fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


21/10/2022 - A Session On The Ouse.

My first chub swim

Today I got the chance to fish the Upper Sussex Ouse, conditions were near perfect, over cast sky, light wind with an occasional shower. It would be a roving day on the water, I hadn’t fished the Ouse for some 30 plus years. Getting my first look today at the venue I thought to myself “This will keep me happy for a few days” I got the impression it was little fished, no sign of a track, as I pushed my way along the river bank overgrown with ferns, brambles, nettles, Himalayan balsam, often I had to skirt around a fallen tree. In many areas on both sides of the river, were a thick growth of oaks, maple, willow, alder, silver birch, hawthorn cedars, several fallen trees and other obstacles were scattered in the river.

There were small areas where the riverside trees on both banks reached out over the water creating a tunnel effect, that looked as if they could hold chub. The river twisting and turning, sometime with virtually no flow, other places flowing fast over shallow gravel runs, no doubt favoured by trout and dace, a few yards further on, it would make another right or left turn in one case, creating a deep dark pool, over hung by a large willow. Thinking to myself “I reckon that’s a chub spot”, so it proved later in the day when I hooked a three pound plus fish on crust within a minute of casting out.

I reckon I covered two or more miles trying all the likely spots, often creeping on all fours as I carefully pushed the rod in front of myself, at the same time, getting scratched by brambles, stung by nettles on the face and hands, but parr for the course in my desire to extract a Chevin. It wasn’t the size of the fish, but the achievement in doing so, though it would be nice to get a good fish, but it want be the end of the world. Knowing no one had approached many of the swims for a very long time, if ever gave me great pleasure. If they had they would know doubt pass bye thinking, “That’s no good, I might lose a hook”.

Keeping It Simple

Today I had an 11 foot Avon action rod with a Certate 3500 fixed spool reel loaded with 6lb breaking strain Gamma line, to which I tied a size 4 barbless hook, weight would be LG shot depending on the stream flow and bait, the choice would be made when I got to a likely looking swim. My baits were meat, bread either flake or crust. I had a small shoulder bag holding hooks and shot and baits, apart from tackle, I had a landing net, with a small piece of sponge to sit on.

Chub First Cast

Martyn chose to fish a swim where the river flowed from left to right sweeping tight to the right hand bank with several bushes where the branches reached out over the water making it a dark and secretive spot. I chose a swim a few yards upstream of Martyn , pinching on three LG shot six inched from the hook, I baited with crust casting under a far bank willow, within a minute of casting I had a hook up soon netting my first chub of the session. Having shown Martyn the chub, then taking a quick picture, it was released. It was then went off roving, as I did so I put two or three bits of bread in spots where I might get a fish.

I found breadcrust was the ultimate bait to use often with 2 LG shot so I could work the bait downstream into the dark tunnel like spots, often getting a fish within minutes, I doubt if anyone had fished the area for a long time, I would have liked a session in the darkness but Martyn, like I was isn’t happy driving in the darkness. I know how he felt, such is life as we grow old. I was more than happy having caught 10 nice chub in total. Can’t wait for the next trip.












What I call jungle fishing

piece of slowly sinking flake was the bait in this swim

I caught 4 chub from this spot

Ouse Chub

Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]