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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


A Brace of Five Pounders and a Barbel for my pupil

Despite the horrid conditions currently on the River Kennet Wasing Fishery W/T of 41 degrees F I have been catching some nice chub including a brace of five pounders best at 5-2-0 Pallatrax Sausage sizzle was the top bait on a size 4 Pallatrax hook.(see pic) If you don't have a good bait in the water you can't catch. Yes, my feet and hands were quite cold to say the least with a cold easterly wind in my face that didn't help, it was well worth the effort. in fact the following morning the lakes had a covering of ice.

First Barbel

On this 36 hour trip, I had a pupil Kevin Sharples of Preston who was hoping to get his first barbel, recently I had helped him catch his PB chub from the Ribble. I mentioned conditions were not good, so we would target the chub but hope a barbel would turn up. In fact on the first afternoon I hooked a lost what felt like a good barbel. "But then are not all lost fish big ones" as I said to Kevin if you have a good bait in the water, keep quiete and fish the right spot your in with a chance.

The next day we tried several spots. One spot looked good, so I suggested he should fish this place later, but put in half a dozen free offerings then come back in a couple of hours. Later in the day I got Kevin to creep into position then quietly sit down, before casting out a chunk of Pallatrax sausage sizzle alongside a reed bed where a channel had been carved out by the fast flowing water, upstream were a couple of Alder trees with a half submerged lime tree in the water.

About half an hour later Kevin had a quick pull on the rod tip, I said "Leave it" about ten minutes later the rod tip pulled round. The strike ensured a powerful fish was hooked. I immediately waded out into the deep water to keep the fish out from the reed bed, if I went over the top of my chest highs, so be it, but I didn't want Kevin to lose this chance of his first barbel. Ten minutes later it was in the net.

After zeroing the scales with weigh bag we got a weight of 9lb 4 ounces a short stocky fish and despite the cold water conditions it had a big gut.( see pic ) Result achieved another happy pupil. I must say the price of petrol is getting a bit steep especially on a 500 mile round trip.

Martin James Fishing