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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer



Chub Fishing Close To Home On The River Douglas - Mick Holgate 24th December

Recently I arranged to go fishing on the river Ribble with Martin James, before I left home Martin rang to say that visibility was down to 40 yards due to thick fog, with no wind it was unlikely to improve. Common sense prevailed and the session was cancelled. About 2pm I decided to drive down to the River Douglas just 2 miles from home. For baits I had some bread and cheese. Tackle was an 11foot Avon action rod, Mitchell 300 reel some hooks size 4's and some LG shot. All week the weather had been cold with a frost each evening but today it was slightly warmer, overcast with misty patches. I thought maybe the Chub would oblige today.

As I sat by the river tying on a barbless hook the water looked cold, fairly clear with some flow, I was optimistic. As I walked along the bank a man walking his dog passed me and said "I don't fancy your chances today" but I had been fishing many times with Martin James and knew that bites were possible. I arrived at the first swim one that had produced fish in the past. Pinching on 1 LG shot 4 inches from the hook I baited with a large piece of crust. I flicked the bait across to the far bank then let the current take the bait beneath an overhanging tree that stretched out over the small river. Within a couple of minutes the rod tip pulled round, I struck into the first chub of the afternoon about two pounds. This was followed by a missed bite, I introduced a small amount of mashed bread then moved on.

The next swim produced no bites, I continued on down stream.The third swim was one of my favourite places. Fishing down to a tree that had fallen into the water sometime ago, it covers half the river showing no sign of being moved even when the river is in flood. My first cast produced a drop-back bite and a small chub of around 1lb. Five minutes later, I miss a real pull round. I continued to fish for a further ten minutes and then decided to try a piece of cheese paste. Five minutes later just as I am contemplating another move my mobile phone rings, as I answer it the rod tip pulls round. I lose a chub because I had allowed it some slack line and it slips the hook. I quietly curse the caller for the interruption. I decide to stay in the swim but fishing with crust again. This resulted in another chub just over 1lb. A further hooked chub transfers the hook to a snag followed by another missed bite and the swim dies.

Its now dark so I decided to wander back upstream to the first swim, and fish for a few minutes in the dark. I flick the bread out letting it go under the tree again. A few minutes I get a savage bite that results in another solid 2lb chub. I admire the fish as it glistens in the beam of my head torch then release it and decide to call it a day.

As I walked back towards the car I can't help but think about what the man walking his dog and him not fancying my chances. In the two hours that I had fished I had caught four chub lost two and missed three bites, not bad for a short session on a hard day, but then I have had a good teacher in Martin James

-----------------------------------Chub Fishing On A Winter’s Afternoon 23rd December

Arriving on the banks of the River Ribble I was greeted by a strong Arctic wind that ruffled the icy cold looking water, with the leaden grey sky I realised winter had arrived. Checking the water temperature I wasn’t surprised to see it was down to 36 degrees F. The previous nigh had been bitterly cold with a gale force northerly wind. I had two choices! Fishing for grayling or chub, I decided on the latter.

After putting on the kettle, I sorted out my tackle a soft Avon action rod, with a centre pin reel holding about forty yards of 6lb line. As I tied on a size 6 barbless hook I glanced across to the nearby hawthorn bush where I had tied a few fat balls. Nine or ten blue tits were tucking into this welcome food! Under the bush I had scattered some sunflower hearts, a black bird was greedily grabbing every seed in sight. Down river I could see a group of beech trees on the hillside. Despite the horrid weather conditions those trees looked magnificent.

With steam coming from the kettle I poured the boiling water on the Yorkshire Gold tea bag. Summer or winter nothing beats a fresh brew. Despite the thick fleece body warmer and trousers, a shiver run through my body as I sat on the back of my car sipping hot tea. Other winters I would have a bacon sandwich but not today, having been diagnosed as being diabetic and high cholesterol I had to miss out on one of the great food items. Having finished my tea it was time to go off to try and catch some chub.

I decided to fish in a small copse where I would be shelter from the wind, a place where I have caught good chub on previous visits. In my book all chub on a cold winter’s day are good ones, despite the size. It was a long walk I arrived at my fishing spot sweating profusely. Finding a suitable spot I sat down on a bit of sponge, then pinched on two LG shot two inches from the hook. As always my first choice bait was crust. Remember barbel, chub, tench, roach, carp, bream and rudd they will all eat bread. Give it a try next time you go fishing.

About ten yards downstream was an old oak tree some of its ivy clad branches hanging low over the water certainly a good chub holding area. I dropped the bait close to the oak tree, then by using just the right amount of weight I was able to bump the bait down river a few feet to settle in the area where I thought the chub would be. As I sat holding the rod hoping for a bite, a wren was chattering loudly from a clump of straw coloured reeds. The wind moaned through the trees. A crow sat watching me closely hoping some bits of bread would drift downstream. I felt a light tap through the rod, then a savage pull. Striking I connected with chub number one. After a brief struggle I netted a nice fish about three pounds.

Out with another chunk of crust, within minutes the second fish was hooked and quickly netted another chub about 3lbs! The next two bites were good pulls I missed them both. Having had a couple of taps I expected a good pull. It didn’t happen. After ten minutes or so I wound in to find the hook missing. The fish had bitten me off. I was annoyed with myself for not hitting the second tap. Under low water temperatures I have found chub will often give a light tap. Taking off the shot I checked the line for weak spots. With a tucked blood knot I tied on a size 4 barbless hook then pinched on two LG shot two inches from the hook. Baiting with a big chunk of crust I cast down stream toward the old oak then worked the bait under its branches. After ten minutes without a bite I decided on a mug of tea. Putting the rod in the rest, I got out my stove and pu the kettle on for a fresh brew.

After a mug of tea, and with no more bites for an hour despite trying ‘bread flake’and cheese paste I decided to move! My next fishing spot was eight hundred yards or so upstream where a stream entered the river. It was the swim where I had caught my best ever Ribble chub at 6-4-0. Sitting down among the straw coloured reeds I baited with a small bit of crust, casting a few feet out from the bank where the water was slightly deeper I sat watching the line for an indication of a bite, while listening to a large group of long tailed tits chattering away as they searched for insects in the bank side willow bush.

A robin appeared so I threw it some mashed bread. Immediately the robin picked up a big bit of bread then flew off to its favourite resting spot. With no bites in the light fading I removed both LG shot replacing them with one swan shot about twelve inches from the hook baiting with a pigeon egg size bit of cheese paste. In the next half an hour I made a dozen cast’s rolling the cheese paste down stream several yards. With the air temperature dropping and with just enough light to see the rod tip I made one last cast. The bait had rolled a few feet when I felt a light pluck on the line. A minute later I had a good pull, striking I hooked a fish which after a brief struggle was netted. A chub about three pounds. It was time to leave. Walking back up river to the car park an owl hooted from the copse I had been fishing earlier. A few flakes of snow were falling. Despite the cold dismal weather I had caught a few fish that I wouldn’t have caught either at home or sitting in the pub. Despite the tough conditions and with a bit of luck you have the chance of catching a fish if your baits in the water.

Minister calls for review in new feather v fin debate 23rd December

Cormorants are an outstanding success story. As they were in critical decline in the 70s that they were placed on the protected species list, no longer is this true. There is now a winter population of over 23,000 in the UK alone – and that’s the problem.

Their food is fish – including endangered species such as salmon, bullheads, lampreys and eels. Cormorant flocks congregate at river bottlenecks during salmon and smolt migrations and can annihilate whole runs of fish.

Such is the concern about the quantities this bird consumes that Ben Bradshaw MP, Minister for Nature Conservation and Fisheries, has called for a review of the measures that gave the Cormorant protected status. He proposes that cormorants should now be managed at certain times of the year to protect the fisheries, and urges a review of the system granting licences to shoot cormorants, currently issued by Defra.

He was speaking at the Third National Angling Summit (December 11), organised by Martin Salter MP, and attended by various angling and other fisheries associations.

Comments Paul Knight, Director of the Salmon & Trout Association, “There will always be those defending cormorants’ right to take fish unhindered. Our position is that there must be a managed balance between prey and predator. We have vigorously lobbied for increased flexibility for fisheries to be able to protect vulnerable stocks of fish from cormorants. We are delighted with the Minister’s proactive stance.”

The Moran Committee, chaired by Lord Moran, is the united voice for all the main fisheries and angling groups in England and Wales. The aim of the Committee is to reach consensus on current fisheries and angling questions. The Moran Committee Joint Bird Group started meeting in January 2001 to develop constructive dialogue and co-operation between anglers, fishery interests and bird interests. The aim of the Committee is to identify common ground on the bird predation issue and to ensure that a reasonable balance is struck between the need to conserve both fish and birds. Members are committed to finding acceptable management strategies to what can be a challenging situation. Membership includes English Nature, Environment Agency, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Institute of Fisheries Management, Defra, and the Moran Committee. The website is managed by the Moran Committee Joint Bird Group members.

The Moran Committee Joint Bird Group, has produced an information leaflet and booklet, “Protecting your Fishery from Cormorants”. This is viewable on

Winter Chub and Barbel Fishing 22nd December

Day One

Mike Osborne of Cumbria and me were on a two day fishing trip in search of chub and barbel. As we pulled into the Wasing Estate fisheries syndicate car park we could see the river bank and surrounding countryside were frost covered, there was patchy fog with visibility down to about a hundred yards in some places. Before putting together our tackle, Mike put the kettle on for a fresh brew, I checked the water temperature. It was 40 degrees F. the river was low gin and gin clear not the best of conditions. It looked as if conditions were going to be rather difficult for catching fish from the river Kennet today. It was a glorious winter’s day the riverside trees and bushes were frost covered looking beautiful in their silvery foliage which seemed to blend in nicely at this Christmas period. The robins added a dash of colour as did the rose hips. A pheasant flew low over the river no doubt to escape the estate shooting party.

Mike being my guest I suggested he fish the weir pool, then try a swim on the side stream and three fishing spots upstream of the bridge. Meanwhile I was going roving. I would be chucking baits in lots of likely fishing spots. After a fresh mug of tea and putting together our tackle I walked with Mike upstream to show him where I thought the better fishing spots were. In the weir pool I pointed out the area he needed to fish his bait. Sadly close to the hot spot was a large length of tree trunk making casting difficult. Leaving Mike in a good area for barbel I made my way off downstream. Everywhere I stopped to fish blackbirds and robins quickly appeared. I reckon there must be more robins per acre on the Wasing estate than any other area of the country. I didn’t have one robin; sometimes three would come and feed. I was surprised at this behaviour, as robins are very territorial.

I fished every likely looking spot, before moving onto the next one I would introduce some crumbed bread. After two hours of fishing with no bites, I moved into what was possibly my tenth fishing spot alongside an ivy clad tree trunk which lay at an angle in the water creating a nice slack. Dropping a size 6 hook baited with a small cube of crust in the seam created by the fast and quiet water, I sat holding the rod, hoping above hope I might get a bite. A minute or so later, I felt the line tighten on my figure. Striking I hooked into a nice fish, a brief struggle followed before I netted a barbel about four pounds. Success at last I thought. Releasing the fish I made my way upstream to the car park for lunch fishing the same spots I had fished on the way downstream.

One of my chosen swims screamed fish, the river curved to my right a stream flowed into the river from the opposite of bank. Close to the stream mouth stood large ivy clad oak tree with several of its large roots plunging into the water. A big slack was created at the junction of the stream and river. Certainly a place one would try for a perch. Baiting with two big lobworms I cast across the river dropping the bait into the fast flowing water. By lifting and lowering the rod and allowing the reel to give line, I worked the baited hook into the slack. Within seconds there was a good rod wrenching pull, striking I connected to a fish which must have thought it was a barbel. Every now and again the rod tip was savagely pulled downwards, forcing me to give line. The fish fought hard for about five minutes in the fast water. The pressure of the Avon action rod and 6lb breaking strain line were able to subdue a good chub about 4lbs.

On the way back too the car park I had two more chub averaging three pounds apiece, one on cheese paste, the other fish on flake. In the car park Mike was waiting with two mugs of tea with the news that he hadn’t had a fish. This surprised me, as Graeme Cook of Lancaster fishing under identical conditions a few weeks before had brace of barbel weighing 8lbs and 8-8-0 from the pool. I reckon there must have been half a dozen robins in the car park waiting for some morsel of food. The fog had gone; everything looked wonderful in the countryside. The sun shone down from an azure blue sky giving out it warming rays. The silver frost covered riverside trees and bushes were regaining there normal drab winter colour. As the frost melted, it looked as if a thousand water droplets were dancing on the water. Looking skywards I could see a sparrow hawk being dive bombed and harassed by a couple of crows.

Lunch over I started off in the swim above the bridge quickly taking two chub about 3lbs apiece on cheese paste, A bite less half an hour followed, time to move on upstream. I missed out the first swim dropping into the next one. Immediately I had a good pull on crust and missed hooked and lost a fish minutes later and moved on. In the next spot I missed two bites then connected with a nice chub of 4-8-0 . Introducing some mashed bread I moved on upstream. As I was fishing the next swim David Hallet called me on my mobile, chatting with him I had a real savage take striking I felt a good fish move off fast downstream I had to give line. “David I have to go I have a good fish on” Dropping the phone in my bag I started to get the fish under control, the fish tried to get into some tree roots, I cramped on the pressure. But I lost out, as everything went solid. After some minutes I had to pull for a break.

It was time for a mug of tea, sitting in the car park I marvelled at the beauty of the countryside, the trees might be bare, the vegetation brown and straw coloured, it could easily have been a spring day in the warm sunshine. I probably had half an hour before the sun went below the riverside trees then the temperature would plummet. There would certainly be a severe frost tonight. Picking up my tackle and bait bag I made my way upstream to fish my last swim of the day. I met up with Mike who was going for a brew. He would then fish the next swim upstream from me. At dusk a wren chattered loudly among the dead brown sedges, frost started covering my rod, bait bag and clothing. I missed four good pulls, caught two chub around three pounds. Mike had one chub he estimated at about three pounds. We stayed on the river until eight PM then went off to Mrs. Ingle who has a B&B in Midgham just a couple of miles from the river. The only sad point about the day was Chelsea had lost to Aston Villa.

Day Two on a Wintry Looking River Kennet

Lying in bed I switched on the wireless for the latest cricket from Sri Lanka. It was good news for England as Trescothic and Vaughan were scoring runs. An hour later it was the same old story as wickets were falling. I cannot understand why we keep picking old has-beens like Hussain when we have guys like Paul Collingwood. Looking out the window, the prospects for a good days fishing looked like the England batsmen. “Hopeless”. There had been a heavy over night frost. Everything was white, its was foggy and drab looking, the cricket news was as dismal as the weather. After breakfast I cleaned the ice from the car collected my bag then Mike and me said our good byes to Jan and departed for the river Kennet just a mile or so away.

Pulling into the car park visibility was down to fifty yards. It was teeth chattering cold. It looked hopeless, I checked the water temperature it was down to 37 degrees F. An hour later the sun was shining, birds were chattering and the fog had gone. Mike decided he was going to fish the weir pool, before he did so he waded out and removed the tree trunk that was causing problems in casting to the right spot. Collecting his tackle and some bread he walked up the side stream to a likely looking chub spot. In ten minutes he had his first fish of the day a chub about three pounds on legered crust. Meanwhile I had gone off downstream, fishing several spots without success. At noon, the sun was shining, most of the fog had disappeared. Its was a nice day to be in the countryside. As I walked downstream with the river on my left I came across a small copse on my right, among the dark damp dying trees and stumps some laying at a crazy angles, the ground was damp, with rough brown ferns, brambles, dead nettles and decaying reeds. Frost and fog remained in the sheltered areas of the copse giving it a ghostly and eerie appearance. Suddenly the quietness was dramatically shattered by the clattering of wings as a cock pheasant soared skywards just a few feet in front of me.

Crossing over a narrow bridge I walked downstream some ten yards then checked the water temperature, I was amazed to see it was 40 degrees F. Thinking I had made a mistake I checked it again. It said 40 degrees F a rise of three degrees F. Making my way downstream I came across what looked a good fish holding area. It was a well worn spot. I decided on fishing this spot from an area some fifteen yards upstream. Any fish I hooked I could then pull away from where I expected the fish to be shoaled up and hopefully I wouldn’t spook the other fish which might be in the area.

Having fished several spots with crust and getting no bites, I decided this time to use a small piece of sausage meat. Within thirty seconds of rolling the bait downstream I felt a slight pressure on the line. Striking I connected with my first fish of the day. It turned out to be a barbel about 5lbs. I called up Mike and suggested he might like to try meat. He was already fishing small bits of meat. In my next five casts, I had five bites which resulted in five more barbel all about five pound. They were like peas in a pod. I fished on for another half an hour without a bite, then decided it was time for lunch.

Weir Pool Barbel

Back at the car park over Tuna Twist and sandwiches followed by a mug of tea. Mike and I discussed our mornings fishing. Mike told me he had caught two chub and three barbel best at 9-12-0 on three small bits of meat fished on a size 4 hook. Mike certainly deserved his fish by sticking it out in the area I suggested he fish. A month ago I had three double from the weir pool. Then of course conditions had been perfect with a high water temperature and a river with a foot of extra water with some colour. Mike’s barbel was a magnificent fish, equal to a good double under such tough conditions. After lunch I made my way back downstream and Mike back to the weir pool. Back in my swim, where I had caught the barbel before lunch I threw in a dozen bits of meat. Within half a minute of casting out a meat baited hook I had a powerful pull on the rod tip connecting with a good fish. I didn’t think it was another barbel. As I pulled the fish towards the net I could see it was a good chub. I thought it might go five pounds. Out with the scales and weigh bag. The chub went 5-3-0. I called Mike who said “I will be down in a minute or so” After a couple of pics the fish was returned. I again checked water temperature. It was 40 degrees F.

