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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


18/06/2021 - An Enjoyable Start To Season

First season Chub


Arriving at my riverside cabin around 2100 hrs I had a walk of the beat at the same time putting some bait in a couple of areas, I then had some supper, before putting together two outfits, one for sea trout the other for chub, if the latter didn’t want my bait I would switch to trying to catch a sea trout. Around 2300 hrs I made my way to my chosen swim having got everything in place for my first cast a minute after midnight, I walked upstream then sat over looking the weir, in the half-light I noticed several good fish moving.

A Bite Within A Minute

I got back to my chosen swim approximately at 23-40 hrs, apart from hearing the call of an owl in the opposite wood, all was peaceful except the occasional roll or splash of a fish, At the back of me I waited for the church clock to speak midnight, I didn’t have to long waiting, then I ear 12 bongs sound clearly. Time to start my 80th year of angling, my tackle was an Allcocks Record breaker, matched with a Richard Carter Classic Avon centre pin with 6lb line to which I tied a size 4 barbless hook, then baited with a piece of flake, with an underhand cast I flicked the bait out some five yards to drop in a small gully with some moving water, I sat holding the rod with the line between my thumb and forefinger, I doubt if I'd been fishing when I felt a determined pull the answering strike connected with an angry fish, I was forced to give line as the reel screeched in protest. Two or three minutes later I netted a chub estimated about 3lbs, I was elated to catch my first fish so quickly in the season. In the next hour or so I had 4 more chub of similar size, after an hour with no sign of a bite or fish splashing I decided to try for a sea trout and made my way upstream to the cabin.

Back At The Tail Of The Pool

After a brew I picked up my sea trout gear I’d left assembled in the cabin then moved to the pool, it was a still quiet night, even the owl had stopped hooting, as I walked out on a gravel bar I heard the Church clock strike 0300 hrs, I started off fishing with a 3 inch snake fly, I reckon I’d been fishing for twenty minutes when I felt a solid hit, setting the hook the fish went berserk as it crashed out of the water. A typical sea trout, will often jump and jump during the time it’s hooked, an entirely different fight to a salmon, which will go off on powerful runs, where as the sea trout are often acrobatic. Fifteen minutes later I netted a fish that I estimated at 4lbs. After no interest in the next fifteen minutes I switched to a waking lure, by Hugh Falkus, it’s just a piece of balsa wood painted silver with a small treble hanging from the end. Fishing a waking lure is very simple, I made a cast well down the fast moving water, then every so often I would twitch the line, the idea of a waking lure is it creates a wake in the river that attracts the fish to attack. The takes are usually very savage but often missed. In some half an hour I had three takes all missed but was lucky to get one stay attached, after an exciting ten minutes or so I netted a fish estimated around 3lbs. That was the last action of the night.

June 17th Another Early Morning Session

Today I was on the river just after 0550 hrs, on my way to the river I spotted a hedgehog walking down the centre of the road, I quickly realised it was in danger of being killed by a motorist, stopping my car I walked up the road, picking up the hog, which was in excellent condition weighing around 1.5lb I jumped over a fence then walked several yards out into a field then hopefully left the hog in safety. First good deed of the day I arrived on the river some fifteen minutes later I was on the river, the tackle was already set up, all I had to do was put the joints together, grabbing my small bag with a loaf of bread along with a box of hooks, also landing net, I then walked slowly upstream looking for chub, I’d gone about half a mile before spotting my first fish slowly moving upstream, baiting with a chunk of flake I dunked it in the water, with a Wallis cast I dropped the bait three feet upstream of the fish, it slowly moved across the stream until it was a foot or so below the bait, which was now slowly sinking, as it did so the fish moved deeper into the water then as they both me it engulfed the bait, a simple lift of the rod set the hook. The fish was off the starting blocks, after a spirited fight it gave up and let me lead it to the net. A solid fish estimated around 3lbs. After a quick picture it was released. During a walk of two miles I managed to catch five more fish of similar size, around 1030 hrs I met another member who was fly fishing for trout, after a chat we went off to the hut for tea and buttered toast, the end of another successful session, I will be back tomorrow, then on Saturday I am off to the River Beult and some fishing on some still waters with perhaps a session on Sussex river.


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Martin James Fishing
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