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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


14/01/2017 - One Bite one Fish in sub-zero temperatures

Winter caught chub 4lb 12 ounces


With most of the country was in the grip of snow, ice, sub-zero temperatures and gale force winds the prospects of fishing were not, though Anthony Morris and myself had other ideas, it was around 1530 hrs. When I carefully slithered down the garden path to Anthony’s van for a short trip to the river Ribble, I was well wrapped up, including two body warmers also my Gortex British Army jacket which would keep the wind at bay. Travelling along the country lanes was often a bit dicey on the bends which were often icy, but Anthony was fully capable of dealing with these problems. We pulled into the car park as dusk was falling; a skein of geese flew overhead. I expected the water temperature to have dropped from Thursday’s 40 degrees F by at least 2 degrees F In fact it had dropped 3 degrees F, as I write this on Saturday afternoon having been on the river this morning the water temperature was even lower down to 35-36 degrees F.


I Reckon Crust on a Short Link Would be the Answer


After putting together my tackle then putting some bits and pieces in my Lone Angler bait bucket I was ready to go, within minutes Anthony was also ready, after trudging over the icy snow covered fields we arrived at the chosen swim, in fact we would sit shoulder to should fishing the same bit of water, normally we would have fished two separate swims but on his occasion it would be nice to chat and share our ideas on the fishing etc. As the water temps were low I chose not to introduce any loose feed, it would be just two bits of crust in the swim, soon we were enveloped in the darkness but not for long as a huge new moon crept over the horizon, it was a spectacular sight, more geese could be heard flying overhead. My mind went back to similar conditions years before on the Lincolnshire Wash the Solway and the fields of Perthshire and other goose shooting haunts. Now I just enjoy the call of the “Wild Goose”


As the moon rose higher in the sky the temperature dropped lower, I occasionally shivered even more so when I glanced at Anthony who wasn’t wearing hat, occasionally in the distance we heard a fox bark, otherwise if was all quiet. Around 1900 hrs with no sign of a bite I suggested it was time for a toasted cheese sandwich with a mug of tea. Half an hour later we were back in our swim, once again the hooks were baited with a cube of crust then cast out to some quiet water, I suppose half an hour had gone by when my rod was ripped from the rod rest heading fast towards the river such was the savage take, I just managed to grab the end of the handle before it was lost in the depths of the icy water of the Ribble. The fish put up an impressive fight, giving me the impression I was hooked up to a big trout, soon I had the fish under control through the pressure I could exert with my well balanced tackled, eventually Anthony netted a chub which he said “Looks a 5 lb. fish” I thought the same, but the scales gave a reading of 4lb 12 ounces though I was more than happy. After a picture I walked some distance upstream before releasing the fish. Though we fished on until 2130 hrs we didn’t have any more bites, though the trout were proving quite active as the swirled around in the faster water under the full moon. I feel winter fishing is summed up with the picture of Anthony waiting for a bite.

Anthony Morris waits for a bite

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Martin James Fishing
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