More five pounders

Having caught that good size chub I decided to bait with a big chunk of crust. Within minutes I had a chub in the net which weighed 5-10-0. Switching back to meat and rolling the bait downstream I made four casts. Connecting and landing two more chub both at 5-8-0. Sadly losing two fish close to the net through the line breaking or were they bite off’s?. As dusk started to settle over the countryside pheasants were going to roost, from the reeds, nettles and ivy clad trees I could hear the wrens and robins chattering. I fished on in the darkness for half an hour and with the mist closing in I thought it was time to leave. Walking alongside the copse where it was dark, dank, misty and cold I could hear the chattering of a wren. The frost was back with a vengeance. Back at the car Mike told me he had caught some more barbel and chub. It had certainly been a very successful day for both of us in some of the most delightful countryside in England. We had certainly been more successful than England's batsmen in Skri Lanka.

The tackle I used was an Avon action rod, centre pin reel, 6lb line and a size 6 or 4 hook, the weight I used depended on the flow of water it was one, two or three LG shot lightly pinched on the line. Mike used a John Wilson quiver tip rod fixed spool reel and 8lb line his hooks were sixes and fours. Mike often used 5 LG shot in the weir pool. Our baits varied from Bread crust, lobworms, sausage meat, luncheon meat, cheese paste and pellets. It was very noticeable that there was always a quite hectic feeding spell at dusk lasting some fifteen minutes. B&B accommodation is hard to come by in the Thatcham area. Mike and I stayed with Mrs Ingle at "Eastfield" Birds Lane Midgham Telephone 0118 971 3160 The accommodation was clean warm and comfortable with a good breakfast. There are still some fishing permits available for the Wasing Estate fisheries Kennet syndicate with some 4 miles of excellent river fishing equal to anything in the country. You will find the bailiffs and members are a very helpful and friendly group. E-mail or Telephone fisheries manager Kevin Rolls 01189 714281


We would like to take this opportunity of wishing all our readers worldwide a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and tight lines during 2004
Keep It Simple For Winter Chub 16th december

One of the best times of the year to catch a good size chub is during the winter. Big or small rivers, flooded and coloured, low and gin clear, high or low water temperatures. You will often catch some good chub IE chub of 4lbs. But you must be prepared to work for your fish. I fish many rivers up and down the country, the Ribble, Kennet, Upper Ouse, Bain, Teme, Thames, Dorset and Suffolk Stour, Eden, Urr, Hampshire Avon and the river Aire to name a few. Non of these waters could be called exclusive fishing. All the waters I fish can be done so through purchasing a day, syndicate ticket or club card. One of the best value season tickets must be the Prince Albert AS club card Enquiries for membership to Mr C Swindells 37 Sherwood Road Macclesfield SK11 7RR Please make sure you send a stamped addressed envelope. Another club card which will offer excellent value for money is the Bradford City AA with many miles of good chub waters. They also have some good river brown trout fishing. For further details write to General Secretary Mr M Briggs 4 Brown Hill Close, Birkenshaw BD11 2 AS. Keighley AC also have some small river chub fishing in fact some of the best available in Yorkshire where you have an excellent chance of a five pounder. Day tickets available from K.L.Tackle Keighley price just £2-00 you can purchase a season ticket for just £20-00. Another great club card is the Preston Centre card, Its the ticket for you anglers who want to fish the river Ribble cost for a year is about £9-00 available from several tackle shops including Lostock Tackle Box or Carters tackle Church street Preston Lancs. Warrington anglers have some good fishing on the Ribble at Balderstone where chub over 5lbs and double figure barbel are regularly caught. The river Ribble is a big spate river which has produced 7lb plus chub which have been fully authenticated, In fact one fish of 7-2-0 was caught in a club match and weighed on the club scales. If that doesn't satisfy the doubters nothing will.

My way of chub fishing is moving from swim to swim, Sometimes only fishing a bait in some spots for a minute, Yes that's right, A minute. In fact Some of my chub fishing spots will produce a chub within sixty seconds. If they don't I move on as I know from experience that I will not get a bite how ever long a stay fishing. When I have a guest on the water, I will say "Cast there give it five minutes, perhaps ten minutes or just a minute but trust me when I say its time to move. I know my chub fishing rivers.

There are times when I spend several hours in a chosen spot usually on big rivers such as the Ribble, Wye, Severn or Thames. On the smaller waters Its often no more than half an hour in a chosen spot. The swims I look for are under trees with a steady flow. Behind bridge supports, though these swims are not the easiest to fish usually demanding an upstream cast past the bridge support, then allow the bait to freely move downstream close to the bridge support. Fishing a bait in front of a submerged tree or bush often produces a good fish, Robert Goodwin of Buxton Derbyshire and me were fishing such a swim with our baits just under the branches, The baits were no more than a foot apart. At exactly the same time we both had a bite, We both hooked good fish. Robert's chub weighed 5-2-0 mine weighed 4-15-0 If I don't get a bite upstream of a tree or bush. I will fish the bait from a down stream position of the obstruction casting upstream to put the bait

under the trailing branches. Its surprising how often this produces a good fish.

At one time I always thought the classic chub swim was a raft of reeds and other rubbish which I often fished for a long period of time. These days, I have come to realise such spots don't always hold fish. The classic crease swim must always be fished as chub love to lay just inside the faster water moving out when food items drifts bye. I have spent many hours deliberately watching chub as they cruise and drift to and fro in the crease, moving out when they can see some food item drifting down the current. I have spent hours chub watching, chucking bits of food into the main current, then watching the chub drift across to eat the food. In fact they can get off the starting blocks quite fast to intercept a bait. Time spent in watching fish feeding is not time wasted. It's certainly well worth doing.

Tackle - Its quite simple, An 11 or 12 foot rod with a soft Avon action and a test curve around the pound mark. I don't use a quiver tip I don't feel the need to do so, I just watch the line or rod tip, use a dough bobbin or touch ledger. I only use the latter when the weather is warm enough. I don't understand how some anglers can touch leger for hours on end in freezing weather conditions. Five minutes in cold weather and my hands are numb no chance of feeling a bite. When the fish are feeding in a suicidal fashion and savagely pulling the rod tip round I will hold the rod and feel the bites through the rod.

Reels are a personal choice I use both centre pin and Mitchell 300 I have used my Mitchell 300's since 1952 or 53, they haven't caused me any problems, so I see no reason to change. Though many of friends feel I should update them, they call them a coffee grinder. Until they let me down I will stay with the coffee grinder. I use 6lb breaking strain line straight through to the hook. I don't feel chub are line shy, As I use crust for much of my fishing, I don't think the fish even get to touch the line. Probably the most important item has to be the hook. I can catch a fish with a stick and a thin bit of line but I would need a good hook, Safety pins don't work. I only use one type of hook these days and that's a Partridge barbless Jack Hilton in sizes 4's through to 8's. The reference number Z1YBN. I attach the hook with a five turn tucked blood knot, it hasn't let me down unless I have tied the knot wrong. I know when I have done so, as the end of the line has a curly tail. I don't use any fancy rig. I just pinch on the line as many LG. shot as are required to fish the chosen swim.

My winter chub fishing baits consist of bread crust, Which is my first choice bait with bread flake my second choice. Cheese paste and luncheon meat paste are two other baits. These are usually used in coloured water. Though I will always start off using crust even in swirling muddy water. Some anglers talk about only getting small taps on the rod tip in low water temperatures, I haven't found this in practise. I get plenty of savage takes on the coldest of days I have had the rod tip pulled

round on days when there has been ice down the river margins and a water temperature of 36 degree farenheight. Before I leave a fishing spot I put in a handful of mashed bread, then fish the spot on my way back to the starting point.. Unless I need a picture of a fish, I keep the net in the water whenever possible then slide out the barbless hook, lowering the net in the water then watch the fish swim off. Go on go out this winter and catch a chub. It's good fun

It Was Tough On the Kennet 13th December

A young Martin James who works for the Environment Agency and I left home around 6-30pm on Tuesday evening 9th December for the long drive down to Thatcham in Berkshire to fish the Wasing fisheries syndicate water on the river Kennet. Conditions were not good, below zero temperature and patchy fog, thankfully the traffic on the M6 - M5 - A417 and the M4 was light, and we covered the 225 mile journey in about four hours. It was two tired angler who craved for a good nights sleep.

Wednesday morning10th December we were on the river about 9am. It was young Martin’s first visit to the river Kennet; his aim was to catch a 5lb chub and a double figure barbel. But conditions were tough. I though our best bet for a barbel was in the weir pool at Brimpton. The water temperature was 40 degrees F; the air temperature below freezing, with thick fog, visibility was about 60 yards. It was very cold, it’s in these winter conditions when I give thanks my modern clothing. We tackled up with 11 foot rods, fixed spool reels and 8lb line Bait was crust with four LG shots lightly pinched on the line about six inches from a size 4 barbless hook. Sitting side by side we chatted as anglers do about all aspects of the sport, while waiting for the barbel to bite, Robins, Wrens, Long tailed tits, a Sparrow hawk and a Kingfisher put in an appearance.

After about an hour I had a slow pull on the rod tip the answering strike connecting with a sluggish fish. Martin said “Is it a barbel”? I said “I think it’s a chub” shortly afterwards I netted a barbel about 4lbs which was quickly unhooked and released. Shortly afterwards David Hallett of Slough joined us in the weir pool. We fished on until lunchtime without a bite. Collecting up our tackle, we made our way back to the car park. Over lunch of sandwiches, with mugs of fresh tea for Martin and me and coffee for David, we discussed our prospects. Conditions were tough; we felt our best chance was to target the chub. I reckon all the salt and other rubbish on our roads during the previous few days had gone into the river via the roadside drains didn’t help our chances.

Lunch finished we moved off to separate swims, David quickly had a good chub on crust. I moved into a swim just upstream of the bridge, where in quick succession I had three good chub all between four and four and a half pounds Bait was crust. At about 3pm with the fog coming down much thicker, visibility getting a lot worse David decided to leave for home. Young Martin and I decided it was time for a hot meal, we dined on venison hotpot. After a hot meal, a fresh brew, it was back to the river. In a spot below the bridge where a side stream enters, I cast a bit of crust up the side stream, then allowed it to slowly bump its way down stream to the river. As it entered the river flow, the line went slack. I struck connecting with a good chub.

After releasing a very fat chub weighing about 4lbs, we moved off downstream. At the next likely looking spot I told Martin to drop a bit of crust in the crease within seconds the tip pulled round. Martin had a nice chub. We fished a few more swim without another fish. Back on the top beat we went back to weir pool. We fished for about an hour; I had one bite, one barbel not quite six pounds. With just one bite I took Martin off downstream. I put him in what is rated as the top swim. Suggesting he fish crust, feeding with mashed bread. An hour after dark, fishing the swim immediately above the bridge. I hooked a good chub, which when weighed gave a reading of 5-1-0. It was one of the fattest chub I have even seen. I quickly carried the fish up to Martin who like me was amazed at how fat the fish was. An hour or so later Martin appeared saying “Can you take a picture of my personal best chub”? It weighed 4-12-0 It was a happy Martin who carried on fishing despite the cold. About 9-30pm we called it a day, and then headed off to our B&B in Thatcham.

Thursday morning 11th December, in the half light of dawn, I pulled back the curtains to see the rain was sheeting down which put a smile on my face. Breakfast over we made our way to the river. At Brimpton bridge I could see it had some colour, and was up some four inches. Taking the water temperature we got a reading of 42 degrees F. The day before the air temperature was zero or just below. Today it was fifty degrees F. Young Martin went into the swim fished the evening before. Making my way upstream I decided to fish the weir pool. After two hours without a bite I moved to a new spot on a carrier stream. It was a swim I have fish on several occasions, as yet I haven’t had a bite. Today was no different. It’s a swim that screams fish, but I can’t get a bite. Time for a mug of tea, back at the car, waiting for the kettle to boil Martin joined me, it was tough for him, he hadn’t had a bite. After a fresh brew, we checked the water temperature again, we got a reading of 44 degrees F. Prospects certainly looked good Martin made his way back to his swim, I went off roving. I dropped a crust baited hook into every likely looking spot. In the swim upstream of the bridge where I had caught fish the previous evening I had two good chub both four pounds plus. Feeding in some mashed bread I moved off downstream. Two hundred yards downstream of the Bridge in the swim where Martin had a chub on the previous day I had a big chub of 5-5-0 on crust. I continued on down river fishing every likely looking spot. Arriving at a big sweeping bend I met up with a couple of syndicate members from Essex. They had one fish between them a nice barbel caught on meat. At about 3pm I made my way back up river for a fresh brew and a sandwich. Half an hour before darkness, Martin and I moved into our chosen swims where Martin quickly had a good chub breaking his duck for the day. He certainly deserved his fish he had fished hard all day, I was impressed with his angling knowledge and skills, his casting in the weir pool was spot on. Just before dark I had two quick chub then nothing. We fished on until 6-0pm then decided to call it a day. Before the long journey back home I booked two nights B&B for the following week.Ten thirty pm we were back in Lancashire, the riverside fields were frost covered. Conditions certainly looked tough for fishing the Ribble next day.

Friday 12th December I decided to give fishing a miss, the frost over night had gone, to be replaced by rain and an icy cold wind with a leaden grey sky. I spent the day sorting out the bird feeding table, sorting and cleaning tackle then making up some cheese paste. It might have been tough for me on the Kennet. Not for Benjamin Booth an air conditioning engineer from Bushey Herts who is pictured in the Anglers Mail week ending December 13th with a river Kennet barbel weighing 15lb 9 ounces. on a boilie bait. Perhaps on my next visit I will give boilies a try. Other good fish featured in the same issue of Anglers Mail Roach of 2-14-0 by Fred Healey from a Kent water Ted Bryant is pictured with a chub of 7-1-0 from the river Thames. Steven Stubbins from Cheshire fished Maelog Lake Anglesey North Wales with trout baits catching a brace of pike weighing 27lbs and 25lbs If your a carp angler you will find 4 pages of carp fishing pictures and text.


It’s been great on the River Ribble 8th December

Wednesday 3rd, I was on the Ribble near Longridge with Mike Osborne of Cumbria; the water temperature still a high 49 degrees F, the river was still carrying some extra coloured water. Conditions certainly looked good. While Mike targeted the barbel with boilies, I sat just downstream of him fishing for the chub, with bread crust, flake or cheese. My tackle set up was a soft action Avon rod, centre pin reel, 6lb breaking strain line and a size 4 barbless hook. I started off by lightly pinching on two LG shot six inches from the hook. Before introducing any mashed or crumbled bread, I rolled a big bit of crust through the swim, on the fifth cast the line tightened. The answering strike connected with a good chub. After a bit of give and take a very good fish was netted. It weighed 5-4-0 its certainly great fun catching fish on a soft Avon action rod and centre pin reel.

Two casts later the rod tip pulled savagely round, I connected with a very strong fish which pulled line off the reel against finger pressure on the spool. Slowly I started to gain some line, only to see it disappear quickly. It was a real give and take scrap from the fish. My thoughts turned from a good chub to a barbel. Slowly the fish tired as I cramped on as much pressure as the tackle would stand, as I forced the fish upstream. Picking up my landing net, I quickly moved down stream towards the fish gaining valuable line. Sinking the net in the water I cramped on the pressure pulling the fish towards the bank and into the net. It was a barbel about six pounds, after releasing the fish, it was time to put on the kettle for a fresh brew and a sandwich.

With the fish in a feeding mood, and a high water temperature with coloured water I fed three handfuls of crumbled bread into the swim, I felt some bread feed would hold the fish in the area and keep them looking for more. On my next cast I had a nice chub of 4-8-0. Then nothing. For about half an hour the rod tip stayed motionless. I contemplated moving further upstream, but after weighing up all my options, I decided to stay put.

For twenty minutes I continued rolling crust through the swim without success. It was time for a change of bait, removing the shot from the line, I baited with a pigeon sized lump of cheese paste. Rolling the bait down the swim then lifting the bait high in the water I was able to guide the cheese baited hook several yards downstream where the flow of water pushed the bait in close to the bank, where the branches of an alder tree over hung the water. It was a prime chub spot. Within seconds I felt a light pluck the line tightened. Striking I connected with a good fish. Shortly afterwards I netted a big chub weighing 5-10-0. Continuing with free lined cheese paste I had another chub within ten minutes weighing 5-4-0.

Except for two good pulls, one when I was talking with Mike, the other when I was making some fresh tea. The bites ceased for nearly three hours. I tried everything to get a bite without success. Meanwhile Mike was feeding in the boilies; He had just one good bite which was missed. About half an hour before dusk my rod tip was pulled over, a nice chub about 4-8-0 was quickly netted. In the next hour I had three good bites, hooked and lost one fish, landing the other two, the best was a super chub of 5-9-0. After another hour without a bite we both decided to call it a day.

Late Thursday morning 4th December I’m back on the Ribble, the colour had gone from the water it was a bright day perfect for grayling fishing. Two anglers fly fishing for the Lady of the Stream with weighted nymphs caught several pound plus fish. I had two chub about three pounds each on bread flake then nothing for over an hour. After a lunch break I checked the water temperature it was 47 degrees F. I decided to move upriver where a stream flowed into the river. It was an area where I have had some good fish in the past. Not today, I couldn’t get a bite. As a cold mist descended over the riverside fields I called it a day and headed off home.

Friday 5th December I am back on the Ribble with Mick Holgate director of football at Macclesfield Football Club Conditions were going to be tough, bright sunshine, over night frost and clear water. Before setting up our gear I checked the water temperature it was 42 degrees F. For two hours we fished several swims catching three trout. Mike had two I had one. Back at the car drinking fresh brewed tea, we discussed our options, none of which seemed exciting. Lunch over we decided to fish some fast broken water downstream of the bridge. In an hour we both had a couple of trout. Then my rod tip was savagely pulled over. The strike connected with a heavy fish which put up a good fight in the fast water. After some minutes the fish was netted it weighed 5-6-0 our baits were no more than two feet apart. Mike said “Perhaps they are coming on the feed” It didn’t happen we didn’t get another bite. We fished on for about half an hour in the darkness, with no bites we called it a day.

