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


17/05/2018 - An Early Morning Start .

                                                                 An Early Morning Start

Why do so many game anglers start fishing after breakfast then pack up at tea time? Could it be a traditional thing?. If so it’s not the best time to fish, especially when the rivers are low gin clear, with the sunshine blazing down.Yesterday I spent several hours without a rod, just roaming the bank of my local river observing what was going on, as always I had my note book so I could note down anything of interest. In a deep pool, I spotted what I thought was a very big brown trout, around 6 lbs perhaps bigger. I sat watching the pool for over an hour or more occasionally getting a shadowy glimpse of the fish. Trying to make out its movements up and down the pool. I also found a dozen or more chub at the head of the pool, which surprised me, as I thought they would have been further downstream on the gravel among the water crowfoot in readiness for spawning. Some nice dace could be seen at the tail of the pool in the more steady water taking flies off the surface. Down towards the bottom of the beat, I found three good chub four to five pounds slowly cruising back and forth along the edge of a thirty foot tree which had crashed down during the autumn storms, it was semi submerged and now firmly anchored. it would be nice, if one or two more trees crashed down to give cover for the smaller fish during flood times, also from goosanders and cormorants.With the sun blazing down not a breath of wind, I chose not to fish but spend the rest of the day just walking the beats, noting anything of interest and chatting with my syndicate members.

Tomorrow I would be on the river at dawn in the hope of catching that big brown, as I doubt it would move from its location. Next morning it was a Foggy Misty Dawn, at 0530 hrs I left home with dipped heads lights and fog lamp switched on, despite most motorist not bothering to switch on their lights, but hopefully they could see me. Twenty minutes later I pulled into the car park, I could faintly see the opposite bank so dense was the fog. With low water conditions I chose to wear wellington boots rather than waders so I wouldn’t be tempted to wade and spook any fish. My tackle was a seven weight Thomas &Thomas rod, matched with a Richard Carter fly reel that Richard had made for my 60th birthday. I used floating line, knowing how big trout can fight also with lots of big rocks about I decided on a ten foot leader with a 12 lb tippet, choosing a size 6 Dunkeld as the big trout are hammering the minnow shoals. Walking downstream I spooked a large group of rabbits outside their warren, they didn’t expect to be disturbed at this time of the day, I also counted nine hares.

                                                              A Bent Rod and Pulled String

First cast a nice brown trout, not the one I wanted, a few casts later another trout of similar size. An hour later under the fogy misty conditions, I hooked something big and powerful near the tail of the deep pool, thankfully the fish made a mistake by going upstream into the slower deeper water. The fish would take some line, then I would get it back, but I felt the fight was going my way. After ten minutes I hadn’t seen the fish but realised it was a big one, five minutes later, I was able to walk downstream drawing the fish with me, then it rolled on the surface my first sight of the fish, not a brown, but a salmon. I backed away from the river drawing the fish closer to the bank then walked forward taking in line until the head of the fish was just out of the water on the sandy silt, dashing forward l dropped the rod then grabbed the fish by the tail, a fine silver cock fish around 9lbs, I quickly slipped out the barbless hook, then held the fish in the fast oxygenated water until it kicked free from my grasp. I was back home around 0930 hrs for breakfast.I feel if more if more of my syndicate members who fish with 12 to 14 foot rods with matching heavy lines changed to lighter rods and lines which are far too heavy in my opinion on small rivers, especially in gin clear low water conditions. Its noticeable I usually catch more salmon and sea trout than most of the members, not because I’m a better a better angler. I put down to using tackle that doesn’t spook the fish, just imagine the disturbance caused by a heavy salmon line crashing down on the surface of a low gin clear river!

Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]