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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


09/05/2019 - Life on the river

some 1920,s 30's float winders


April was probably one of the coldest months I can remember for years, we have had weeks of easterly winds, today as I write in early May the wind is from the south east, on the last day of April we had a pollution incident, losing lots of grayling, trout, minnows and trout fry also 3 salmon around the 10-12 lb mark , now these are the ones we have seen, what was in the deep pools we will never know, as usual the response from the EA was abysmal, I and several members called the hot line 0800 80 70 60 on Tuesday 30th April but no one called me until late on Thursday morning. I and the other callers had asked to be kept updated on any action but we were fobbed off with excuses.


With the arrival of May I can hopefully look forward to enjoying some dry fly fishing for brown trout, yes I have been able to fish an upstream nymph since March 15th which I have done in the past, though often I give up after a couple of hours as I find it quite boring and often easy to catch a fish or two. It’s something I have do in between the many jobs as a river keeper. In early March we had a big flood that ripped out what water crowfoot we had left from previous floods. I’d spent some fifteen years trying to bring the river back to something that resembles a healthy coarse and trout water, by planting water crowfoot, tying in bundles of faggots, putting in fly boards, raking silt off gravel beds, doing monthly kick samples to see how the aquatic life is increasing or decreasing, it’s usually the latter, anchoring old tree trunks tight to the bank to create a refuges for small fish from goosanders, putting up perches over small stream and pools where minnows gather to make it easy for the kingfishers, building croys using just a crow bar, sweat and often aching joints This year the Grannum hatch was the worst I have known in my 70 odd years of fly fishing, not only did the hatch last just 3 days the few that did hatch off were tiny compared with Grannum’s of previous years.


I was hoping with the arrival of May I might get the chance to cast a dry fly, but sadly just few olives upright and large dark olives with some land based hawthorn flies, this latter pattern often comes off in swarms, but so far the hatch has been sparse, with just an occasional fish rising, certainly not enough flies to keep the fish looking skywards. Hopefully we will get some warm overcast days with a light wind from the south or south west with some decent rainfalls to keep our rivers and streams flowing but as I write is cold and blustery with just light showers.I was fortunate to be given some wooden float winders by my friend Paul, they are so much nicer than the plastic ones, so of these wooden winders will take up to 5 sets of tackle, ideal when fishing with a pole for a quick change.

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Martin James Fishing
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