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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


19/12/2016 - Some Interesting Fishing Also a Good Bait Mix

Ribble chub 4-9-0

Some weeks ago I got a request from a Phil Hough from Lymm in Cheshire who works for one of our important services, the National Blood Transfusion Service, Phil in his e-mail he said “I was disappointed at missing you at the Prince Albert Open Day on the River Ribble in June as I wanted my book; Up Against It’ signed and to seek some information on fishing the River Ribble” I thought the best way of giving Phil some information was to invite him for a day’s fishing with myself. Recently he joined me for the promised day, as we pulled into the car park I though “What a nice day for fishing low light level, very mild for the time of the year with about 18 inches on the river” Yesterday the water temperature was 44 degrees Fahrenheit I didn’t think it would have dropped, it might perhaps have gone up a degree or two Fahrenheit.

                                                                          Several Mugs of Tea

In the cabin I put the kettle for tea, while Phil got his tackle from the car, I decided I wouldn’t fish but concentrate all my time and effort in helping Phil get some ideas on fishing this delightful Lancashire river, Though I’ve had lots of anglers on the fishery including special forces guys, I doubt if I’ve had any one that can drink tea like Phil, he had also got some nice mince pies and Danish blue cheese I contributed beef and pickle sandwiches, for teatime I had chicken and mushroom for Phil, Spicy pasty and tuna for me, when I have a guest I like to keep them supplied with tea and food through the day, as we sat talking he told me about his dad and his uncles. Who had interesting lives during World War 2? interesting family Dad Bernard volunteered to join the RAF at the beginning of the war. Being a dentisthe joined as aDentalOfficer, laterpromoted to Flight Lieutenant, spending most of the war in Algiers where he met Sir Winston ChurchillUncle Phil a chartered accountant volunteered to join the paratroopers.After the war returned to Stockport to continue a career in accountancy.

Uncle Lez was a health/meat inspectorand worked for local government.He volunteered to join the navy and went in as the gunnery officer on the corvette called'Snowflake'. I think this was at the rank of Warrant Officer. After the war he returned to local government in Macclesfield. Uncle Harry was in a reserved occupation in London during the war to do with the government. He also volunteered as a fireman. whilst on a bus in London in the early evening, he heard a doodle bug stop its engines. He decided it was safer take cover behind a wall. He came round hours later in the dark with a bus tyre (or something of that nature) on top of him. The bus had taken a hit from the V1 rocket and had been blown to bits and the blast had knocked him unconscious. The rescue services had been and gone and had not noticing him behind the crumbled wall, under a tyre. He wasn’t badly injured and legend has it that he went back to work later the next day.

                                                                     Fishing Bread

Phil mentioned he wanted to learn how to fish bread also do some trotting, not having time for both types of angling I told Phil ”We will start out fishing the bottom beat for chub with bread, then you can have another day to learn the art of trotting” After driving down to the bottom beat, Phil put together a quiver tip rod, Mitchell 300 reel with braided line to which was attached a size 4 barbless hook, weight was my normal L G shot the amount depending on the flow rate, first choice bait was crust, if that failed it would be flake, though I felt crust would be the winning bait under the current conditions. The swim I chose was upstream of some trees, which had to be reached by Phil abseiling down the bank; I reckon 2 LG would be enough. While waiting for a bite I checked the water temperature getting a reading of 45 degrees Fahrenheit Ten minutes later we are on the move to a weir pool, still no sign of chub, gain we move, third time lucky and Phil gets his first chub on bread crust sale and fin perfect, it looked as if it had been freshly minted. With the light failing we went off for some hot food and more tea.

