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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


18/12/2021 - A Trio Of Five Pounders

My best fish on sausage meat 5lb 6 ounces

Today I had arrived on the river just after 0900 hrs, it was bright sunshine with lots of blue sky, after walking the two beats, I checked the water temperature getting a reading of 48 degrees F. The river probably had two feet of extra water with some colour, I was hoping I’d get away from the trout, and find a chub. The conditions were ideal for both grayling and chub, the latter species were my quarry, I chose a spot where several large beech trees lined the bank, growing among a mass of hawthorns willows and bramble bushes. I baited a small area I thought might produce a chub, throwing in ten pieces of bread flake, along with six pieces of sausage meat, as the sun was shining straight at me, I wouldn’t be able to fish until later when some cloud base arrived, or the sun moved behind me which wouldn’t be until about 1300 hrs. A few minutes of sunshine in my eyes would cause me a painful problem with dry eye, though I have drops they take some time to clear up the problem. For those who doesn’t know what it’s like, your eyes fill full of grit. I then went off to do some jobs around the fishery, eventually sorting out the cabin, I then had a brew with a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich while reading ther daily news.


Tackle Surprise And Set Up


With my break over I chose to set up an outfit for legering, yesterday my friend Bill had given me a surprise early Christmas present, apart from 6lbs of special bacon, he handed me a gift wrapped present, I had no the idea what it was, at a guess perhaps a special landing net handle. A few minutes later I said “I’m going to unwrap my early present” The first thing I noticed was the high class quality rod bag, I’ve not seen one like it since the 1950’s made by Bill’s partner Helen, taking out the butt joint I was amazed to find it was 12 foot Apollo Taperflash. In the late 50’s I had a range of these rods, my favourite if one can have such a thing was a 14 foot Taperflash. Having got all three joints from the bag, I put the rod together flexing it, I was taken back to the 50’s on the River Thames at Richmond catching dace and roach. The rod had been refurbished by Bill which including a personal inscription on the rod ‘The Ribble Chevinmaster’ Martin James MBE I decided to match it with a Mitchell 300 from the same era, with 6lbs bs line, I used a small running link taking one shot then moulded some plasticine around the shot. I made another brew then put camera a few tackle item with my baits of sausage meat also a loaf of bread. An hour later I was off to my chosen swim hoping the trout would give me a break.


A Truly Amazing Session


It was around 1340 hrs when I got to my spot, I left most of the gear in a small area of grass among the brambles, with rod, landing net and bait bag I made my way to a small area where I could fish, Having got settled in, I baited with a large piece of flake then cast out into the flow allowing the bait to slowly bounce downstream, within a minute I got a pluck then a firm pull, the fish powered away as if on rocket fuel, I quickly realised it was a trout, after a while I netted a fish about two pounds. In a thirty minutes session I had six more trout of similar size. I then considered packing up and going off home. I then thought “Why not try a bit of sausage meat”



After moulding a large piece of paste around the size 4 hook, I made an underhand cast dropping the bait in the crease, as the rod was more suitable for tench than chub, who dislike any form of resistance, I pinched on a dough bobbin, then sat holding the rod, a few minutes later the bobbin moved towards the butt ring, the strike connected with what felt like a heavy fish, as the fish powered off downstream using the flow, I said to myself “This is a chub” A few minutes later I got my first glimpse of the fish, slowly I worked the fish upstream towards me, then it kited into my right where there were some tree roots, I cramped on all the pressure I dare, it told as the fish changed direction out into the river, I then realised if I didn’t make a mistake this fish was mine, probably two or three minutes later, I had it coming towards the net, soon it was inside the mesh. I made my way to the top of the bank where I could weigh the first good chub of the winter, scales and carrier bag were all set up, I got a reading 5lb 4 ounces, having laid the fish on top of the net I then went for the camera, for a quick pic then the fish was quickly returned.


Back in the swim I baited with another piece of sausage meat, a gentle cast, this time put the bait into the moving water, where I allowed it to move downstream a few yards before putting on a bobbin, within a minute it twitched then move upwards, soon I was playing another good fish, in fact this time I was forced to give more line, after a long struggle I netted my second good chub, this time it weighed 5 lb 2 ounces, it was just three steps to pick up the camera, turning around, I watched the fish flip off the net then slither down the bank into the water.


My next two bites were both chub around 3lbs. I then had a fifteen minute session with nothing, without warning the bobbin shot to the butt ring, at the same time the rod tip was pulled downwards, no need to strike the fish had hooked itself. After a very spirited session lasting several minutes I started to gain some control, slowly I pumped the fish upstream, I’d not yet seen the fish, just the way the fish hugged the bottom, I realised it was a chub and not a trout. A few minutes later I netted my third good fish. At first the scale needle gave a reading of 5 lb 7 ounces, then settled back to 5lb 6 ounces. This time I wrapped the mesh of the net around the fish, while I got the camera, then got a picture, before watching the fish swim off strongly upstream, not down as the other fish had, except the escapee, I didn’t get to see what direction it went. As the light started to fade I had to leave so I was home before it was dark, currently because of my dry eye problem, I find it difficult to drive in the dark, if the bright headlights hit my eyes they immediately start giving problems so I don’t take a chance.




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Martin James Fishing
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