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


04/01/2018 - Chub come to dine on lobworms

An ounce off 6 lbs


After my enjoyable day on Christmas Eve, I was ready to enjoy another one today, it all started at 0245 hrs when I jumped out of bed then into the shower thinking I had over slept, shower finished I got well wrapped up as the forecast was for strong wind with heavy rain, in the kitchen I put the ingredients into a bowl for my porridge then glanced at the wall clock time 0315hrs I thought “Its stopped” then glanced at my wrist watch to see that was the same time and the second hand was moving. No way did I want to sleep in the chair so I went back to bed, eventually getting up at 0700 hrs, after porridge and a slice of dripping toast with a mug of tea, I put my gear in the car, then waited for the light to be good enough to drive.

Another foot of water on the gauge

Over night the river had come up a foot or so and was quite coloured, not a day for fishing float tackle and gentles, but one for smelly cheese paste or lobworms. I made the decision to float fish with one or two lobworms, I chose to fish my Abbey Avon with my new 12 spoke Atom centre pin reel loaded with 6lb bs line, I chose one of the Clearwater alloy Avon taking 10 grams, I dispensed with split shot using an Olivette stopped some 20 inches from a size 6 barbless hook, I didn’t bother with a tell-tale shot close to the hook.

Close in swim under the trees and bushes

Today I had a long hike across two big fields then through a wood, then a small meadow, after jumping across a stream, I then had to go down a soggy 20 foot high bank with lots of hawthorns and years of accumulated leaf mould. It was as boggy as hell, at times it was nearly over the top of my boots, the hawthorns were continuously grabbing at my line, I started to think “Is this a good idea” also I would have to get back up the bank. But I was determined to fish the spot having looked at it on many occasions over the past few years. Chub first cast I started off by running the float through the swim a few times to get the depth, I wanted to fish the bait a few inches off the bottom and with a water temperature of 48 degrees F I was confident that if the chub were at home they would be willing to chase two lobworms. Having adjusted the float as I wanted it, I chopped 20 odd lobs into small pieces then added these to my bread and bran mix, then put in two cricket size ball of feed. Then sat back for about twenty minutes leaving the swim quiet, but dropping in a few bits of lobworm every three or four minutes. Having bait the hook with 2 lobworms I attached a tiny square of rubber to the hook to keep the worms in place, casting slightly upstream I held the rod high allowing the float to settle with the bait preceding the float, as it went downstream I lowered the rod then allowed the line to come off the reel, the float travelled about thirty feet then dipped “That’s a fish” I said to myself as I set the hook, I was immediately forced to give line as a powerful fish used the speed of the water to its advantage, as usual after a few feet had gone I started to gain some kind of control, saying to myself “Take it easy that’s a good fish” also I didn’t know what snags were under the water, there were several trees in the river but there was no knowing how far the branches went out into the river. I was certainly thankful I had chosen powerful set up, and not the gear I was using yesterday, eventually the balanced tackle started to take its toll on the fish as it swirled on the surface some yards downstream then kited into the bank behind a protruding piece of bank, I immediately moved downstream to eliminate this risk, a few minutes I had a good chub in the net. “That a five pounder” I thought on the scales I got a reading of 4lb 9 ounces, though I was convinced it was bigger.

A Brace of Five Pounders

 Another ball of mash was introduced along with some chopped worms, three more trot’s through the swim with nothing, then a hook up on the next cast, a fish of 5lb 4 ounces which was followed by another one of 5lb 7 ounces. What a day to catch a brace of five pounders. After a half hour of trotting with no result, then in four casts I had chub of 4lb 12 ounces, 5lb 7 ounces then a 4lb 14 ounce fish. I then had another long spell without a sign of a bite either by laying on or trotting. In then put in two balls of mash and more chopped lobs, then noticed I was now getting a bit low on bait, though I had two pots of fifty lobs its surprising how quickly you get through them. After quite thirty forty minutes I had a fish of 5lb 10 ounces. On the next trot through I allowed the float to travel further down under a willow bush with branches close to the water, suddenly the float dipped sharply, I was into a good fish, after quite some time I started to gain badly needed line this fish fought extremely hard in the fast rising water, it was several more minutes before I got a good glimpse of the fish, immediately I said to myself “ Take it easy boy that’s a six pounder” Eventually it was in the net where I was even more convinced it was a 6lb fish, what a great chub fishing session this is turning out to be I thought. The scales were again zeroed with the weigh bag then the fish introduced the needle went to 6lb 1 ounce eventually it settled at 5lb 15 ounces, “How close can you get to a six pounder on Christmas Day” I thought. I eventually ended my session with three more good chub all 4lb plus fish, I reckon I could have caught more, but my shingles suddenly erupted the pain being quite horrendous today, it was a case of getting home before my right eye started to close. Hopefully I will be back on the river tomorrow.

Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]