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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


26/01/2021 - A Happy New Year’s Day

First fish of 2021 in the net


The last couple of days of 2020 were fishless, I full was of excitement to get fishing after the great grayling fishing session, sadly it didn’t happen. Wednesday I was teaching a retired solicitor how to fish a nymph for grayling, the morning session was extremely hard, his casting was all over the place. After a fifteen minute break, I had him concentrate on casting, after an hour he was back to casting a long straight line, but having a job dealing with the cold weather. I said “Let’s have an early lunch”? He quickly agreed, after some toasted cheese and pickle sandwiches with two big mugs of hot tea, he felt like he could cope with conditions, having said that the air temperature was rising, you could feel the warm sunshine on our faces. It was a different world. A Hook Up For the afternoon session I had him on another beat where the wading is much easier, I instructed from the bank as I need to keep my space of twelve feet, Slowly we made our way upstream, I suppose an hour had past, when he hooked what looked like a good fish, I was hoping it wasn’t a trout, then I spotted the dorsal fin in the gin clear water, “That’s a grayling” I called I think that was a mistake, as he certainly panicked a bit two minutes later the fish was gone, we fished on until 1500 hrs then with fog and frost increasing we called it a day. It Was Hard Work On New Year’s Eve I left home at 0830 hrs, today I hoped to finish off the work on the fencing, I had to try and lift some 20 feet of fencing, then hammer the main posts back in the ground, the drive to the river was horrendous icy roads often snow covered, the screen kept icing over, so I had to make several stops to clear the windscreen, my friends carry a can of de-icer but I am not a fan of the stuff certainly not good for the environment. The snow increased the sky was leaden grey, but the job had to be done. I carried on eventually coming off the main road onto the long farm track, this was quite dodgy as I couldn’t see the bumps and pot holes with the covering of freshly falling snow on top of the over night snow fall. After pulling on another pair of lined waterproof trousers and wellington boots, I unloaded the tools including a bucket holding nails, wire cutters etc, also a heavy crow bar a big weighty solid rubber rubber mallet . My first job was to attach two long lengths of thick rope to the fence about fifteen feet apart, I then attached these two ropes to the main rope which was over a pulley hooked to a strong branch of a tree. After a lot of effort I had the fence partially off the ground, tying up the rope I went and cleaned off most the rubbish. I then started to lift again soon the fence was nearly upright. Back at the fence I slowly managed to get the post lined up in the previous holes, then managed to get the fence posts nearly upright, starting at one end I placed a bracing post behind the first post which was hammered in, eventually I had the posts roughly in place, slackening off the rope a bit, I started hammering the posts until they all felt rock steady.



My next job was to put a brace behind each post which consisted of some three inch wide iron channelling, with two holes conveniently in place where I need them, so I was able to fix two strong six inch nails in place firmly holding the bracing struts to the posts, still the snow fell on and off but by 1400 hrs I was nearly finished. All I had to do was sort out all the gear then take it off to the local farmer, who next week will put in a new gate post for me. I had planned to fish for an hour, but I’d had enough for the day and headed off home to a hot shows followed by some tea and toast.



New Year Day



I was up this morning at 0600hrs, after a shower followed by a large bowl of porridge, I sorted out the bird feeders and water bowls, then loaded the tackle in the car. I was really looking forward to my first days angling in 2021 Over night we had a fall of snow, on top of the snow and ice of the past couple of days, but nothing was going to stop me, even if I had to walk to the river, its only about six miles so I’m sure I am capable of this. My first obstacle was a steep hill but it was no problem But by slowly driving, I happily carried on arriving at the river around 0900 hrs, the river looked liquid black as it flowed through the snow covered banks, I headed off to the area where I’d had a good catch of grayling on Monday. The water level was well down and gin clear, with a water temperature of 36 degrees F, I chose to use virtually the same gear as I did on Monday, except I changed the float to a bigger red tipped balsa on quill taking 5AAA shot with 1 BB six inches from the hook. Arriving at my chosen spot I sat down then fired well upstream a dozen pouchfuls of gentles, before adjusting the float at roughly the distance I required, a few trots through I found the depth I needed, with everything arranged including extending the landing net handle to its full length I was all set. Fifteen minutes later I made my first cast of 2021, the float travelled some twenty feet then slowly buried, the answering strike connected with my first fish, after a minutes I realised I’d got a grayling, my target fish, soon it was in then net. I was more than happy, nothing big but it was the first. I quickly shot a pic as I was drawing in the net. I then had a run of ten more grayling but with freezing rain now falling I didn’t want to use the camera, I reckon the best would have weighed about a pound, size didn’t matter I was just happy catching. I then had a few casts with nothing, then hooked a trout which gave a good display these triploids don’t spawn to they are fighting fit all the time. I had another session of twenty minutes without a bite, then had several more fish, occasionally I would have a couple of trots with nothing, then a few more fish, then a break before starting to catch again. I was rather cold to say the least at 1400 hrs I chose to end the session and return home I was more than happy with my catch of grayling I reckon I had between thirty and forty fish, it had been a very good New Year’s day fishing, and long may it continue, I will be back fishing tomorrow despite what the weather brings. I wish you all a pulled string and bent stick in 2021.


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Martin James Fishing
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