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


07/01/2023 - Another Day On The River

My swim area


Yesterday Thursday I chose to fish a club water several miles downriver, Brian also a member had offered me a lift in exchange for some sausage meat. Having walked both sides of the river, we gave up, it was a complete wash out, on the way home we stopped off at my water, again there wasn’t any where, we could find some quieter water, another day of no fishing.

Today Friday with the gauge reading a foot less than yesterday, I decided to go fishing, catching the bus at 0900 hrs, I got off at Clitheroe, then it was “Shanks pony” I also chose to wear wellingtons, not the best footwear for long walks, the reason was I could walk through a marshy area, saving me at least a mile. Once on the river bank, I walked another mile or so in the warm sunshine with blue sky overhead, approaching a clump of trees including hawthorn and holly both loaded with berries, including a big oak with its roots plunging deep into the river, I noticed some movement in the holly bush, I was surprised to see some waxwings, it’s a few years since seeing them, later in the day a big flock of fieldfare flew over the meadow to a copes. I continued looking for an area that might just hold a fish or two. Eventually I found a spot that might produce. Checking the water temperature I got a reading of 46 degrees F, water visibility was probably six inches, the reeds upstream were submerged, just above the reeds, was a submerged hawthorn bush the combination of reeds and bush were diverting and slowing up the flow, also downstream few feet was another clump of reeds this time showing above water. “This area will do me today” I thought

Keeping It Simple

Today I chose to use my Davenport & Fordham Peter Stone Specimen rod in glass, should I hook a good fish, I had the extra power to beat a fish in the very fast water, more so if it chose to try and get to a submerged tree hallway across the river. I matched it with a small bait runner with 15lb bs braid, then added two float stops followed by a size 8 barbless hook. Moulding a chunk of plasticine around the hook I checked the depth getting a reading about 4 feet some three feet out from the reeds, any further out I would have to cope with fast swirling water, which I didn’t think would hold fish, when they could be comfortable close to the bank, over clean gravel, no doubt seek fish would seek sanctuary in the reeds. Sitting there for a few minutes I pondered the question, should I put in any free offerings? Eventually deciding not to.

First Fish

Having worked out how much plasticine I needed as a weight, I baited with three small pieces of luncheon meat, then cast out so the bait would hopefully swing in a bit downstream of the reed. I sat holding the rod, fifteen minutes or so I felt two plucks on the line striking on the second pluck but, nothing. Rebaiting again, I once more sat back watching the rod tip, line hooked over my index finger. Twenty minutes later I got my first fish a chub about a pound.

Suddenly the sun disappeared, day turned to night, the wind increased, the heavens opened up, within minutes I was well soaked, I wasn’t expecting rain. Quickly as possible I chucked my bits and pieces into a bin liner I carry for these occasions. Fifteen minutes later the rain ceased, the sun appeared. I rebaited then carried on fishing, soon another chub similar size the first was caught, quickly followed by another pound size chub. Half an hour later I got two more similar size chub. It was time for a change, to a size 4 hook, then bait with a very big chunks of luncheon meat in the hope of finding a better chub. I’d just cast out when another shower of rain lasting about ten minutes, all I could do was sit it out, no way was I going to give in. A hot shower when I get home will sort me out, also the long walk back to the bus stop, will warm me up.

After the rain stopped I rebaited with two big chunks of meat, then shortened the link between bait and weight to about twelve inches, then cast out. Half an hour later I checked the end tackle, replaced the bait, then cast out. Twenty or so minutes later I felt two determined pulls, then noticed the line fall slack, quickly winding down I made a powerful sweep upstream, the rod tip was pulled down firmly, I said to myself “This is a good chub” At the same time the rain sheeted down again, I quickly got up off my seat then went as close to the water as possible, I needed to keep this fish away from the reeds, also from the submerged tree in the river, which it was trying it’s best to reach, I certainly felt the fast water helping the fish, as line was taken off the reel. Slowly I walked up river dragging the fish behind me as it continued to have its way. Ten minutes or more had gone by, still I hadn’t got a glimpse of the fish. Another five minutes or more I felt I was winning, as the fish was coming more up in the water, and not trying to reach the midstream snag. Suddenly the fish swirled on the surface. I said “Bloody hell it’s a trout, but a good one” A few minutes later I had the fish in the net, then it was out, twice I had the fish in the net, before eventually I was able to swing it up on the bank. Taking out the hook, I said “I will shoot a quick picture” then submerged the net in the water watching the fish swim off strongly. I fished on for another hour then packed in, more than satisfied with my session



A good trout.

Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]