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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


04/01/2018 - A New Year’s Day Chub Catch

Hook set up

 Since my successful two days fishing over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the river hasn’t been fishable, snow broth, low water temps down to 34 degrees F at one time, there was a window of opportunity one afternoon but my eyesight was so poor so no driving. A Two Hour Fast Walk On New Year’s Eve with no fishing, as I don’t have any still waters to fish within driving distance. I needed some exercise, after breakfast I chose to take a fast nonstop two hour romp up hill and down dale around where I live, though I must say on one of the steep hills I needed to take a few deep breaths but still continued my fast pace, three hundred yards from home I walk close to the river where I got a water temperature reading of 40 degrees F. Back home after a shower I sorted out some tackle for the next day

January 1st, I chose a Wallis Wizard matched with a Hardy Eureka with 3lb line, I didn’t need any floats, I would be dropping lobworms into all the likely looking spots close to the bank. I then checked my worm stocks in the fridge where I have two pots of fifty lobs, all were well, which I have had since October 29th I keep the temperature at 40 degrees F.New Year’s DayI was up and out of bed around 0600 hrs, after a shower I checked the weather the rain was sheeting down at the same intensity it was when I went to bed at around 2000 hrs, I then checked the water height getting a reading of 1.29m, hopefully it wouldn’t be to coloured. Having had breakfast then loaded everything in the car, I had to wait until it was full daylight before I left home. Arriving at a farm where I’m allowed to park I collected my gear then headed off for the river which entailed walking through a small wood then across a meadow that resembled a flooded salt marsh, eventually I come to an area I wanted to fish, dumping my gear under an oak tree.  I got out the pot of worms,then after cutting some thirty lobs up into pieces, I walked upstream dropping chopped worms into every likely looking spot, with the river flowing extremely fast the fish would be tucked tight to the bank, one spot that caught my attention was behind a very large rock probably the size of the old mini car this rock was usually well out of the water, behind the rock was a quiet bit of water around two feet deep.

A Bite Within Minutes

Back at base I put two floats stops on the line about 15 inches from a size 6 barbless hook, then moulded some plasticine around the stops, baiting the hook with two lobs I attached a plastic imitation gentle to keep the worms in place. The rain was so intense it was bouncing off the water surface, I had come to fish so ventured out from the shelter of the oak moving off to the first swim, an area of water between the bank and some dead reeds where I though a chub might be resting. Sitting on the grass bank I lowered two lobworms into the swim, as I sat holding the rod a flight of Pink footed geese flew low overhead, it’s always a thrill to hear the call of the wild goose. A few minutes later I had a slow pull, striking I set the hook into a fish which at first didn’t know what to do, it just hung in the water, suddenly it shot out into the fast water wrenching the rod tip round, the reel screeched as line was pulled viciously by an angry fish, no way could I bring the fish upstream against the fast water. I grabbed the landing net then keeping the rod high I moved downstream eventually getting below the fish. I could now gain some control, a few minutes later the fish was close in some quiet water where it was safely netted. I punched the air with glee shouting “Yes I’ve done it a fish on New Year’s Day”. It was a chub around 3lbs but I wasn’t bothered about the size, 6 ounces or 6lbs it didn’t matter. With the rain sheeting down no way was I going to get a camera out in these conditions. Releasing the chub I moved upstream to another swim, fifteen minutes I moved on, in the next spot where a stream slowed into the river, I had another fifteen minutes again no sign of a fish I moved on, in the next hour I tried several spots. I then arrived at an area of slow water created by a fallen tree, sitting just upstream I dropped the baited hook in at the top of the run, every few minutes I would lift the rod allowing the tackle to move downstream, as it got close to the end of the run I got my second bite, setting the hook into another fish, this one just hugged the bottom slowly I pumped the fish upstream to the waiting net, a fish of similar size to the first. Looking downstream I could see the rain clouds, moving away at the same time it was now a light rain conditions were getting better. I then moved upstream to where I had the large submerged rock creating a nice looking swim. I quietly lowered two lobworms in at the downstream area of the rock, I immediately got a good pull connecting with another fish, after a few minutes I netted my third fish of the day, again a nice looking chub around 3lbs, but they all count. As the rain had stopped I pegged the landing net in the water’s edge then went off for my camera and rod rest which I use as a tripod, I soon had the camera set up for a 30 second delay then pressed the shutter button, taking the fish from the net I sat on the bank as the shutter was coming to the end, I then had what I thought was a decent picture. I admired the fish for a few seconds then it was back in the water head facing upstream then released.I fished on for another hour catching two more fish of similar size, all were good bites. During my time on the river five anglers arrived then left for home, even having asked if I was catching, each one said the same “Your Lucky” No I wasn’t lucky, you can’t catch if you don’t have a bait in the water, fish are not spread around like currents in a pudding you have to know where to put a bait. You don’t get that experience sitting in the pub or on the settee, so don’t tell me I was lucky. Yes there is a little bit of luck, but you have to know what tackle and baits to use, where to put the baited hook. Today I used my experience gathered over some 70 odd years, also from what other angler have told me and from reading books and articles by some great match and specimen anglers. We can all learn from each other only if we put some effort into our sport. But as I have said don’t tell me I was lucky, my effort experience and knowledge put the chub in my net. Have A Happy New Year and the tightest of lines.

One of my chub

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Martin James Fishing
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