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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


12/09/2021 - An Enjoyable Float Fishing Session

One of three better chub


On Friday morning I noticed the river had some six inches of dirty, highly coloured water , not fit for fly fishing, I doubt it would be any good for float or ledgering, as there were masses of filamentous algae going down with the flow where it's been swept off the stones and rocks. Sadly during the day the level dropped so by tea time it had about an inch of extra water, I would have been happy with three feet, for the past 4 week the forecast has been for rain, it didn’t happen. Sadly I didn’t get the chance of even an hours angling.

Grayling Society Day

Saturday morning I was on the river at 0800 hrs as I was hosting members of the grayling society, thankfully the slight rise on Friday had cleared much of the weed by Saturday morning, clarity was ideal for fly fishing, but with little flow making it, I though unsuitable for float fishing. Having welcomed the members who had travelled from Devon, Hampshire, Newcastle, in fact all points of the compass. I pointed out all the pools, suggesting what fly patterns to use, suggesting they fish upstream with a black and peacock spider pattern as the fish are feeding on snails, fly life is virtually zero. Weather conditions were ideal with a south westerly wind blowing upstream, plus an overcast sky.

I then went off to look at an area on the bottom beat hoping above hope I might find a bit of streamy water, sadly nothing, as I walked through a riverside copse I noticed there was enough movement down the centre of the river, to get a float moving if only slowly, it’s better than nothing I thought, deciding I would spend fifteen minutes to see if it was feasible to fish.

Cane Rod - Centre Pin Reel

I chose to match my Allcocks Record Breaker with a 4 inch Eureka holding forty yards of 3lb bs line, then added a small balsa float made for me by Russ Shaw, its designed to take 2 AA and 1 BB, using the tried and tested loop to loop method, I soon had a size 16 barbless hook on 2 lb line to complete the setup, after a few casts I found about three feet of water, the 2AA shot were lightly pinched on the line halfway between hook and float, with a BB lightly pinched three inches up from the hook, bait would be sweetcorn. After putting in a dozen or so grains of corn I allowed the swim to quieten down.

Chub From The Off

I made my first cast just after 1000hrs, the float slowly travelled some five yards then dipped, striking I was into my first fish, a chub around the pound mark, rebaiting I threw in a few grains of corn followed up with the baited hook, instantly the float disappeared the bait taken on the drop, another chub of similar size, such beautiful fish in pristine condition, if only they can escape the ravages of cormorants. In the next five casts five more chub, on the next cast the float travelled a few feet then was pulled under quite savagely, I’d hooked a trout around two pounds, I hate catching trout when coarse fishing. Having released this fish I rebaited then made another cast, immediately another trout was hooked, yes they pull the string but I can’t get excited like I am when catching them on a fly, they are so easy to catch on bait. For some two hours I really enjoyed catching lots of chub using the light float tackle, it was also nice to put my Eureka reel to test which as expected performed as it did on its very first day, no wander Dick Walker owned one. I reckon I must have had forty plus chub.

Three Good Fish In Succession

It was nearly noon when I trotted a grain of corn down the centre of the river, the float lifted about a quarter of an inch, the strike connecting with a good fish, “Bugger it another trout” I shouted to no one, as I forced to give line, for about five minutes I really thought it was a trout, then it moved towards some tree root on my bank downstream, I thought “I reckon it’s a chub” trout don’t usually behave in this manner, slowly I forced the fish upstream then spotted a pair of white lips “Chub” I shouted gleefully overjoyed that at last I’d got a better fish. In the next two casts I had two more fish of similar size. Half an hour later having caught a few smaller chub around the pound mark I decided to end the session, one I really did enjoy, the majority of fish were not big, but enjoyable to catch on the tackle I was using, nothing beats watching the float keep disappearing. Hopefully there will be many more days like this during the winter when I have an extra foot or more of water.





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Martin James Fishing
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