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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Seeking Big Fish Isn't Always Rewarding - But Its Great Fun

Its been a tough few days fishing Shalford lake one of the waters on the Wasing Syndicate fisheries complex. Its was about 6-30pm on Wednesday when Mike Osborne of Cumbria and me arrived on the fishery for a few days fishing for tench and bream. Though the weather was very warm I felt we had a good chance of success.

Working on the assumption the fish would follow the wind I decided to fish into the wind choosing a swim some thirty feet out from the bank, where I had some ten feet of water, with a clean gravel bottom. Though I new the swim was weed free I still decided to rake the area, which I then baited with corn, hemp, mini pellets, boilies and broken boilies all mixed into some ten pounds of Cotswold Bait Creations method mix. My tackle was a pair of eleven foot Avon action rods designed for lines between 4 and 7lb matched with small baitrunner reels and 6lb breaking strain line. One outfit was a bolt rig to which I hair rigged a Tock Special boily, while my other outfit was a running leger with a size 8 hook baited with 2 grains of corn. Before casting out I attached a small PVA bag of broken boilies corn and pellets on the hook.

Having got my two baits in the water, I then erected my bivvy and bed chair close to my rods so I could strike immediately should I get a take. It was then on with the Jetboiler for a fresh brew which was most welcome. During the evening and night I didn't get a single bleep. Though I probably made a dozen mugs of tea. Even the crayfish were absent. At dawn, feeling tired and bleary eyed from staying awake all night I thought about the nights events. I asked myself several questions. Had I chosen the right tackle set up?. Had I chosen the correct baits? and did I choose the right swim?. My answers to all the questions was the same. I felt everything I had done was right. I couldn't see any reason to change.

I fished on through the day, still no bites. At teatime I decided I should move swims. This was quickly done, and soon I had a good bait mix in my new swim with, two baits in position. A boily on the hair rig, with corn on the running leger. I sat back enjoying a fresh brew with a sandwich. Slowly the darkness enveloped me. Still no bleeps. To my right was a bed of reedmace, where every half an hour or so I would sprinkle some corn and hemp into the area with a few mini boilies. During the night I changed one of my rigs from corn to mini boilies then pellets and finally I tried imitation casters. Nothing worked

At dawn on the Friday I stretched my legs, then I had a look at the swim in front of the reedmace, I was surprised to see lots of tiny pin head bubbles. Winding in my rods, I quickly made up a float rod, then baiting the size 14 hook with a grain of corn I quickly had two tench averaging 5lbs. For the next half an hour I had nothing. I decided to fish a side hooked mini boily so changed over to a size 10 hook. It worked, as I soon had a fish which was quickly followed by several more tench all like peas in a pod averaging about 5lbs. By six in the morning the fish had gone. Mike did hook a good tench on a bit of crust about eight in the morning which he lost when it kited into the bankside reeds close to an overhanging willow tree.

All through the Friday and the Saturday morning until about 8 O'clock I didn't get a single bleep, no more pin head bubbles appeared. I didn't see a single fish roll on the surface. I wasn't alone non of the anglers fishing the water had a single bleep. Once again the crays were absent. As I had to be in the BBC Radio Lancashire studio for 5-0 am on Sunday morning we decided to head off home. If we had fished on for a few more hours I doubt if we would have caught.

Martin James Fishing