Saturday 6th December being a sports day, it was spent at work but I didn’t feel I was going to miss anything. Driving over the Ribble at 4-am I could see in the headlights the riverside field was frost covered. Given the high pressure over the northern half of the country with light winds and a clear sky the prospects for my cod fishing off the Fylde coast on Sunday looked good.

Sunday 7TH the alarm clock sounded its strident note at 5-30am, switching on the kettle and sorting out my porridge, it was into the shower. I dressed for a long session offshore in cold weather conditions with layered clothing including fleece shirt and pants. With breakfast of porridge, toast and tea completed I headed out of the door for the car, the lawn was frost covered. Climbing into the car, I headed off for Lostock Hall and Andrew Cross’s house. The heater quickly warmed the car; with some good music from radio 3 I had a pleasant early morning drive.

After a mug of tea at Andrews, it was off to Fleetwood marina. The day was perfect for boat fishing, blue sky, and no wind and three inch waves. After loading the boat with everything for a ten hour session afloat, we set up our tackle both choosing uptide outfits with 15lb line. Baits were frozen lug and squid, our target fish being cod, if they didn’t show; it would probably be whiting, dabs and the odd plaice to rattle our rod tips. About ten am Andrew contacted the harbour master to seek permission to leave harbour which was given. We slowly moving through the marina and lock gates out into the river Wyre estuary, everything looked good. Andrew tried to open up the motor but couldn’t get the required revs; we had a thousand instead of four thousand revs. After a few minutes we headed slowly back to the marina. Sadly we didn’t get the chance of trying to catch cod. Mooring up we unloaded the gear then headed off for home stopping on the way at Lostock Tackle Box to interview Brian and Barbara Whitlock. It’s certainly a well stocked tackle shop that caters for the sea, coarse and game angler. After a mug of tea I headed off home after some lunch I spent the rest of the day in the garden. On Tuesday I will be heading off for Berkshire and the Wasing Estate fisheries syndicate on river Kennet for a few days


Rutland Water 8th December

Rutland Water’s annual fur and feather last Sunday was a very successful event held in glorious sunshine. The rod average exceeded two – outstanding for the time of year. Northampton’s Mark Haycock made it two in a row to win at Rutland having taken first place at Pitsford Water’s fur and feather. Mark recorded an eight fish limit by lunchtime, he used a fast sink line and booby to secure victory. Alec Cruikshank made the journey down from Scotland and picked up second place with 7 fish weighing 12lb exactly. Third place went to Oakham’s Richard Hearth, Richard took five fish weighing 11lb 9oz.

Best fish of the day was taken by last year’s big fish winner, Ray Walton. Ray, from Nottinghamshire, took a 4lb 2½oz Rainbow, just left of the harbour at the fishing lodge, finishing with a brace of fish that weighed 6lb 15oz. Top lady angler was Hilary Tomlinson from Whissendine in Rutland. Hilary managed a fine 3lb 1oz fish. Top junior Matthew Newton took one fish weighing 3lb 4½oz.

Season ticket holder Gordon Alleyne, from Chalfont St Peter, collected an early Christmas present – a gold season ticket for 2004. Gordon won the annual draw of season ticket catch returns when his was first out of the hat.

Traditional Christmas dinner was served at the Harbour bar restaurant with turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding. Every angler went home with a prize, with the top six rods winning festive hampers for their efforts.

best rainbow 4lb 2 ½oz taken by Ray Walton of Leicester

best methods Floating and intermediate lines with any dry from fry patterns to nymphs

best bank areas Normanton, East Creek, Cardiac Hill, Whitwell front, Whitwell Creek

Christmas and New Year opening hours

Boats are off the water now until next season. Bank permits are available from fishing lodges or vendor huts up to close of season 31 December.

Rutland Water – 01780 686441

9am to 3.30pm to 18 December, open 7 days a week

Christmas shopping special 10am to 2pm 20-22 December inclusive.

Closed 23 December to 9 January inclusive, then open 9am to 3.30 pm 10 January to end February

Grafham Water – 01480 810531

Open 9am to 3.30pm Tuesday to Sunday inclusive throughout December to end February. Closed 20 December to 9 January inclusive.

Pitsford Water – 01604 780351

Closed 12 December to 22 January inclusive.

Coarse Fishing Available in Cumbria 2nd December

The Environment Agency in Penrith are making available some seven miles of
the river Eden to anglers who fish for grayling, dace and chub. The
Yorkshire Flyfishers stretch - around 4 miles long - and the Moorhouse
Estate waters (Crosby, Park Broom, and Holmgate, app. 3 miles in length) are
both available to coarse fishermen and those who fish for grayling, whether
on bait of with artificial flies, from mid-October until mid-January. The
fishing is limited in terms of the numbers of anglers who can fish on each
beat, with 20 permits available for the Moorhouse fishing, and 10 permits
for the Yorkshire Flyfishers stretch. All legal fishing methods can be used,
and all fish caught must be returned alive.

Is there a catch? No, but a catch return indicating size and numbers of
fish caught, methods used to catch them, and how much time you spent trying
to catch them must be filled in after a day's fishing.

Details and permits for a specific date or dates, contact Debbie Davidson or
Gill Watson at the EA's Penrith office, on 01768 866666. Alternatively, call
into the office at Ghyll Mount, Gillan Way, Penrith, Monday to Friday
between 9:00am and 4:30pm.

Coarse Fishing Available in Cumbria 2nd December

The Environment Agency in Penrith are making available some seven miles of
the river Eden to anglers who fish for grayling, dace and chub. The
Yorkshire Flyfishers stretch - around 4 miles long - and the Moorhouse
Estate waters (Crosby, Park Broom, and Holmgate, app. 3 miles in length) are
both available to coarse fishermen and those who fish for grayling, whether
on bait of with artificial flies, from mid-October until mid-January. The
fishing is limited in terms of the numbers of anglers who can fish on each
beat, with 20 permits available for the Moorhouse fishing, and 10 permits
for the Yorkshire Flyfishers stretch. All legal fishing methods can be used,
and all fish caught must be returned alive.

Is there a catch? No, but a catch return indicating size and numbers of
fish caught, methods used to catch them, and how much time you spent trying
to catch them must be filled in after a day's fishing.

Details and permits for a specific date or dates, contact Debbie Davidson or
Gill Watson at the EA's Penrith office, on 01768 866666. Alternatively, call
into the office at Ghyll Mount, Gillan Way, Penrith, Monday to Friday
between 9:00am and 4:30pm.


The Environment Agency is urging anyone with an interest in one of Cumbria and south west Scotland’s main river catchments to help conserve, maintain and improve it as a fishery.

The Border Esk Fisheries Plan consultation document has been developed by the Agency and will be refined in partnership with a range of organisations with interests in the Border Esk. It will be launched at a public meeting at 7pm on Monday 15 December at the Eskdale Hotel, Langholm.The purpose of the meeting is to explain how and why the plan has been put together, to put forward issues identified so far and to describe possible courses of action.

Following the launch, there will be a six-week consultation period during which interested parties can comment on the Plan and raise any further issues they feel should be addressed.

The Border Esk Fisheries Plan aims to conserve, maintain and improve the rivers' fish stocks, to conserve and improve the freshwater habitat and environment, to enhance the contribution that fisheries make to the local economy, and to promote the value of

River Ribble Hits Top Form 2nd December

Tuesday 2nd December the river Ribble has a foot of extra water with some colour and a water temperature of 49 degrees F Chub, barbel, dace and grayling are being caught some nice grayling were caught on Monday afternoon just downstream of Calder Foot. At Balderstone some good chub and barbel are being caught. Gentles, casters pellets and boilies are the successful baits. At Dinkley some nice dace have been caught on trotted gentles or caster. Providing the cormorants don’t descend on the river in number the dace fishing could improve. Salmon are still moving up river which is a good sign for the future. Below the M6 motorway bridge two good pike 13-0-0 and 15-8-0 have been caught on legered smelt bait. Kent Sherrington of Burnley fishing at Ribchester with luncheon meat had a good chub of five pounds. Kent was telling me about the number of small chub he was catching on dry flies back in the summer when trout fishing near Clitheroe, which is pleasing news. I fished the Ribble today catching seven chub six of which averaged about two pounds with the best at about 3-8-0. It’s nice to see these smaller fish as they are, hopefully the big fish of the future. At the bottom end of the Warrington Anglers Association water at Hurst Green a barbel of 11-4-0 has been caught on luncheon meat. This stretch of water certainly holds some big chub and barbel and is well worth a visit if you’re a member of the Warrington Association.


Fishery Reports 1st December

Rutland Water Another excellent week at Rutland Water with 108 anglers catching 358 fish, giving a rod average of 3.31. Bank anglers are taking fish in steadily increasing numbers. Leicester’s Rob Keeber had an excellent day on Normanton Bank fishing floating line and nymphs. Rob’s best fish was a 5lb 8oz rainbow, he also returned 3 or 4 out of season brownies (two above the 5lb mark)! Boat fishing finished on 30 November. This coming Sunday 7 December is Rutland’s Fur & Feather. Essential to book in advance ring the fishing lodge between 9am and 3pm on 01780 686441. best rainbow 7lb taken by H Blair of Leicester best methods Floating or intermediate lines. Fry patterns are best, minkies in grey, white and brown. Lures – black and green tadpoles, cats whiskers. Nymphs – black buzzer, pheasant tail, diawl bach. best bank areas Normanton, East Creek, Sykes Lane, Whitwell front to Barnsdale, Armley Wood to the Finches.

Ravensthorpe Another great week at Ravensthorpe. The best flies have been weighted lures in black, white or orange, fished from floating lines. Bank anglers have caught from all areas with the dam just being top spot. Boat fishing has now ended with bank fishing continuing until 31 December. best rainbow 5lb taken by Geoff Wanless of Peterborough best bank areas The Dam

Pitsford Water The highlight of the week was the annual Fur & Feather match. 40 Anglers fished, catching a total of 89 trout - excellent fishing for the time of year. Local hero Mark Haycock of Northampton won the match for the second year running. Mark, who works for Northampton based tackle firm Bob Church used the same method to win this year as he did last year. This was a Di7 fast sinking line with a booby lure, fished on a short leader and retrieved slowly. He had caught 5 fish in the first half hour of the match. He later went on to bag his eighth fish by 1.30pm. Runner-up was Paul Turner, of Barrowby, Grantham, who won Grafham Water’s Fur and Feather on 23 November.

It’s been a wonderful week for Pitsford stalwart Bill Kingston of Milton Malsor, Northants. Bill tempted an 11lb 9oz Rainbow on a floating line off the bank with pearly wickhams, whilst fishing near the pines. Pike angler Paul Phillips of South Witham, Lincs, took the best brown trout of the week - a superb 11lb 5oz brownie this was returned to the water alive and without any marks or damage.

Boats are off the water now until next season and bank permits are available from the ticket hut at the main gate by the fishing lodge for trout fishing and pike fishing, both to 31 December. best rainbow 11lb 9oz taken by Bill Kingston of Milton Malsor. Caught near the pines on a floating line. Fish took a pearly wickhams

best brown 11lb 5oz taken by Paul Phillips of South Witham, Lincs best bank areas Flats – Pitsford Creek, Pines, Rigbys Point, Gravels and Stone Barn best methods Floating and intermediate lines with nymphs and black and white lures

The extra waters in the river up and down the country has been most welcome especially in the southern half of the country. One river that really does benefit from extra water is the river Teme and Brian Webb had a red letter day on Thursday catching a personal best barbel of 11-12-0 That's a big barbel for this midland river Brian was fishing a hair rigged halibut pellet on a size 6 hook and 10lb line over a bed of hemp and mini pellets. Another river that has benefited from the extra water has been the Kennet where some excellent catches of chub, perch and barbel have been caught. Anglers fishing the river Ribble over the past week have had some good barbel and chub In the Dinkley are there have been some good catches of dace. Anglers fishing pellets are catching barbel and chub. There is an uncomformed report of barbel weighing 12-8-0 and 12-13-0 being caught on the Ribble at Osbalderstone Hall.

Civil Servant Graeme Cook of Lancaster fished Balderston last week taking several 4lb plus chub with a super fish of 5-9-0 Graeme's bait choice was bread. In Yorkshire the river Aire in the Leeds area is fishing good for roach. between Kildwick and Keighley fishing is very disappointing some chub are being caught over 5lbs plus but its only an odd fish for several hours of fishing. There have been some good grayling catches on the rivers Wharfe and Hodder. On the Hodder fish are being caught on beaded nymphs, while across on the Wharfe angles trotting redworms and gentles are taking fifteen to twenty grayling in a session. Its very pleasing to see some good quality grayling being caught from the river Ribble up and downstream of Ribchester bridge. Sadly many of the anglers fishing baits for grayling are keeping them in keepnets. If you catch a grayling please return it quickly to the water.


A Winters Day on the Kennet 28th November

The Kennet what a delightful river which starts life in Avebury Wiltshire, in the same area of prehistoric temples to the sun; it flows though some of the most delightful Wiltshire countryside. Taking in the town of Marlborough then on through the Savernake Forest, Ramsbury and Littlecote, then onto Hungerford where rod for rout fishing could cost £5000-00 a season. It’s in Berkshire around Newbury where this lovely chalk stream changes to clay, and really does become a coarse fishing river. I suppose its best described as a Crabtree river. Bernard Venables certainly captured its many moods in his magnificent paintings. Last Monday Kevin Rolls fishery manager for the Wasing Fisheries syndicate called saying “The Kennet is high and coloured we have had three inches of rain since Friday”. I immediately said “I will be down tomorrow” Thankfully being an OAP I can go off fishing when ever I like. I called a B&B in Thatcham booking two nights accommodation intending to fish Tuesday and Wednesday. I then visited Morrison’s picking up a dozen loafs of extra thick sliced bread; from my freezer I retrieved a large ball of cheese paste and a slab of sausage meat. Kate cooked me a venison hotpot; this would be dinner at the waters edge on the Tuesday, I planned to fish late into the evening. No point in sitting in a bedroom listening to the wireless when I can be on the river bank.

It was some 230 miles from home to Thatcham leaving home round 6-30pm I had an easy drive south, M6, M5, M42, M40, A34 and A4 to Thatchham. After a good nights sleep, and breakfast, I headed off to Brimpton Mill on the Kennet. A Wasing syndicate ticket for the river will cost £250-00 far cheaper than most golf clubs or Premier Soccer clubs season tickets. You don’t have to be a millionaire to have a millionaire life style.

It’s a fishery where all the bailiffs are friendly and helpful; members are more than willing to offer you advice and help. It’s one of the nicest rivers in England although it isn’t as nice today as when I first visited the water many years ago. Today it’s rather urbanised in places. On the Wasing Estate you can imagine you have gone back in time. The Brimpton stretch also has three disabled fishing platforms, built in top swims.

The Magic of Weir Pools

I planned to fish the weir pool; as I walked upstream between willows, alders and brambles the noise increased, as the pool came into view I could see millions of gallons of creamy, foaming spray lashed water crashing down some fifteen feet into the pooI. The sound was awesome. Several wagtails were flying to and fro over the water often landing on some piece of rubbish in the water, which was flowing in all directions; I could see camp sheathing, rotting piles and two carriers which flowed in from the left hand bank. Weir pools are not for the faint hearted or those with a nervous disposition. They can be quite a frightening experience. Especially in the darkness. Sixty feet back from the waters edge on the right hand bank stood an old mill house, I would like to have lived there with its history and character. Further back stood the big Estate house its interesting to note that this estate has been in the family since 1760. We must not forget if it wasn’t for estate owners having an interest in field sports many of these estates would probably be up market housing estates.

Tackle and Baits Keep It Simple

I chose to use a soft action Avon rod, matched with a centre pin with fifty yards of 6lb line to which I attached a size 4 barbless hook. This tackle has accounted for many barbel to 11-14-0 and chub to 6-5-0. At no time have I felt the tackle wasn’t up to the job. I am more than happy in using the softer action rod and centre pin reel and landing my fish. At no time have I had to hold a fish in the water for minutes on end for it to recover, also I am not chucking out big feeders on big rivers.

My choice of bait today is bread crust or flake, sausage meat, cheese and lobworms in case I see signs of perch. The first two baits have accounted for a lot of big chub and barbel. Without a shadow of a doubt, crust or flake is my number one choice. I started using crust or flake back in the late 1940’s, the days of bamboo rods, a bored bullet was stopped four to fifteen inches from the hook by a split shot, depending on the water temperature and bait. I don’t see any reason to change. Today I pinch on one, two or more LG shot on the line, between two and fifteen inches from the hook.

Lots of Action

Setting down my bait bag and tackle, I checked the water temperature 49 degrees F conditions couldn’t be better, looking at the water flow I decided I would need five LG shot pinched on the line six inches from the hook. Bait was a big bit of crust, making a long cast up the pool the bait dropped into the creamy, boiling white water. I held the rod high; within minutes I had my first fish minutes later I got broken off. Rebaiting I cast to the same area, ten minutes later the line tightened over my finger I struck then felt a dead weight for about two seconds. Suddenly the tip was savagely pulled, the reel screeched. After a give and take struggle my first barbel about 6lbs was netted. In the next hour or so I had four more barbel averaging five pounds. Then all went quiet, I couldn’t buy a bite.

