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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


28/11/2018 - Two Different Days

My best chub at 4lb 8 ounces


Tuesday David and myself were greeted by a very cold North Easterly wind blowing straight down the river into our faces, we decided to fish a weir pool, checking the water temperature I got a reading of 38 degrees F. David targeted the chub with legered meat, while I was going to try for a perch, with float fished lobworm, feeding chopped worms and red gentles. Conditions were atrocious to say the least, but I have a saying if you don’t try you have no chance of catching, though I must admit I thought our chances were very slim, but persist I would. After some three hours of fishing while being hammered by the icy cold wind, I could see David was suffering from the conditions, I said “Would you like to fish another swim, also we could make a brew” The answer was a very positive “Yes” After a brew with toasted cheese and pickle sandwiches, we drove to another area, despite some shelter from the wind the temperature didn’t feel any warmer. We had about two hours fishing without any sign of a bite, David was getting concerned about the trees we were sitting under, at times the wind blowing through the trees made it sound like a jet aircraft was close overhead. David usually fishes for trout in the warmer months, so wasn’t used to such wintery conditions, I could see he was suffering, so in fairness I suggested “We should call it a day”, which he quickly agreed with, then he was off with his gear to the car.

Next Day The Temperature Was On The Rise

Looking out of the bedroom window I was greeted by thick cloud with low light conditions just what I wanted, a while later I then heard the weather forecast, it mentioned winds 40-50mph, 60 mph in some areas from the South West with an increase in temperatures, that was good enough for me. Its times like this back in the 50’s and 60’s when such condition in the Autumn had us grabbing our code poles and heading off to Dungeness, Deal, Dover and Ramsgate and other cod fishing spots often, leaving our girlfriends stranded in the milk bars, or as on one occasion in the dance hall, such was the urge to get on a beach cod fishing. Overnight the river height had increased from very low and gin clear river to one having an extra two feet of water, with the overnight rain it would continue to rise. After a shower followed by a bowl of porridge, I was in the garage, chucking two tins of meat and a bag of cheese paste in the car, along with a box of lobs from the fridge I was ready to go. Within half an hour I was pulling into the car park. It was hard pushing the car door open against the strong wind, outside my trilby hat was quickly lifted off my head, as I chased it across the field it seemed to be getting further away until it come to rest alongside the wire netting fence. Back at the car I grabbed the rod and tackle bag then headed into the shelter of the trees, I made up two rods, one for float fishing the other for legering, I had three swims where I thought I might catch today, even more so with warmer conditions with a rise in the water temperature, with the added bonus of extra water with some colour. Head bowed into the wind I headed off across the meadow then downstream for about twelve hundred yards, to a swim where I hoped I might catch some roach, either on cheese paste or a lobworm tail, though the swim was ruffled by the upstream wind it did look promising. I also had a hawthorn bush which offered me some cover.

                   A  Surprise Dace Catch

I put in a ball of bread and bran roughly the size of a golf ball, then checked the depth after a few runs through the swim, I was happy to find a depth of about six feet, but also noticed lots of leaves going through. Baiting with a small pear shaped piece of cheese paste on a size ten hook. I fished for about thirty, forty minutes before I had my first bit, not a roach but a nice dace pushing twelve inches, “That’s a good one” I thought as I returned it to the swim, in the next eight casts I had a good dace each time. All the time the river was rising probably six to eight inches from the time I arrived to catching those dace, also a lot more leaves were coming through the swim, the quick rise on river is typical on spate rivers. I fished on for another thirty minutes with no more bites but a lot more leaves, so decided it was time to seek another swim. I walked upriver against the wind and rain until I reached an area where a brook flowed into the river, from previous knowledge the bed of the river and brook was gravel with deposits of silty sand along with a few rocks the size of cricket balls, another advantage was the overhanging big oak with its roots going deep down into the water, which also offered some shelter.

Chub Were My Quarry

This swim was a typical chub one, I changed the hook size to a 6, bait was going to be a big lob, I started off cutting up a dozen lobs which were mixed into the bread and bran mix, before three balls the size of a golf ball were dropped a few feet upstream in the brook every five minutes, this ground bait would be pushed down stream and out into the river naturally. I sat for some time weighing up my options if the first one of trotting a worm didn’t work.

Five Casts Five Nice Chub

Some fifteen minutes later I baited with a big lob hooked in the head the dropped it into the flow, it travelled about ten yards then buried, the strike connected with a good fish, which certainly gave a good display of its fighting qualities in the fast flowing, eventually it was netted, on the scales it weighed 4lb 8 ounces, I said to myself “Yes, now let’s have another one?” next cast another one around 4lbs, a smaller fish so no need to weigh it. In the next hour or so I had seven more chub between 3lbs and 4lbs, two out of season trout along with a perch around the pound mark, this was followed by a bite less hour or more so I called it a day. I will be back tomorrow when I expect to see perhaps four or five feet of water, but I won’t be deterred, such is winter fishing, its better than having no water in the river as we did this past summer, why not go out and make the best of river fishing?.


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Martin James Fishing
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