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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


20/11/2023 - Back On The River

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Today Thursday I caught the first bus from my village just after 0800 hrs arriving in Clitheroe twenty minutes later, I now had a long walk. It was hard going and quite painful, but I wasn’t going to give in after about 50 minutes, I then had to walk across a partially flooded field, thankfully I didn’t step into any pot holes, then forded a stream before I had a long uphill struggle, slipping and sliding all over the place, had one fall getting plastered in mud. Eventually I arrived at the farmhouse, it was then thankfully all downhill.


Thursday was one of those days when conditions were perfect for angling, the water level was around 1 metre, with a temperature of 49-50 degrees F. The wind a light westerly, in fact hardly enough to rustle the leaves left on the trees. Across the water meadow, also in the trees was a faint mist. I was a good day for chub fishing with cheese paste, but also nymphing in the quiet bits of water. My friend Phil fished the river managing 1/2 day session when the river was in flood. Despite the levels) he fished a team of three nymphs through the slow moving water netting 12 Grayling losing 5 or 6 more As I often say “If we have a bait or fly in the water, we have a chance of catching”.


My tackle today was a soft Avon action rod with a centre pin reel and 6lb bs line, I then added two float stops before tying on a size 4 barbless hook, I moulded some plasticine around the two stops, moving the weight up the line about eighteen inches from the hook. Within minutes of casting out I had a trout around 2lbs which was quickly returned, Half an hour later I had another trout of similar size to the first. I cursed under my breath, I hate catching trout out of season, even if they are triploids which don’t spawn. Ten minutes later I had my first chub around 2lbs, but it was welcome. Every fifteen minutes or so, I put in two or three bait size pieces of cheese paste.


After a half hour period with out any action, I felt a light pressure on my forefinger from the lone, suddenly the pressure increased as the tip was pulled round, the answering strike connected with what I thought was a good chub as I said “Yes this is what I’m after” For several minute I would gain a bit of line, only for the fish to take it back, suddenly the power of the fish increased, I was forced to yield extra line under pressure, suddenly I got slack line, I was “Gutted.” I had no idea why it had got off, checking the hook I found it was as sharp as the day it was made. I slumped back in my chair trying to work out why it had got off. Over a four hour period lost two other very big chub, al three fish were on for some time. I must say its rare for me to lose three good fish in a session, even as I type these words I still can’t work out why I lost them, I could understand if they had found a snag, but no they just got off. Though I did have four more chub similar in weight to the first fish. But it was great being on the river even if it was a painful walk after packing up I had to do the long walk again. In a swim further downstream where I often fish, I was told by a the Shepheard, a member had a 5lb 9 ounce fish on meat. I am b ack on the river on Saturday, this time I have a lift both ways. The two pics show the long uphill track I have to climb, at the top I felt exhausted.




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Martin James Fishing
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