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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Itís Work Time on the Ribble- but I Did Get a Couple of Hours Fishing

March 14th I had my last days fishing of the season on the River Ribble, I didn't get a bite. On Monday 11th March I caught a pike from the River Kennet weighing 15lbs on a chunk of sausage sizzle flavour crust when chub fishing (see pics) The next day in another swim a bit further upstream I hooked the same fish again; once more the bait was crust, the only bites in the two days session. At least I was lucky to get my string pulled. Back in November I reckon I had the same pike on sausage meat from the same swim where it was hooked the second time. Back in February my mate Tony Booker caught the fish on herring bait. As the coarse fishing season ended on March 14th the river trout fishing season in Lancashire started on the 15th, last year conditions were ideal for fly fishing, this year it was a complete waste of time.

Repairing Stiles and Collecting Rubbish

Iíve had a busy few days on my stretch of the River Ribble, repairing and building stiles, collecting rubbish left either by the high water during the winter months, or by walkers who couldnít be bothered to take it home, in total 11 large plastic sacks were taken to the local tip. .

On Tuesday I had meeting with my team of bailiffs where we worked out a shift system, and discussed various problems including keeping a close watch for deer poaching and hare coursing, including our campaign against cormorants, grey squirrels and mink also making sure everyone had the list of suspicious vehicles registration numbers and who to contact.

Yesterday Wednesday around noon as I made my way back to the cabin after checking my mink traps, the sun made a welcome appearance at the same time the wind which had been blowing quite strongly soon become a light breeze, I said to myself, "Could be a good chance of catching a trout or two". Back in the cabin after a coffee, I put together a 9 foot 6 weight rod, floating line then tied on a 9 foot leader to which I added three feet of extra tippet of 3 lbs bs. With no flies hatching it was a case of going downstairs, I chose too fish a weighted size 10 Gold-Ribbed-Hareís-Ear.

Itís not an efficient method

Iím still amazed at the number of anglers who insist in fishing a team of flies down and across, lets be honest fish expect food to come down the flow and not across the stream. When I talk to these anglers they will talk with pride how they get lots of hits when the fly is immediately downstream. What we call on the dangle. You will get more hits and catch more fish by casting up and across and fishing the fly down the stream making sure it doesnít drag. Itís quite easy once you have mastered the art.

Three trout for a lot of casting

As I wanted to fish a far bank channel I had to wade well out in the stream, I would fish my fly upstream as I would a dry fly carefully mending the line as I followed the fly downstream until it was below me and started to drag. I would then take a step upstream then repeat the cast. Thirty or more minutes later I had my first take, hooking up to a fine over wintered brown trout then was forced to give line, for several minute there wasnít a winner but slowly I started to gain some line. A couple of minutes later I had a fish about one and a half pounds in the net, nicely hooked in the scissors. Sliding out the barbless hook I upended the net then watched the fish swim off strongly. Time for a warming drink. Back on the water I had another hour of fishing catching two more trout around the pound mark, but with my legs and hands becoming numb I decided I had enough fishing for the day. Back in the cabin with a hot mug of tea I looked back on my session with satisfaction and with the current forecast of bad weather it might be a few days before I get the chance to cast a fly again.

Abseiling off the Big One

June 3rd 2013 I'm taking part in an abseiling event in aid of the ABF the Soldiers Charity. At 75 I still feel I should do all I can to help those less fortunate than myself. At the present time we are getting a lot of our troops returning from Afghanistan badly wounded that many people don't hear about. If I can help to improve their life quality by fund raising that's makes me feel a lot better. Remember itís not just the troopers of today that the ABF help but those troopers who took part in WW2 who might need some help. I can get out fishing when I need too. Many of these guys have to have personal assistance. I'm also working on helping to get some blind veterans out fishing in June / July. Yes it will only be a small group who will either leger or use a bite indicator but if they get some help in getting out fishing, their lives will be improved. If you would like to sponsor my abseiling event please make a donation

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Martin James Fishing