                                                                        A  Brace of 4lb Chub

After some hot food we fished two spots on the top beat, after fishing for some fifteen minutes and not feeling happy with the first swim we went off downstream some hundred yards to another spot, as we were fishing a rocky bottom I wrapped the 2 LG shot in some plasticine, I find if I get hooked up it often pulls free either leaving the plasticine behind or it will change shape a bit before pulling free, it doesn’t happen every time but enough to save losing shot every time I get caught up. Phil having made his first cast watched the tip in the torch beam like a hawk every small movement on the tip had his hand hovering over the rod, ten minutes later I suggested he bring the tackle in, then bait with another piece of crust, as I thought the tiny pulls were minnows, with the hook bare it probably was minnows especially as the weather was mild. Two more casts had the minnows taking off the crust, as I was feeding with liquidised crumb; I expected the minnow to eventually stop. Another piece of crust was cast out within minutes the tip pulled round; Phil made no mistake as the rod tip was pulled down towards the surface I immediately picked up the landing net, a few minutes later I netted a fine 4lb plus chub for Phil, on the scales it weighed 4lb 5 ounces, after a quick picture I walked upstream to release the fish. It was a great result and well deserved, another cast was made to the same area of the swim, after several minutes without a bite I suggested Phil retrieve the tackle and bait with another bit of crust, as he tried to retrieve the tackle nothing happened he was well and truly hooked up. Pointing the rod in a straight line towards the snagged tackle so the rod wouldn’t be damaged, after some pressure the tackle was retrieved everything in place, having checked the hook by sticking it in the thumb nail then finding it didn’t slide, it was baited with another chunk of crust and recast. Five minutes later another good bite, the strike connecting with a good fish a few minutes later another 4lb plus chub was netted it weighed 4lb 9 ounces (see pic) it was hollow, come February it would probably be 5lb plus. With my shingles giving me problems my right eye closing up it was time to leave. As Phil had collected me from my house I didn’t have a problem getting home, if I’d been driving I would have spent the night in the cabin. You done well Phil catching chub with bread, next time we will have a session trotting for dace, chub and grayling, also I will have a bigger box of Yorkshire Gold tea bags.

                                                                  A  Good Chub Bait

Top bait for chub when fishing a river that has some colour, is made from the ingredients as per pic, All you need are fresh eggs, it’s simple to make beat one or two eggs in a bowl or bucket then add two mil of John Baker cheese flavour per egg, also half a tea spoon of Glupe (which is a food source and liquid attractor ) Having whisked up the mixture add enough base – F2 powder until you get the consistency you require, either a soft, medium or firm paste, you can make a batch then freeze. I also stick my bait into the glupe before casting which gives out a strong scent trail. It’s all available from Lone Angler Face book, which has other baits flavour and tackle items all made in the UK. Just Google home page Lone Angler, also this link will be useful to read

                                                                           Trotting the Stream

Two days after being out with Phil I chose to spend a few hours float fishing with casters as Phil had left me with 3 pints of gentles in 48 hours 99% had turned into a perfect caster, my quarry were grayling on the River Ribble, tackle was 15 foot rod centre pin reel with 3lb line, I use a 3BB shot balsa and quill float, between the main line and hook link, I used a minute swivel which I find helps stop line twist which often happens when catching a lot of grayling as the fish have a tendency to twist and turn in their attempt to escape. The size 16 barbless hook was attached to 18 inches of 2.5lb hook link. I was fishing around 4 feet of water, I had 1 BB shot 6 inches from the hook, the other 2 BB shot were a further 18 niches up the line bunched together. In the first hour of feeding, casting, watching the float go down the swim I caught some magnificent minnow’s fat and colourful, these fish might have been small but the beauty of these fish made up for their lack of size, how could I not enjoy my session, standing in the middle of the river trotting for about 3 hours, lost in the wilderness a wood on my left, pasture land on my right, a few yards downstream on my right stood a heron sentinel like, around noon I heard the call of Pink-footed geese wink-wink, looking skywards I could see a very large noisy big skein circling as they started to drop in on the pasture land to my right, the call of the wild goose certainly stirs the blood in my body, wild geese are such a romantic and wild creature, you will never see a whole flock of geese feeding at the same time, they post guards every few yards, even at roost they still have their guards. I may not be catching a lot, but it was an enjoyable sessions, the minnows didn’t pull my string but they were beautiful to admire. After lots of casting and trotting the float had travelled some 5 yards then slowly dragged under, saying to myself “that’s a hook up probably weed” lifting the rod tip gently I felt a savage take as line was stripped from the reel then a big trout shot skywards crashing back in a shower of spray, more line was taken, suddenly all went slack the limp line fluttering from the rod tip, I waded back to the bank to re-tackle. After a few trots through the swim the float dipped then moved across the flow, striking I felt the twisting and turning of a grayling eventually netting a nice fish about 1.5lbs, two casts later a trout about 2lbs was landed after a very spirited fight, these triploid trout do fight being a sexless fish, they don’t lose condition. I would like to have stopped into the darkness and targeting the chub using a night light on the float. I dare not with my eyesight so poor at the moment. A Happy Christmas everyone.







A fine 28lb plus pike

Phil with another 28lb plus pike

What you need for a good bait mix

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Martin James Fishing
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