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


04/02/2023 - Another Good Chub

5 lb 3 ounce chub

A few day ago I got a call from my old friend Ian Chapman, who I hadn’t heard from some time, it turned out he had been very ill, though still not back to top form, he was still managing to get out and about. As we chatted I suggested Why not come and join me on the river for a day? He answered “That would be nice, I will pick you up around 1000 hrs”, today Friday he collected me around that time, checking the gauge I found the river was high and rising, though I reckon we had a good chance of catching, the weather was over cast with rain, the wind around 10-12 mph. Half an hour later we pulled into the car park, another twenty minutes or so, we were then heading towards the river bank. Ian wasn’t going to fish, he just wanted a few hours with me talking about past times and friends. He also had some photography gear, which didn’t surprise me as Ian is a top rated photographer who has worked for some best magazines over the years. I suppose the way to describe Ian is a follows “ A top photographer, angler and Mr nice guy”

Tackle and Bait Choice

Today I used my soft Avon action Chevin rod, matched with a small bait runner, the spool filled with 15 lb bs braid, I then added 2 float stops finally tying on a size 8 hook. With the river up and coloured I chose to start fishing luncheon meat, then perhaps switching to cheese paste. With three cubes of meat on the hook, I extended the link between hook and plasticine to fifteen inches to start with. Having taken the water temperature twice I got the same reading each time of 46 degrees F, saying to Ian “water temperature is 46 degrees, which is very good”.

Casting out I allowed the bait to trundle down and across the stream until it settled, I reckon it was in an area where the flow was less strong, perhaps a depression in the bed of the river, this would of course be a place where food would collect, and fish would be, I gently lifted the rod to make sure it wasn’t snagged up, all was clear. About half an hour later, I got a savage pull nearly losing the rod in the process, I’d put the rod in the rest while I dried my hands. Ian called “Martin your rod” I just managed to grab the rod, I’d never had such a bite like this for many years.

It Was An Exciting Tussle

As I bent into the fish the reel screamed in protest as line was ripped off, this fish wasn’t going to give in easy, also it had a powerful flow of water to help it, it seemed every half a minute or so, it would shake its head tow or three times, sending a shudder through my body, at the thought of the hook coming free, a lot of line was being lost from the spool, even though I was able to get some back. For a while the fish was probably the winner, I also had to be aware of a tree trunk of some size being in the water down to my right, if the fish kited in that direction, I doubt if I could pull it away, the angle of pull wouldn’t produce enough power to hold it off.

Thankfully luck was on my side, I gently eased off some pressure, which I reckon gave the fish a feeling it was free, it moved well out into the flow, immediately I wound down to the water’s edge then pumped hard drawing the fish up in the water a bit and towards. It worked as the fish started upstream, I felt if I didn’t make any silly mistakes it would be mine, I pushed the net out as far as possible, at the same time trying to draw the fish into the quieter water, Ian had the first glimpse saying “That’s a good one” as I heard the camera shutter clicking on motor drive. A few more minutes I had it coming towards the net, then it was mine, I breathed a sigh of relief, as I dropped the rod, with both hands heaved the fish ashore. “Could this be another five pounder I thought”

Out with scales, which were then zeroed, I gently moved the fish from net to weigh bag, making sure the head of the fish was pointed towards the bank, should it suddenly move, so wouldn’t dive straight into the water, the scales gave a reading of 5 lb 3 ounces, I was more than pleased, Ian shot a couple of pics, then the fish was lowered into the water, where it went off strongly. An hour later with no more interest I changed over to cheese paste, half an hour later I had two plucks but nothing to strike at, fifteen minutes later with no more interest I checked to see if the bait was in place, it was but there were two lovely shaped lip marks where the fish had picked up the rejected the bait. An hour later with no more interest we called it a day, with the river still rising. The only sign of bird life was the sound of a robin, wren and blackbird, a kingfisher flew upriver then across to the opposite bank where it settled on a nice perch in a slack water spot, I spotted a goosander hundred yards up river, then fired a shot which moved it away. It was the end of a satisfying session with a very dear friend.


Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]