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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


11/02/2019 - Chub for Mick Holgate

My end rig with baited hook

Chub for Mick Holgate

I couldn’t fish on Saturday the river had seven foot of dirty coloured water on, the weather was awful with heavy rain and gale force winds, several big branches were blown off the trees, I chose not to fish in these conditions, without the wind I would have fished as one can always find a small area of quiet water where fish will seek sanctuary and perhaps take a bait. Sunday was out as Kate’s daughter had arranged a celebration for her 80th birthday. Today Monday was a windless sunny warm day, I had a dental appointment at 1000 hrs then I was free to roam the river bank as I do most days. I chose to fish Mick Holgate’s swim to see if I could catch a fish or two for him. The river looked ideal with an extra three feet of water on with a nice colour, I got a water temperature reading of 41-42 degrees F.

Rolling meat was my choice

I couldn’t make up my mind if I should trot the swim, feeding with mashed bread with flake or punched bread on the hook, or should I float fish with a big lobworm, but after some thought I chose to fish rolling meat, I chose a Kennet perfection matched with my 12 spoke centre pin my children had given me for my 80th birthday, which had some 50 yards of 6lb line to which I attached a sizer 6 barbless hook with a Palomar knot, with the extra water I needed some weight I chose two LG shot wrapped in plasticine, after a few trial runs taking off small pieces of plasticine as needed I found I could work the baited hook well downstream under the overhanging alder tree. My end rig as Pic 1

Chub First Cast

Making my first cast, I had the bait moving down the swim nicely, just occasionally having to lift the rod to fee the bait from a rock, it had travelled some twenty yards, I felt a savage pull, then pulled in the opposite direction, fish number one was hooked then landed after a spirited scrap a chub around three and a half pounds, “That will do Mick for starters” I said to myself. In the next cast the bait had travelled about ten yards when I had another chub of similar size, this was followed by some fifteen minutes with no action. Suddenly the swim come alive in six cast I had six fish four chub similar to the previous chub and two trout around 2lbs. I then had a brew with a cheese sandwich, thinking this is turning out to be something special, no doubt the fish wanted to feed after three days of high water.

A Good Chub

Having had my brew and sandwich I rebaited with three or four pieces of meat threaded on the hook and line, I find this is far better that just a single cube of meat which most anglers use. I try to use something different and hope the fish don’t got spooked. My cast this time was slightly further out in the stronger flow, also I reckon the fish might have become wary on the line I had been fishing. After casting I quickly realised I needed a bit more weight, bringing in the tackle I added more plasticine then made a trial cast, I was more than happy with the change. Rebaiting I cast out then worked the bait down the new run I could feel the more powerful water on the line, the bait had travelled virtually to the end of the swim when I got a powerful pull, as I set the hook the rod took on a battle curve, line was stripped from the reel against the pressure of the check and my finger, some twenty plus yards of line were taken in this powerful move, several thoughts went through my mind is it a barbel salmon or early sea trout? Slowly the powerful rush downstream ended with a heavy weight hugging the bottom, “Chub” I thought and so it proved as I slowly worked the fish back upstream, then I got my first glimpse of the dorsal fin, “That’s a good chub” I said to myself. I the net it looked a very good four pounder, on the scales it went 5lb 3 ounces, a bird watcher had watched me catch the fish so I asked him if he could take a pic for me which he did. Just after catching the fish I called Mark to get some post codes on the River Soar for a coming trip. I was telling him about the chub and what I thought were some poor pictures, but on arriving home I was more than happy with them. In fact as I was talking to Mark I had a bite but it felt like a small trout so I carried on with our conversation. I then fished on for another hour catching five more chub, two of 4lb plus the other three 3 pounders so ended one of those special days.

My best chub

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Martin James Fishing
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