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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


29/11/2023 - Another Good Chub

A good chub


Today’s weather was horrid, extremely cold wind from the west with very heavy rain, causing the river to rise, but not enough to stop my friend John and myself from sitting out in this weather in an attempt to catch some chub. It was around 1400 hrs when we arrived on the river, the first thing to hit us as we got out of the car, was the very cold wind, thankfully we had both dressed for the worst conditions, as we also planned to fish well into the dark hours.


Out tackle was similar fixed spool reels, light soft action Avon rods with 6lb bs line, we both added 2 float stops so we could use plasticine moulded around the float stops, this was a new idea to John, but he could see the value of it when fishing snaggy waters, then we attached a size 4 barbless hook. I made up a bowl of bread mash adding lots of bran to stiffen it up, then added a stone to each ball of mash to help it get down in the fast rising water. Our hook baits were cheese and Garlic sausage. Though yesterday I was lucky to find large tins of Spam for £2-35, so I grabbed 4 tins, though currently I am happy with the Garlic sausage, also its cheap.


With tackle sorted out, both of use wearing lots of clothing including heavy waterproof coat so bad was the weather. We went off up river, after about a mile we realised the wind and rain was in our faces with no shelter, I suggested we turn round and fish down in the wood where we had some shelter. Half an hour later we were out of the wind completely, just the rain which wasn’t a problem except we had to get down a slippery bank, thankfully this was done without falling over, the thing we anglers put up with in search of our quarry. Hopefully it will pay off today.


I started off by putting three balls of mashed bread in John’s swim, which was just a few yards out from the bank, I then stood up and heaved two balls of ground bait well out into the river, John baited with a small piece of sausage, I moulded cheese around my size 4 hook the size of a walnut, after casting out, we sat quietly discussing the conditions also what fish we might catch. Then John said “£1-00 on the first chub” I smiled and nodded my head in agreement, John these days is usually a fly angler where he has a competition with his mate David on the first trout caught. Fifteen minutes later John had the first fish, a trout around the pound mark, I then hooked and lost a trout, as it jumped, then threw the hook, I was pleased as I didn’t have to handle it.


Before rebaiting I added more plasticine around my weight, then baited with another big bit of cheese, before casting towards the far bank, holding the rod high I worked the bait downstream so it was positioned in front of a submerged tree sticking well out from the opposite bank. Over the next thirty minutes, the hook bait got dislodged a couple of times, moving a few feet down and across the stream towards my bank. An hour later I retrieved the tackle, then changed to a big chunk of Garlic sausage, match box size, then made a long cast allowing enough line for the river flow to push the baited hook under a half-submerged willow bush, where a good size raft had collected. I then sat back resting the rod on the rest, but holding the rod with the line over my forefinger. Half an hour perhaps a bit longer, I then had to fire several shots to move twelve cormorants away from roosting in the big trees above me. If they hadn’t been disturbed they would have been feeding in the area at dawn.


Soon we were in darkness, an occasional pheasant crowed in the trees, soon I heard the call of an owl, what a lovely mixture of sounds. We then heard movement in the trees, after a few minutes looking in the direction we spotted four roe deer, but not for long as they faded away. Not long after this I felt I was sitting in water, what had happened was a pool of water formed on my seat caused by the rain running dawn the back, this is a problem I have found with the modern seats. Thankfully I was wearing two pairs of waterproof trousers.


At Last A Good Pull


I was getting quite concerned at not getting any bites, I said to John “I reckon there is sewage being pumped in”, ten minutes later we got our answer as some horrid looking foam appeared, creating a large expanse in a big bay. I again said to John “I reckon that’s the reason we are not getting any bites” but within a couple of minutes I got a savage pull, striking there was a powerful lung of a heavy fish as it took line off the reel, I immediately tightened down to the fish, I was a bit puzzled, at first thinking I might have hooked a big trout, as there was a lot of head shaking and twisting, but it quickly disappeared, as the fish tried its hardest to get across the river, where a tree was in the water. I slowly managed to get it turning downstream using the full force of the flow, I let it go under a lot of pressure, then it sulked on the bottom. I stood up to get a different angle on the fish, in doing I so I got the fish moving upstream, I was gaining line at last. John said “I reckon that’s a big chub”


A few minutes later I got the fish closer in, I now had to be careful, as a few feet downstream, was a fence going out from the bank into the water, “The perfect snag”. I soon had the fish closer in, then spotted the plasticine weight, I lifted a bit more, but the fish didn’t like this one bit, as it shook its head, then dived taking a few feet of line, thankfully I’d got the clutch set perfectly, also I had my finger on the spool to put a bit more pressure if needed. Once more I got the fish coming towards the net, also I got my first glimpse of the quarry, John said “That’s the biggest chub I have seen” A minute or two later it was in the net. I said to John “That a good four pounder,” taking out the hook, I lowered the net in the water while I got scales and weight bag out, having zeroed the scales, I lifted the net out of the water then moved the fish from net to bag. Hooking the bag on the scales, we got a reading of 5lb 2 ounces, then the needle dropped back to 5lb. I was more than happy. After a quick pic, the fish was returned, sadly it was taken on a camera phone and didn’t expose the full length of the fish I forgot I had my camera under my jacket.  Within half an hour the river had lots of creamy white foam, sadly in the next two hours we never had a bite or see a sign of a fish.  I kept switching between cheese and meat, but even the minnows in the margins ignored the bread I put in, We chose to pack up.



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Martin James Fishing
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