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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


29/01/2014 - Stret - Pegging with Lone Angler Ocean Pride

I've just had a great session on the River Ribble catching 14 chub and 5 roach, the best chub weighing 5lb 3 ounces. I arrived to find the river with about 2 feet of extra water, a water temperature of 43 degrees F. Three days ago the river had five foot of extra water the colour then best described as muddy brown. Today conditions were near perfect. I started off by trotting but couldn't get a bite, after an hour and feeling there were fish in my chosen swim. I changed to an anchored bait fishing piece of paste on a size 12 hook with an 1 LG shot wrapped in plastacine 12 inches from the hook. In about 15 minutes I had two chub averaging 3lbs.

                                                          Back on the Float

 I then switched back to my float fishing gear, this time I would stret-peg which is a searching method where the bait is slowly worked down the swim. I reckon it's a great searching method, but not to be confused with laying-on. I have used the former method with great success, since the late 1940’s when it was first taught and explained to me by my Grandfather. In those days we used 15 foot bamboo rods; today I use a light carbon 15 foot rod. Though for the best success I reckon a 17 foot rod with a centre pin reel is a great combination.

 I started off by plumbing the depth, then set the float about three feet over depth, 4 AA shot being bunched about 15inches from the hook. Today I was using Lone Angler Ocean Pride paste, having run out of sausage sizzle. I cast out across and downstream, then held back the float on a tight line, which allowed the float then settled at an angle downstream from the rod tip. Within five minutes the float dipped sharply, my strike connected with a nice fish a chub about 3lbs. This was quickly followed by another chub of similar size, this time the float moved out into the stream slowly submerging. Fifteen minutes with no sign of a bite, I lifted the rod allowing the float to move a few feet downstream. My next two fish were a real surprise both roach about a pound, lovely looking fish that I doubt had ever been hooked, they certainly had never be in a keep net. Making up a dozen pea size bites of paste I fed them in the swim in the hoping the fish would keep feeding. In three casts I had three more chub one probably pushing 4lbs. It just shows how you have to be ready to change. I'd started off by trotting the stream with no success, soon as I changed to a bait that was anchored I had two quick fish, though I reckon they might have been as the bait slowly tripped along the bottom. Many anglers would have thought either no fish in the swim or they were not feeding. Watch a match angler at work and you will see he or she is always trying something new if no bites are forth coming. In my match fishing days I would have several ideas in mind to try, if I couldn't get a bite on my first choice style of fishing. It made me a more thinking angler.

                                                          A Good Chub

Back to my day on the Ribble as I caught more fish I found I had to fish the bait further downstream. As often happens when you catch a few fish the others drop downstream. It's quite easy to fish the bait further downstream, just lift the rod letting a few feet of line to come off the reel which I reckon should be a centre pin, then tighten down to the float. I repeat this process until I have hooked a fish, or the tackle is well downstream that I need to repeat the process. Bites can often be quite savage; on other occasions the float will just drop flat or move out into the flow or towards the bank. After catching two more roach and five chub, I then had a quiet spell after scattering a dozen pea size pieces of paste in the swim, I had a fresh brew then sat watching a wren hunting for spiders in the ivy clad oak tree. After a break I baited with another piece of Ocean Pride paste then cast out into the stream, a minute or so later the float had settled on the edge of the seam, I tightened down until the float was laying at an angle of about 45 degrees. A few minutes later the float submerged in a savage manner pulling the rod tip round. Lifting the rod I found myself hooked up to a good fish which immediately moved out and downstream forcing me to give line. "Barbel I thought, no a good chub" five or six minutes later I was winning as I slowly worked the fish upstream against the fast push of water. Another few minutes a good chub was in the net. I immediately thought that could go 5lbs.

After zeroing the weigh bag on the scales, I moved the fish from net to weigh bag then got a reading of 5lb 3 ounces. After a quick picture which I was disappointed with. I took the fish well upstream before releasing it as I had done with my other fish. I find if you release the fish back into the swim you will often find the other fish you hoped to catch will have gone. I fished on catching another roach and a couple of chub but the five pounder was the best, but it had been a great session. I will be back on the river again tomorrow as I am most days. It's great being retired

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Martin James Fishing
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