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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


30/06/2018 - A Week On The Beult Part 1

Dawn on the Beult


A Week on the Beult Part 1

Having fished the first day at a Cambridge still water for tench and carp, it was time to move further south to the River Beult where I would be fishing with Russ Shaw, Matt Minter and Tony Booker, Matt was the first to arrive on Sunday morning at 1000 hrs as he pulled up into the car park I said “I thought you were coming between 1300 and 1400 hrs” he replied “I couldn’t sleep last night as I was excited at fishing the River Beult for the first time since I was a boy” After unloading our cars, we then had a brew with cheese and pickle sandwiches, as we did so we discussed the fishing prospects for the next three days. Eventually we headed off to the river to rake and bait some swims, pulling into the car park we had our first glance of the river, it looked absolutely beautiful, the first thing we noticed was the bird song, from every bush, tree and the sky we heard the trill of birds, in the sky the skylarks were numerous I hadn’t seen so many for some years. There were swifts, swallows, grasshopper warblers, kingfishers, whitethroat’s, yellow hammers, on a power cable were some fifty redpoll, Matt’s knowledge of birds both by sight and bird song was impressive to say the least. His knowledge of the countryside, rivers and marshes was encyclopaedic to say the least.

                                                We Raked and Baited Our Swims     

As we walked along the river bank we spotted several big shoals of roach motionless a few inches under the water surface. Having picked out two swims we raked then baited with damped crumb holding lots of hemp with some grains of corn. As we slowly walked back upstream, we spotted various damselflies and dragonflies, again Matt’s knowledge was tremendous, as he pointed out several species noting small points of interest that designated the species. Back in the cottage Matt made sausage and bacon rolls, which I declined preferring cheese and tomato sandwiches with several mugs of tea. Afterwards we sat outside in the garden watching the rabbits at play with the sound of bird song all around us, our own private orchestra, while we discussed the fishing prospects for the next day on the river, Matt had a couple of Ales while I had my usual mug of tea, then it was off to bed as we were having an early morning start.

                                                                         Dawn Start

We were up just before dawn while I sorted out tea and toast Matt loaded baskets and rods into his car, it was a ten minute drive to the waterside, both of us had high expectations as is usual with anglers at the start of a new season, hoping the tench would feed, though last year they started spawning on the third day of the season. With baskets over our shoulder, rods in hand we walked downstream to our pre baited swims, sadly no bubble could be seen, though we were hopeful. A Good Roach / Bream for Matt I tackle up with a Milwards Swim Master matched with my Richard Carter Avon classic 5lb line, as the water varied in depth from 10 to 14 feet deep I chose a sliding float taking 3 AAA shot with a size 10 hook. Having checked the depth I set the float to fish the bait on the bottom with a six inch tail then baited with a grain of corn, after throwing in a few grains I cast at the same time so the baited hook will descend with the free offerings. Within minutes I had my first roach nothing big probably 8 inches what we call a “Goer”, this was followed by several more roach of similar size.

                                                                Big Roach Bream Hybrid

After an hour or so, I went to see how Matt was doing, finding him hooked up to a hard fighting fish, as we both got our first glimpse of the fish we though “Big Roach” we then had a better look, it was a hybrid but it certainly put up a good fight. The fish didn’t give an inch, picking up the net I watched in silence as the fight progressed, with well-balanced tackle in experienced hand, I didn’t doubt who would be the winner, soon it was close enough for me to slip the net under the fish. We estimated the roach bream hybrid around three and a half pounds, after a couple of pictures we watched the fish swim off strongly. We continued to fish until around 1000 hrs, then went off to the car for a well-deserved brew.

                                                             Matt Gets A Good Perch 

Back at the waterside we both chose to fish a different swims, apart from a few small roach, that was my lot, but Matt didn’t disappoint, apart from some roach, he had a good perch on float fished worm pushing 1.75 lbs. After lunch we walked the top field seeing several shoals of roach, most were around 6-8 inches with the odd good fish below the main shoal. Despite the bright sunshine we thought there was a good chance of catching by fishing close to the pads, having put in some light ground bait and hemp we rested the swims, back in the car park we had a brew while chatting about the wildlife. Lost Tench Back in our chosen swims the fish were willing to feed, as we caught roach and perch on worms and corn, my better roach around 12 ounces were caught on punched bread, I did get the satisfaction of watching a couple of decent size tench roll in the far bank pads. Pike proved a nuisance as they chased my hooked fish. Matt fishing several swims below me caught roach and perch but lost what he felt was a good tench which went into the pads, he also got a great shot of a dragon fly as it settled on his float. Once again there was plenty of bird life including yellow hammers and skylarks, I had a grasshopper warbler behind me mimicking the ratchet on my centre pin reel, Hungarian bullfrogs were making quite a racket in the pads and rushes, around 2000 hrs we packed up. Before leaving we baited our swims, also a swim for Russ Shaw who would join us tomorrow, then we headed off to the cottage.

                                                               We All Caught Roach

Tuesday 19th June Today we had the company of Russ who met us around 0530 hrs at the gate, what a lovely person, it was a pleasure meeting him, only having corresponded by e-mail, after driving down the track to the parking area, we walked Russ along the river so he could get a feel for the place, I pointed out the swim we had baited up the evening before, which he was happy with, then back at the car we got our gear together then walked off to our swims, Matt in the second swim, Russ in fifteen while I went further upstream to probably number twenty. We fished on until around 0900 hrs, all of us catching roach and perch, Matt lost a big carp that ripped line of his centre pin at a fast rate of knots, while Russ lost what was probably a tench in the pads. Every time I had the roach feeding a pike would suddenly lung in grab one but disturbed the shoal. At around 0900 hrs we headed off to the car where I served breakfast cereals either Weetabix or shredded wheat with Yorkshire gold tea, which Matt has taken a fancy to, when he mentioned it to his wife Allison, the next day on a shopping trip Allison got a box of this delightful tea, certainly a caring wife.

                                                              Tea and Cake

Back on the river we caught more roach and perch, Matt caught a couple of pike, I had one on a grain of corn. Russ was enjoying himself, soon it was tea and cake time, the cake was made by 13 year old Lottie the daughter of Russ, it was a pear cake, I couldn’t resist having two pieces. For the last hour Russ fished the Fence Swim. At around 1700 hrs we packed up as Russ and Matt were returning home and I would be on my own in the cottage. The next day I would fish with John Woods President of the LAA, then Wednesday evening Tony Booker would arrive for two days.



Matt with big roach bream hybrid

Dragon fly on float

Matt Martin and Russ with cake

Russ fishing the fence swim

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Martin James Fishing
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