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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


13/10/2020 - A Great Session

My best chub 5 lb 7 ounces

Last week it was tough on the river, weather wise and river heights, today Monday 12th October, conditions were looking good, low light level misty type of rain though there were some very heavy showers during my session, today the water level was about perfect, chub were my quarry but would they bite? I arrived on the river just after 1100hrs, parking up I put together a Shaun Linsley two piece split cane Chub Perfection that was made in conjunction with myself, then Shaun and myself Christened the rod in fine style on the River Aire over a two day session many years ago. Shauan and myself caught a succession of 4 lb plus chub over a two day session all on crust. Withing two weeks I pushed my personal best chub to 6 lb 3 ounces which is now 7 lb 10 ounces, the rod has proved excellent for float fishing, freelining and ledgering. Today Colin is the owner of the rod having purchased it for his daughter, but I get to use it for old times’ sake. I matched the rod with a Richard Carter Avon Classic centre pin reel with 8 lb bs line, threading on two float stops I tied on a size 4 barbless hook.

Balanced Paste Is my First Option Today

With the flow rate more steady I decided I was going to fish a balanced paste bait, a large bit of crust was put on the hook, then sausage meat paste was moulded around the crust, though it did take several trial runs to get the balance right. The swim chosen was one I’d never fished before, it was just a gap of no more than a couple of feet between lots of thick willow bushes, over head many of the branches were only a few feet above me so I had to be careful when I lifted the rod, I had a rope and dog spike with me so when I hooked a fish, I could lower myself down the bank and stand in the shallows. Having got everything ready I put in several small balls of sausage meat paste over the next fifteen minutes then let everything settle down, as I was waiting to fish I counted three Kingfishers flying up river, in the willows to my left a wren was in full voice, upstream another wren was sending an answer.

Bites From The Off

Casting out to midstream then keeping the rod high I allowed the reel to give line as the bait moved slowly downstream, often stopping for several minutes until I lifted the rod higher and feeding more line. Suddenly without any warning the rod tip was pulled down savagely, I doubt I needed to strike going by the force of the take, the reel screamed as line was being taken off the reel, these chub are certainly a tough fighting fish this year, after all the big spates we have had, I don’t remember chub fighting as hard as this season, I reckon it took around ten minutes to have full control over the fish. Eventually I got sight of the fish as it lay in midstream, I “Gasped that’s a Six pounder” eventually I slowly encouraged the fish towards the net, it certainly looked big, the body was quite deep, eventually it was in the net. Thankfully I had scales and weigh bag handy in case I should get a good fish, on the scales it weighed 5 lb 7 ounces, it was hollow, it would certainly go 6 lb plus come February. After a quick picture it was released, I don’t like releasing fish in the swim much preferring to take them well up or downstream but that wasn’t possible.

Five More Bites

I let the swim quieten down except putting in three fresh samples of sausage meat, Fifteen minutes later I was hooked up to another very good fish, on the scales it weighed 5 lb 4 ounces, no need for another picture. Again I waited some fifteen minutes before casting out again, after a dozen or more casts without a bite, I rested the swim for ten minutes, then commenced fishing, I reckon it was another half an hour before I got the next fish a chub of 4 lb 14 ounces, which was quickly added to by another chub of 4 lb 13 ounces. It was probably an hour before I got another bite a fish going 5 lb 3 ounces. Half an hour later I had another hook up, again it was a powerful fish which used every trick in the book to escape even going round a big rock, by using the length of the rod pushing my arms as high as possible I managed to get the line free with a lot of luck. Eventually my sixth fish of the session was netted weighing 5 lb 6 ounces. I then had two hours without a sign of a bite, even though I tried cheese paste, bread crust and flake. I then ended my session and struggled up the steep bank having to make two trips. Once on top of the bank I certainly had a spring in my step for the near two mile walk back for a fresh brew with a toasted cheese and pickle sandwich. I look back with a warm glow after this successful session





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Martin James Fishing
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