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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Itís Been a Strange Week on the River Ribble

Once again the river Ribble is starting to look as if we have had a drought, despite the rain last week the river is again low and gin clear. A good sign for the future are the large number of smolts in the river. I ask all readers to be very careful with these delicate fish. Do not touch them, just slip out the barbless hook while the fish is in the water. I suggest you move on if you start getting a few smolts. Remember these are our future salmon stocks. Despite the low water and strong easterly wind several fly fishers have had some excellent trout fishing.

Last Wednesday we had the first Hawthorn flies hatching, despite being a land based fly, trout eat them with gusto. I suggest you have some size 12 and 14 hawthorns in your fly box for the next couple of week. Itís been quite strange on the river over the past couple of days. There has been no distinct pattern to my fishing. Often I will see a good fishing plundering emergers; when this happens I tie on a small Klinkhammer and catch the culprit. But it hasnít been like that these past few days. Sometimes I see a fish taking the odd large dark olive, and then they refuse the imitation. When this happens, I have been changing to a size 20 - 22 Black Gnat, Grey Duster or Tups Indispensable, I then get a couple of fish.. It was tough on the river today; I could only get fish by fishing a greased up Tupís but only by giving a slight movement to the fly. In the blink of an eye, a fish would eat my offering. Fish are certainly strange creatures.

The other day I was helping a guest rod, though we could see fish taking emergers, or occasionally something off the top we couldnít catch. As a last resort I put on a 12 foot tapered leader with a six pound tippet, I then tied on a Kaufmanns size 8 Stimulator. For the next five casts, we had five good takes and five very good brown trout. The fish really wanted to eat this big fly. Then it ended, we didnít get another take. A couple of fish did come up under the fly to have a look. Last Friday Malcolm Bullock fishing a deep nymph hooked and lost a salmon, while Jim Waltham author of The Sea Trout and the Fly caught a sea trout while fishing for trout. I can recommend Jimís book. Letís hope we get plenty of rain before too long and then hopefully we can get on the river at night for the sea trout. With the dramatic change in our weather I do fear for our rivers. At Stocks Reservoir On Tuesday 8th May there is an open day, you can visit the fishery, take a fly casting lesson, watch fly dressers in action and meet Simon Gawsworth, probably one of the worldís top Spey casters.

Martin James Fishing