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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


10/07/2018 - A Peaceful but Exciting Morning

It was around 0530 hrs when I arrived on the river, in my shoulder bag I had a loaf of bread, around my neck were a pair of Swarovski 8.5 x 42 which I find perfect for bird and fish spotting, they are also good in low light conditions, matched with my polaroid lenses they give me a bit better clarity when looking in the water. After walking the top beat, where I was surprised at the large number of rabbits outside the riverside warren, presumably they didn’t expect anyone to be about, as not one of them bothered to bolt. Further downstream I watched a heron fishing, these iconic waterside birds with their rapier like beak very rarely miss their prey, this proved true today as within ten minutes I watched it strike then in seconds the bird had an eel wriggling in its beak, not for long as it disappeared down its throat. An hour later I was back in the cabin enjoying buttered toast with a mug of coffee. Looking back over the events of the morning, I realised how lucky I was to be an angler / naturalist for some 70 odd years, a lot of this goes back to my two grandfathers who during the war years taught me so much. I must mention the late Dick Walker who had a great influence on my life as an angler from the first two features he wrote in Fishing Gazette on carp fishing under the name of Water Rail in I believe 1949, he not only taught me so much about angling, but more important he made me a thinking angler and not follow others sheep like.

Swirling Feeding Chub

After washing up and tidying up the cabin, I went off downstream, after about a mile walk, I crossed over a stile into the nettles brambles and reeds so I walk slowly back upstream scanning every inch of the river as I moved. Apart from two lots of ducklings towards the far bank which were dashing around as they spotted another fly or other succulent morsel, I didn’t see any other birds, it was just a very peaceful scene. I must have walked about half a mile, in some places crawling on hands and knees to get under some riverside bushes. I then spotted a swirling fish, followed quickly by several other swirling fish, my binoculars soon focused on many chub between a pound and three pounds.

Chub Take Bread

I stood sentry like watching these chub with some excitement, after several minutes I threw in some match box size pieces of crust, immediately they were swamped by hungry chub, in minutes the bread had gone, I threw in some large pieces of flake which I lightly squeezed so it would slowly sink, the chub were in a feeding frenzy, it bit like the piranha’s I had watch on many occasions in South America, quickly all scraps of food had gone. I spent ten or minutes scanning the water, finding more chub both up and down stream, some I reckon were around the 4lb mark. I then threw in more bread, but this time in single hook size pieces in the hope of seeing if there were some real big chub of 5lb plus. I tried counting how many fish were scattered over many yards of river, from close in to my bank, to the far bank, both up and down stream. It was impossible to count so many fish but I put this very big shoal of fish in hundreds and not dozens. In the next couple of hours I did spot several big fish which has really got me excited for the coming autumn and winter months. Eventually I carried on my walk upstream seeing the odd big fish, it seemed as if every fish for a long distance both up and down stream had gathered in the area. Back in the cabin I put the kettle on, then made some buttered toast. Sitting outside the cabin enjoying my lunch I looked back over the events of the morning, another good day at the waterside.

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Martin James Fishing
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