After a fishless hour, It was time for a bait change, with a lot of colour in the water I decided on flavoured sausage meat, taking off one of the LG’s I moved the other LG’s a foot up the line. Baiting with a pigeon egg size lump of meat I cast into the white water. As the bait slowly moved around I could feel something plucking the bait, I realised they were by Signal crayfish. After a while the plucks changed to a slow steady pull I struck hard tightening into a good fish which didn’t hang about as it charged down the pool causing me take in line as quickly as possible. Cramping on all the pressure I could I soon had the fish in the quieter water, where I let the fish to slog away under the rod tip, occasionally a few feet of line got taken but quickly recovered. I soon had the fish over the waiting net. “Could this be a double I thought” Out with scales and bag. It weighed 10-10-0. I punched the air with delight, a fine rain was falling but I didn’t care. I had caught another Kennet double; it was now time to head for the car for a fresh brew and some food. Lunch break over I was back in the pool. Fishing with sausage meat bait I got pestered by crayfish, they were ripping the bait off the hook in minutes. I changed to bread catching two more barbel about five pounds apiece.

I decided on a bait change, I chose to bait with a big bit of flake thinking it would flow around in the water flow, rising and falling like a free offering and hopefully it would last a bit longer from the attention of the crayfish. Within seconds I hooked a good fish, after a few anxious moments I had a good barbel weighing 10-2-0. Last March I caught my first double figure barbel after forty years or more of trying, today I’ve caught two doubles. A fishless two hours followed. Time to try other swims, before leaving I baited the pool with lots of mashed bread. In the next hour and a half I fished several swims with crust taking 4 nice chub between three and a half and four pounds. I was also able to help a member from Hartford Cambridgeshire to catch a few fish. He had been bite less all day, I suggested he use bread. He said “I don’t have any” I gave him a loaf then showed him my tackle set up. Ten minutes later he had his first chub a nice fish around 4lbs, I went back to my car for some hot food and a fresh brew Then made my way back to the pool.

Baiting with crust I had a good pull, hooking into a powerful fish that stayed on the bottom, After some minutes the pressure told, I had to cramp on the pressure and drag the fish was slowly down the pool. Occasionally having to give line, and then gain back the line plus a bit more. I had visions of a very big fish, perhaps fifteen pounds. Some minutes later the fish was netted. The scales said 10-6-0 how lucky can you get three doubles in a session. I still had four or five hours in the darkness. No way did I want to sit in a B&B when I could be at the waterside. In the fading light I decided on another mug of tea and a chat with other members of the syndicate.

Hectic Session in the darkness

Returning to the pool I baited with crust catching several barbel, what amazed me was the average size of the fish, probably no more than three pounds They were like peas in a pod. About seven O’clock I felt the line tighten over my finger, striking hard I connected with a heavy, powerful fish. I didn’t feel it was a barbel, but a big chub. After a few heart stopping moments I pulled a good fish over the net. Switching on my head lamp, I could see I had a big out of season brown trout. Another member watching said “I’ve never seen such a big brown trout I would like to hook that on a fly” It was quickly weighed at 5-8-0 and released. Hopefully a fly fisher will catch it next summer. What amazed us was later in the evening the fish was caught again on a chunk of crust. It had been a great session. Meanwhile the Hartford angler fished on into the darkness, catching two barbel and five good chub. Back on the river next day I had more barbel, chub and a nice mirror carp. As a full member of the Wasing Fisheries Syndicate you get to fish several lakes, several miles of the rivers Kennet and the Enborne, for further details telephone 01189-714281 or write Kevin Rolls Fisheries Manager Wasing Estate Office Wasing Berkshire RG7 4NG


Winter Angling can be Wonderful 28th November

At this time of the year the wind can often be heard shrieking like a demented demon, while the rain hammers the window pains. Perhaps your river is bank high foam flecked with perhaps a water temperature of 48 per 50 degrees farenheight. This is no time to sit in doors moaning about the rough weather and the bank high rivers. Fish can be caught. At the waterside you will see a variety of bird life the species seen will often depend in what part of the UK you live. Recently I was trying to catch a chub, in front of me were some old dead nettles, a Goldcrest was opening up all the curled leaves looking for grubs, after some minutes a large grub was found and quickly swallowed. All this was taking place about two feet in front of my eyes. Then we see the Kingfishers, a bird not often seen the non angler. Its one of the big bonuses we anglers have in being quiet at the waterside. We are certainly privileged to be anglers.

Bahamas Sportsfishing and Conservation Association 18th November

The BSCA has roots all the way back to the Andros Independent Guides Association which was started in early 1993. Out of that association, grew the Bahamas Fly Fish/Bonefish Council headed by the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism comprising of a national body of lodge owners, guides and other stakeholders.

However, many felt that the government led body tied the hands of independent lodge owners and other stakeholders, thereby eliminating valuable initiatives from grass root level of business people. Also, many felt the council was politically motivated, it had little or no interest in marine conservation. This has seen the creation of the Bahamas Sportsfishing & Conservation Association.

The BSCA mission statement reads as follows: To promote marine conservation throughout the Bahamas and the sport of angling for recreational, economic and social activity which the public must be educated to pursue in a manner consistent with sound sporting and conservation practices.

Some of the BSCA objectives are: - To foster the development of marine conservation and ethical sportsfishing 2. To develop and manage a marine conservation program 3. To promote the advancement of the sciences in particular marine biology and ornithology 4. To promote the establishment of a national marine warden program 5. Balance marine conservation principles with economic goals 6. To promote a network of marine preserves throughout the Bahamas 7. To promote high ethical and professional standards among stakeholders in the Bahamian sportfishing industry. Finally to promote a recycling program among the islands of the Bahamas

The board is made up of lodge owners and stakeholders. The present Officers are:- Prescott Smith, president - owner/operator Stafford Creek Lodge Benjamin Pratt, VP & Secretary - Senior Executive, Ministry of Tourism Joel Moxey, Treasurer - Moxey's Guesthouse & Bonefish Lodge Other directors are representative of each of the islands in the Bahamas in order to achieve a representative balance.

I feel this is a great step forward for the bonefish, and we anglers who target this fine sporting fish. Talking with Joel Moxey of Moxey's Bonefish Lodge Moxey Town Andros I was pleased to hear that BSCA want to learn more about Albula vulpes. Including tagging and more protection, for the fish which is one of the most valuable assets in the Bahamas. I was recently asked to become a Director of the association which I was pleased to accept.


Fishing News 24th November

Rutland Water

Anglers at Rutland have enjoyed a tremendous week. Season ticket holders Ken Merridan (Uppingham), Jim Watts (Ryhall), Graham Pearson (Leicester) and Mike Barrett (Sheffield) have fished consistently in November with excellent results. Last week Ken fished the main basin with boat partner Jim and recorded 8 fish for 22lb, with the best weighing 4lb 9oz, this one was the best fish of the week. Jim also took eight fish on the same day. Graham Pearson and Mike Barrett both had cracking limits the following day with an estimated 16 fish for 40lb, the best fish was 4lb 8oz. Bank anglers are starting to take more fish. Malcolm Janik, from Spilsby, Lincs, took a six fish limit recently off the peninsula. Malcolm said “there were plenty of fish moving that day, and I had lots of pulls besides the fish I caught.” best rainbow 4lb 9oz taken by Ken Merridan of Uppingham

best methods bank anglers - floating lines with minkies, black tadpole, black buzzer. boat anglers - various sinking lines, with

gold and silver sparklers, minkies, grey, white, dark brown. Diawl bach and black boat areas all of the main basin,

sailing club to fishing lodge. Gibbets to sailing club, Armley Wood to the Finches best bank areas Old disabled bay, Armley

wood, Whitwell front, Normanton (blue pipes to Fantasy Island) forthcoming events Anglers are reminded that

Sunday 30 November is their last opportunity to take a boat out this season . It is strongly recommended that boat anglers call

the fishing lodge in advance. Sunday 7 December Fur & Feather by ticket only to include Christmas dinner For details phone

the Lodge on 01780 686441 Rutland tackle shop will be having a sale from 29 November to 7 December with 20% off most

items of tackle and clothing. Lodge open from 08.30 to 15.0

Grafham Water Highlight of the week was Grafham Water’s Fur and Feather. The rod average at this popular event was

almost 2 fish per angler – excellent considering the heavy rain on the day. Top spot went to Paul Turner from Barrowby,

Grantham. Paul’s brace weighed 5lb 5oz and he also took the best fish of the match – 3lb 2oz. In second place was Dick

Robinson 4lb 15oz, with Chris Bobby, Bristol, taking third 4lb 14oz, only an ounce dividing second and third. Festive hampers

were awarded to the top anglers. John Seers of Little Gransden also collected his prize for his recent win in the bank league.

Ravensthorpe Ravensthorpe’s super fit rainbows are providing exceptional sport for boat and bank anglers alike.

Recognised hotspots for the bank men are the island, mongers point and adjacent shoreline. Boat anglers are scoring on the Coton

shallows. Water levels are holding and are exceptionally clear. Mark Salt of High Cross enjoyed good sport taking two 6lb rainbows

and returning 23 in two midweek boat sessions this week. Mark fished white sparklers on a slime line to tempt these fry feeding fish.

Pitsford Water Mr S Baswell of Coventry caught and released a first class brown estimated at over 8lb, three other rainbows of 2lb plus made his visit worthwhile. Boat angler Brian Moore of Ibstock, Leics, found some clear water and managed to take 5 superb conditioned rainbows up in the 3lb bracket, whilst fishing tubes on the rudder. The last match in the series of four for the Sunday Boat League produced a surprise result – a tie for first place. Bill Knight and Steve Drakulic are both season ticket holders living in the same village, Oakley near Bedford. Bill and Steve each took a total of 13lb exactly. Roger Blake won the prize for the biggest fish – a 3lb 15oz rainbow caught in the first match.

Coarse fishing Ardleigh reservoir There has been plenty of pike action around the reservoir particularly from the lure anglers fishing from the boats. Although the largest fish have yet to put in an appearance, these will probably fall to the deadbaits once the temperatures drop a little, there have been plenty of fish around the 10-12lb mark. John Tweed managed 10 fish between 8-14lb from a boat using rubber lures and Mark and Wayne Brand reported catching 5 fish of a similar size, again using lures.

Thames Fisheries Consultative Council Seminar 2004

At the Wheatley Campus, Oxford Brooks University Oxford Saturday February 21st 2004

This all day Seminar will commence at 9-15 with registration and coffee

Session 1 Chairman Martin Salter MP

10-05 - 1030 The Decline of fly life in South Western River: an examination of possible causes. Peter Hayes Wiltshire Fisheries Association

10-30 - 10-50 - The impact of boat traffic movement on canal ecosystems. Jonathon Briggs British Waterways

Session 2 Chairman John Ellis TFCC

11-30 - 1-00 Twelve guest speakers will be putting the case for Who Really is Britain's Greatest Freshwater Angler.

1 Izaac Walton by Mark Wilton 2 Grace Ballantyne by Fiona Armstrong 3 Billy Lane by Andrew Ellis 4 Ivan Marks by Ian Neil 5 Bob Nudd by Mark Sawyer 6 Jim Bazley by John Essex

1-0 -2-0 Lunch

Session 3 Chairman John, Ellis TFCC

2-0 3-30 Who Really is Britain's Greatest Freshwater Angler. Part 2

7 Bernard Venables by Chris Poupard 8 Richard Walker by Martin James 9 Chris Yates by John Ward Allen 10 Andy Little by Tim Knight 11 Hugh Falkus by Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh 12 J W Martin by Matt Carter

3-30 -335 Summary and vote 3-35 - 3-45 break

3-45 - 5-15 The Disability Discrimination Act How it will effect you Club or Fishery Terry Moseley BSAA

4-15 - 4-30 Raffle and Announcement of results of Greatest Freshwater Angler vote

4-30 Depart

Tickets at £10-00 are available from John Ellis TFCC Axum House 1 Stratton Mews Leighton Buzzard Beds LU7 3PY Make cheque payable to Thames Fisheries Consultative Council


BBC Children in Need Day 24th November

The auction for a days fishing with Martin James on Friday 26th November raised the grand total of £675-00 The bidding was brisk, three of the last bids were from Lancashire ladies The winner being Lynsey Ratcliffe of Lytham Near Blackpool Lancashire

Angling groups act to halt illegal fish 24th November

The Moran Committee is pleased to give its backing to The English Carp Heritage Organisation (ECHO) in its bid to promote sweeping changes in fishery legislation.

ECHO is a 1,300 strong protection group fighting against the illegal importation of carp and other coarse species into the UK, and it is lobbying for tougher legislation on this important matter. Many coarse fish imported from mainland Europe have been obtained illegally, and they are able to act as carriers of potentially fatal diseases to which UK fish have no immunity. The consequences can be, and have been, widespread mortalities in fisheries where such fish have been introduced.

Already actively working with the Centre for the Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), the Environment Agency (EA) and the Specialist Anglers’ Alliance (SAA), ECHO believes that their voice can only add weight to the demands for new legislation to protect the future of angling and fisheries at home and abroad.

Ian Chillcott, ECHO founder and chairman said:

“This is a huge and exciting step forward in the battle against the flood of illegally imported fish that threaten our sport. ECHO has always understood the need to link angling with Governmental organisations and offer a united front in order to achieve the sweeping changes angling requires to safeguard its own future. To have gained the full backing of the Moran Committee has forged another crucial political link and we are delighted that they have given us their support”.

“Echo has become a vitally important link between anglers and Government bodies like CEFAS and the EA. Now we also have the potential to air our views direct to Government through the Moran Committee. This new link is provided by the SAA and makes us a much more powerful voice in the political arena.”

The Moran Committee will place the ECHO campaign on its agenda at meetings with key Government departments, English Nature and other influential organisations.

--------------------------------New Head of Wildlife, Recreation and Marine 18th November

NAFAC National Council Paper New EA Post
13th November 2003 NATCO 01113/01

The Environment Agency has announced a new Executive Management role which could have a great deal of influence on the things concerning NAFAC. A copy of the memorandum announcing this is shown below. Many Council Members will know Chris Mills who has been appointed to the role on a caretaker basis. I have written to him congratulating him and asking for a meeting in due course.

Terry Mansbridge.Chairman

A new Head of Wildlife, Recreation and Marine.

The past 14 months has been a substantial growth period in terms of workload, accountabilities and the number of staff now in Water Management Policy & Process. To ensure the continued effectiveness and support of the current Management team, I have mapped out a new Executive Manager post in a supporting role to the Director, with a portfolio that covers each of the existing functions of Navigation, Recreation, Ecology and Fisheries as well as the providing strategic co-ordination for marine policy.

The role will influence directly, in association with other Heads of Policy, UK Government and international policy development in order to achieve the Agency’s Vision for wildlife, recreation and the marine environment. The new Head will provide a single focus for all aspects of policy development covering these functions. The post will also continue to ensure the special needs of Wales and the NAW are recognised.

New Head of Wildlife, Recreation and Marine 18th November

NAFAC National Council Paper New EA Post
13th November 2003 NATCO 01113/01

The Environment Agency has announced a new Executive Management role which could have a great deal of influence on the things concerning NAFAC. A copy of the memorandum announcing this is shown below. Many Council Members will know Chris Mills who has been appointed to the role on a caretaker basis. I have written to him congratulating him and asking for a meeting in due course.

Terry Mansbridge.Chairman

A new Head of Wildlife, Recreation and Marine.

The past 14 months has been a substantial growth period in terms of workload, accountabilities and the number of staff now in Water Management Policy & Process. To ensure the continued effectiveness and support of the current Management team, I have mapped out a new Executive Manager post in a supporting role to the Director, with a portfolio that covers each of the existing functions of Navigation, Recreation, Ecology and Fisheries as well as the providing strategic co-ordination for marine policy.

The role will influence directly, in association with other Heads of Policy, UK Government and international policy development in order to achieve the Agency’s Vision for wildlife, recreation and the marine environment. The new Head will provide a single focus for all aspects of policy development covering these functions. The post will also continue to ensure the special needs of Wales and the NAW are recognised.
Fishing Reports 15th November

Rutland Water is providing impressive sport with a 4.4 rod average and limits galore being taken by boat anglers and every manner of methods taking fish.Craig Barr from Oakham and retail tackle assistant Charles Bowers took their limits in quick fire succession using minkies on fast sinking lines. Although Craig managed two fish on dries in the very light wind conditions last Thursday, most people on that day caught fish that day by covering the rise. On windier days last week drifting boats produced a staggering amount of fish, with a good number 2-3lb in weight.

Houghton on the Hill regular Graham Pearson said that the fish are of excellent quality and fighting very well. Graham and his boat partner Mike Barratt both recorded limits along with other regulars Paul Shaw and John O’Shea who took less than two and a half hours to bag up. Meanwhile Ryhall’s Jim Watts has had eight fish limits on his last four visits. Best fish taken last week fell to Malcolm Janik whilst bank fishing off Normanton. Malcolm caught an impressive 5lb 8oz rainbow along with four other fish. best rainbow 5lb 8oz taken by Malcolm Janik of Spilsby best methods bank anglers should try floating lines with minkies, diawl bach, black and green tadpoles. Boat anglers slow to fast sink lines with minkies, gold and silver sparklers best boat areas the main basin, gibbets gorse, east creek to the fishing lodge, middle of the north arm. best bank areas Normanton, Sykes Lane, old disabled pontoon, finches, the mound

Sunday 7 December Fur & Feather by ticket only to include Christmas dinner

For details of all of these events phone the Lodge on 01780 686441

Grafham Water has continued to fish well this week with the majority of fish being caught by bank anglers in the first 20 yards of the bank from Perry Point, Plummer park, G bank and the Hill Farm area. Boat anglers have had a more difficult task in catching fish, but have had success mainly from the point of Gaynes Cove where the trout have been feeding on the hatches of black rainbow 3lb 8oz taken by Eugene Hughes. best methods floating, slime lines, black nymphs, buzzers, diawl bachs, damsels, GRHE, minkies

Pitsford Water Gordon Bramwell of Leicester recorded the best brown trout this week. He caught the 8lb estimated specimen (witnessed by Baz Street) on a pheasant tail nymph on the bank in Pitsford Creek. Boat and bank fishing are excellent at present, with fish feeding frantically getting ready for winter. The rod average of 3.4 is excellent for November. Fish are feeding on a diet of Corixa, snail, damsel and perch fry. The fish will take anything from small nymphs like diawl bach or pheasant tails or hares ear. The fish are still pulling minkies and gold and silver tubes. Brian Moore from Ibstock took 8 fish on Sunday from a boat, his best fish was 4lb 4oz. The second week of the Sunday morning league was won by Bill Knight and newcomer Steve Drakulic. Season ticket holder Steve fished Northfields shore, he used nymphs and took four fish for 7lb 5oz in under an hour. He even landed two fish at once! The best fish was caught by Roger Hake weighing 3lb 15oz. With the Grafham Fur and Feather on 23 November, coinciding with the final day of Pitsford’s bank league there has been a rule change at Pitsford. Instead of the best four weights over four weeks, the final of the bank league will be judged on the best three weights over four weeks.

