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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


07/06/2018 - Getting Ready For June 16th.

This is my venue for the first day, before I go off to the Beult


With ten days to go before the new coarse fishing season, it was time I started to prepare for the new season by packing my fishing basket, ready for the off. First job was putting line on my reels which I would probably use in the first week I started off by spooling my Mitchell 300 with 6lb line, 40 yards of 3lb line was put on my Watermole crafted centrepin ‘The Beult’ I’m really looking forward to using this reel, with light float tackle for roach on the River Beult feeding hemp baiting with tares. For tench fishing I put 40 yards of 6lb line on my Young & Sons ‘Atom’ centrepin, a strange name for a reel to be used in a quiet pursuit at the waterside. I have to ask myself couldn’t the company have picked a better name than a warlike one. In my dictionary, the word ‘Atom’ is defined as a tiny particle. The reels were then put in there protected bags before going in the basket. Next job was sort out my bits and pieces box, checking I had enough eyed and spade end hooks in sizes 6’s to 18’s, my friend Tony Booker really got me sorted out with some hooks to nylon, he sent me some Garbolino barbless hooks to nylon pre-stretched on a holder. I am now looking for some tied to a finer hook links, the ones I have are ideal for tench especially where I’m fishing flake, corn and lobworms, with the latter I use a plastic gentle to keep the worm on the hook. It will make life a bit more easy for this old man, who often has trouble taking a hook from the packet, mine often get into a tangle as I unravel it, another hook for the rubbish bin. I have two baits droppers, one very small, the other medium size, I often use a dropper to put a mixture of crumb, corn and hemp ground bait into the swim, this way it doesn’t attract small fish in the swim, as it often does when you ball it in. I found I had enough tubs of egg shot in various sizes, these shot very good when trotting as are Olivette’s. I also have a tub of shot in various sizes gravel colour, I find them very useful when fishing over gravel in clear water. Some anglers tell me I’m far too fussy, so be it if I catch a few more fish.

In my box are several small spool of quality line in breaking strains from 1.5lb to 6lb, there are packets of Cralusso items of tackle, fine quick snaps for putting hook links on to main line, several sizes of beads from a very tiny ones to stop a tiny in-line Olivette where I want it on the line. I have several pole rigs, some with the modern Cralusso floats, other pole rigs have Avon floats carrying different shotting patterns or Olivette’s that will cover all conditions and swims. I have a set of punches for bread and meat, a small pair of forceps, silver sugar tongs my grandmother gave me when I was ten years old, probably worth a small fortune today. There are several disgorgers, glasses cleaners, first aid plasters along with some antiseptic wipes, float caps lengths of tubing in different sizes for making float rubbers. Also in my basket I carry a small wooden board for punched bread or meat. Two clean hand towels, a pair of chefs gloves in case I can’t find the sugar tongs when slugging. A torch for beaming on the float or rod tip at night, I have never found a torch bothers fish, on many occasions I have proved this to my friends by shining the torch on fish in the margins. I also have two boxes of float so I can cover all situations when needed. All bait boxes are clean having done this job in the first week of the close season. My bag with all the brewing gear has been checked, new mugs have been added, the old ones thrown out, I have a new box of Yorkshire Gold tea bags, along with some nice coffee for those who enjoy this type of brew.

                                                                          Refurbished Rods also My Pole

All my rods have been checked over, some were given a complete refurbish by Lee Price of Can & Able, what a great job he has done, my two Milwards Swim Masters are now as new, probably better today than when first made, with modern varnishes etc. Even more spectacular if that is possible, is the job he has done on my pole which has had its first refurbishment in over 70 years, it could be longer. Not only has he done those jobs, Lee has also made me another rod tip in cane, so I have the whale bone tip for lighter work, the cane tip for heavier work. The pole really looks stunning, even more so the mahogany butt joint, Tony Booker has made me several toppings, which in the old days were made of silk, he has made these new toppings with different strengths of elastic. I am like many anglers, I always want another rod, despite having around 25, most I don’t use these days, but I enjoy looking at them in there racks. In the 50’s 60’s I would always buy a new rod for the start of the season, it seems I haven’t changed. I have got myself a Youngs of Harrow Otter brand 12 foot rod as new, whole cane butt and middle joint with a spliced in built cane tip, it’s a rod I can use with 6lb line, when trotting heavy water for chub. Ground Bait I have also been making up several bags of ground bait mix of corn which has been given a quick whisk in the food processor, then added hemp followed by a fine crumb, I knead the mix until I feel I’ve got the mix correct, where I feel it will break up near or on the bottom depending on the depth of water, it’s also ideal for putting in the bait dropper if a lot of small fish are present. It’s all now in the freezer. I have also prepared four pints of tares, putting half a cup of tares into small plastic bags, I always make up a lot of tares, as they are not just a summer bait, they work all year round when the water is right for hemp fishing.

                                                                   Rake and Other Things

For the new season I have purchased a small rake as last season I found the rake I have had since it was made in 1956 by a blacksmith in Ireland, the new rake is a lot smaller, it comes with a rope for less than £40-00, I have fitted a new ropes to my dog spikes, which I find valuable when fishing a lot of the swims on the Wye, not only in getting into and out of swims, but at times I have the rope around my waist as a safety precaution, I always carry two, so whoever is fishing with me also has one. No doubt I will find something missing, but hopefully I will find out what it is before I go off for a week on the Beult where some members of TFF will fish with me as my guest. I can’t wait.


My river Beult venue

Hemp and tares will be my approach for roach like this one. .

Tench my other target fish

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Martin James Fishing
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