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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


24/10/2020 - Itís Been A Good Week

On Sunday 18/10/2020 I cleared away six large bin liners of rubbish from the river bank, then managed to get my Tilley lamp working, plus some repairs to to the cabin. Monday 19th I spent a few hours roaming the river bank looking for fish, conditions were ideal the river was low and clear, just what you need for fish spotting. During the time I spotted two very good fish which really got me excited, apart from those two fish, I got to see several salmon making their way upstream to spawn, though I wasn’t sure if they would stay in the main river or go up the tributary that flowed in half a mile upstream.

Tuesday 20th I didn’t fish but spent the day with binoculars roaming the bank for most of the day, kingfishers, roe deer, pheasants were all over the place as were magpies, I also spotted several hares, late in the afternoon a roe deer crossed the river from my wood to a small copse on the other bank. Wednesday 21st  the river was starting to rise there were occasion when the leave falling from the trees resemble a snow storm. Back home I had a big surprise to find a tube Kate had put in my study, delivered while I was out, I thought “That must be the rod for my ten year old grandson Samuel” After taking off the wrapping I found another tube inside, taking off the cap I spotted the rod which I carefully eased out, then got the surprise of my life, taking out the butt joint I read the inscription Abbey light match rod 12 feet, I was lost for words, as I didn’t recognise the name on the label I was puzzled where it had come from. Eventually I spotted a label attached to the rod bag with a message “Happy Birthday Martin Love Colin, Sarah and Zara”. I already had an Abbey Avon, but always wanted the 12 foot float rod by the same company, never in a month of Sundays did I ever realise my dream until today. I immediately text Colin, who called me back and explained that it was a combined effort between himself and another TFFF member Wallys-Cast who I have thanked privately. I will use it on my birthday matched with my NHS reel, for some grayling, dace or chub, perhaps all three if I’m lucky.

Chub Fed With A Frenzy

Today Thursday 22nd looking out of the window I could see the trees being shaken vigorously in the strong wind, there was heavy rain, the leaden grey sky virtually touched the roof tops, surrounding hills couldn’t be seen in the gloomy conditions. Checking the river gauge it stated rising fast, I could tell by the river level, the water would be well coloured with lots of leaves and rubbish. My plan last night was to float fish today, that was now on hold, if I was going to have a chance of a fish I would need a smelly bait, I had the answer with some three year old cheese paste. After getting a bag of cheese paste from the freezer I popped it into the microwave to defrost, I then prepared breakfast bowl of porridge, with two rounds of wholemeal toast with a mug of tea.

A Simple Tackle Set Up

I arrived on the river just after 0900hrs, two other anglers arrived at the same time, after looking at the river they told me it was a waste of time, how do you expect to fish in these conditions, “Quite simple I plan to roam the river until I find a spot that I reckon could produce a bite”. I was then asked “What about the wind and rain” I just replied “There are men and mice, I’m a man it’s not a problem”. As they departed up the track I put together a Shaun Linsley two piece split cane Chub Perfection the design which Shaun and myself worked on together. 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, then threaded on three float stops before tying ion a size 4 barbless hook with a Palomar knot. Still the rain sheeted down, the gale force wind seemed to increase with every strong gust.

Putting my tackle bag and seat over my back I picked up rod and landing net then headed off upstream, after some while I arrived at the boundary fence then walked back downstream towards the bottom of the beat, after some twelve hundred yards I spotted a likely looking spot. Taking care in sliding down the bank I found a spot where I could feel safe. Before starting to fish I threw in ten pieces of cheese paste the size of a bantam egg then sat back carefully watching the different flow rates from close into the bank towards the opposite bank, to judger the speed I catapult out pieces of crust hoping I can get them in line, as they go downstream I can immediately see who the flow rate varies. I found a distinct seam some ten feet out from the bank which flowed along a tree trunk that had crashed into the river some years ago.

First Cast Hook Up

Thirty minutes after arriving in my chosen swim I made a cast out and upstream then allowed the bait to roll downstream so it ended in the area of the seam I had chosen to fish, I sat holding the rod wound up like a coiled spring, I don’t know why but felt would get a fish or two, especially as the water temp was 2 degrees F higher than the day before. It was no more than ten minutes I felt a tap followed by a good pull, striking the rod hooped over as I was forced to give line, the fish powered downstream then thankfully out into the more powerful flow and not into the snags on my side, I reckon it was after getting in the old tree branches but I had a good angle on the fish to stop it going in that direction. Some minutes often at times a heart stopping moment, this fish had a lot of muscle power and energy having been fighting a lot of high water flow rates over the past few months. Eventually I got a glimpse of the fish, “That’s a good one” I thought it was weighing in at 5 lb 6 ounces. My only problem I had to release the fish back in the swim which I don’t like doing. Five minutes later it was a repeat performance ass another good fish hit the net weighing 5 lb 2 ounces. During my six seven hours of fishing I had a total of 14 fish, ten good 4lb plus fish the other two around 3lbs plus. I wasn’t just a good day, it was an exhilarating day without doubt one of my best chub fishing sessions for a long time, I’m still on a high, who know they may want more cheese tomorrow, I reckon I used a pound and half of cheese paste with free offering going in and a bait on the hook.


one of my many chub

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Martin James Fishing
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