National Association of Fisheries & Angling Consultatives 15th November

There appears to be a misconception in some people’s minds that Fisheries and Angling Consultatives need only to liaise with the Environment Agency. With so many other ‘stakeholders’ having an interest in the water environment these days it is important to realise that this is not the necessarily the case. Our Membership Services Officer, Fred French, has therefore prepared the following paper for the guidance of members about working with other interests.

As most members may be aware, consultatives or fishery associations as they are sometimes called were first established prior to the 1948 River Boards Act in an effort to ameliorate the considerable opposition from angling and fishery interests which occurred because of the reduction in representation for such interests on the new Boards.

The then Chief Inspector of Salmon & Freshwater Fisheries at the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries & Food, Mr F T K Pentelow had suggested prior to the passing of the 1948 Act, the formation of fisheries consultative associations which would be representative of the fishery interests within the area to which they related. The main functions of these bodies were firstly to advise the Minister as to appointments of fisheries representatives to the relevant river boards and secondly to act as a consultative body for matters of fisheries policy and finance proposed by the boards.

The responsibilities of these River Boards was subsequently passed to River Authorities, which then became Water Authorities and, following the privatisation of the water industry, the fisheries and other regulatory duties became the remit of the National Rivers Authority which of course, with considerably increased responsibilities, is now the Environment Agency.

There may have been a period when a good working relationship between consultatives and the fisheries personnel at their appropriate river board was all that was necessary to ensure excellent and relatively inexpensive fishing in rivers which, although we are told would not meet present day quality objectives, were nevertheless apparently teeming with fish. Environmental issues and in particular pressures on the water environment have changed dramatically since the early days of consultatives but sadly some angling and fisheries administrators and even consultative associations still seem to take the view that a liaison with the Environment Agency is the be all and end all of their responsibilities for the welfare of angling and fisheries in their area.

With so many other interests impacting upon the water environment in this twenty-first century it really is important for member consultatives where they have not already done so to widen their sphere of activity and to liaise with any authority or organisation which may have an impact on both angling and the future of our fisheries. It is essential that such other interests are aware of the existence of local consultatives and also where appropriate the regional and national consultatives network. NAFAC is always pleased to offer support and assistance if and when required on any issue of concern to members and the following is a checklist of some organisations to which member consultatives may wish to make aware of their aims, objectives and activities, although it is appreciated that many may have already done so. Should any members require further information or assistance in contacting any of the above groups or can recommend any additions to the list, please contact Fred on 01539 432463. Email or write to Moat House, Station Road, Walpole Cross Keys, Kings Lynn, Norfolk PE34 4HB Tel/fax: 01553 829411 e-mail:


Angling News 15th November

Anglers Mail week ending November 15th Ian Welch is pictured with a super barbell of 15-5-0 from the river Kennet On pages 6 and 7 there is a feature on big perch with several pictures of 4lb plus perch. Tackle on test is all about swim feders. For you carp fishers there are 4 pages of carp stuff including some pictures of very big fish.

Geoff Roberts fishing the river Ribble downstream of the M6 motorway bridge with hair rigged halibut pellet caught a personal best barbell at 12-6-0 In his six fish barbel catch he had fish of 10-4-0 and 9-13-0. His other three fish averaged around five pounds. Manchester angler Geoff said I usually fish the river Severn but this year I decided to fish the tidal Ribble.

It’s Great To Be Back On The Kennet In Autumn 15th November

As David Hallet and I arrived on the banks of the delightful river Kennet after a long drive down a tree and bush lined twisting estate road, a low mist hung over the riverside fields. Pulling into the car park I could see the river flowing low and gin clear between banks covered in dying reeds and grasses, Alders, willows, beech, hawthorns and oaks were scattered along the river bank and over the near by water meadow. On the opposite bank a large ivy clad tree hung at a precarious angle. Blackbirds were about in profusion feeding on the red berries of the hawthorn trees, which added a bright dash of colour to the drab and brown countryside. An occasional tree still had a few golden leaves. I heard its shrill whistle before I spotted the bright blue of the Kingfisher. Under the far bank of the river, I heard a “plop”. Within a minute the smooth surface was disturbed as a Little Grebe or dab chick surfaced. Overhead a dozen Canada Geese were honking loudly as they flew down river to a water meadow.

A Beautiful Chalk Stream

I have fished the Kennet a Berkshire chalk stream for many years; I suppose I have spent thousands of hours with float or leger gear searching for roach, barbel, chub, perch and pike. It’s a river that has been extremely kind to me offering up its jewels in the shape of big fish on many occasions. My biggest barbel of 11-14-0 was caught from this river. I’ve had two pound roach, perch of 3lbs pike over twenty and chub over 6lbs. Today the Kennet in my book is still the nicest river in England, although it isn’t, as nice as it was back in the 1950’s. Today the Kennet valley is so much urbanised. Though there are still jewels in this delightful Kennet crown, such as the Wasing Estate Syndicate fishery. The great thing about fishing this river is you always come away from a day at the waters edge feeling relaxed and at peace with oneself. Sadly much of the club controlled water is litter infested, where people have turned up for a days fishing and left all their rubbish. Why do so many people want to spoil our beautiful countryside with their litter?

Weir-Pools and Side Streams

Over many years I have been lucky to receive numerous invitations to fish many stretches of the Kennet, for both trout and the coarse fish species. Some stretches of the Kennet where I have been privileged to fish have side streams, where there is often a weir-pool with its swirling, boiling, white foam flecked water. One pool I fish has old piles, a broken wall over hanging trees and eddies. Finally at the tail of the pool the water is about a foot deep flowing over clean gravel as its goes off downstream to join the majestic Kennet a mile or two downstream. If you get the chance to fish the Kennet don’t ignore the side streams. They can off some great sport. I have even had an 11 lb carp from one of these streams.

Avon Rods Centre Pin Reels and Bread Baits

It was a perfect day for fishing, no wind, low light levels and an air temperature in the middle fifties farenheight. My plan of action was to rove up and down the river, dropping baits into every likely looking spot that might hold a fish. I made up an eleven foot Avon action rod, centre pine reels, with 6 lb breaking strain line to which I attached a size 4 barbless hook. My bait bucket contained two loafs of bread, a chunk of cheese paste, a box of lobworms and half a dozen meatballs. The latter bait I only use as a last resort. In fact this bait has only been used on a dozen occasions over the past couple of years. My first choice bait is bread. After a fresh brew I picked up my tackle and bait bucket then headed off downstream.

Bread and Barbel

Within a hundred yards the river made a sweeping right turn, on the bend was an alder tree which had produced some good fish for me over the years. Stooping low I quietly made my way to the waters edge, looking at the water as it swept under the branches where they trailed in the water. I decided I would need to LG shot which I pinched lightly on the line some six inches from the hook. Baiting with a chunk of bread the size of a thumb. I dropped it as far under the bush as possible then allowed the water to push it further downstream. I sat back holding the rod waiting for a pull. Twenty minutes later the tip pulled slowly round, it felt as if some rubbish had drifted against the line, but I new better., The answering strike connected with a powerful fish. The rod was kept low with the tip in the water so the line couldn’t snag any of those trailing branches. A few minutes later the fish was netted a nice barbel of about six pounds. I fished on for another half an hour, without any more signs of action, then moved off downstream. Moving back onto the track I made my way downstream where I met up with a cheerful Chris Tarrant of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire fame. Chris like me really does enjoy his time spent at the waterside, he also catches some good fish. Chris devotes a lot of his spare time in helping youngsters from urbanised cities to get out and enjoy this wonderful sport we all take for granted. After a few words I left Chris baiting a couple of barbell swims.

A Kennet Weir-Pool

Walking downstream I passed a riverside thatched cottage, smoke was drifted lazily skywards from the red bricked chimney. Suddenly from the undergrowth a cock pheasant startled me as it rocketed skywards flying across the riverside to the opposite bank. A hundred yards further on I met up with young Kevin a syndicate member from Kent. A couple of days previously, Kevin caught two barbel of 9-15-0 and 11-2-0 in consecutive casts. After a chat I made my way downstream. I decided to fish the weir-pool. Despite the low water a good push of water was going through the pool. Two yellow warblers were flitting to and fro on the far bank, a robin dropped in alongside me hoping for some food either gentles, worms or bread. He would get some of the latter from me. Pinching on three LG shot I baited with a big chunk of crust dropping the baited hook up under the weir-pool, I wanted the bait would drop down under the seal. With minutes, I had a good pull hooking a nice fish. After some five minutes my second barbell about five pounds was netted.

Another big chunk of crust was dropped into the fast white boiling water, giving plenty of slack line I soon had the bait in the quiet water of the sill where I expected the fish to be. Twenty minutes later I felt a slight pressure on my index finger then tightened into another fish. My third barbel of the day was soon netted.

Big Chub

My next cast was into the fast streamy water as I worked the bait down the pool I was joined by Kevin and David. When the bait rolled under some over hanging alder branches I felt the pressure on the line build up. Striking hard I connected with another fish, immediately thinking I had hooked a good chub. David shouted to Kevin “Martins playing that fish as if it’s a big barbel” As the fish dived and twisted in the current often taking a few feet of line. I though David was right, perhaps I had hooked a barbell and not a chub. Cramping on the pressure I soon had the fish under the rod tip where I could see a good chub. Sinking the net deep in the water I was able to draw a big chub over the net. This fish was worth weighing, it pulled the scales down to 5-2-0 David quickly shot a couple of pics for me then the fish was released.

A Good Weir-Pool Barbel

Baiting with another chunk of crust I dropped it into the foaming white water, within seconds the rod tip pulled over, as I set the hook, a powerful fish shot off downstream. For several minutes it was give and take. Then the fish seemed to stick itself on the bottom. For a minute or so nothing moved. I kept on the pressure after a minute or so the fish decided to make a run for it up the pool into the foaming swirling boiling white water. The reel screamed like the proverbial scolded cat. I decided to cramp on as much pressure as possible and let the fish burn up its energy in the fast water. It worked and soon had the fish in the net. It weighed 9-2-0. Sticking the net in the water I made my way upstream to Les Webber asking him if he would take a picture for me which he willingly did, then the fish was released. It was time for lunch.

More fishing and Interviews

Lunch finished, I made my way upstream to interview Les Webber and Chris Tarrant, Les is involved in getting kids out of the urban jungle into the countryside where they get to catch fish and see wildlife. Under a new organisation “Junior Coarse Angling UK” I along with other people from politics, entertainment and fishing are Patrons of this very worthwhile organisation. Remember the more kids we get out to the waters edge the better. I have found youngsters who go fishing, will spend a lot of their time working on environmental projects, picking up litter and caring for the wildlife, and of course becoming caring people in society. The time spent at the waterside is less time spent hanging around street corners. Having interviewed Les, I moved up river to interview that delightful Radio and TV presenter Chris Tarrant. I can best describe Chris, as a caring and very cheerful person who really loves his fishing. Chris also gives up a lot of his time and energy in helping Les with his project in getting kids away from the concrete jungle through “Junior Coarse Angling UK”

After recording those interviews for my At The Waters Edge Programme on BBC Radio Lancashire Thursday at 7-30pm Saturday at 6-0am or you can listen on the internet click on sport click on fishing click on GO I went off fishing. I fished the side stream but couldn’t get a bite so I moved off to the bottom beat where I rolled a bit of cheese paste under the far bank taking a nice barbel of about six pounds and a good chub of 4-8-0 from under a bush on a left hand sweeping bend. Back at the weir pool I rolled a bit of crust down the pool taking another barbel about 4lbs, but in the fast water they pull the string and bend my stick. Three pounds or twenty Chub, roach, bream, pike or barbel I enjoy them all. With the light fading made my way across the meadow to the main river, I was going to roll a bit of crust down a gravel run over hung by alder trees, Casting out I rolled the bait downstream some ten yards when I felt a good pull and missed what can be best described as a good bite. Rebaiting I cast across to the far bank; I then held the rod high and lowly edged the crust downstream. As the bait reached the spot where the current was sweeping from the far bank to my bank I felt the line tighten. The strike connected with a good chub which was soon netted, it weighed 5-4-0 my second five of the day and my last fish. In the fading light I made my way back to the car park where I met up with the rest of the gang. After a bit of leg pulling we all departed for home, I didn’t have to face a long drive I was staying with David and Patricia, it was certainly nice being chauffeured. It had been a great day on the Kennet and we would do it all again the next day.

Day Two On The Kennet

David and I arrived on the banks of the River Kennet under virtually the same weather conditions of the previous day, No wind, misty and warm. As we put together our tackle, Bud Dickerson who had travelled from Colchester arrived. He is a very experienced and very knowledgeable angler when it comes to fishing the Kennet. For many years he was a syndicate member of the Wasing Estate Fisheries. Bud has caught a lot of fish including some very big barbell. After sorting out our tackle, David Bud and myself made our way downstream, David stopped off at the bush swim I decided to have a cast or two at the big hawthorn a bush that over hangs the water with some of its branches and roots trailing in the water. It’s a favourite spot for barbell but I was interested in trying for chub It screamed chub. I spent some time rolling crust under the trailing branches without a sign of interest. After an hour I made coffee for Bud and tea for myself. We sat and chatted for half an hour or so about the Kennet in the old days and some of the changes we have seen and the fish we have caught. We then went our separate ways. Bud was going to roll baits down several swims on the bottom bait, while I decided to fish the weir pool.

A Very Big Chub

After fishing the weir-pool where I caught a couple of barbel around five pounds and a chub of 4lbs plus. I then made my way across the meadow to the main river. I wanted to fish a swim that screams chub. The chosen area is where the river narrows up then flows quite deeply, trees from both banks reach out over the river creating a tunnel effect. I was able to sit behind screen of dead, dying and brown coloured reed mace. Baiting with a big bit of crust I cast out towards the far bank then feeding out line I trundle the crust along the bottom. It had gone some fifteen yards, when I felt a pluck on the line; this was quickly followed by a more distinct pull. I struck on feeling the fish I then plunged the rod well down into the water, so the line would get caught on the trailing branches. For some minutes, there was a lot of head shaking body twisting and occasional short dash when I had to give a few feet of line. Slowly though I gained line, getting my first glimpse of the fish. It looked big. I could see some head shaking; then a huge mouth. I pushed the landing net out into the water as far as I could then slowly lifted the rod tip easing the fish over the net where it was soon engulfed. I heaved a sigh of release the fish was mine and a big one.

Out with scales and plastic carrier bag, the fish was then slid head first into the bag. I then hooked the bag handles onto the scales; lifting the scales I watched the needle go round to give a reading of 6-1-0. This was my second six pound plus chub from the Kennet. Placing the fish back in the net I pushed it into the water then made my way upstream to find Bud who kindly stopped fishing to witness the weight and take some pictures. As Bud said “Look at that huge mouth” The fish was quite hollow and no doubt come February or March when its been on a feeding spree and stuffed itself full of crayfish it could well go 6-8-0 Perhaps I will get lucky and get that fish again. It was time to cook lunch.

After lunch I then went off and fished several more swims catching barbel and chub but nothing could equal that six pounder. I then decided to fish the last hour in the bush swim downstream of the car park. I had one small barbel missed a couple of bites and with the light fading fast I called it a day and made my way to the car park. It had been another great day on a beautiful river in the heart of some of the nicest countryside in England.

Lots of News and Pictures in Anglers Mail 9th November

In the Anglers Mail week ending November 8th you will find some interesting reading, the best news in years for you anglers who like to fish on into the darkness is

Birmingham AA are opening up some of there waters on the rivers Severn, Teme and Worcester Avon to night fishing, a night fishing permit will cost just a fiver on top of your card.. I applaud the Association in taking this action. I for one will purchase a Birmingham club card. Hopefully we want get the swearing, drinking, litter leaving loutish thugs who cause many fishery owners to close their fishing. You can get more details by calling BAA 0121-4549111.

