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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


05/03/2020 - My Following Four Days From Storm Dennis

All the time I was house sitting I had the pleasure of seeing these lovely water hens, otherwise known as moorhens



Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday 17th 18th 19th 20th February, just after first light on Monday morning I sorted out Dusk’s breakfast while she was eating I had a brew, we then went outside for a two hour, training session with Dusk the black lab retrieving dummies from the reed fringed island also in thick bracken and bushes working to whistle and hand signals. I put dummies under a foot or so of leaves, at no time did Dusk see me place the dummies, but she found them every time. It amazes me the energy these dogs have, she never seems to slow down, just carries on roaming over the land through thick bracken, bushes over fencing and streams, working on the lake retrieving dummies, doing what was asked of her. Back in the house I dried off Dusk, then had a shower and breakfast before Kate and I went off to Bury for bread, newspaper etc. Back home around 1400 hrs I then spent an hour clearing fallen branches and other rubbish from the stream and culverts, I also made a slow walk around the lake to see if any fish were showing, with nothing to see, I made my way back to the house to read.

Tuesday was a similar day to Monday Just after 0700 hrs I had a walk of about two miles for the Daily Mail, apart from time spent outside, doing some hedge cutting, I used the boat to remove a lot of twigs, small branches and other rubbish that had been blown in the water. On the island I cut back some of the reeds and brambles. Not a single roach was seen on the surface as they usually are, not a carp showed all was very quiet in the lake.

Wednesday morning with no wind or rain, first job was off for the paper along with Dusk, it was also time for some obedient training for Dusk, back home I fed Dusk, then had my breakfast, it was now time to walk around the lake, the surface didn't have a ripple smooth as glass, roach were topping, it was time to do some float fishing. I made up an 11 foot rod, a small fixed spool reel with 3lb breaking strain line, I attached a small canal float waggler fashion, taking two BB shot to lock the float and three number 4's down the line with a size 16 barbless hook, having made up some punched bread, I collected it from the freezer, I was ready to go, before starting I threw in two pigeon egg size lumps of crumb that exploded about mid water. First cast the float didn't settle, it just moved across the surface, I'd got a "goer" roach (8 inches) In the next fifteen minutes or so I had six more "Goer" roach. Then from know where I was hit by a squall of gale force wind with heavy rain, a violent gust of wind tore up the lake creating waves some with miniature white caps, no longer was it fishable, at the back of me a branch broke off a big alder tree, it was time to leave and go back to the house. Apart from taking the dog out to retrieve some dummies later in the afternoon, I stopped in the house reading as the rain didn't let up until well after dark.

A Wet And Windy Day

Thursday morning around 0730 hrs I set off for my 2 mile walk with Dusk to collect the paper, the rain was sheeting down, in the intense rain, visibility was around 40 yards there were times when the rain drops caused a tingling effect on my hands, numerous rivulets of water were rushing down the banks of the country lane creating large pools of water on the road in places. Eventually after a walk lasting some 1 hour and ten minutes I was back home. The paper in my ruck bag was in a mess so I laid it on one of the radiators to hopefully dry out, thankfully my waterproofs had protected me fairly well though there were a couple of small damp patches on my shirt sleeves. Back home I dried off the dog, then sorted out my waterproofs to dry off, before getting myself some breakfast. On and off for the next few hours I sat looking out of the study window and still the rain hammered the lake surface, it didn't look as if fishing would be very good in the current conditions, but I would certainly try later on. Catching Roach and Perch Around 1400 hrs, the rain ceased, I then noticed a small area of blue sky it didn't last long as the clouds full of rain moved in again this time there was often a short period of hail, eventually at around 1500 hrs the rain ceased the sky brightened with an odd area of blue sky, the wind eased, time to take the Dusk out for some water training, we had an hour working in some thick under growth also retrieving dummies from the thick reeds around the lake. Back at the house, having I dried off the dog she was given her food.

Time was now just after 1600 hrs, time to try and catch some fish, the wind had dropped there was just a light ripple across the lake, I had a box of worms, also some red gentles and bread punch, as roach were to be my main quarry I chose a 2BB canal float fished waggler fashion, as I wanted to sink the line to mitigate the surface flow. I chose to fish the bank where the wind had been blowing into as I feel roach, rudd and perch like carp do tend to follow the wind, others might think differently, but I have found in over 70 plus years of angling that has often been the case. The swim I chose was where the lilies had died back, there was just the odd cabbage leaf. The depth was around 4 feet, after throwing in a good handful of red gentles I baited the size 16 barbless hook with two gentles the made an underhand cast dropping the bait some twelve feet out, a quick turn of the handle had the line below the water surface, within a minute I had my first roach around 7 inches, quickly followed by five more fish of similar size, these were followed by three perch all "Goers" (9 inches is the size) best probably 11 inches. I then had a quiet spell for some fifteen minutes, then the roach moved in. As the light started to go the water was flat calm with an oily look about it, fish seemed to be topping everywhere, a pair of moorhens were continually crossing the water adding some colour to the scene, at the same time I was now getting a bite every cast, nothing big but I was enjoying myself just seeing the float dip and feeling a fish on the end of the line. As the light failed I couldn’t see my float so I packed in, I reckon I had probably twenty roach and half a dozen perch, best roach was probably 8 ounces. If the weather had been more mild I would have fished on by a torch light beamed on the float but as I was really feeling the cold, it was back to the house for a shower, then we sat down to cottage pie for tea, while others might have a glass of wine or beer, I choose to have a mug of Yorkshire Gold tea, what more could I wish for on a day that started so grim.


The heron would always show up during the day

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Martin James Fishing
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