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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


27/06/2019 - The final day of our week on the Beult

Quality lob worms produce fish

Friday 21st June was the last day of our stay in the delightful village of Hunton and fishing the River Beult, we were up and out of the cottage quite early compared with other mornings, on the way to the river Brendan and I stopped off to pick up a few boxes of strawberries and cherries to take home. Back on the river Paul chose a swim close to the car park as he was going to be leaving around lunchtime, while we went off upstream, the weather was warm and sunny, the river today had cleared slightly with hardly any flow after yesterday’s perfect conditions when we were able to trot a bait downstream for the first time this season. We all chose to float fish using centre pin reels, with cane rods, Paul used a Sowerbutts, Brendan a Youngs Octopus 14 foot which I was most impressed with, it reminded me of the rods Mr Clarkson built for the river Beult in the late 1940’s 50’s when not working at Shorts Brothers, I used one of my Milwards Swim Master’s.

My first job was to spend some ten minutes plumbing the swim, I found there were two drop offs, one immediately in front of the pads where the depth went from 6 feet to an average of 8 feet, then some twenty feet further out, I found another drop off about 2 feet deeper which stretched across the river to the far bank pads. After making up a large bowl of mashed bread with lots of hemp and sprinkling of bran to hold the lot together, so the ground bait would sink fairly quickly then hopefully break up within three feet of the bottom. I put in 4 tangerine size balls of ground bait, with a new bait dropper I had acquired which I reckon was made pre World War 2 (it would be nice if a TFF reader could put a date etc on this bait dropper) which I used to put in a pint of red gentles then some 30 finely chopped lobworms.

Today I was using an orange topped quill float with double rubber, so if I needed to change a float colour as the shadows on the water changed in the evening I could do so quickly. I plan to use gentles and worm, or worm and corn cocktail baits so chose a wide gape size 10 barbless hook. Having ground baited then set up my tackle I left the swim to rest then went off for a brew, walking down river I had a call from Paul saying “I have a good bream” it was time to get Paul in front of the lens, so quickly dashed off upstream to for my camera. I arrived to see Paul with a beaming smile a good bream nestling in the net which I put at 5lbs, on the scales it weighed 4lb 14ounces and well deserved. It was an excellent way for Paul to end his trip, he had certainly been a great team player who would be welcome on our future trips. After saying our good byes, then having a brew, Brendan and myself headed off to our swims. Half an hour later I heard a shout from Brendan, grabbing my camera I headed off down stream arriving just as Brendan netted a nice tench of 3lb 12 ounces. Apart from the tench Brenda had a big catch of roach, several good rudd, some perch and eels. Things were certainly looking good if it could get any better after the fishing we had this past week.

Back in my swim I started off catching roach with several “Goers”, more important was the float kept disappearing which certainly put a smile on my face, after some thirty minutes I hooked something that could pull the string but quickly realised I’d got an eel, after a bit of give and take I pulled the fish across the surface into the net, it was hooked nicely in the bottom lip which was easily removed, lowering the net in the water I watched the fish swim free, a great advantage of these latex nets they don’t hold the slime of eels, tench and bream, also by float fishing directly the float moved I set the hook, so most of the time eels and pike that like worms are usually hooked in the lip or the scissors. So you rarely get bite offs.

In the next few hours I caught another nine eels, a 3lb tench, a bream of around 4lbs with three smaller fish, also more roach with some rudd. Every half hour or so the swim died so I moved further out, often in front of the opposite bank pads, where I hooked what I though was a good tench but got busted off in the pads after a five minute tussle. As the sun got lower over the opposite bank the barn owl put in an appearance, it was also difficult to see the float even though I was wearing Polaroid glasses. In the fading light Brendan and myself walked back to the car both of us saying “It’s been a great weeks fishing” Back in the cottage we had something to eat, while I washed and dried dishes plates etc, then washed the floor, cleaned the grill and oven, Brendan sorted out the car, then put out the rubbish bin. Finally We then sat down me with a brew, Brendan with a lager as we sat talking about our fishing exploits. Picture captions 2621 and 2623 . Pic 2592 Paul with his 4lb 14 ounce bream 2612 




Paul with his 4 lb 14 ounce bream

This old bait dropper is perfectly made, it never let me down all the week

Brendan with his 3lb 12 ounce tench

The last view of the Village of Hunton sign until September

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Martin James Fishing
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