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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


28/01/2022 - A Great Session With Chub

This fish certainly gave me a lot of sport weighing in at 5 lb 6 ounces


It was around 1000 hrs when I got to the river, to find it with an extra 14 inches of water with some colour and a far stronger flow, checking the water temperature I got a reading of 43-44 degrees F, saying to myself “These are good condition in January” I couldn’t have wished for a better chance of catching chub if only the trout would leave the bait alone. I had two larger loaves of breads, a tin of meat also some lobworms. Tackle choice today was the same as yesterday, 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 was a bigger piece of plasticine than yesterday with a more powerful flow, as usual it was moulded around the float stop. Todays swim was a further 2 miles up river, easy to reach by walking along three fields, to a pool that in the past has produced the odd big chub, usually in the darkness. Having got settled in my swim, I sorted out scales weigh bag and camera, so if I did catch a fish it could be weighed, photographed then returned quickly. I don’t usually weigh 4lb fish unless they are looking fin and scale perfect. It was probably around 1100 hrs when I made my first cast into a quiet pool, just upstream, if I got a bite in would no doubt be a drop back. Baiting with a big chunk of crust fished on a six inch link, with the rise in temperature and the extra flow I expected the bites would be confident. Within ten minutes of casting out I had the first drop back, sadly it was just lightly pricked. Another cast this time straight across the river where I could move the bait downstream, it was on my fourth lift and drop, I got a hit, the fish was on for a fraction of a second then gone. Retrieving the hook I could attached see a big scale from a chub.


Baiting with another big bit of crust, I cast towards the far bank in front of some over hanging ivy and brambles, after a couple of minutes I went to lift the bait then got a vicious hit, dragging the tip well down towards the water, feeling a powerful surge as line was ripped from the clutch, a minute or so later it was off, the hook point was bent over, all I could think of is the hook must have hit a bony part of the pharyngeal teeth. Tying on another size 4 hook I baited with crust, as it was producing bites, I could see no reason to change either bait or tackle set up. Twenty minutes or so later I hooked a very powerful fish which used all its power, along with the extra flow down the centre of the river, all I could do was keep pressure on the fish as it stripped line of the reel, at first I thought kelt, but no, this was a powerful chub.


I’m up off the bank grabbing the landing net which I threw down river, repeating the process as I moved downstream, slowly towards the fish. I didn’t want to try and draw a lively fish up through the fast water, twenty yards downstream was a quiet pool which would give me a better chance of beating this fish. Slowly I followed the fish until it was below the pool, as I did so I got some line back on the reel, for several minutes perhaps ten or more, I’d not had a glimpse of the fish which stayed deep, every now and again it would shake its head, as if some giant hand was at work. Knowing what it feels like to have as big seven pounder on the end of the line, this seemed more powerful. A few minutes later of give and take, I started to feel I might win this fight with my unseen fish, slowly I worked it into the quiet water of the pool, every time I got line back, the fish would still take a little line.


For a minute or so I stood with a bent rod as the fish lay deep in the pool, it was time to get serious, I bent the rod even more, so I could slowly pump then work the fish towards the surface, eventually it swirled shaking its head, this was now the most dangerous time, slowly and gently I pulled the fish towards the net, as it got over the net I lifted, the fish still had strength to thrash the water to a foam inside the net, but it was mine. On the scales it weighed 5 lb 6 ounces. It looked a lot bigger, but the scales don’t lie, when I netted the fish an angler said “What’s that weigh 8lbs”, I told him the weight, but he said “Your scales are wrong” I just ignored the remark. I well remember catching a 6 lb 14 ounce chub a few years ago, the one angler said “That’s got to be a seven pounder”, I repeated the weight, then one fool said “Dip it in the water and it might then be a seven which we all want”. “Utter rubbish” was my saying, I was more than happy with its weight. As I was with this chub today. In the next three hours, I had seven more good fish estimated at 4lb plus, the best at 4 lb 7 ounces, again crust was the top bait, I did have a session with one or two lobs, also fishing meat, but these baits were ignored. It was a crust day.

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Martin James Fishing
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