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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


04/11/2020 - More Days Of No Fishing

The first of 9 chub

Monday 2nd November Today I had a job to get near the river with so much water, at one time we had between twelve and fourteen feet, it took me a long time getting to the river, even one of the bridges wasn’t passable, but after several detours I did eventually arrive at my destination, sadly more rain was falling, no doubt the I will see the river came up again overnight. I couldn't go off downstream, the stream that flows into the river through a large pipe was like a roaring torrent, I estimated there was around twelve feet of water pouring into the river. It had come within two feet of the cabin, looking across the fields, they looked like a series of ponds the ducks were there on mass. Sitting in the car taking in the wet boggy surrounding it was nice to see several flocks of fieldfare descending on the hawthorn bushes for the red berries, as do many of our winter migrants. I walked a mile of so upstream but there was no chance of getting a bait into the water, I did see several likely looking areas where duck were settled but knowing the area so well I would be casting a bait into submerged brambles nettles and balsam along with lots of rubbish, I had to content myself with walking and looking today. Though I did walk a distance of nearly three miles so I was well pleased. Hopefully tomorrow I might get the chance to fish, but I want hold my breath.

Tuesday 3rd November Early this morning I called a client who was booked for a casting lesson to say it was off, also I realised I wasn’t able to fish again today, the river having virtually returned to the height of the previous day, I decided to drive to the next village downstream of the fishery, park up, then walk along a country lane until I could cross a field to my bottom beat. The first thing I noticed was a tree some forty fifty feet in length which had been in the river for some years had been swept downstream and out of sight, walking upstream I was thankful to see some of my favourite swims were still looking good with the bankside bushes still in place though wrapped in lots of flood water debris. Having had a good walk upstream until I was stopped by a flooded section of the riverside field, I returned to my starting point then back along the lane to my car.

Collecting Rubbish

Back on the top fishery, I walked the bank for around a mile or so with a bin liner and plastic gloves, knowing I would find lots of rubbish left by the dropping water, even I was amazed to see so many plastic bottles, beer cans and other items including bags of dog poo, dumped by the lazy couldn’t care less people. There was also the usual amount of condoms and st’s, from storm overflow pipes from sewage works. What did amaze me was when I spotted a big bin liner full of household rubbish, no doubt dumped off a bridge upstream. Back in the cabin I scrubbed and washed my hands in hot soap water, then used some verry strong wipes before using some strong gel rubbed well into my hands and wrists. Having made myself feel clean, I put the kettle on then started to sort out a meal of pasta and beans, having got everything sorted out I sat down to enjoy my lunch while reading the paper. Around 1600 hrs I headed off home.

Wednesday 4th November I was up at 0600 hrs this morning, looking out of the window everything was white from a big overnight frost, after a shower and breakfast, I sorted out some tackle and bait in this instance a loaf of bread, in a dropping water temperature I was living in hope of finding a spot to fish and that fish would hopefully be a chub or two. I was having my yearly medical check which included blood tests etc at 0830hrs, so I had to fight my way through the school run which was quite horrendous arriving at 0820 hrs so no problem. The nurse was well pleased with my fitness commenting “It a shame we don’t have more people like you who listen to what we tell them to eat etc” ending with You are probably the fittest person over 60 in this practise, I said “That will do me, thank you” I certainly had a spring in my step as I walked down the river looking for a quite spot where a chub might seek shelter, after nearly a mile I found such as spot, taking the water temperature I got a reading of 48 degrees F which surprised me as I thought it might be around 45 degrees F

Tackle Set Up

Today I chose to fish an Abbey Avon matched with a centre pin reel with 6lb line, to which I added three float stops then a size 4 hook, After some minutes adding and subtracting plasticine on the line until I felt I’d got the right balance. My swim was no more that two feet from the bank in some six feet of water ten feet downstream was an old oak that no doubt one day would end up in the river, I baited with a big chunk of crust then allowed the bait to roll downstream so it ended under the oak.

Instant Action

I’d been holding the rod for no more than ten minutes, when I felt a slow pull on the line, striking immediately I found I’d hooked my first fish of the day, after a couple of minutes I had a chub in the net, I felt quite sorry for the fish, I could see it had been a rough few day for the fish battling with the extremely fast water full of rubbish, a quick pic was taken then I released the fish in a quite pool below a submerged willow bush where hopefully it will return to its former self, no doubt it will in time, once the river has settled down. In the next 2 hours I ended up with nine chub all of similar size and condition. I had no more bites in the next hour, though I had some views of wildlife, roe deer and hares on the opposite bank, the most exciting thing which I’d never witnessed before was a heron attacking an egret, I heard the harsh scream from the heron before I spotted it as looked upstream to see what caused the alarm, the heron didn’t give any quarter in the aerial fight eventually putting the egret into the water with its fearsome beak, I enjoyed every minute of this struggle never ever seen before, as this was going on a kingfisher flew upstream not a bit interested in the aerial battle taking place. An hour later with no more interest from the fish, I headed off home, to find on my arrival a box of one hundred prime lobworms, also a box of peat, from my friend Mark Sarul, an hour later I got a package that contained BB’s Fisherman's Bedside Book bound up in soft red leather with gold lettering down the spine, a birthday present from my son. I will be back on the river again tomorrow, if we are allowed to fish then I will do so ,otherwise I will walk the banks clearing up rubbish.



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Martin James Fishing
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