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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


08/07/2020 - A Day To Remember

my best chub at 5 lb 2 ounces


As usual I was up around 0530 hrs, after a shower, I sat down with a brew while listening to Radio 4, looking through the window I could see it was raining which had been forecast for much of the day, hopefully the river would be fishable. At 0900 hrs I was booked in for a haircut which was very welcome, as I was beginning to look like Worzel Gummidge, yesterday I got a text from the optician to say my new polaroid glasses had arrived, by the end of the week my other pair of glasses with clear lenses should arrive. After breakfast I loaded my tackle bag with a loaf of extra thick sliced bread, a large ball of cheese paste, sausage meat, also a bag of luncheon meat chunks. I chose a Chevin rod from the rack, in fact I am shortly going to pass the rod over to Bumble, I then attached my model CERTATE 2500 fixed spool reel made by Daiwa in Japan it’s probably the best engineered fixed spool reel I have used, I also have the 3500 model. Line was on this occasion 4lb bs Gamma to which I attached a size 4 barbless hook, then put the rod and reel in its protective sleeve.

After parking I put my face mask on then went into the supermarket for some milk and bread rolls, then it was into the barber’s chair, I had over the past few weeks missed five haircuts, when finished it certainly felt good to be tidy once more, I even gave him a £20-00 tip as a reward. Forty minutes later I pulled into the landowners parking area. The weather hadn’t improved the rain still falling but it didn’t bother me, I had a walk of around a mile, with four hundred yards through thick undergrowth including brambles to reach my chosen swim, to help keep dry I chose to wear two pairs of waterproof trousers.

Collecting my gear I headed off upstream, thankfully the Bull wasn’t in the riverside field, fifteen minutes later I crossed over a stream, then pushed my way through the wet undergrowth which wasn’t easy but eventually I arrived at my chosen spot, where last Sunday during monsoon like conditions and gales force winds I’d opened a gap wide enough to fish. As I sat there getting everything in place, three kingfishers flew low and fast upstream, overhead swifts and swallows were putting on a flying display as they searched for insects, also I had a pair of sand pipers flying to and fro. I threw in half a dozen chunks of meat well upstream, then pinched on a BB shot two feet from the hook then moulded some plasticine around the shot, I made a cast upstream to see how it reacted in the flow, nothing happened, I needed less plasticine, several more trial casts I then got the weight just right where it slowly bumped along the bottom. Baiting with a chunk of meat I made cast upstream holding the rod high allowing to bait to trundle downstream taking in the slack line as it did so. It was similar to fishing an upstream nymph. I been fishing for about half an hour when I felt a light pick up then a more savage take, I tightened into a good hard fighting fish, remember for the past two weeks the river has often had several feet of extra water, last weekend and the weekend before the river reached seven feet so these fish have to be fighting fit to survive. Eventually I got my first glimpse of a good chub a couple of minutes later it was in the net, a chub I estimated around 4.5 lbs it was quickly released.

A Succession Of Good Chub

In the next six casts I hooked and landed six chub similar in weight to the first fish, this was chub fishing at its best, but the fish would take a static bait, on one occasion the bait or weight go stuck, I pulled the line between butt ring and reel as I felt the bait start to move I got a savage take, eventually netting a good fish which I thought could go five pounds plus, on the scales it weighed 4lb 12 ounces.

Change of Bait to Cheese

Not having any takes for half an hour or so I changed to cheese paste, being its heavier than meat I removed some of the plasticine, then repeated the process of rolling the bait from upstream to down below me as I did with the meat. After a few casts I got a chub around 2lbs, this was quickly followed by a fish of 3lbs plus. Throwing is half a dozen walnut size pieces of chub upstream I made another cast, nothing, I had nothing on the next ten or more casts, just as I was thinking of changing the bait to crust I got a good pull another 4lb plus fish.

Back to Meat For A Big One

I then switched to meat, immediately getting a good pull , the bait had only moved about ten feet, the bite was very savage more reminiscent of a barbel bite, this fish went off fast downstream in the fast water taking line off the clutch, it was wonderful to hear the low hum of the clutch as it gave line. I started to think barbel as usually summer chub often give up after the first rush, but this fish didn’t show any signs of giving up. Some minutes later I was able to slow draw the fish upstream, often under these conditions I will move downstream to fight the fish, but I was stuck in my swim with willow bushes right and left. Eventually I got a glimpse of a good chub a few minutes later it was in the net, again I thought 5 lb fish, on the scales it weighed 5 lb 2 ounces, despite the heavy rain I decided to take a quick picture, It was my first five pounder of this current season, I was more than happy. I then next hour I had two more chub of 4 lb plus, then nothing for the next hour so I chose to come home, after a day I want forget in a hurry. Tomorrow I will be back on the river on another beat.


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Martin James Fishing
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