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


08/02/2023 - A Hard Day On The River

Roe deer

Tuesday morning 7th February Tony Koziol of Stockport, a very good and experienced angler picked me up early in the morning, for a day on the river, in the hope Tony could catch his first 5 lb chub. Conditions were not good a low gin clear river with a water temperature drop of 6 degrees F, down to 40 degrees F. My bait list consisted of, King size prawns, bread, both crust and flake, cheese paste, sausage meat paste and luncheon meat. I used my soft Avon action Chevin rod, matched with a small bait runner, the spool filled with 15 lb bs braid, adding 2 float stops, finally tying on a size 8 barbless hook during.

Today I was also going to use a new latex landing net, I find these nets far superior to the other nets, when you get bream, tench or eel in the net, they don’t lose their body mucus covering through the net mesh, which is very damaging to the fish. Also I have found that none of my fish have lost a scale, even more important, it’s an open wound.

We fished from around 0900 hrs until well after 1900 hrs. I had 2 trout in the first two casts, then nothing, throughout the day light hours I experienced lots of tentative knocks. When I used cheese paste, often when I wound in the bait, there were the imprints from the lips of a chub. I never had an indication of a bite, I could strike at.

I did through the day, have the company of numerous birds wrens, robins, black birds, kingfisher, fieldfare, buzzards also several groups of long tailed tits. One highlight of the day was a Roe deer on the opposite bank, that having jumped over the fence then showed its intention of swimming across the river. I managed with an 840mm lens to take the pic in this feature, I then waited for it to swim across the river, where I hoped to get a good picture, sadly it wasn’t happy with me on the opposite bank, so went round the corner out of sight.

Just as dusk turned into darkness, I had a twenty minute spell 3 good bites on crust fishing a short 2 inch link, catching two 3lb plus chub also a chub of 5 lb 2ounces, icing on the cake, which I didn’t expect. Though I fished on for another hour or more in the dark nothing happened.

I’ve lost count how many times this has happened going back to the 1950’s. Where I have experienced these short feeding spells, I well remember many times fishing in winter when the air temperature was often down to minus 10 degrees F, we often fished into the early hours of the next day, suddenly we experience a short feeding spell catching chub, also an odd barbel.

On one such feeding spell on the Kennet, the late Len Arbery was fishing a quiet bay for barbel on the Thames, with a swing tip, who experience a similar short feeding spell at roughly the same time as we did on the Kennet, which included a double figure barbel for Len. We both fished a slack area of water, it certainly often happens under the current weather and water conditions.

Sadly Tony never had a touch, such is chub fishing when the temperature plummets. We now need some good warm rain to lift and colour the water, then it will hopefully produce again during daylight. Though its hard under these conditions I will still keep trying in case a chub wants my bait. Regards Martin


5 lb 2 ounce chub on crust

Back to the News List

Martin James Fishing
Email: [email protected]