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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Could This Be The Answer To Losing Our Weights?

Arriving on the banks of the River Ribble around noon, I checked the water temperature to find it had dropped over night down to 36 degrees F; the water had also dropped about 6 inches and was flowing clear. Only one fish to target today, that’s the chub. One of the problems when fishing the Ribble is losing weights due to the rocky and boulder strewn river bed in many places. These areas are also the haunts of chub.

With a clear sky and bright sunshine fishing would be a waste of time until about 4 o'clock. Having checked my mink traps, I then went off and spread some 5lbs of sunflower hearts in several areas where the song birds would find this supply of food, which .would help them get though these tough times. I’m always amazed at the insect finding ability of long tailed tits, as they move through my small wood also the riverside willows and alders. Their eyesight must be brilliant.

Back in the cabin I put together a soft action rod, fixed spool reel with 15lb braid, to which I attached with an Albright knot three feet of 6lb fluorocarbon line then a size 6 barbless hook. 6 inches from the hook I lightly pinched on 3 LG shot which I covered in Plasticine. I then spent half an hour casting out and retrieving, occasionally I got hooked up, but the tackle pulled free each time. I reckon this could be the answer to lost tackle when fishing rocky boulder strewn waters. Yes, I might lose the odd shots and hooks, but hopefully nothing like last week when I lost 14 LG shot in a session that’s about £4-00 worth.

About 3 o’clock David turned up, after a coffee and a chat, I explained what I’d been doing. Having explained the set up I gave David some Plasticine. Collecting our gear, David moved off upstream while I headed off downstream for about a mile to fish a deep slow pool. After putting in a couple of handfuls of crumb, I sat back waiting for the sun to drop below Mitton bridge.

4 bites = 4 Chub
As the sun disappeared I baited with a piece of crust casting out towards the far bank so the bait would lie alongside a fallen tree. Half an hour later the tip moved slightly then pulled round, the perfect bite. Five minutes later a good chub was in the net. “That’s a five” I though. The scales said 4-14-0. I moved the fish upstream well away from the pool. Adding three bait size pieces of flake, I cast out another chunk of crust. With the light fading fast I had a slight tap followed by a good pull. Soon a good chub was in the net I estimated it around 4-8-0.

Fifteen minutes later rod, tackle bag and landing net were covered in frost in fact the net frozen to the bank. Sitting on the piece of sponge I sat holding the rod watching the tip in the torch beam. For what seemed like ages but was probably fifteen minutes I felt a light pluck then a determined pull.

Another fish was hooked, I had to struggle to get the net free but once in the water it was ready to receive a good chub. Unhooking the fish I dropped the net in the water edge while I got the scales and weigh bag. The fish weighed 5-4-0 certainly a great fish on a very cold night. Once more I put the fish back in the net and let it lay in the water. Rummaging around in the tackle bag I soon found the camera. Switching it on I got the signal to say battery exhausted. Gutted I released the fish.

Baiting with another chunk of crust I made a long cast towards the far bank then sat holding the rod. Soon I had a savage pull one that shouldn’t be missed. Soon another nice chub a good four pounder was in the net. With 4 good fish I wanted more. By 7 o’clock without any more bites, I called David who said “I’ve had one bite which I missed then nothing” We agreed to call it a day. The message I got from this session was cover the shot with Plasticine when fishing snaggy water, it certainly worked today

Martin James Fishing