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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


25/08/2019 - Another Day Another Place

I I enjoyed catching chub like this one


Arriving home late on Sunday afternoon I cleaned all my gear, washed bait and lunch boxes then sorted out gentles and worms I had left over, then put the bait in the fridge set at 40 degrees F, knowing I will have some bait for my next trip. The next day Monday I was on my local river around 1100 hrs planning to fish for the trout, but conditions were not suitable too much water, also a very muddy colour, certainly not good for fishing a dry fly. I then spent a couple of hours pulling balsam and watching my friend David fish a salmon fly through some pools in the hope of as salmon but it didn’t happen. After lunch of toasted cheese and pickle sandwiches with mugs of tea, we both decide fishing wasn’t on today so departed for home.

Tuesday morning I checked the river gauge for height of water at 0600 hrs, thinking there could be a chance of a sea trout, after a quick shower followed by a bowl of porridge, I was ready to go, grabbing a box of red gentles from the fridge, tackle bag rods and landing net from the garage, I put the lot in my car then headed off to the river. The car park was empty, I had the choice of pools. I was going to fly fish for sea trout for a couple of hours, then drive to another stretch of river to float fish in the hope of finding some roach, dace or chub, if I’m lucky perhaps all three.

A Brace of Sea Trout

After getting kitted out in chest high waders and boots, I put together a 7 weight rod matched with a mini sink tip line, it’s a line I have had for some years, the sink tip is just five feet ideal when I want to fish deeper in the pools, I chose an old favourite fly a size 8 Richard Walker beaded mayfly nymph, it’s a pattern that has been very successful over many years for both salmon and sea trout. I fished Badger and Fox pools, getting two firm hits in the latter, both fish weighing an estimated 2 lbs I was more than happy, both fish were chrome bright, it was also nice to see them swim off strongly. I fished for around three hours then decided enough was enough, then headed off to another stretch of river.

Chub and Dace

After a fifteen minute drive to another stretch of river, I parked up by my friends farmhouse knowing my car and contents would be safe, my float fishing outfit was all ready, all I had to do was take it from the rod case then put the joints together, it was the outfit I’d used on the Soar last week, I had no reason to change. Chucking a box of gentles along with a few slices of bread along with a box containing shot, hooks, plummet and disgorgers into my shoulder bag, picking up rod and landing net I made the half mile walk to the river knowing I wouldn’t have anyone fishing the , it was all mine. I chose a swim with lots of over hanging trees on the far bank, just a few willows and stunted alders on my bank. The river was wind swept with lots of foam, on the other side of the river, tight to the bank was a small foam covered slack, on the riverside of this slack I had a nice crease ideal for trotting, no problem fishing the area using a Wallis cast which is so efficient, far better than with a fixed spool reel, in fact I don’t believe you can efficiently trot a float through the swim, yes you will catch, but not as you would if you used a centre pin reel. Judging the depth at four feet I made a few trial casts running the tackle through the swim making a mental note of where the hook got hung up, I could then hold back hard, then hopefully run the float through, several casts later, having made a few adjustments of about three inches, I felt happy with my set up.

With the water pushing through quite fast I fired a pouch of red gentles well upstream then repeated the process every few minutes for the next twenty minutes. Having got everything settled, my plan was to stand up in the water’s edge to fish, I baited a size 14 barbless hook with three red gentles, then made a cast across the river, holding the rod high then eased the float through the swim, half way down it dipped, striking I connected with a chub about ten inches what we called a “Goer” unhooking the fish I placed it back in the water, then rebaited making cast, this time the float travelled about three feet then dipped, another chub of similar size to the first was landed and returned. I had a fish on every swim through for the next fifteen casts, I then started to hook just one fish in every two or three casts, I was missing a lot of bites, ending up with just a skin of the gentles. Making some slight adjustment to the bottom shot, my hooking rate improved. I was also getting some slightly better fish around twelve inches, also I was now catching dace many around then ten inch mark, both chub and dace were in an immaculate condition, no torn mouths, ripped of lips no missing scales. In around three hours of fishing I reckon I must have caught sixty or more chub and dace, what did surprised me, I didn’t catch one trout which to be honest was a pleasure, as I hate catching trout when I’m coarse fishing. With my right arm causing me a lot of pain I decided to go off home, it had been a good few hours fishing which included those sea trout. No fishing Wednesday as I have an hospital appointment, but I will be on the River Soar Thursday for three days.

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Martin James Fishing
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