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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


19/06/2020 - Back On The River

  Following my exciting days fishing on the estate lake, today I chose to fish a river, with chub as my quarry, for some reason I thought it was Sunday it was up around 0500hrs, after a shower I went into the kitchen to make a bowl of porridge, looking in the fridge and not the cupboard for my bowl, having measured out the porridge, I opened the oven door to get the milk. Realising it’s in the fridge, measuring out the milk I placed the bowl in the microwave, then went through to my rod cupboard taking out Chevin rod also a small fixed spool reel along with a small bag containing some sausage meat paste, small box of hooks and LG shot. Back in the kitchen for my breakfast, I hadn’t switched on the microwave it seemed my mind was in a right mess. Breakfast over I went into the garage putting the gear in the car and taking some cheese paste from the freezer. Back indoors I switched on the radio then thought it doesn’t sound like a Sunday programme it must be Saturday, switching on my laptop I could see it was Friday 19th.

On The River

Half an hour after leaving home I was on the river, it has always been hard to find a safe parking spot, but some years ago the local farmer stopped for a chat, after a few minutes he said “Are you the fisherman off the BBC”? “That’s me” I said he went on to tell me how all his family enjoyed the programmes, I thanked him for his compliment then politely said “Would it be possible to park in his yard” the answer was an immediate “Yes” Two days later I sent his wife as bouquet of flowers also each Christmas he gets a bottle of top brandy, his wife a bouquet flowers. A year later I was asked to be the guest speaker at the lady farmers annual dinner, that opened lots of opportunities for fishing lots of water.Taking my gear out of the car I headed off downstream a walk of around a mile, I’d gone half that distanced when I started getting unsteady on my legs, I needed to find another swim, coming to a gap between two willow bushes, I stopped for a look, upstream was a fast run of water that angled towards my bank, the river then shallowed up to around three feet at the most I could see the pebbles and gravel on the bottom. I sat watching the area for some thirty minutes perhaps longer, eventually I spotted a chub about 3lbs, I dropped in a lump of sausage meat paste the size of a bantams egg, it stopped every couple of minutes as it trundled downstream, it had gone about five yards when the chub moved across the flow to intercept it, then out of nowhere a barbel about 5lbs grabbed the offering, I could just imagine the chub thinking “that was my food”. I put in two bits of bait, both were quickly taken by the barbel, it seemed as if it had taken over the area. This spot will do today, no more than ten feet behind me was a big alder tree with branches extending out over the water it would also offer a covering as rain was forecast.

Barbel and Chub

Having laid out my tackle and bait I lightly pinched on an LG shot 18 inches from the size 4 hook which I wrapped in plasticine, then sat back, after putting in five pieces of sausage meat paste I sat quietly watching the bed of the river for signs of fish. Every now and again a chub approached grabbed a bait, it moved off a few inches before dropping the bait, moved away a few inches then lay there in the stream pectoral fins keeping it on station, its mouth opening and shutting. opening. Then two more chub moved in, as the bait lifted off the bottom slightly moving downstream the first fish immediately moved a few inches taking the bait between its lips and moved away. A few more bits of bait were put in upstream, as they come in sight from the deeper water the chub were really getting excited soon all baits were taken, I now had half a dozen chub around 3lbs in the area, it was time to bait a hook.I decided to freeline the bait, removing the LG I baited with a big piece of paste casting upstream into the deeper water I slowly took in line as the bait moved towards me as it come into view the rate of movement slowed quite a bit, often the paste coming to a stop for a minute or two before lifting up slightly then moving downstream, and out of sight, suddenly the line went across the stream, I immediately made a strike connecting with something that wanted to move downstream, by this time I couldn't see what was happening as I had a big bush just below me blocking my view. Slowly Pumped the fish upstream until I had it just below me, sliding the net in the water I heaved the fish upstream and towards the net, Then it was mine a barbel about 5-6lbs, it was unhooked then the net was lowered into the water so the fish could swim off. Not what I wanted but it pulled the string. In the next two hours I caught three chub averaging 3lbs, but missed five savage pulls, I can’t work out why they were missed. I was back home just after midday, I was certainly nice being back on the river.

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Martin James Fishing
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