Rochdale Lancashire angler Dave Greenwood in a two hour session caught a magnificent brace of pike from syndicate water weighing 31-2-0 and 20-4-0 on sardine baits. Dave Greenwood fishing Chew Valley with smelt bait caught a huge pike of 36-3-0. On the Hampshire Avon Paul Allen caught a super chub of 6-14-0 on cheese paste. If you fancy catching some good roach then read Andy Little’s feature on Mill Farm Lakes in West Sussex


It’s Been Good Sport on Our Rivers 9th November

Over the past week my friends have enjoyed some excellent river fishing in Lancashire Yorkshire and Berkshire. David Hallett fishing the river Kennett near Newbury had a good barbel of 10lb 11 ounces on a hair rigged meatball bait. David used an Avon rod centre pin reel and 8lb breaking strain line. David chose the same swim where I had an 11-14-0 barbel last season. David said the swim is a lot easier to fish this season as some of the trailing willow branches have gone making it easier to get a bait further under the bush. George Watts fished the river Ure near Ripon where he had one of his best days fishing this season catching 16 chub averaging some three and a half pounds all on a hemp filled swim feeder rig and casters as bait on a size 14 hook to 3lbs breaking strain line. George’s best fish weighed 4-10-0

On my first day back from fishing the Arabian and Persian Gulf

Big River Bream

Friday 31st October I visited the river Aire with Graeme Cook a civil servant from Lancaster. We chose the Keighley AC controlled water at Kildwick. It’s a water that can be fished for £20-00 a year or £2-00 a day. As we walked downstream I spotted a good chub and suggested Graeme cast a bait towards the fish. I went off downstream a bit further, Casting a bit of crust close to the far bank I noticed the line tighten the answering strike connected with a good fish. We were both surprised to see it was a bream. After weighing the fish at 7-6-0 it was photographed and released. Later in the day we both noticed a pike float bobbing downstream and realised a fish was attached to the loose line. Graeme with his usual accurate casting hooked the line and carefully dragged the loose line across the stream where I was able to grab hold. I quickly hauled in a pike estimated at about 8lbs. After taking out the hooks the fish was released. What made us so angry was the thin line being used, probably about 6lb breaking strain. If you’re planning a pike fishing trip please use line of fifteen to twenty pound breaking strain. If we hadn’t been on the river that fish would have died a slow death.

River Chub take Bread

Two days later I am on the river Aire again with Mike Osborne, this time we didn’t get a bite, not surprising as the river was rising after the rain of the night before and we were plagued by lots of floating weed. The next day Monday I am back on the Aire where I quickly had seven nice chub on bread flake or crust bait fished on a size 4 hook. All the fish were caught in the first hour. For the rest of the day I was fishless. I couldn’t get a bit even at dusk.

Wednesday November 5th Mike Osborne and I were back on the Aire near the Keighley Golf course for an afternoon session I had one bite which accounted for a chub of 5-6-0 on bread, Mike lost a good fish in a snag, probably a sunken branch. We fished on until dark with no more bites. The water temperature was 50 degrees F

Thursday, after doing some work in the garden and my pond, I decided to fish the Ribble downstream of Ribchester Bridge. I caught the river just right the water temperature was 46 degrees F with a slight colour in the water. Fishing from 3-0pm until 6-30pm I had a lot of bites, missed some but hooked 14 chub with 4 fish weighing five pounds plus. I also had three brown trout which wanted to eat meatballs. My tackle set up was an Avon rod Mitchell 300 reel 6lb breaking strain line and a size 6 hook baits were meat balls bread crust cheese and bread flake.

Its Official Anglers Are More Important Than Commercial Sea Fishing 9th November

Recently I had a letter from my member of Parliament Nigel Evans which included the following information I quote, Sea Angling’s growth dwarfs commercial fishing. Government figures showing the value to the economy of recreational sea angling in Britain last year was between£1billion and £1.3 billion have astonished sea fishing interests. It’s nearly twice the £640 million annual value to which the commercial industry may grow by 2013 – 2018. The surprising figures are in an interim report from the Prime Ministers Strategy Unit which will report by the end of the year on the medium to long term issues facing UK fishing and a strategy for a sustainable future. I have said it a dozen times or more, Recreational fishing can bring greater returns to the local communities than commercial fishing. As the sports fishing improves a new lease of life will be given to seaside towns as anglers once more visit the seaside. They will of course spend money on B&B hotels restaurants cafes garages and gift shops. Its now time to ban gill netting which is usually practised people trying to make a quick buck while drawing various benefits they are part of the black economy

Fishing News 4th November

Rutland Water is fishing exceptionally well, with boat anglers in particular coming off with bag limits. Quality rainbows are showing up to 7lb. The best fish of the week fell to beginner Nigel Tomlinson, from Burton on Trent. Nigel fished with his friend Neil Wakeham, sharing a boat with retail tackle assistant Paul Shaw, using the rudder method the pair took twelve fish the best being a stunning 7lb 1¼oz specimen.
Season ticket holders had a good week with Andre Sales, taking a nice brace of 4lb rainbows. Brian Flack, Peterborough and John Wotherspoon from Stamford had an excellent day with 24 fish last Friday, up to 3½lb. Senior warden John Seaton treated his neighbour’s son eleven year old Ben Farnsworth to a day’s fishing and caught 16 fish in less than 3½ hours, Ben caught the best which weighed 3½lb. Alan Wood took his personal best, a rainbow weighing 5lb 10¼oz. Alan, a first time season ticket holder from Owston, managed a 3lb 12oz fish along with further rainbows up to 2lb.

Oldham angler Peter McKie , who makes the pilgrimage down from Lancashire two or three times a year, had an excellent day last Friday with seven fish on floating line and minkies whilst drifting along the shoreline down the south arm, the best was just over 3lb.Bank angler Edward Taylor from Tilton on the Hill landed a 5lb 3oz rainbow and a 2lb fish. Elsewhere, fish have been taken from the old disabled pontoon area, barn hill creek, spud bay, Armley Wood and Normanton.

Grafham Water Bank fishing at Grafham Water has continued to produce some good sport. All along the north shore has fished well, as has Gaynes Cove, Perry Point and the south end of the dam. Most fish have been taken on floating/intermediate lines with damsel nymphs, diawl bachs, hares ears and minkies fished slowly in the margins where the water is clearer.Boat anglers have caught some good bags of fish by anchoring close to the margins. Hill Farm, Marlow Bay and Pig Bay have been the best boat areas.

Pitsford Water continues in fine form with a rod average of 3.3. Best fish of the week was a super 5lb 3oz rainbow taken by R Gilks of Wellingborough. Season ticket holder Brian Moore of Ibstock and boat partner Jon Dean had 14 fish up to 4lb in only 4 hours ‘on the rudder’. Nymphs and fry patterns on floating or intermediate lines are working for the bank anglers, with various lures on sinking lines proving successful for the boat anglers. The first match of the bank league on Sunday 2 November was enjoyed by all, with tea and a sausage bap before the start and hot soup at the lodge at the end of the match. Winner was season ticket holder Bill Knight who had 4 fish for 6lb 10oz caught on a cruncher nymph and floating line. There are 3 more matches in this series, anglers need to register at the lodge between 8 and 8.30am.

Ravensthorpe has had another excellent week with lots of fish fry feeding in the margins and around the weed beds. Bank anglers have seen excellent sport from the island to the catwalk and along Mongers Bank. Boat anglers have found lots of fish along the Causeway. Mark Salt of High Cross, Hertfordshire, managed 20 fish from a boat near the island and used fry patterns on a floating line. This has been the best method for bank anglers as well.Sunday was Fur and Feather day at Ravensthorpe. 29 rods caught 157 fish giving a rod average of 5.4, despite the wind and rain. 1st Kevin Cook (Loughborough) 18lb 11½oz 2nd Mick Beardsley (Kettering) 16lb 15oz 3rd Rob Edmunds (Ringstead) 16lb 5oz The Ferguson shield for the best fish of the match went to Kevin Cook with a fine specimen weighing 8lb 10oz. Kevin’s key to success was a mix of minkies and sparklers on a slime line.


Be Prepared For Low Water Temperatures 3rd November

A thermometer will certainly help you catch more fish. I first started using a thermometer in the early 1950’s. Remember once the water temperature drops to 39.9 degrees F, everything in the aquatic environment changes. Insects move more slowly, or not at all. Fish seek the slower water, they also take longer to digest their food. In the first couple of days or so of the water temperature plummeting they are not so keen to chase baits. In fact for the first few days following a big drop in the water temperature, you will usually find the fish are often a lot harder to catch. It doesn’t matter how tough the conditions look, there is often the chance of a fish picking up your bait.

Fishing rivers during the winter can be excellent, but you have to know where to put the bait. Remember the water temperature in rivers doesn’t usually change more than a degree or two, from one spot to another The current is always mixing the water what ever the depth. Six feet or sixteen the temperature is often the same. On the river Aire there are many swim where you have varying depths of water from five feet to fifteen feet or more. When I take the water temperature, I don’t see much difference in temperature readings between the depths.

If the country is covered by a high pressure zone with frosts at night, followed by bright sunny days. Then your fishing is often going to be tough, even tougher if the rivers are low and gin clear When I am faced with these conditions, my fishing takes place during the last couple of hours of daylight, then an hour into darkness. Often I don’t get my first fish until the last ten minutes of daylight. My tackle choice is simple, an Avon action rod, fixed spool or centre pin reel with line breaking strain of three to six pounds depending on the fish I am seeking. For roach and similar size species I use three pound breaking strain line, but when seeking chub my usual winter quarry I use six pound line. If I decide to have winter barbel fishing session I choose ten pound line, though I much prefer to chase chub unless I am on the smaller rivers such as the Kennet, Loddon and Teme. I like fishing the smaller rivers as I feel its more intimate and I am more in touch with events. I can search for my fish, and read the water so much better. I also feel I am the hunter after the hunted. When fishing a big river I feel more like a trapper, sitting there for a long period of time, with my hook bait fished in the middle of a bed of bait. As I get older, life is running out. I want to catch fish in the way I enjoy best.

My choice of baits in cold water conditions are quite simple, bread crust or flake perhaps sweet corn, cheese and lobworm. This latter bait is not used enough these days. Why not give lobs a try next time the river has some height and colour. The first two baits have accounted for a lot of barbel, chub, roach and bream. Without a shadow of a doubt, crust fished on a short two inch link is my number one choice, which has accounted for many big fish. I started using crust on the Medway, Beult, Thames, Stour and Kennet back in the 1940’ that's a lot of fishing time with this bait. I use it because it’s very successful. When I started using crust in the days of bamboo rods, I used a bored bullet as the weight, stopped four to fifteen inches from the hook by a split shot. the distance between weight and hook depended on the water temperature. . Today I usually just pinch on one or more LG two to four inches from the hook.

You will no doubt have read many articles in the angling press, where the writer tells you the reader, "You will only get tiny movements on the rod tip in cold water conditions". Its not true, bites vary from day to day and from water to water. Even when the temperature has been down to 34 degrees farenheight, with ice along the margins I've usually had good bite indication. As many of you readers who have fished with me can testify. If I find bites difficult to hit, I will switch to a dough bobbin indicator. In cold weather conditions, don’t chuck in lots of free offerings.

Bank High Rivers

Hopefully we will have bank high rivers all through the coming months, unless we get lots of rain this autumn and winter then I feel I rivers will be in a sorry state come next spring and summer. Modern farming methods certainly don’t help out rivers and streams, in my book they are destroying our water courses. The past few months have been a disaster on most of our rivers Thankfully I have another option and that's fishing the ocean. I am not a fan of commercial fisheries, though they do have a place for many anglers especially the youngsters. Having said that I fish the Wasing Estates Fisheries syndicate in Berkshire which includes several miles of the river Kennet and some gravel pits. Yes, I suppose it can be described as a commercial fishery, but it does have a close season and isn’t over stocked. In fact its one of the most delightful fisheries I have had the pleasure to visit over the past few years. Many of the commercial fisheries I have visited are often not wildlife friendly. If the wind goes to the south or Southwest you can expect a rise in the water temperature with some great fishing on our rivers, still waters and canals countrywide. Lets hope we get lots of rain this autumn and winter to keep our rivers and streams flowing, which will help dilute all the rubbish that gets into our river and streams from the surrounding fields and roads.

If your lucky to find a bank high river don’t go off to a local stillwater, canal or return home. Fish the river. You might have to use a four ounce weight but you will often get some exciting sport. How many times have you seen fish swirling on the surface in the middle of a bank high river? No doubt many times. Fishing in conditions of bank high or flooded rivers, demands the use of big baits on a size 4 hook. Bread crust, cheese paste, luncheon meat, double lobworms, meatballs, boilies and pellets. I personally don’t use the latter two baits in flood water conditions. A lot of anglers do so with success, but they are not my choice of baits. If you have a water temperature of 44 degrees F or above you can usually reckon on some good sport with chub and barbel.

River Aire Bream

Having been out of the country for a few weeks in the USA where I have been saltwater fly fishing the east coast States of Rhode Island Connecticut and Massachusetts for rainbow and brown trout, false albacore, striped bass and bluefish. I then went out to fish the Arabian and Persian Gulf for travelly, barracuda, jacks and snappers. It was nice being back on my local rivers even if the air temperature was 40 to 50 degrees F down on my previous location in the Gulf. Graeme Cook a civil servant from Lancaster and I chose to fish the Keighley AS water on the river Aire, fees are day tickets £2-00 season tickets £20-00. During the day Graeme and I were able to rescue a pike of about 8lbs from a slow death. Some person had been fishing for pike using line of about 6lbs. Having hooked a pike it broke the line. Graeme was able to cast and snag the line. I then grabbed the free end of the line, while Graeme grabbed the landing net then clambered down the bank where he was able to net the fish. After cutting the wire trace I was able to remove the barbed treble hooks and the fish was released. If your planning a pike fishing trip choose a line between fifteen and twenty pounds.

An hour later I had to call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 to report a discharge of grey coloured flowing into the river Aire from a bankside pipe. Within an hour I had a call from Phil Jones of the EA asking for the exact location of the discharge. I was most impressed at how quick the EA had come back to me. The day before I had to call the EA again to report loose soil being dumped on the banks of the river Aire near Skipton. All I hear when I attend angling club meeting are how useless the EA Not really true from my experience. Remember you cannot complain about not getting action from the EA if your don't tell them about a particular problem. Remember when you call the EA on 0800-80-70-60 its a fre phone call.


The Environment Agency is asking people to have a say on the future of water usage in and around the rivers Lune and Kent. The Agency has published Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS) consultation documents for both river catchments, and wants people living, working or with an interest in the areas to give their views on how demands for water resources can be balanced with the needs of the environment. CAMS will provide a strategy for the future management of water resources, including the taking and use of water from rivers, lakes and underground sources. As part of the process local people are being asked to contribute their opinions.

The Lune catchment covers an area including Lancaster, Morecambe, Carnforth, Sedbergh and Tebay. The neighbouring Kent catchment includes Kendal, Milnthorpe, Arnside and Grange-over-Sands, as well as Killington and Fisher Tarn reservoirs. Copies of the Lune and Kent consultation documents have already been sent to individuals and organisations that showed an interest in the early development of the CAMS. Further copies are available from the Environment Agency. Kate Swensson, the Environment Agency’s regional CAMS co-ordinator, said: “Balancing the needs of water users with the needs of the environment can be a difficult challenge, which is why these strategies are so important. We want people to use the opportunity to input and have their say on the future management of their local water resources.”

To obtain copies of the Lune CAMS consultation document, or to submit comments as part of the consultation process, either contact Kate Burns on 01772 339882, email, or write to Kate Burns, Regulatory Team (Water Resources), Environment Agency, Lutra House, Dodd Way, Walton Summit, Bamber Bridge, Preston, PR5 8BX. To obtain copies of the Kent CAMS consultation document, or to submit comments as part of the consultation process, either contact Susan Hammond on 01768 866666, email, or write to Susan Hammond, Regulatory Team (Water Resources), Environment Agency, Ghyll Mount, Gillan Way, Penrith 40 Business Park, Penrith, CA11 9BP. The closing date for comments is 12 December 2003. Following the consultation, the CAMS for the Lune and Kent will be published during spring 2004.

What are Catchment Abstraction Management Strategies and why are they necessary? Abstraction is the removal of water, either permanently or temporarily, from rivers, canals, reservoirs or underground sources. The main challenge in managing abstraction is to meet the reasonable needs of abstractors, while leaving enough water in the environment. In England and Wales abstraction is controlled by a licensing system introduced in 1965. The Environment Agency administers this system. In 1999 the government reviewed the licensing system and identified a number of changes that should be made. Foremost among these was the proposal for Catchment Abstraction Management Strategies (CAMS).

CAMS are strategies for the management of water resources at a local level. They will make more information on water resources and licensing practice publicly available, and allow the balance between the needs of abstractors, other water users and the aquatic environment to be considered in consultation with local communities and interested parties. England and Wales have been divided into 129 CAMS areas, of which the Lune and the Kent are two. Once CAMS are developed they set out the licensing practice for the catchment and identify how abstraction is to be managed to maintain or achieve sustainability. Both river catchments include a number of surface and groundwater abstractions. These range from small abstractions for domestic and agricultural use, to large volume abstractions for industry


The Environment Agency is also asking people to have a say on the future of water usage in and around the rivers Tame, Goyt and Etherow.The Agency has published a Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS) consultation document for the river catchment, and wants people living, working or with an interest in the area to give their views on how demands for water resources can be balanced with the needs of the environment. The Tame, Goyt and Etherow catchment covers an area east of Manchester including Ashton-under-Lyne, Mossley, Stalybridge, Glossop, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Whaley Bridge and Marple.

To obtain copies of the Tame, Goyt and Etherow CAMS consultation document, or to submit comments as part of the consultation process, either contact Anne Halstead on 01925 840000, email, or write to Anne Halstead, Regulatory Team Leader (CAMS), Environment Agency, Appleton House, 430 Birchwood Boulevard, Birchwood, Warrington, WA3 7WD.

