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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


02/02/2021 - A Hard Few Days On The River

Completed gate

After fishing and catching on Monday and Tuesday of last week, I didn’t fish any more as the river was far too high, so I just walked the banks collecting rubbish also useful bits of timber for my store room, one never knows when a bit of timber will come in handy.

A Gate To Repair

For some weeks I have had two weak gate posts, the one holding the gate on its hinges was leaning well over even though I had put bracing bars to hold it straight it didn’t work. So I have been dragging the gate through the mud etc which was hard heavy work, I couldn’t really lift the gate, so dragging it through the mud etc was the only way, so I could into the car park, then close. Repeating the process when leaving otherwise the sheep will be in leaving a load of mess. Friday and Saturday I set about sorting out the problem with my mate Ted, first by digging out the post, the gate was hanging on, the easy job was lifting the gate off the steel hinges I then had to remove the big steel hooks the gate hangs on, that was a tough job getting them out of the gate post, Ted sawed through the post close the top bolt, I then chiselled away the rest of the timber, then repeated the process on the other steel hook. As we put a bit of pressure on the post it collapsed at ground level, leaving two feet plus of post, still in the ground, it was tough getting it out, using pick axe and crowbar. Next job was to put in the new post, this entailed standing on the drop down flap of Ted’s big wagon, which gave us some reach to use the heavy rubber sledge hammer. We also kept checking with the spirit level eventually it was in place, I then packed lots of rocks around the post hammering these further into the ground. Next job was to make two holes to take the hooks, but the hardest part was hanging the 6 foot metal gate on the hooks, where I get my energy at 84 from I don't know.

We then started on the second post, this was a bit easier as I didn't have to take any metal hooks, just a single catch to take the bolt. After sorting out both posts we spread two bags of cement powder around both post so that it trickled in between the rocks and posts, then sprinkled some water, leaving the lot to set firmly, over the next a couple of days. Collecting up all the tools, I tidied up as best I could making sure there were no sharp object that could cause a puncture,

Ted went off home, I went off to my cabin for a toasted cheese sandwich with a mug of tea. After opening a can of luncheon meat I walked about 400 yards downstream to put some samples in, then give half hour to rest before hopefully going back to catch a chub of two. Back in the cabin I stretched out on the bed falling asleep, waking up an hour later, so decided to go home.

Sunday Hoping To Catch A Chub

I got on the river today around 0800 hrs, stepping out of the car I felt the strong icy cold easterly wind on my face which I would have during the angling session, at the waterside I checked the water temperature finding it 38 degrees F, not a good omen, but if I don’t try, I want catch. My first job was to paint the newly erected posts, but before doing so I walked the bottom beat to count any cormorants, finding 2 feeding birds with another one flying in, a couple of shots sent them on the way, today all the Ribble angling clubs are taking part in the bird count. Back in the car park I set about painting the posts, when this was finished, I had a brew with a piece of toast. I then walked upstream spotting another cormorant attempting to drop in to the willow pool, a shot sent it on its way. Back at my car I chose to drive another beat to fish also see if any cormorant could be seen halfway along the beat I spotted a cormorant high in the sky slowly circling over a pool, another shot was fired, my hand gun certainly does deter this fish eating bird from feeding on my water when I’m around.

Back at the car I put together my tackle, today I chose to use my Abbey Avon matched with a small fixed spool reel filled with 12 lb braid, to which I added two plastic float stops, then tied on a Gripz size 4 hook with my usual Palomar knot, weight would be a piece of plasticine. I had a loaf of bread, some luncheon meat, cheese paste and sausage meat paste, along with some mashed bread if I felt it was needed, if not it will be returned to my freezer when I get back home, I also had half a pint of gentles, and a pound of sunflower hearts for the birds. Walking along the edge of the meadow I scattered the bird seed and gentles, with a few feet after scattering some gentle a robin appeared. No doubt later many birds will be hunting those seeds and gentles on this icy cold day where the ground is rock had and frost covered, all the water on the fields has a covering of ice.

A Big Trout

Arriving in my swim I chose to fish under a big maple tree, the water flowed right to left averaging around 4-5 feet, over a rocky bottom where I often lose some gear, another reason to use plasticine as a weight, after settling in, I dropped a small amount of mash in the margins to see if the small fish were active with a few seconds they appeared from between the gaps in the rock descending onto the mash, I now had a problem on what bait to choose, my first choice would be bread crust, but seeing how active the minnows were I had some doubts, but chose to start with crust. Within minutes of my second cast, I had a light tap then a slow pull striking I hooked what I thought was a chub, then it was gone, not a good sign losing a fish so early in the session. I then had a bitless two hours, then withing seconds of casting, I had a good take on the drop, immediately I was connected with an extremely hard fighting fish which continuously took line off the reel after I’d retrieved a bit of line. This was a chub I thought fighting like it was, no doubt a big trout, though like most trout they do tend to swirl on the surface, this fish stayed deep all the time, just when I thought I was winning this contest, it would go off on another run making the reel scream in protest, eventually I got my first look at the fish, as I guessed it was a trout in excellent condition, after a quick picture it was released, I then though “How do I land one of those if it takes dry fly”? when I usually using a 4 weight rod. I fished for another three hours but no more bites and really feeling the cold, I chose to go off home, that one trout had certainly given me some fun.

The only fish of the day

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Martin James Fishing
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