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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


21/01/2022 - Itís Been A Tough Week On The Rivers

These are not rare, several around this size have been caught in the past



Christmas and Boxing day this year didn’t happen as it usually does, where I spend the time angling. On Christmas morning I got some very bad news, that left me feeling empty and lost. I had no interest in fishing, I didn’t even want my breakfast. I wasn’t in the mood for anything, except to be on my own, with my memories. On both days I just sat on the river bank for two or three hours each day, before driving home to a quiet house, Kate was away at her daughters for a big family get together as they usually do over Christmas. No radio or TV just I just wanted the peace and quiet. Thankfully on Christmas night BBC radio 4 had an hour long poetry reading programme, which eventually sent me off in a peaceful sleep.


Two Welcome Chub


Monday was an extremely mild day with an over cast sky with a light SW breeze, it’s what I call a “Roach Fishers Day” I arrived on the river around 1000 hrs to find around ten feet of fast muddy coloured water, in places it had flooded over the top of the bank, I roamed about a mile of water to find a quiet slack, but nothing. I didn’t think there was any chance for at least two days. Walking back to the car I thought of a spot on the other side of the river, entailing a drive some three miles, so decided to give the area a look. Arriving I parked up, then walked about a mile across the fields, to the spot I had in mind, it was on the inside of a right sweeping bend, the river some six inches from the top of a large reed bed, knowing the area, I guessed there would be five feet of water at the bottom of the bank. Tight to the bank immediately downstream of the reed bed was a small area where I could fish a float between six inches and a foot out from the bank. Before starting off I checked the water temperature getting a reading of 47 degrees F, I started off trying to trot it wasn’t a good choice, I then changed my tackle set up to laying-on style, all I got for my effort was being hooked up on submerged rubbish, on two occasions, I had to pull for a break, then tackle up again.


A Very Big Submerged Rock


I then remembered that some ten yards downstream was a huge rock, probably measuring some four feet high, eight feet in length and three feet in width, an ideal place for fish to rest in the fast rising river. I switched Stret-pegging style fishing a big lob on a size 6 hook. In a two hour session before I was flooded off I caught two nuisance trout, also two chub about 3lbs, which were most welcome, from the area of the rock, if I didn’t know the area I wouldn’t have had an idea of the big rock, except perhaps the turbulence of the water in the area. Within a short period of catching the last chub, soon the river started to lap around my seat, it was time for a quick exit, sadly the end of my session.


A Small Chub


Next day its more rain, I’m back on the river, in a new area, I chose to fish the mouth of a small side stream some two hundred yards downstream of the bridge, this time I chose to leger using a lobworm, in an hour I had one small chub. I then moved on trying various spots without success, after some four hours I decided to go home. Yesterday Monday after looking at the river I didn’t bother to fish, I’d been home about half an hour when I got told one of my old venues in Yorkshire was fishing quite good, a water in the past where I’ve had some amazing results. After a brew, I travelled across, after a good look around, checking the water temperature  I got s reading of 48 degrees F I decided to fish it tomorrow.


Tuesday was a bright day with clear blue sky, the drive across to Yorkshire was rathe horrid with the sun in my eyes, the fields were white with frost, after the mild spell, we were certainly in winter, “No doubt the water temperature will be down a few degrees” I thought as I pulled off the road around 0930 hrs to parked up on an old bridge, checking the water temperature I got a reading 42 degrees F, the river height was over three feet, flowing fast, and coloured, which I expected. I chose to seek out the quiet spots over a mile and a half of water, using a method that has often proved better than legering under the cold conditions, I fished laying on with float tackle, bait was tail end of a lobworm on a size 12 hook, catching just two perch no more than a pound on lobworm bait. Yesterday Monday, I’d decided to fish for bream like the one in the picture, this fish along with three others were caught in similar conditions that l had yesterday, with a bank high nicely coloured river also a high water temperature. But today Tuesday there was no chance with the sudden drop in water temperature, along with a bright blue sky and sunshine, in fact the worse conditions, better suited to grayling or dace. Of course it didn’t happen today, but it was nice fishing one of my venues, with so many good memories. Hopefully I will be back again when the temperature rises, tomorrow I will target the grayling on another venue.


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Martin James Fishing
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