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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


28/01/2022 - A Hand full Of Chub

A prefect winter chub


Today’s weather forecast was for light cloud with a moderate breeze, the first part was correct, but when I arrived on the river bank the wind was far from a moderate breeze, also it was very cold. Checking the water temperature I got a reading of 37 38 degrees F, also the river was very low and gin clear, without polarising glasses I could still see the bottom half way across the river, it didn’t look inspiring in the least. I then decided to drive further down the river to fish another stretch of water. After parking up alongside the barn, I walked upstream for about half a mile to a swim I’d fished in the summer, which is situated in small copse, though it would entail sliding down a steep bank holding onto a rope, also I had to wriggle under two sets of barbed wire. Once in the swim with the icy cold conditions, I reckon the way to fish was bread crust on a size 4 barbless hook with a three inch hook link. I had the minimum of tackle, no seat just a piece of sponge to sit on, no need for a rod rest, I put together an Abbey Avon with a Mitchell 300 filled with 6lb breaking strain line to which I added a float stop, then a size 4 hook using the tried and tested Palomar knot, the weight would be plasticine moulded around the float stop.


Bread Was Off The Bait List


Into my tackle bag I put scales, weigh bag, camera also another small bag holding hooks, float stops and shot, picking up a loaf, I opened it to find it was mouldy, thankfully I had a second loaf, when opened it was in the same condition, my plans were scuppered. Unless I could scratch around in the leaf mould in the hope of finding some grubs, worms, even a snail would be ok, but nothing was found. I then searched around in my big tackle bag hoping there would be some cheese paste, I was in luck, I found a small tin of corn, cheese paste and meat, all three went into the tackle bag. With bag over my shoulder, rod and landing net in my left hand I headed off to the swim, where it took some time to find the rope. I’d attached to a tree back in the summer, slowly I then made my way down the bank also under the barbed wire without getting caught up then onto the river.

An Exciting Two Hours

Having got seated in my swim, I laid out scales, weight bag, also camera in case I was fortunate to catch a chub which need to be dealt with quickly with little handling, but no doubt the trout could be troublesome. I then tried to open the can of meat, it wasn’t easy the key was missing from the tin, as I have done all my life since I was 4 years of age, I had a pen knife, After some fifteen twenty minutes I managed to cut half the lid open, then remember I‘d got a pair of forceps, with these I was able to hold of the small tag where the key should go, soon I had the lid off, success at last. Having cut some meat into chunks, I baited the hook, then cast out dropping the bait a foot from the far bank, where several trees, stunted oak, willow, hawthorns, also two sycamore trees, many branches were over hanging the water. In the tall beech trees a woodpecker was working away. Soon two cormorants appeared, with my free hand I grabbed my handgun, switched off the safety, then fired a shot which quickly dispersed them.


I was very peaceful sitting there watching the birds going about their business, in the top of a beech tree I could see what looked like a crows nest. Half an hour later four roe deer appeared slowly moving through the trees. Suddenly the rod moved in my hand, I quickly noticed slack line, with a long powerful sweep downstream, I felt a fish on, saying to myself “Hopefully this isn’t a trout” I could now see the line entering the water well upstream of me, saying to myself “I reckon this fish has picked up the bait, then moved into midstream”, then on feeling the hook go home, it went off with some power further upstream, the clutch yielding line, such a satisfying sound. After several minutes I felt in control of the situation, I then got my first glimpse of the fish showing part of its tail, it was black, I shouted to myself “It’s a chub” Another few minutes then it was in the net and mine. After checking the scales with weigh bag, I slid the fish quickly in to bag then got a reading of 5-8-0 it then settled at 5 7-0 it was most satisfying, a quick picture, I then watched it swim off fast upstream and towards the far bank.


More Satisfaction

In the next three hours I had two trout, also four very good chub weighing in at 4 lb 2 ounces two at 4 lb 8 ounces and one at 4 lb 11 ounces. Thankfully at last I’d got away from the trout to catch chub, all were in excellent condition, which is what I expect in the winter months, I am hoping to go back tomorrow.

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Martin James Fishing
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