Fishing Reports 1st November

The rain and more mild weather conditions will certainly improve the autumn fishing conditions on the countries rivers and streams. In the southern half of the country rivers are very low, due to the drought conditions over the past few months. Our rivers, streams and reservoirs need a lot of rain this autumn and winter to maintain water levels for next spring and summer should we suffer another long hot dry few months in 2004. Many of you will have put away your fly fishing gear now the brown trout season has ended, why not have a few day casting a fly for grayling?. Some years ago the grayling was considered my many anglers as being vermin especially on the southern chalk streams. Today its a different story the grayling is rated a fine sporting fish.
One problem you river and stream anglers will have over the next few weeks will be the amount of leaves in the water from bankside trees. At this time of the year its nice to visit a favourite stretch of water with float fishing gear, some bread, casters, gentles or sweet corn as bait and walk the rive bank trying all the likely looking spots that might hold chub, dace, roach, bream perhaps barbel. Yes, you can have some good sport float fishing for barbel. I often target this fish with an Avon rod, centre pin reel, 8lb breaking strain line with hook sizes 4's 6's and 8's depending on the bait with a cork on quill or balsa body float to take about two swan shot to complete the tackle set up.

Rutland Water is in excellent form with several anglers recording their limits including Roy Rayson of Melton Mowbray and Andre Sales who both fished using the rudder. Season ticket holder Al Owen, from Sleaford, has been one of the most consistent anglers at Rutland Water this season. Al had two limits in two day’s fishing. Using loch style methods Al and his boat partner caught on a sparkler and diawl bach up the north arm last Monday, whilst Tuesday saw flat calm conditions the pair took another 16 fish on floating line with nymphs fished under the bung.
Wardens John Seaton and Paul Friend recorded 12 fish averaging 2lb and up to 3lb 12oz. Paul’s infamous ‘friendly tube’ did the business! Paul’s fly is now available at the lodge and selling fast. Jim Watts and retail assistant Phil Brown, Graham Pearson and Mike Barratt all took quick limits apiece on Saturday fishing along the shoreline of the south arm. Fish are beginning to come in to the banks with two anglers fishing the Barn Hill area on Sunday taking 6 fish between them by lunch -time.

Pike anglers Mark Phillips and boat partner Chris Hammond caught fish up to 19lb 15oz, including several other doubles. Chris also recorded his first ever ‘large reservoir’ double on the same day. Anglers are reminded that brown trout are out of season after Wednesday 29 October, any hooked must be carefully returned to the water alive. Also no fishing boats are allowed beyond the sailing limits after 31 October, ie up to the Old Hall in the south arm and Dickensons Bay in the north arm.

Best rainbow 5lb 12oz taken by Pete Bell of Exton during Weardale Flyfishers pairs match Best brown 5lb 6oz taken by Malcolm Janik of Spilsby best methods floaters to di 7, nymphs fished under the bung, ‘friendly tube’ best boat areas north arm, south arm along from sailing club up to Gibbets,

forthcoming events Pike fishing to 9 November Bank league continues Sunday 7 December Fur &
Feather by ticket only to include Christmas dinner For details of all of these events phone the Lodge on 01780 686441 Please note
that there will be a limited number of boats available during
November and it is advisable to book in advance – please call the
fishing lodge.

Grafham Water has continued to fish well this week with bank anglers having the cream of the sport. Floating lines with mini lures, minkies, diawl bachs, GRHE and damsel nymphs are producing some cracking bags, mainly from the north shore and bowl of the dam. G bank and deep water point and Hill Farm are the best bank spots. Boat anglers have produced most of their fish from the nature reserve frontage, savages creek and valley creek with intermediate lines with minkies, diawl bachs and damsel nymphs.

Pike anglers have caught some good pike this week from the north tower mainly on dead sea baits fished on the bottom. Steve Marshall caught two cracking pike this week – both from the north tower. The first weighed 23lb 4oz and the second was a super 26lb 4oz pike – well done. Best rainbow 5lb 8oz taken by D Sparkes of Rushden best brown 6lb 4oz best methods floating / intermediate lines. Minkies, daiwl bachs, GRHE, damsel nymphs, sparkler boobies best boat areas Mouth of nature reserve, Savages Creek, Valley Creek, G buoy best bank areas North and bowl of dam, willows, G bank, deep water point, Hill Farm

Pitsford Water The best rainbow recorded this week was a fine 11 pounder taken by John Williamson of Wolverhampton. John fished the sailing club bank and used a floating line with a hare’s ear nymph. This was John’s biggest rainbow from Pitsford. The last week of the Autumn boat league was a triumph for new starter season ticket holders. This week’s winner was Neil Evans of Northampton with two trout weighing 4lb 8oz. Best fish on the day was taken by Graham Wiseman another starter ticket holder, also from Northampton, with a 3lb 7oz rainbow. This was the final of the Autumn League with the best three weights counting over 8 weeks. Northampton’s Mark Cotton out fished them all with a total three weights of 26lb 5oz, again proving that starter permits can be a ticket to success. Season ticket holder Mick Facey from Bedford took second with a three weight total of 21lb 3oz, and Charlie Watts from Ravensthorpe was third with 14lb 16oz. 56 anglers competed in this league over 8 weeks. The league action now moves to the banks with the bank league starting on 2 November. best rainbow 11lb taken by John Williamson of Wolverhampton best brown 3lb 10oz taken by N Butler best boat areas Narrows around Bog Bay proving to be a top spot. best bank areas Cliffs, Pines, Holly bush best methods Bank anglers – floating and intermediate lines with nymphs like damsel or hare’s ear and PTN proving effective. Minkies or black and green lures have accounted for lots of fish this week Boat anglers - Lines from floating to fast sinking with gold and silver tubes or black minkies producing good bags of fish

Ravensthorpe is showing excellent sport, particularly for bank anglers. Bank hotspots have been the island and the dam with fish moving very close in and taking minkies, floating fry and various lures. Perch and rudd fry are making up the major part of their diet.

A superb 9lb 11oz rainbow was caught from the dam by Mr Hine, his fish took a green buzzer on a floating line and made several strong runs before being netted. Neil Crowhurst, of Ringstead, released 9 fish, including specimens of approx 8lb and 11lb. best rainbow 11lb (approx) taken by Neil Crowhurst of Ringstead best boat areas Coton End and Island best bank areas Island, dam, Mongers best methods Bank anglers using floating lines with minkies, floating fry and various lures, some success to buzzers and diawl bach. Boat anglers - intermediate lines, Di 3’s, most lures – orange, black, white etc all taking fish

Fishing Reports 7th October

Rutland Water Wardens Paul Friend and John Seaton recorded ten fish last Wednesday fishing the rudder up the top of the north arm, they commented that there were a lot of fish showing right out in the open water around the tower. The same day, temporary warden John O’Shea recorded five fish using the same method, John also found the fish down the north arm. Mr Mansfield recorded the best limit of the week with eight fish weighing 19lb 8oz, including a 5lb rainbow and a 3lb brown. These were the best rainbow and the best brown of the week respectively.
Christian Smith organised a corporate day on behalf of sixteen of his associates, quite a few were complete beginners, a good number of them managed their very first rainbows, taking 25 fish between them. Members of staff from the tackle shop assisted the group and the fish were found in the main basin, the north arm, Barnsdale and the bottom of the south arm. Anglian Water is proud to host the final of the Anglian Water Fulling Mill International. This will be the first ever final of this new six man team event. The match takes place on 7 and 8 October best rainbow 5lb taken by Mr Mansfield best brown 3lb taken by Mr Mansfield best methods floating line with diawl bach, hares ear, pheasant tail, minkies. Boat anglers – sinking lines with gold and silver sparklers, boobies, minkies, diawl bachs. best boat areas the north arm (not in the middle), Barnsdale, the main basin, fishing lodge frontage best bank areas Armley Wood, Whitwell, Barnsdale Creek, fishing lodge frontage. Pike fishing starts 13 October

Grafham Water This week has seen the start of the winter weather. The bank fishing has vastly improved and the regular anglers have been enjoying some great sport. Holographic diawl bachs, black pheasant tails, minkies and humungus have worked very well from the bank. The low water level has meant bank anglers can fish the deep water. Hill farm and the long bank have been the best areas. Cold, blustery days with strong northerly winds have meant the boat fishing has been restricted to the north shore. There have been some big brownies showing. With the best one caught from the boat by Shane Kelly from Hawick, Galashiels. The fish weighed 5lb 8oz and was caught on a humungus. best brown 5lb 8oz taken by Shane Kelly of Hawick, Galashiels best methods Floating, slime lines, minkies, sparklers, diawl bachs, GRHE best boat areas Mouth of savages, Tower, Hill Farm, Hedge End, dam best bank areas Hill Farm, long bank

Pitsford Water hosted the annual Anglian Water versus the Environment Agency boat competition on Wednesday. 51 anglers caught 151 fish giving a rod average of 3 fish. Top method for individual winner Paul Shaw, from the Rutland tackle shop, was a yellow blob on a dropper with a friendly tube fly on the point with a 20 foot leader and a Di7 fast sinking line. Paul’s boat partner was Charles Bowers, also a retail assistant at Rutland, who took second place, and the best fish – a 3lb 6½oz rainbow. Well done to both anglers. Other methods were slow sinking lines with minkies. Top boat spots on the day were all of the narrows and Brixworth Bay. The event was followed by bangers and mash.

New starter permit holders were invited to boat fish at Pitsford on Sunday. Twenty three anglers fished from 10 am to 4pm and then enjoyed a barbecue. Everyone hailed the day a great success. For some anglers it was their first boat fishing experience, many hadn’t fished at Pitsford before and everyone had the chance to try out some new methods. Pitsford Water’s senior warden, Nathan Clayton, said it was a rewarding event and great to encourage the next generation of fly fishers. The best fish was caught by Dave Woollard of Sandy. Dave took a super fish weighing 3lb 7oz. Best bag was taken by Geoff Wanless, of Peterborough, with 4 fish for 7lb 8oz, with Brian Hartshorn of Kenilworth in second place with 3 fish for 5lb 9oz, and Tony Day of March took third with three fish for 4lb 10oz.

Recent winds are breaking up any weed and fish are coming to the banks. Fish are feeding on fry and snail and some big fish have moved nearer to the margins. best rainbow 3lb 6½oz taken by Paul Shaw best boat areas narrows and Brixworth Bay best bank areas. Gorse bank, cliffs, Rigbys, stone barn

Ravensthorpe Gary Carter of Northampton took a 6lb rainbow on a GRHE from the bank in front of Hickmans, along with five others around the 2lb mark. James Smith of Reading had two fish around the 6lb mark from a boat anchored near the Causeway on black zonkers. Newcomer to fly fishing Nathan Toseland, who recently attended a beginners course, has been getting amongst the fish, taking nine in an afternoon session from the island on fry patterns.

Floating lines are still the best lines at Ravensthorpe this week, despite bright

sun and frosty nights. Couple these with fry patterns such as appetiser, zonker

and minkies. Nymph anglers are taking good catches with GRHE and diawl

bachs. best boat areas Coton End and island best bank areas Mongers to

Hickmans, Island

Coarse fishing Ardleigh Plenty of pike have been landed this week, especially from the boats. Ilford angler Terry Hattley used mackeral dead bait to tempt 3 fish to 13lb. Mr Cort managed two fish to 14lb and Mark Brand from Chelmsford had some nice perch of 1½lb. The butterfly pond is fishing well with Gordon Van Sertima having a good mixed bag of about 40 fish including roach, perch and some small bream. Season permit holder Ben Lamb has reported the best carp of the week, a lovely 16½lb mirror, while fishing from Pine Point.

Welcome Rain

The heavy rain in northern England on Sunday night Monday was certainly welcome The rivers Ribble Calder Aire Wharfe Lune and Ure all have extra water At the time of writing weed and other rubbish is a problem but give it a couple of days and we can expect some good fishing on our rivers.

Bluefish Blitz the Bait Fish 6th October

Hundreds of sea birds were swimming diving and screaming as they fed in a frenzy. The water boiled, dead and dying fish were scattered everywhere. The killing zone covered two or three acres of water. The noise caused by thousands of bait fish trying to escape the razor sharp teeth of hundreds of predators was deafening, as they boiled and flapped on the surface. Blood and carnage was everywhere, You could smell death in the air, dead, dying and chunks of fish, globules of blood and scales were scattered too all points of the compass on the surface of the calm water.

David Jones of Bury and myself were on a ten day fishing trip covering Connecticut Massachusetts and Rhode island. We had fly fished in Long Island Sound with Captain Dixon Merkt catching striped bass, albacore, bluefish and porgies. After a few days of this action, we headed north to Massachusetts to visit the Thomas and Thomas factory in Greenfield and fish the Deerfield river for brown and rainbows. The trout fishing was excellent, we caught some cracking rainbows and brown trout. . After a day on the Deerfield river and a late lunch with Trevor Bross and his dad John, we drove some two hundred miles to Rhode Island arriving at the five star Hampton Inn around dusk. We had come to fly fish for bluefish.

At 4-30 am I was woken from a deep sleep by my early morning call, after quick shower. I pulled on some warm cloths, then made some porridge and fresh tea. In no time at all David and I were in front of the hotel being greeted by Captain Jim White. Some ten minutes later we were at the dockside. After stowing all our gear and food for the day, I moved to the bows, freeing the bow ropes. The 225 HP Evinrude outboard slowly pushed us away from the dockside at Greenwich Cove. Captain Jim pointed the bows towards the Lower Narraganasett Bay off Rhode Island as the first rays of the early morning sun appeared off the starboard bow. A dozen mallard jumped skyward quacking loudly, off the port side a skein of Canada geese were heading for a small island, no doubt to feed on the eel grass. Within twenty minutes, the eastern skyline was flecked with various shades of gold, yellow, blue, pink and greys. It was a perfect dawn. The water was flat calm with an oily appearance we anglers love to see at dawn or dusk. It was a day made for angling. I was on board Captain Jim White's Grey Ghost 1 Triton, a twenty three foot centre console offshore boat built by Earl Bentz of Triton Boats in Tennessee.

As we slowly moved out into the bay Jim told me about the bluefish and how he often had the choice of several pods of fish attacking bait fish. As we chatted Jim said "As in motor racing it was important to have sponsorship. Its through my sponsors such as Thomas and Thomas rods, North east Tackle Company. The builders of the "White Ghost" signatures series of light tackle rods, Islander Fly reels, Rio fly lines, Evinrude outboards, Triple fish lines and Triton boats that I am able to offer a guiding service.

Thirty minutes after leaving the dock we spotted a large group of diving birds, two hundred yards off our port side. David in the stern and myself in the bows were ready to shoot our flies tied up on 3/0 hooks to imitate the silversides. As we moved within sixty feet of the feeding fish, you could smell death in the air. Gulls were diving and screaming, the water surface was covered in dead and dying fish, chewed up bits of fish were scattered over a wide area. There was no escape from this killing zone. The bluefish, a member of the Piranha family, tore into the silversides.

I made a long cast to the outside of the feeding fish, then gave three quick strips before I had a hook up. The line ripped through my fingers the reel grudgingly giving out more line. It was a tug of war between man and fish. The nine weight Thomas and Thomas Horizon's tip was pulled down towards the water in a series of savage jerks. The well balanced tackle was master of the situation and ten minutes later, I had the fish coming to the side of the boat. Jim expertly grabbed the fish which was quickly unhooked then released. I made another cast, glancing to the stern I could see Dave had a pulled string and bent stick. I was quickly into fish number two, but after a couple of minutes, I was bitten off.

Tying on another fly I made a long eighty foot cast to a lone fish I had spotted at two O'clock. I stripped the fly back in a series of fast retrieves, as I went to lifted off for another cast I had a hook up. The fish had thrown itself from the water to grab my imitation. On realising it was hooked it dived, line ripped through my fingers and the rod guides. Suddenly the reel was screaming in protest. Some thirty yards of backing had gone before the fish stopped its headlong dash for freedom. For ten minutes it was give and take, but slowly I was winning the fight. Then fish number two was grabbed by Jim unhooked and released.

Then all was quiet, the fish had moved away. Ten minutes later David shouted "Big school of fish off the stern at five hundred yards". Jim opened the throttle, Grey Ghost 1 picked up speed, quickly we were within casting distance of the biggest school of feeding fish I have ever seen. Hundreds of sea birds were swimming diving and screaming as they fed in a frenzy. The water boiled, dead and dying fish were scattered everywhere. The killing zone covered two or three acres of water. The noise caused by thousands of bait fish trying to escape the razor sharp teeth of hundreds of predators was deafening, as the silversides boiled and flapped on the surface.

Blood and carnage was everywhere, You could smell death in the air, dead, dying and chunks fish, globules of blood and scales were scattered too all points of the compass on the surface of the calm water. This is no battle field scene, The result of a U-boat attack or the aftermath of a terrorist car bomb. Its the result of an ambush on a school of silversides, a bait size fish that predators feed on. The water erupts again as hundreds of swirling, diving gorging bluefish tear into the schools of bait fish. even more dead and dying bait fish litter the surface.

Everywhere I look, I can see and smell death. This scene was taking place on the surface of Lower Narraganasett Bay off Rhode Island. Jim, David and myself, quickly had a triple hook up. I suppose it was about ten minutes before the first fish was landed. Then another cast was made, another fish was hooked. I reckon we had a dozen hits or more from that school before they moved. This was fishing as good as it gets. It was certainly exciting, and we had the ocean to ourselves. I didn't see another charter boat on the water. After hooking and playing several tough hard fighting fish, it was time for a break. With the sun high in an azure blue sky, we sat enjoying some fruit and a drink As I looked across the bay, I counted seven big pods of bluefish attacking the silversides. Life couldn't get any better for David Jim and myself, it wasn’t the same for the baitfish.

