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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


23/07/2020 - A Dawn Start

A scale perfect chub


Today I was up and about around 0345 hrs for an early morning session, I wanted to be on the river just as the false dawn appears in the east, driving down the country lane the fields either side were covered in a light mist with a heavy dew showing on the grass, it was nice to see a total of eighteen hares, a good proportion were young ones that haven’t learn the dangers of a motor vehicle. Within half a mile of the car park I noticed a car coming in the opposite direction, pulling into a lay bye I flashed my lights for the other vehicle to carry on. Eventually I could see it was Joe one of my members who is in his late seventies, he’d been on the river sea trout fishing, “Did you catch Joe? I asked, he answered "The mist come down around midnight, no sound of fish splashing, so I went and got my head down in the car, the temperature at the moment is 3 degrees C. Joe headed off home for a good breakfast, while I carried on down to the car park, my quest this morning were the chub.

I'm often asked, why I fish for chub so much? there are several reason, it’s a fish for all season and all conditions, it can be incredibly hard to catch, on other occasions often suicidal. I caught my first chub as a cub on a camping trip in 1947 on a traditional chub bait cheese. My first choice fish if I could find some decent waters would be the roach, but sadly driving is a problem, often one of my friends would like to fish further afield, so it’s often the River Soar or some other venue with me, where I might even get lucky to find some roach. I have a couple of area’s in mind, which might just give me some good roach, which in my book are pound plus fish. In nearly 80 years of angling I have been fortunate to catch all species of fresh water fish some of good size. I’ve also been very lucky to fish with some exceptional and skilful anglers, who have given me their advice and help freely, hopefully I have followed in their footsteps by giving my knowledge freely to others.

Simple Tackle Setup

Getting out of my warm car I felt the cold damp air hit my face, I gave a shiver then pulled on my thick coat, followed by boots and waterproof trousers, which I would certainly need as I push my way through waist, often shoulder high balsam, nettles, brambles and willow bushes. Yes I could fish another area where the grass is close cut with no nettles or other obstructions, but I doubt if I would catch the fish I’m seeking this morning. My rod was a three piece 11’6” with a soft Avon action designed and built for chub some twenty years ago, it has accounted for numerous big fish to 7 lb 10 ounces. I can’t see any reason to change a winning formula, I can sit and hold the rod for hours on end, even minnow bites can be detected. Today its matched with a Richard Carter Avon Classic with 6lb bs braid, which is finer than 2lb nylon, I attached a size 4 barbless hook with a Palomar knot then lightly press on a BB shot, at the waterside I would wrap a small piece of plasticine around the shot, the size depending on the swim and bait I choose to fish. In my shoulder bag I had scales, plastic weigh bag, camera, a small box of various size hooks and some mixed shots, a small plastic bag contained my plasticine, my baits were cheese, bread and meat. A piece of sponge would be my seat, I didn’t need a rod rest, just the landing net.

Good Chub On First Cast

I chose to fish a hundred yard upstream of a small weir, where I could work a bait down under some overhanging alder trees, I threw in half a dozen bantam egg size bits of meat, then sat back for half an hour to give the fish a chance to get over any disturbance I might have created, soon I heard a plop to my right, “Kingfisher” I thought, seconds later a Kingfisher landed on an alder branch less than a foot away, then devoured the small silver fish, before diving and returning with another fish which it wrapped sharply on the branch then flew off downstream to feed a mate or a youngster. I feel some of us anglers are a privileged group as we sit quietly angling watching nature at its best.

I chose to fish a big chunk of meat moulded around the hook, I then took off the BB shot, before casting well upstream allowing the bait to bump downstream towards me, as it comer level I started to feed line letting the bait continue its journey some ten yards below me, I noticed the line flick, “that’s a fish” I thought within a couple of seconds the line veered across the current I tightened quickly then felt the strong surge of a good fish as the rod hooped over I was forced to give line, my plan to play the fish in midstream away from the bank which would no doubt contain plenty of dread branches on the bottom which the fish could use to its benefit. As is often usual with summer chub it just hung in the flow going nowhere, I slowly gained line, what I didn’t want is the fish to come alive close to the bank, a minute or so later I had the fish coming across the surface towards the sunken net which was just under the surface, then gave a sigh of relief as it collapsed in the net. I estimated the fish as a good 4 lb plus which was scale perfect, no way did I want to touch this bar of silver, with gold scales across its back, a quick picture and back it went. During my three hour session, fishing eight other spots, I caught 12 more chub on cheese, bread crust and meat, then returned home for a late breakfast.



The future of chub fishing

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Martin James Fishing
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