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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


10/05/2018 - The First Springer of the Year


The First Springer of the Year


I’ve just got in from my local river after one of those special days when we make a good catch of fish, or catch a big one, we call them “Red Letter Days” Over some 70 odd years of angling I have had many such days counting everyone as special.


I arrived on my local river today around 0800 hrs, having checked my mink traps and putting in fresh bait, I walked both beats. Around 1000 hrs two guests turned up for a day’s trout fishing, having issued them with permits, I walked the bottom beat explaining the various pools and runs with suggestions on how to fish them. I then made my way to the cabin where I had some tea and toast while reading the paper. Yesterday I caught the first sea trout of the season at 17 inches, as I thought about this fish, I decided I would have another session fishing for brown trout, hoping I might connect with another sea trout. Which often happens when fishing for brown trout.


Some Nice Trout


The first hour I fished the bottom of the beat catching three nice brown trout around 14-15 inches on a Klinkhamer Special designed to imitate an emerge, as I could see fish taking emerges, suddenly a strong downstream breeze arrived which quickly put the fish down. I then extended my leader from twelve feet to fifteen foot with a two pound tippet, then attached a size 20 black Midge pattern, talking of fishing the midge, buzzer or chironomid, I can do no better than recommend the book Midge Magic Don Holbrook & Ed Koch. I feel river fly fishers in the UK don’t pay enough attention to this group of insects, the American fly fishers are well ahead of us in this field. In the next half an hour I had 4 more brown trout around fourteen inches, then decided it was time for a short lunch break.


A Big Surprise


After a sandwich with a fresh brew, I decided to fish a pool half along the beat which was quite deep and fast, where I thought there might be some bigger fish. I changed my leader to ten feet with a six pound tippet then tied on a Richard Walker beaded mayfly nymph. I’d been fishing for about fifteen minutes felt a light take then set the hook, as the rod tip was pulled downwards, the reel screamed in protest as a powerful fish moved strongly across the pool then upstream into the fast water. “Big sea trout” I thought, but then quickly changed my mind as the fish stayed deep and not jumping in the manner of sea trout. Then the fish switched direction heading down the pool towards the sea if it had a choice, for ten minutes or more I hadn’t seen the fish, though I soon realised it was something special. Eventually I got my first glimpse then said to no one special “That’s a blood big salmon”


I then thought could this be the first Spring salmon of the season? The battle went up and down the pool for a few more minutes, but I kept guiding the fish into the fast water and not allowing it to build up its strength in the quiet water. I could now see it was a fresh run fish estimated 15-16lbs, eventually I managed to beach it where I quickly took the barbless hook from the scissors of the fish, then waded out into the fast water where I could safely return this great sporting fish. It was caught on Thomas & Thomas HS 905-4 piece 9 foot 5 weight with a 6lb tippet fishing a Richard Walker mayfly nymph.


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Martin James Fishing
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