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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


05/12/2020 - A Brace Of Good Chub

MJ with chub

The week started off on Monday with my current pupil retired solicitor Bill who is learning the art of fly fishing, it’s an ideal time to teach someone during the close season, as they don’t get that urge to catch a fish on their first day. Bill is now in his 6th week and is proving a very good pupil, I would go as far as saying “One of the best“ Today the weather was atrocious heavy rain falling all morning with very poor visibility also a 15 20 mph wind. The morning was spent in the classroom where in between numerous mugs of tea, I taught Bill the various knots including a nail knot for attaching leader to fly line, but today, not with a nail, but a Tie Fast tool an invention from the USA, its fast and quick making a perfect knot. The four turn water knot joining two lengths of line where you need a dropper, five turn tucked blood knot for attaching hooks, also the Palomar knot, should he might need sometime if he want to chase the pike or sea fish, with the rain still falling with decided to have lunch then put in some practise on the river.

Bills Gets A Reward

With the rain easing off quite a lot we made the long walk across the field to the river. I’d got Bill to tie on a 9 foot tapered leader with a tippet of 3lbs bs, then attach a Bradshaw’s Fancy, it’s been a long-time favourite with grayling anglers for some hundred years. We fished for around an hour, when Bill had a hook up catching his first ever grayling, he was certainly happy angler as I was for him. With the light fading we packed up and headed off home.

Tuesday I’m back on the river this time guiding my friend Andrew, today I had him fishing a Walker beaded nymph on the point with a black and Peacock on the dropper, conditions were not good with a strong wind and rising water, we had a four hour session, then called it a day, after a couple of mugs of coffee for Andrew, tea for me we then headed off home.

Wednesday I had a very busy day arriving around 0800 hrs, I spent the first three hours in chest high waders clearing loads of rubbish that was choking as side stream causing it to flood over the field rather than flowing into the river. It was dirty work causing me to perspire, even down to taking off my jumper. After clearing about fifty yards of the stream, the water was flowing clear and looking good, so good was the result later in the day I spotted a kingfisher perched on a branch looking into the water, it had soon realised it was a likely feeding area. I then made the long trek upstream to enjoy a lunch of pasta and mixed vegetables. I then sorted out my tackle for an evening trip in the hope of some chub with my friend Anthony who was also going to fix a notice on a tree well above the river making it difficult for the scum bags from ripping it off as they have done during this Covid19 year. The water temperature today was 44 degrees F up 4 degrees F from Monday, prospects looked good. Anthony arrived at 1430 hrs, after a brew we made the long walk with ladder and bag of tools, as I occasionally suffer from vertigo, I chose not to climb a ladder, so Anthony offered to do the job.

After tying the ladder in position against the tree trunk, Anthony climbed up the ladder then nailed the notice in place, I then handed him a saw, as he climbed down he got rid of all the branches, leaving the trunk as smooth as a telegraph pole. While we were working two kingfishers flew from the stream mouth all my hard work in the morning had paid off. We then went off for something to eat and drink, before heading off to a baited swim in the dusk just upstream of where we had fixed the notice. As we don’t often get a chance of fishing together since COVID-19 we fished about nine feet apart. We both started off using crust, at around 1800 hrs I got a light tap, pushing the rod forward to put a bow in the line, which was clearly seen in the torch beam, I watched it like hawk, as it straightened I set the hook, the clutch on the reel really did scream in anger as the rod arched over as line was taken. I could feel the weight and power of this fish which I presumed was a chub and not a trout. Soon Anthony was picking up the net, in my head torch I got my first glimpse of the fish, “That’s a good one” I said to Anthony a minute or so later it was in the net, immediately I unhooked the fish, Anthony quickly took a picture then released the fish, sadly in the swim where we were fishing, but it was quite tricky perhaps dangerous trying to move through the trees to release the fish further upstream or downstream.

We sat in the darkness chatting about all things piscatorial, it was very quiet, no sound of owls or foxes, occasionally a pheasant crowed in the tree just below us, no doubt not liking our presence in the area, now and again a fish rolled, an occasional moth was seen, otherwise it was just peaceful. Around 1940 hrs a fish rolled close in upstream of Anthony, I suggested a take-off some plasticine, then bait with a chunk of meat paste casting the bait gently some ten feet above the fish. Within ten minutes he had a tap, followed by another tap before the tip pulled round, after a good fight from a lively fish I was able to net a very good chub for him. I shot a quick picture then released the fish, with the rain now falling quite heavy Anthony suggested we call it a day, I was happy to leave, now that Anthony had got a good fish. On Friday the river was up over four feet of fast dirty swirling water.



Anthony with his prize

Notice board in place

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Martin James Fishing
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