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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


07/07/2014 - Forget Gentles get on 10mm Lone Angler Cheese Squabs

Following the 2 pollution incidents over the weekend I was on the River Ribble today Monday just after 0600 hrs., the river was flowing clear. On Saturday I sent a long e-mail to my MP for the Ribble Valley on the recent pollution incidents, I also highlighted previous incidents over the past 2 years with no prosecutions. Within five minutes of sending the e-mail I got a reply asking for my phone number. Following my second e-mail with phone details I got a call from my MP, after a long discussion he said “I will contact the EA ” I doubt if it will make any difference. I’ve said it for several years the EA isn't fit for purpose,  fisheries should be taken out of the EA and put into private sector. A quango  doesn’t work its often jobs for failed politicians.


My first job was to do some kick sampling to see what effect the pollution had on the invertebrates, nymphs and other small aquatic life, the counts were down on my sampling of last month, also what  caused me concern was I didn’t find any bullheads. We can stock with fish but not with the small aquatic life fish depend on for food.

About 0900hrs  I had some tea and toast for breakfast then decided to have a few hours fishing  choosing to fish the tail of a weir pool. After walking downstream to the pool I fed in a dozen 10mm cheese squabs, then repeated this again ten minutes later followed by a few more five minutes later, back at the cabin I put together a 13 foot float rod that I designed some fifteen years ago for big fish, I’ve never been a fan of the traditional so called match rods. This rod was designed on the Avon action designs and has been ideal for chub barbel tench and other hard fighting fish, it was designed for lines between 4 and 7lbs with decent size guides throughout.  It was also painted green the same colour of the LA rods. I matched the rod wit  4.5 wide drum centre pin reel with 4lb breaking strain line. I used a 6 AA shot float bunching the shot about 15 inches from a size 12 hook, about six inches from the hook I lightly pinched on a size BB shot, having plumed the depth I set the float so the bait fished about six inches off the bottom. A few yards upstream the river flowed over the top of the weir the white foamy frothy roaring water crashing down about eight feet then swirling around before moving down and across the pool eventually the water flowed nice and steady towards the tail of the pool it was perfect for trotting.


Baiting with a squab I threw in half a dozen free offering then made a cast across and slightly upstream before easing the float down the stream ensuring the float was held back so the bait proceeded the float at all times. On the third trot the float dipped then submerged striking I felt the surge of a fish as it used the water flow then moved off downstream with the reel making that lovely noise we all like to hear. For about five minutes it was give and take soon the balanced tackle told on the fish and I was able to draw it upstream and over the waiting net. A nice chub about 4lbs, after unhooking the fish I walked upstream releasing the fish in a quiet backwater.


Four cheese squabs were dropped in at the head of the swim followed by the baited hook. The float had gone about thirty feet then buried fish number two was hooked and soon netted about the size of the first fish. It too was released in the backwater. The next three trots accounted for three fish between 3 and 4lbs.I then had a quiet spell all the time feeding in three or four squabs every cast. Fifteen minutes later I had a trout about a pound, this was quickly followed by a good chub which really did want to fight often taken a few yards of line but eventually I had a good chub coming towards the net, this one looked as if  it might go 5lbs. On the scales it weighed 4lbs 14 ounces. Following a quiet spell catching another trout about a pound . Ten minutes with nothing then a hectic period of about thirty minutes catching 5 chub all around the 4lb mark.


I then decided to have a brew and rest the swim after throwing in a dozen squabs, I switching on my Jet boiler I soon had a mug of Yorkshire Gold tea.  During my break I occasionally fed in a few squabs. Break over I started to fish again the chub were waiting as the float had only travelled twenty feet when it moved across the flow, striking I hooked into what felt a heavy and powerful fish. I reckon it was about 6 or 7 minutes before I had the fish coming back upstream towards the waiting net, when I had my first view I could see it was a big fish as it went in the net I thought that’s a five pounder. On the scales it went 5lb 7 ounces and I reckon come the winter it could be a six pounder. After a quick picture I watched the fish swim off strongly. I had two more fish around the 4lbs mark. Feeling in need for some lunch and having a doctors appointment I called it a day. That’s what I call a very good session, others love the barbel but my first choice fish is always the chub and without doubt cheese is one of those baits that has stood the test of time, not only for chub but roach and barbel love the stuff, at one time it was one of the top baits on the Royalty. Perhaps it’s time you had some Lone Angler cheese squabs or paste in your tackle bag.



My best chub at 5lb 7 ounces

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Martin James Fishing
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