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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


18/06/2021 - Another Exciting Session

5 lb 2 ounce chub



It was around 0430 hrs when I jumped, literally out of bed, it was going to be another early session on the river in search of chub, currently the river is bare bones, full of horrid slimy blanket weed, these conditions certainly make fishing hard both for coarse and game angling. Today it was going to be a roving searching session which will mean getting down on hands and knees, also getting stung and scratched at the same time, but I was up for it, remember fish are not interested in our welfare or comfort. After a quick shower I had a bowl of porridge with two mugs of tea. Having checked I ‘d got everything I headed out to the garage, but I’d forgot my rod. Back in the house I picked up the rod at the same time noticed my camera was on the table, then it was off again. After moving the car out of the garage, I thought did I lock the door?, so I run back to check, finding all was well. After driving for some twenty minutes, I pulled off the road, then followed the long bumpy pot holed track down to the river. On the way I counted 9 hares and 3 roe deer. I quickly unloaded my gear, as I did so I realised I hadn’t sorted out my landing net handle, as the twist and lock wasn’t working, I then spent some twenty minutes or more trying to solve the problem, but failed abysmally, by completely jamming the two joints together, however hard I tried I couldn’t solve the problem, not a surprise as I’m bottom of the class when trying to correct such problems.


Thankfully I had a short handle in the car which I would have to make do with, putting together an Allcocks Record breaker with a Mitchell 300 reel with some 12 lb bs braid, I tied on a size 4 barbless hook using a Polamar knot, I was ready to go, my baits were luncheon meat and bread, in my small bag I also had a set of scales, a carrier bag to weigh any fish, a box of mixed hooks plus my camera. I then made my way upstream to a wood with a high bank where I could look down into the water when trying to spot a chub. I struggled through the wood, it was tough going having to push my way through shoulder high stinging nettles and brambles, at the same time I often had to bend very low so as not to bump into some branches. Eventually I got close to see the water, then started my quest in searching for a chub, after some 400 yards I spotted a fish close to some reeds in less the two feet of water, baiting with a chunk of meat, I had to get down on hands and knees then slowly creep and squirm into a position where I could make a cast, at the same time I was trying to drag a landing net which kept getting caught up. If I didn’t spook the chub I reckon I had a good chance of catching it, over head was a large beech tree, my idea was to flick the bait up in the air, so it landed with a splash hoping the chub would mistake it for something falling from the tree. The splash certainly got the interest of the fish which immediately shot forward intercepted the bait, as it turned, I set the hook, immediately the fish boiled on the surface then took a few yards off the reel, finally sulking on the bottom as chub will often do early in the season, I could reach into the water with the short handled net, so I had to slide down the bank into the water. A minute or so later I netted a nice chub it weighed 4 lb 2 ounces, then waded out into the slightly more streamy water before released the fish, back at the bank it was hard work climbing up the steep bank full of nettles getting stung to bits, but I finally made it.


My First Big Chub Of The New Season


Having collected my senses I continued slowly walking up river through the wood, I’d gone about 600 yards when I spotted what looked like a good fish, it was slowly moving in front of a big tree which had crashed down into the river about three years ago. The problem was getting into position without spooking the fish, I felt the only option was to quietly slide down the bank then kneel in the water keeping a low profile, I kneeled in this position for about fifteen minutes eye balling the fish I estimated as a very good 4 lb plus, I was pleased I had chosen a fixed spool reel today as it would have been hard to make a Wallis cast without being seen. Baiting with two big pieces of meat I made the long cast dropping the bait some three feet above the slowly moving chub, it seemed like an hour before the fish moved towards the bait, but was probably half that time. Inch by inch it was moving closer, within a foot and a half its interest was peaked by the sight of the meat, it moved a bit quicker at the same time slanting downwards, I thought to myself, “That fish is going for my bait” within a minute the line flicked then the bow tightened, I was immediately on my feet striking at the same time setting the hook, as the water boiled and line stripped off the reel as I leaned the rod over to my left trying to pull the fish away from the tree, “If it get in those branches” all would be lost” I thought. I waded out in the water so I could put more pressure on the fish from various angles in the hope of causing the fish to get disorientated, but it quickly gave up the struggle a they do early in the season. I waded out further until I could draw the fish over the net, it was a lovely looking fish, back at the bank I grabbed the scales and plastic bag from the bag over my shoulder, then moved the fish into the bag before hooking it on the scales, the needle was drawn down to 5 lb 2 ounces. I had a grin a mile wide saying “That will do for me” having shot a quick picture, I waded back out in the river so I could release the fish close to the deep water alongside the tree. I was very pleased to see it swim off strongly. I then spent another hour but couldn’t find another good chub so ended my day around 10-00 hrs. My next session will be on the river Beult.


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Martin James Fishing
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