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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


01/12/2022 - A Good Session Today

My best chub of the session


I was on the river today at 0830 hrs, to find it dropping, but still with plenty of colour, conditions could not have been better with an over cast sky with a southerly wind around 5 mph. Last night I laid awake for some time trying to work out how I could miss out on the trout, with a chance of catching chub, eventually I fell asleep without finding an answer to the problem. This morning as I was riding to the river, the problem was still on my mind, pulling into the deserted car park, I thought “I have the river to myself”, checking the water temperature I got a reading of 48 degrees F up two degrees from yesterday, I then decide a complete change was needed, I wouldn’t put in any free offerings, just an acorn size piece of sausage meat on a size 8 hook with some plasticine on the line two feet from the hook.

I chose to fish the gravel patch swim as this would allow me to roll the bait down the flow, after a few casts to get the correct weight, by taking small pieces of plasticine off, until I could get it to roll slowly downstream as I lifted and lowered the rod. Sitting behind a bed of tall rushes, I used the landing net to part the reeds, allowing me to have a gap for the rod, after placing everything to hand I was ready to start, hoping for some chub.

A Good Pull From The Start

As I worked the bait downstream I felt the line tighten, striking I set the hook into a very angry powerful fish, “Not another trout” I thought, but no this fish stayed close to the bottom, I was elated a good chub at last on my first cast, for around some time I had a fish that didn’t want to give in, as I retrieved some line the fish would take it back, suddenly with some speed it shot upstream, I didn’t try to stop it, just keeping on some pressure, I would rather have a lively fish upstream of me than downstream. Slowly I was gaining line, I could feel it was slowing, it was now five or six yards away when it swirled on the surface. “That’s a big chub” I pushed the landing net further out, suddenly the fish kited to my left straight into the reeds, I hadn’t seen that danger. The fish was well into the reeds, laying the rod in the rest with the clutch slackened off, I moved upstream with the net prodding into the reeds hoping to frighten the fish, out ten minutes or more and nothing happened, I reckon it was stuck fast. I then got hold of the line starting seesawing motion, it’s a way that often gets a fish moving, but not this time. I ended up pulling for a break, thankfully I always use barbless hooks so it shouldn’t be a problem for the fish, though it might have already got rid of the hook.

I left the swim along for about thirty minutes and made a brew, so everything could quiet down. Moulding some sausage meat around the hook, I made a cast some ten minutes later I felt a slight pluck, then another, as I lifted the bait off the bottom I felt a savage take with the tip pulling round, As I tightened I briefly felt the fish then it was gone, in the next hour I had three similar takes all missed. I then shortened the distance between weight and hook down to about fifteen inches.

First Fish At Last

An hour later I had my first fish in the net, a nice chub estimated around two and a half pounds, small but most welcome, After a wait of around half an hour I had another chub, this time probably 3lbs, quickly followed by two more of similar size, I was feeling pleased with myself at last having caught four chub.

A Better Fish

I had a wait of about an hour for the next take, it was a drop back bite, suddenly the line going slack, striking well back I felt a powerful fish, suddenly it was off the starting block heading downstream towards the rapids. “If it got there all would be lost”, I jumped up off my seat, moving downstream quickly taking in line as fast as possible, I need to get below the fish, thankfully no bushes were in my way, soon I was level with the fish, and starting to win some line, as the fish started to tire, I then realised the net was well upstream, I had to carefully lead the fish upstream, so I could get the net. Luck was with me, the fish kept in close where it was slack water with no snags that I know of, eventually it was netted and mine, as I shouted “Yes” to no one. As I lifted the net it felt heavy, swinging it onto the bank, I realised it was a good four pounder in excellent condition. Having taken out the hook, I lowered the net into a shallow spot while I set up scales and weight bag, also my camera, this one was worth a picture. It weighed in at 4 lb 9 ounces I have never ever seen a chub as thick in the body and short in length that weighed as much, no wander it put up a good fight it was what I would describe as the “Perfect Chub”

I fished on for another hour but with the light fading I had to leave, as its difficult to see when I’m riding my E-moped, but it had been a good day and not a single trout. Back on the river guiding a friend in search of some grayling, then the rest of the week it will be after the chub.

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Martin James Fishing
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