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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


13/10/2023 - My First Day Back In Sussex

Wild carp


Having had an enjoyable train journey from the north, I arrived in Sussex full of hope knowing I had virtually a whole month of angling ahead of me. My first days angling was spent on an estate water, after my daughter dropped me off I then had a long walk through Hazle Nut Wood, where I often see a badger in the half light of morning, today I have come from a different direction where at times I need to push my way through waist high ferns, nettles and brambles. The weather was ideal strong South Westerly wind was pushing the uppermost branches of the beech trees in all directions, most of the sky was cloud covered, but there were areas of blue, promising some warm sunshine later.

Arriving at the dam end, I spooked six Roe deer, I was then greeted by a pair of Great crested grebes, such lovely birds. After some 82 years of angling I never tire of this lovely pastime, which has taken me to many part of the planet from the Arctic circle Brazil, Columbia, Peru Ecuador and Venezuela, some of it spent in the jungle with the Ticuna tribe, also known as Tucuna, Tikuna, or Tukuna indigenous people of Brazil Colombia and Peru Where they are probably the most numerous tribe. I have been fortunate to spend time in The Bahamas, Belize, America, Canada including North West Territories, Middle East, all the Scandinavia countries along with France which has some excellent angling, both trout and coarse.

I spent an hour or more, slowly walking much of the bank, hoping to spot a wildie, there was very little surface activity, except from small roach or Rudd. Eventually I settled into a small bay, to my right I had some reed mace less than a foot away from some true bullrush, with their onion like stems, to my left were several trees overhanging the water, it was a dark secretive looking area, no doubt carp would resting under the many branches. With the current wind direction, it was easy to cast out a crust, then allow it to drift into the dark area. Today I was fishing with a modified Sharps salmon rod, by cutting off the handle, then adding a new handle on the top half of cane with its female ferrule, I had an ideal carp and barbel rod, all these operations were carried out in a very skilled and professional way by David Craine of Yorkshire, I can certainly recommend his work, also if you are after a Crabtree net, David is the man for you. My second rod was an Edgar Sealey Rover matched with a Richard Carter Avon Classic

I matched my rod with a centre pin reel, holding 12 lb breaking strain Gamma line, to which I attached a tiny swivel, then four feet of braid followed by a size 4 barbless hook. The idea of the braid is, “It doesn’t spook the carp like the nylon line”. Catapulting a dozen pieces of crust out on the water, after adding a mug of water to the jet boiler, after igniting the burner, within a minutes the water was boiling, hence it name, with my fresh brew, along with a scone, I sat back in my chair, watching the crusts as they slowly drifted towards the overhanging trees, suddenly I heard a cloop, as a crust disappeared. Fifteen minutes later I made a cast, within a minute the crust had gone, as the reel screeched a warning. After a good interesting fight, where the fish made several determined runs towards the dark bay, where no doubt, there would have been plenty of dead branches where it could escape. Eventually after a bit of give and take I had a fish about 5lbs in the net, at first I thought it might be a wildie, with its shape and tiny barbels, the sensory, whisker-like organs. Though I wasn’t hundred percent sure.

During the day I had another 9 carp all nice looking commons, between 11lbs and 14 lbs estimated, all off the top on crust or flake, lost some, missed some. I really got excited around 3pm when a big rudd sucked down a piece of flake. I estimated it at 2.5lb plus, might have gone 3lbs. For the rest of the session until dark, I just fished for the rudd but sadly the small carp around 3lbs got the flake first. I did hook what at first I thought was a very big rudd, after a minute or two I got a glimpse of the fish, then thought “Is that a big crucian” It was quite a long fight, but eventually it was in the net, it was very gold coloured rounded fish, looking much like a very big crucian, I then checked for barbels, then seeing just a tiny one, no doubt a cross between a crucian and a common hybrid. I am back tomorrow with a friend, hopefully I might get the chance of fishing in the dark, for the rudd, which were taking the bait right under the rod tip. I will probably target the rudd with lob tails, if my friend can get some from the tackle shop. It was so peaceful, just the sound of the water lapping the bank, sound of birds close by were several wrens and robins, overhead were many jackdaws, jackdaws, also a WW2 fighter the Hurricane, I was also privileged to see and hear another WW2 Mosquito, British twin-engine two-seat bomber aircraft adapted to become the prime night fighter.

A Good Dead For The Day

Around 1300 hrs a small group of children age probably 7-13 appeared along with 4 teachers, I reckon it was a special needs school. I spent some time explaining the tackle baits, how fish, the need clean water, also saying “have you noticed there is not litter.” I was able to point out a pair of moorhens and grebes,. At the end I gave the headmaster my card explaining that I could arrange fishing lessons FOC through the local angling club which has been vetted for safety. Before they walked off to their school. As I enjoyed a brew I realised how lucky I had been to have 2 grandfathers as role models. While I was at the railway station waiting for my train to London, there were 3 boys and a girl between 6and 8 , I could see they had health problems, what got my attention was the young girl kept gently toughing the lady railway porters uniform, after a few minutes I walked across then gave the teacher a fiver saying “Get then a small treat” He said "if they are good we treat them a sausage roll" Seeing youngster’s like these four children made me realise how lucky I have been in life




A wild carp water


Fishing for a wild carp

I had several of these fish

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Martin James Fishing
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