fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


03/02/2017 - Can This Great Sport Get Any Better?

The New Rod

In 75 years of angling I’ve fished many places in around the world, I’ve fly fished for mako sharks in the Pacific Ocean, hunted the dorado in the Indian Ocean, Sea of Cortez and the Caribbean, fished for bonefish from the Bahamas to Belize, I’ve been all over Europe and Scandinavia up to the Arctic circle, including dog sledding, been to South and North America fished in both fresh and saltwater including the Northwest Territories. As a youngster I read many books on foreign fishing wishing I could follow in the author’s footsteps, books by Zane Grey, Hemingway. Sheringham. Holder, Sir Edward Grey, Lady Evelyn Cotterell to name a few, on my 10th birthday I was given as a present “A Book of Fishing” edited by F.G. Aflalo published in 1913 it’s a magnificent tomb, that has been read literally hundreds of times and still is today. In my childhood Aflalo’s book has taken me around the world; never did I ever think I would achieve my dreams of fishing in far flung places described in the book. As I approach being an octogenarian I thought I’d had all the excitement and magic of being at the waterside, but the excitement I found is still there.

An Early Birthday Gift

On Wednesday morning around 1030 hrs the UPS delivery driver arrived with a black tube, having signed for it, I hurried to my study to inspect my latest rod 11’ 4” of hand crafted bamboo by Andrew Davies it’s a work of art, as I marvelled at the fine finish, the silk tying’s and how easy this Kennet Perfection rested in my hand, I couldn’t wait to fish with this early birthday present, without more ado I put the rod back in its bag, grabbed a centre pin reel, some hooks and shot, from the garage I collected a bag of Lone Angler paste then headed off to the river. It was pushing through with 4 feet on the gauge, the colour of dark chocolate checking the water temperature I got a reading of 40 degrees F, slowly I fed line though the rings, or guides as the American call them, attaching a size 4 hook with a Palomar knot, then lightly pinched on 4 LG shot spread 4 inches apart. In a two hour session I caught 2 chub around 3lbs a trout of about 2lbs, I also had a bite off, as I sat holding the rod the line went slack lifting the rod I got a sudden snatch as the reel gave a couple of inches of line then all went slack. That was the last bit of excitement for the day.

A Few Ounces of Split Bamboo, A Mitchell 300 with some Lone Angler Cheese Paste = Excitement

Thursday morning I’m up around 0600hrs, by 0800 hrs I’m ready to go fishing though I waited until 0900hrs until the school run was over, I was still on the river by 0930 hrs, having walked the bottom beat I chose three swims to fish, despite the gale force wind and heavy rain showers my three spots were quite well sheltered, Checking the water temperature I got a reading of 43-44 degrees F, with that result I decided to put in a dozen pigeon egg size bits of Lone Angler cheese paste in all three swims. Back in the car park I put together my new Kennet Perfection, today I used a Mitchell 300 with 6lb bs Crystal Fire line with a diameter of 2lb nylon, I been using it

All season on both my centre pins also fixed spool reels with its very low memory it’s been very good for chub, roach, perch and tench.

Chub From The Off

Into my L A bait bucket went some shots, hooks, cheese paste, sausage sizzle flavoured meat and of course some bread, I then walked downstream to my first spot, it was nicely sheltered from the wind, within minutes of arriving a robin turned up so I scattered some tiny pieces of cheese paste and meat, then lightly pinched on 2 LG shot 18” from the hook, 4” apart then baited with a lump of cheese paste the size of a pigeons egg, I cast just past midstream some yards upstream then worked the bait down towards me as the bait was level with me, I felt a light pluck then a good solid pull, I doubt if there is a better sound than that made by the clutch of a Mitchell 300 as the rod took on its power curve as a chub moved into the fast flow, I was in ‘Seventh Heaven’ as I played the first fish of the day, after a few heart stopping moments I netted a chub around 4lbs, in the next hour I had 6 similar size fish, following a bite less half an hour, I then moved to my second choice swim.

After walking upstream about 800 yards, I pushed myself through the reeds and brambles to a small area where I could sit and cast without getting hung up, again I chose to use cheese past, though I had to wait about 15 minutes before I got my first bite, with the rod tip being pulled round savagely, sadly it was missed, even though I was holding the rod the next bite was also missed as I was watching a flock of long tailed tits working through some willow bushes, at the same time a flock of fieldfare settled on some hawthorn bushes which still had some red berries. The next bite was a light pluck then a slow solid pull, again I listened with joy to the slipping clutch as the chub moved from the slow water into the fast rapids, normally in these conditions I would move downstream rather than trying to bring the fish back against the fast water but it wasn’t possible so I called on Lady Luck which thankfully worked and after quite a long struggle I netted a chub of 4lb plus, this was followed by 2 similar size fish, then a blank fifteen minutes, changing to crust I fished for about half an hour no bites then switched to meat still no bites. It was time to move.

Eight More Good Chub

My third spot was in fact three swims, ten yards downstream close into the bank was a nice slack, then a third of the way out I had a nice crease, also I had a bay on the opposite bank over hung by willows and alders, using a catapult I put a dozen bits of cheese paste across the river into the bay. Taking off the LG shot I baited with a walnut size piece of paste and cast the bait downstream into the slow water, within minutes I had a good solid pull hooking a chub that hung in the quiet water doing a lot of head shaking, slowly I pumped the fish upstream to the net a fish about 3lbs. My next cast was out towards the centre of the river where I had a nice crease over some gravel and silt, as the paste bait started to roll, I had a pluck then a good pull immediately a good fish moved towards the far bank but the well balanced tackle was master of the situation soon I netted another fish around 3lbs. Another bait was cast into the same spot within minutes I hooked another fish which dashed off fast downstream making me think it was a good trout, but thankfully it turned out to be a chub of 4lb plus. In the next hour I had 5 more chub between 3 and 4lbs plus, then not another touch for the next half an hour so I called it a day having really enjoyed myself. It certainly made a difference with a water temperature around 44 degrees F some colour in the water also benefited the fishing, even though in my first and last swims I could release fish well upstream I still feel they move back quite quickly and spook the other fish, also hooking fish when there are others in the swim also has its effect.




One of several good chub

Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]