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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


02/10/2013 - Fishing A Thames Tributary and the Hampshire Avon

Recently Brendan Ince and myself had a couple of days on a Thames tributary followed by a visit to the Hampshire Avon at Britford, on the Berkshire venue I spent one morning building a new stile. The old one was rather dangerous and certainly needed sorting it out. The hardest part was wheeling the barrow loaded with all the gear across a rough field full of cattle. Apart from building the stile, I also purchased some sponge type of pipe lagging which I put over the barbed wire at the other stiles on the beat. I was well rewarded for my effort as later in the day I caught a brown trout weighing 4lb 12 ounces also a few pike and chub. After two days on the river, Brendan Ince and myself headed off for our visit to the Hampshire Avon a river Brendan had never fished before. Our first visit was to Davis fishing tackle at Christchurch to meet Nigel and Helen, where I recorded a programme about the shop and the Royalty fishery. It was certainly an interesting visit where I was also able to purchase some handmade Avon floats and quality gentles, in fact the bait was some of the best I have seen in a few years. If you have never fished the Royalty, I suggest you pay a visit tickets are available from Davies Fishing Tackle 71-75 Bargates Christchurch very close to the fishery, the shop opens at 7 -30 am every day. For more information e-mail [email protected] Tel 01202-485169


Having left Christchurch we headed back to the London Anglers Association water at Britford passing great fishing venues as Fordingbridge, Ringwood, Ibsley and Downton with its old coaching inn the ‘Bull’ where ‘mine host’ was Captain L A Parker, it was Parker who authored that great book This Fishing or Angling Arts & Artifices which I recommend as serous reading for all river anglers especially those who float fish for the roach. We arrived on the banks of the Avon at Britford about two o’clock in the afternoon to be greeted by Stuart the river keeper. After chatting with Stuart and getting some up to date information we headed off to the river, where we walked upstream so I could show Brendan the old Mill and its pool that made you want to immediately fish for its chub and barbel.


Brendan wanted to float fish trotting the stream using a centre pin, something new for him. Having showed him a suitable swim he soon mastered the technique even if he did go over the top of his chest high waders more than once. During the three days Brendan enjoyed some great sport catching chub, roach, dace, grayling and perch including one we estimated around 2-8-0. While Brendan spent his time trotting the stream, I roamed around mainly fishing the old river. I spent one day trying to catch a big roach 2lb plus, it was no more than half a rods length from the bank in a gap between the bank and the streamer weed. I tried everything without success except gentles. I reckon a single gentle on a size 18 or 20 hook to a 2lb hook link might have worked. The next day as I walked slowly upstream where I found two big chub in a gap between the weed and a fallen tree. Dropping back downstream I sat on the bank for about half an hour in case I’d spooked the fish. After resting them, I crawled on my hands and knees upstream until I reached the spot where the chub had been seen. Peering through the bankside nettles I could make out two chub. Both I reckoned to be over 5lbs. Moving back from the water’s edge I threw two pigeon egg size pieces of cheese paste upstream and across so they would go under the weed bed. A minute or so later the two free offerings where pushed out from under the weed onto the clear gravel downstream of the sunken tree. I knelt down on a bit of sponge watching the two free offerings as both chub would take it in turns to nose the bait but refused to pick it up. After about 3 hours later I went off for a brew and some lunch.


On my return the bits of paste had gone. It was time to put a hook in a piece of free lined cheese paste, with a light cast upstream I was able to drop the bait at the top end of a weed bed hoping it would roll downstream under the weed then get  pushed out by the flow to settle in the area of the free offerings. It did just that, how lucky can one get. An hour or so later I had a nice steady pull and missed what was really a perfect bite. I then switched to a favourite method of mine which I have written about and discussed on my programme many times, that’s a bobbin, after casting out another bit of paste then noticing it had again been pushed out from under the weed by the water flow.  I pinched on a dough bobbin then sat quiet as a mouse. Probably two hours passed then the bobbin moved about an inch, I pushed the rod forward a bit giving some slack line allowing the bobbin to have a longer lift. Ten minutes later the bobbin moved smoothly up towards the butt ring. The strike connected with a good fish. Standing up I noticed the fish had dived under the weed and not the fallen tree. After a bit of pulling I hauled the fish downstream away from danger then into the net. I weighed 5-3-0 I was more than happy. During the next couple of days, I had a few more chub with several perch to about a pound and a half. All in all a very good trip to one of England’s great coarse fishing rivers. Season ppermits available at £43-00 from Izaac Walton House 2A Hervey Park Road London E17 6L J Telephone 020 8520 7477 E-mail [email protected]


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Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]