I would have around 5 to 6 feet of water. Slowly sliding down the steep bank I come to rest with my feet in the shallows, it was quite a long cast towards the far bank swim so I chose to fish 2 LG shot pinched on the line some 12 inches from the hook which would help keep the bait anchored close to the tree. With the same balanced crust and cheese paste I made a cast so the bait landed about ten feet upstream close to the old tree trunk. As I stood holding the rod with a slight bow in the line a kingfisher flew past, then within a minute the bow tightened as it did so I pushed the rod forward giving more slack, the bow tightened the rod tip slowly pulled round, the strike connecting with a powerful fish. “That’s a chub” I said to myself as the fish went off downstream taking some line from the reel, at the same time I pulled the rod over to my right pulling the fish towards the centre of the river hoping any other fish wouldn’t be spooked. A few minutes later I had a good chub in the net “That’s a good 4 lb. plus fish I though as I slipped out the barbless hook, then returned the fish to the water see pic

5 Bites and 5 More Chub

Catapulting two bait size pieces of bread and cheese paste across the river to my swim, I cast the baited hook upstream, within seconds of the bait entering the water I had a good pull hooking another chub, which I reckon grabbed the bait on the drop, a few minutes later another good chub was in the net, as I unhooked the fish I felt it was bigger than the first but not a 5 lb. fish. Two more bits of bait were catapulted out followed by another bait. Some two minutes later as I’m thinking why didn’t a bring my camera, I’m hooked up to a third fish again a good 4lb plus chub, releasing the fish I catapulted another couple of bait size bits of bread smothered in cheese paste a few feet upstream of where I’m catching the chub, then cast a bait slightly downstream of where I’d hooked the previous fish. After a few minutes I lifted the rod tip allowing the bait to move a few inches downstream, as it did so the line went tight another chub was hooked. This one moved off downstream taking several feet of line as I hear the slipping clutch give line I thought “Could this be a 5lb fish”? With no snags between me and the fish, it was soon in the net, As I slipped out the hook I thought “Yes this is a 5lb plus fish”, out with scales and weigh bag then on the scales I had a reading of 5lb 7 ounces, I was more than happy in fact very happy. In the next two casts I hooked and landed two more good chub in the 4lb class. Today was turning out to be one of those surprise days when conditions are tough so you expect just one bite, I‘d had a few. I fished on for about hour with no more bites, then called it a day. Making my way slowly back to the car for the short drive home I though what a great session it had been, on a day when I thought one fish would be good.


I caught chub like this

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Martin James Fishing
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