For seven hours the bluefish fed in a frenzy only slowing up around high water. I wouldn't like to guess how many hook ups we had, all I can say it was some of the most exciting fishing David and I have ever enjoyed. We will be back again next year. The tackle we used were Thomas and Thomas nine and ten weight Horizon 4 piece travel rods with Scientific Anglers intermediate striper lines. You can E-mail Captain Jim White at or Tel 401 828 9465

The Gummy Minnow and Sand eel 6th october

Recently I was in Connecticut to fish for Albacore, striped bass and bluefish, as we anglers do, I visited the local tackle shop North Cove Outfitters in Old Saybrook CT. Its one of those tackle shops that has you flexing the plastic friend. As I chatted to my old friend Brian Owens he told me about some new artificial lures for use in fly rodding for bass known as Gummy minnows and sand eels. Of course its not only the bass that will eat these artificials. Everything that swims in the ocean and many of the freshwater fish will want to eat them. If your looking to catch some big difficult rainbows and brown trout these minnows could be the answer providing your local fishery will allow you to use them. I plan to try them for chub fishing this winter. Next summer I will be using them for the bass around the UK coastline, I reckon they will attract a lot of hits and produce some exciting fishing. I will keep you informed how the Gummy minnows and sand eels work in the UK.

As Brian and I chatted he told me about the first time he fished the Clouser Minnow when other anglers laughed at the idea. I remember it was sometime back in the mid-eighties in late spring, I was standing along the bank of the Housatonic River with my fishing buddy Neil. Our target fish were the small mouth bass that frequented this slow flowing section of the river. As I was digging through my fly box. I gave a quick glance over to Neil. who was looking at some strange new flies in his fly box. What are those things I said? They're called Clouser Minnows, I had never seen any flies like these before. He went on to explain that he ordered them from some guy by the name of Bob Clouser who owned a fly shop in Pennsylvania. He had just developed these and they were supposed to work great for small mouth bass. As I examined the fly, I couldn't help but notice the big red and black painted barbell shaped lead eyes on the front of the fly. These looked very different from anything we ever fished before. We fished those flies for the entire day. I do remember catching some nice fish. That event had to be close to twenty years ago. The fly has since gone on to catch over
eighty-seven different species of fish worldwide. As they say when referring
to the Clouser Minnow, THE REST IS HISTORY.I only mention this old fishing trip, because the other day I saw a new fly. And it wasn't just any old fly. It was a new pattern designed by a Virginia Guide and shop owner by the name of Blane Chocklett. Now remember, I have seen lots of magic flies in my years of fly-fishing. I have also come up with a few unique patterns myself. But this fly was different. I was getting the same gut feeling I had when I saw the Clouser Minnow for the first time.

It was made of an outrageous material called silliskin. The stuff stretches without breaking and springs back to shape. It is a thin layer of plastic with an adhesive backing. It comes in different colours and can be overlain with a pearlescent sheet to give a dramatic effect. The construction is more like fly building than tying. Multiple layers of plastic can be layered over a hook, cut to shape, and coloured to achieve the desired effect. Effects such as the small-distended belly of a baitfish can be accomplished by first wrapping the shank of the hook with lead wire and then sandwiching silliskin over it. Lay a separate piece over the dorsal area of the fly to give it a little more rigid outline and bulk. It then can be painted with waterproof marker, and a set of adhesive eyes added. Speaking of adhesive, once you have folded this stuff over the hook or onto itself, IT'S STUCK. No adjustment can be done. Blane told me that this is not the easiest material to work with, it will take a little practice to get used to. Whatever negatives this stuff has in handling, is more than made up in its ability to catch fish. It has recently been tested on Stripers and Albies from Montauk to Chesapeake Bay. Besides looking like they could swim off the table, these flies catch fish like no tomorrow. I heard of one story about an errant cast over eight feet off to the WRONG SIDE of a small pod of Albies, and the pod completely turning around to take a whack at this fly. That's fish attraction!

Back when the Clouser was developed, many people were slow to accept changes in traditional fly design. Lead eyes on a fly were simply unheard of. Similar to some of the reactions to the Clouser Minnow, I can guarantee you that there will be many fly fishers that will have negative opinions about this fly. There are fly tiers that only consider the use of natural materials acceptable in the tying of a fly. Heck, this fly doesn't even need thread to attach it to a hook!

It vaguely resembles a plastic shad body. The main difference is that it is not moulded. It is built in layers. The fly looks somewhat like a Slugo or a Finesses Fish for those of you that lead double lives and light tackle spin fish occasionally. My own personal view is, if it can be cast reasonably well on a fly rod and catches fish, IT IS A FLY! Remember Martin I'm the guy that makes eel flies out of black velvet tubing originally used to trim pillow cushions and dresses. I believe this fly should become one of the got to tie flies in everybody's fly box. It is currently being tied by Umpqua Feather Merchants under their special patterns program. I only have one last thing to say: YOU ARE LOOKING AT THE FLY OF THE FUTURE!

Chub - A Worthy Winter Quarry 5th October

The rod tip moved a fraction of an inch, I struck with a short firm lift of the rod connecting with a strong fish. Through the rod I could feel every movement as it fought for its freedom. I let the fish fight the current and the well balanced tackle. Occasionally a couple of feet of line was taken, which I quickly retrieved, I had no fear of losing this fish through a weak spot in my tackle set up. If the fish pulled free it was through a mistake on my part. Two or three minutes later I heaved a good chub over the landing net. Saying to myself "That's another five" How wrong can you be it weighed 4-12-0. Still a good fish and one I was happy with.

Its this time of the year when many of us turn our thoughts chub fishing, hopefully we will get lots of rain and mild weather conditions. Chub are a great fish of all seasons and all weather conditions. They will eat most things we anglers care to offer them. But they are a fish easily spooked. How many times have you visited a favourite chub swim, then didn’t get a fish when conditions were good? Usually the reason you didn’t catch the chub was, because you spooked them but never realised it. Chub just disappear ghost like. Not swirling or splashing as other fish do. So you didn't know they were spooked. The following is an account of a winter chub fishing trip from the past.

It was the first day of a 3 day fishing trip to the Teme and Severn, sadly I had chosen the wrong week. A high pressure zone was sitting over the country and with a cloudless sky at night the air temperature plummeting below zero. At dawn I was greeted by thick fog and frost, come midmorning the fog had gone. I was left with bright sunshine and a blue sky, in the shadows, a frost covered ground. How I hate these so called Christmas card conditions. Give me a low pressure zone with a warm south westerly wind lots of rain and a rising water temperature every time. High coloured water is far better than low gin clear water unless your a grayling fisher.

Float Or Leger?

Though I had chosen 4 swims, I didn’t introduce any free offerings until, I had fished a baited hook in each swim. With a water temperature of 40 degrees F the fish might not want to eat, no way did I want a fish to pick up a free offering, then refuse my baited hook. Remember you might only get one or two fish from a swim before you have to move. Chub can often be very spooky in low gin clear water with bright sunshine and a plummeting water temperature. Often I will move on after catching just one fish, returning later in the day.

Tackle choice was quite simple I decided on two outfits, A centre pin reel with some fifty yards of 6lb Masterline fluorocarbon Illusion line was matched to a 13 foot rod hook was a size 6 Partridge barbless. I chose a traditional Avon type float, 12 inches from the hook I bunched 4 AA shot, when fishing crust I would move the shot within six inches of the hook in these cold water conditions I wanted the bait near or dragging the bottom. My other baits would be flake and worms. My second rod was an 111/2 foot Avon action matched with a Mitchell 300 with the same 6lb fluorocarbon line as used on my centre pin, hook was a size 6 Partridge barbless hook.

My first choice swim was a small pool below a road bridge where the stream split into two. On the far bank there was a big willow tree with some of its branches trailing in the water. No doubt its roots were thrusting downwards making a sanctuary for the resident chub or chub’s. Five yards downstream to my left an alder tree at a drunken angle clinging precariously to the clay river bank. At the top end of the pool the water was pushing through very fast, after some yards, it changed direction going across the pool at about 45 degrees towards the far bank. Immediately below the change in the current flow was an area of slower water just the place for a chub I thought. I decided to leger a big bit of crust in this area, pinching on 2 LG shot some five or six inches from the hook I baited with a bit of crust some inch and a half by half an inch. With an under hand cast I dropped the bait into the small crease or seam created by the change in water direction. As I watched the rod tip, I could feel the cold south easterly wind on the back of my neck. Twenty or more minutes later the rod tip was savagely pulled round. The answering strike was missed. I rebaited casting back to the same spot. Ten minutes later the tip was very positively pulled round, I connected with a nice fish. I don't think I really needed to strike, the fish had probably hooked itself. The first fish of the session was quickly netted it probably weighed around 3lbs. Rebaiting with another bit of crust the tackle was quickly back in the swim, a minute or two later the rod tip moved perhaps half an inch then pulled round slowly. The perfect bite, one I couldn't miss. Quickly chub number 2 was netted. probably the twin of the first. In the next half an hour I had five bites and four fish one of which weighed 4lb 5 ounces. I was more than happy the way the fishing had gone. I fished on for another thirty minutes without a bite. Time to move off downstream.

The Big Oak Swim

My next swim was in the shadow of a big oak, its roots looking like half a dozen giant eels as they twisted downwards in the clear slow moving water, Ten yards upstream was a willow tree which had crashed into the river last winter. Its roots having a rather fragile looking hold on the heavy bank side clay soil. The water below the fallen willow and the big oak deepened from some two feet to perhaps ten. At the bottom of the 12 foot high bank on the other side of the river were some fallen alder trees. Using a rope tied firmly to a bank side silver birch I made my way safely to my chosen swim. Baiting with a bit of crust I cast across to the far bank trees allowing the bait to rest tight to the trailing branches. I sat holding the rod within a minute or so the line tightened on my finger as the tip pulled round. The strike connected with a good fish which didn’t want to give up the struggle, after a lot of head shaking and a couple of short runs I had the fish coming to the net. Lifting its head clear of the water I heaved the fish over the waiting net. It was mine. Swinging it ashore I parted the wet mesh where I could see a beautiful gold coloured chub with orange fins in perfect condition What a prize on a cold winters day. It weighed 4-14-0 I punched the air with delight. Despite the poor conditions I was having a good day. It was the only bite and fish in an hours fishing from this swim, time for a brew then move onto another swim.

Hot Tea and Bacon Sandwich's

Back at the car I soon had my Coleman stove going, Nothing beats a fresh brew with a bacon sandwich on a cold winters day. In next to no time the kettle was singing its song, this was quickly replaced by the frying pan. The smell of sizzling bacon in the outdoors certainly has the taste buds working over time. Even the local robin decided there might be something exciting to eat. He wasn’t disappoint as I threw him some broken fruit cake. He was quickly joined by a blackbird. All three of us sat there enjoying our food in the winter sunshine. Without all the wild and bird life of the English countryside I feel fishing wouldn't offer me the same fulfilment. During my stay I was lucky to see a group of fieldfare, a green woodpecker with its dipping flight and maniacal laugh, five times I spotted a kingfisher or kingfishers fly up and down the river. At dusk on my first day I thought I saw a skein of White-fronted geese calling to each other as they flew fly overhead, perhaps heading for the Severn Estuary. Nothing beats the call of the wild goose.

Railway Bridge Pool

After lunch I made my way back to the first swim in the fast flowing pool, It was a good choice. The first three casts accounted for three good fish one of 4lb 5 ounces. During the last hour of daylight I had several more chub including fish of 4-12-0 and 4-13-0. I fished on in the dark for half an hour without a bite. It was time for a move, I decided on the Railway Bridge pool at the bottom end of the beat. The pool is a big one by river Teme standards, the water is deep and swirling with probably half a dozen different swims to choose from. Though the river flows from left to right there are a couple of swims where the water flows in the reverse. Its an interesting bit of water where anglers have taken double figure barbel and five pound chub. I settled in and started off legering bread crust within a minute or so I had a chub around 3lbs in the net. During the next half an hour I had three good pulls and missed them all. I decided to try a different bait, my choice was double lobworm hooked through the head. After hooking the bait I then added a tiny square of rubber band to stop the worms wriggling off the hook. Within a few minutes I had my first worm caught chub a nice fish of 4-10-0 this was followed in the next half an hour by three fish around the 3lbs mark. I fished on until about 7-30pm with no more fish and decided to call an end to my session. It was time for dinner then snuggle down inside my sleeping bag.

A Cold And Frosty Dawn

The next day I was awake at 4-30 am, Having made a brew I sat listening to the second test match against India. It was cold, foggy and frosty. I snuggled deeper inside my cosy body bag. As the announcer said "Its time for the shipping forecast" I decided it was time for breakfast, then get out fishing. Porridge with lashings of brown sugar never tasted better. "Where to fish" was the question I asked myself, I quickly decided on the fifth swims down stream of the Railway Bridge pool. I was a long swim with lots of bank side trees and bushes with a steady flow over gravel. I have fished the swim on several occasions for barbel where I have taken several good chub by accident so today it was an all out assault on the chub.

I cast a big hunk of crust across and downstream, in minutes I was quickly into a chub about 3lbs. On my next cast I had a good chub on the drop it weighed 4lb 5 ounces. It was time to feed with some egg size lumps of mashed bread I also switched to float fishing. It worked four chucks four chub around 3lbs mark. I continued to feed mashed bread baiting with big bits of flake. The chub just loved all this mashed bread going down through the swim. I had lots of bites, some missed, others hooked and landed including a good barbel of around 7lbs. All though I was putting the fish back in my swim it didn’t stop others from grabbing my baited hook. It was certainly a good three to four hour session before the fish stopped taking. I decided to visit Worcester for lunch and more bread.

After lunch I returned to the first swim of the previous day it was hard going. In two hours I had three bites all missed. Time to change swims I moved downstream to deep slow moving pool at the base of an island. Legering a bit of flake on an 18 inch hook link I was quickly into a fish A chub of some 3lbs in the next hour or so I had several fish nothing over 4lbs but great fishing. The last half hour of daylight was quite hectic five good takes and four fish the best at 4-12-0. I returned to the car for a mug of hot chocolate and some biscuits, I also decided to fish until about 8 O’clock then go off for some dinner. Back at the island I made up some mashed bread and fed some three handfuls into my swim then baited with a big bit of lake. Ten minutes later I had a cracking chub which I thought was a good five. It weighed 4-15-0 certainly a super fish. Later into this final session of the day I had three other good chub of 4-14-0 4-12-0 and 4-12-0 then the swim died. I called it a day. Time for a wash shave and some dinner. Riverside taverns are often ideal for this purpose.

My third day started off in cloudy conditions but I still had a cold south easterly wind, I tried several swims during the course of the day taking a few more fish with several four pounders. All fish were caught on legered crust, in all I probably fished seven or eight different swims. Come 4-30 pm it was time to head off for home. It was a dreadful journey with some fifteen miles of backed up traffic on the M6 due to a nasty accident. There isn’t much one can do, but be patient. Why didn’t I stay at the waterside until later in the evening I though. Perhaps I would have had a five pounder. If you would like to join me on a winter chub fishing trip just E-mail me Don’t forget to cast a line ‘At The Waters Edge’ programme BBC Radio Lancashire Thursday 7-30pm Saturday’s at 6-0 am for the best in angling on the wireless. You can also get the programme on the Internet click on sport, click on fishing then click on GO


River water quality in the North West has continued its recent steady improvement, new data released today (Tuesday) by the Environment Agency reveals. The Agency’s annual survey of rivers and canals showed 91 per cent of the region’s waterways were of good or fair chemical quality in 2002, a slight drop of one per cent on 2001, but compared to just 75 per cent 10 years ago.The number of North West rivers classified as either ‘very good’ or ‘good’ was 63 per cent in 2002, just up from 61 per cent in 2001 and from 50 per cent back in 1992.

Last year, across England and Wales, the Environment Agency surveyed 7,000 sites, representing about 40,000km of rivers and canals, for their chemical and biological quality. In the North West, nearly 6,000km of waterways were tested. Among North West rivers and canals to have sustained improvements in recent years are the Calder near Whalley in Lancashire; Loo Gill near Alston in Cumbria; the River Mersey between Carrington and Woolston, near Warrington; the Manchester Ship Canal near Salford Quays; and Worsley Brook near Eccles, Greater Manchester.

Across England and Wales, the latest figures show that many of the country’s most important rivers still need more protection from damaging pollution. Nearly 20 per cent of rivers designated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) are failing to reach their full potential, leaving only 80 per cent classified as ‘good’ or ‘very good’. Many SSSIs have been affected by pollution. Phosphorus and nitrates enter rivers from land-based activities such as agriculture and via discharges from sewage treatment works, causing problems for fisheries and other river life. High phosphorus levels were found in more than half of all rivers in England and Wales, and high nitrate levels in nearly a third.

Environment Agency Chairman Sir John Harman said: “With the measures we have taken to date we are starting to meet our threshold of improvement in river quality. The question is whether we choose to pat each other on the back and say ‘well done’, or do we decide to tackle phosphates and nitrates head on, and put an end to historic pollution hot spots such as storm sewage overflows. “With new European legislation on the horizon the basis on which achievement is assessed will change, so we can’t afford to be complacent. The healthier and more attractive the environment, the more we will see knock-on benefits for leisure, recreation, tourism and the wider economy.”

The new data supports the environmental priorities for water companies set out by the Environment Agency, English Nature and the Countryside Council for Wales as part of Ofwat’s water price review for the period 2005-10. The agencies called for action to protect some of the country’s most important wetland and wildlife sites from pollution and over-use of water. Among SSSI rivers earmarked for possible improvements is the River Eden and its tributaries in Cumbria.

Tough On The Aire

Friday 3rd October I visited the river Aire downstream of Kildwick with Mike Holgate of Standish. We have never seen the river so low, in many areas the bottom was carpeted with leaves. We didn't catch or see a single chub. We fished our way downstream to Silsden casting into all the likely looking chub spots. Having reached the bottom of the beat we fished it all the way back to Kildwick. Back at the car we decided to call it a day and went home. I shall not visit the river again until we get several days of rain. My next fishing trip will be down south to fish the Wasing Estate fishery syndicate water on the river Kennet. It might be a long journey but I will probably have some better fishing than I did today on the Aire.

Martin James Fishing