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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


10/10/2018 - First Visit to River Rother

Putting final touches to netting on the bridge


First Visit to River Rother


Recently after some research and advice from TFF members I chose to join Petworth & Bognor AC, on a recent visit to Hove near Brighton I took the opportunity of an offer from Steve Penticost a committee member of the club to join him on the River Rother. Steve was kind enough to pick me up for the trip to the river, where my first job was to put down some chicken wire on a foot bridge making it safer to walk on under wet conditions, while I was doing this work, Steve shot some pictures for the club newsletter and Facebook. I then spotted a stile without chicken wire so this was quickly covered making it safer to use in wet and icy conditions. soon both jobs were completed.While I was doing the work Steve told me about other club waters, including the Rive Arun which offered good roach fishing, work finished we retired to the Swan Inn some two hundred yards from the river for lunch.

Back on the River

An hour later we are back on the river this time to try and catch a chub for the camera, my tackle consisted on a 1950’s Abbey Avon matched with a 50’s Mitchell 300 with 6lb line to which I attached a size 4 barbless hook, as we walked the beat I put in some mashed bread in all the likely looking chub swims. Back in the first swim, my plan of action was to give each swim fifteen twenty minutes. Sitting down among the thick riverside reeds, nettles and brambles I baited with a chunk of crust, then cast towards some bulrushes the opposite bank, I have had many good fish over the years by targeting bulrushes even it its just a small group. Fifteen minutes later after searching all the water in front of me I moved off downstream, I had nothing in the second spot after some twenty minutes, I was on the move again to my third choice swim, I had a large bush ten yards downstream over hanging the water, on the other bank opposite my downstream bank I had another large bush also some reeds. That’s a chub swim I thought!, I sat for some fifteen minutes flicking in some mashed bread with the occasional piece of bread flake. I then sat quietly for some twenty minutes before making a cast with a chunk of crust on the hook. I slowly worked the bait through the swim, as I did so I felt a light tap followed by a slow pull, lifting the rod I set the hook into my first chub, soon it was netted a fish about 2lbs, this fish was retained in the net a Steve wanted a picture. Next cast I had a similar size fish so released the first fish. I then rested the swim for some minutes, just feeding in a small amount of mashed bread and the occasional piece of flake.

A Better Chub

Baiting with crust I made a cast towards the opposite bank so I could bump the bait downstream allowing it to rest every few feet for a minute or so, as the bait went under the far bank I had the perfect chub bite as the cane tip pulled slowly round, a bite that I couldn’t miss, the answering strike set the clutch on my Mitchell 300 reel, not actually purring, but as my friends say “It sounded like a coffee grinder” as line was pulled from the spool, though I have used cane rods for 75 years I still find something delightful in playing a fish. Yes, I also use carbon rod, but to feel a fish on a cane rod is so different and delightful. Eventually I netted a chub around of 3lbs plus, that will do for a picture. I walked upstream to Steve with the news who immediately picked up his camera then walked downstream to my swim, after a quick pic we watched the fish swim off strongly. As Steve hadn’t caught I suggested he fish my swim, as he settled in I moved off downstream to another baited spot where I quickly caught three more chub, all around the 2lbs mark. As Steve had to long drive as he was taking me bank to Hove before he went off home. On my first day fishing the Petworth & Bognor AC, I’d enjoyed myself and the company of Steve and other members.


Joining the club is quite easy, I joined joined by visiting Arun Angling Angmering 01903-770099. You can learn more by visiting the clubs excellent website


Chicken wire on the stile helps make it safe for walking on

My best fish during a short session

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Martin James Fishing
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