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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Skeins of Pink Footed Geese were the Highlight of my Week

The past weeks has been a mixture of work and fishing, On Sunday I fished with Martin Salisbury and Brendan Ince we all caught chub, Brendan also included a brace of eels. On Monday my first job was to finish writing an article for Countryman’s Weekly, and then around 12 noon I went off to the River Ribble to check my mink traps and check on the number of fencing posts I needed to replace. The highlight of the day was watching several skeins of Pink footed geese flying overhead. At the bottom end of the fishery I discovered a huge tree trunk stuck on the Concrete Sill which I will need to remove before the season starts unless we get a big lift on the river.

Tuesday I was back on the river accompanied by Janet Stansfield and John Aston the author of A Dream of Jewelled Fishes published by Aurum After a mug of tea and checking the water temperature at 44 degrees F we arranged to meet up for lunch at 1 o’clock, Janet went off upstream to fish the ‘Farmhouse Pool’ where she caught a small trout on crust. While John went downstream to the ‘Clay Hole’, I set to work covering the stiles with chicken wire. In no time at all, it was lunch. After making tea and coffee for my two guests, I warmed up some pheasant broth which was most welcome on a cold windy day.

Lunch finished I recorded an interview with John about his book, also with Janet about her thoughts on John’s book A Dream of Jewelled Fishes, The two J’s then went off fishing while I continued working on the stiles. About 4 o’clock I finished work for the day and grabbed some tackle and bait from the back of my car. I then went off upstream to where Janet was fishing, after enquiring if she had caught and getting a negative answer, I baited with a chunk of crust. Immediately catching a nice chub which was quickly followed by a better fish. I tried my best to get Janet hooked up to a chub without success, Half an hour into the darkness we all called it a day. John back to North Yorkshire, Janet off to catch a bus to Padiham, for me it was a ten minute drive home. Again the highlight of the day was seeing skein after skein of geese flying overhead for about two hours.

Wednesday I am back on the Edisford Hall water again Janet is my guest, after setting two mink traps, I checked the water temperature which was 41 degrees that’s three down from Tuesday. After a mug of tea Janet went off upstream to try and catch a chub while I worked on getting some more stiles finished. We met up in the cabin for lunch, and I must admit it was nice getting out of the cold wind. Having finished off another stile I called it a day and set about trying to help Janet catch a chub or two. Having tried several upstream swims without success we went back to the cabin for a mug of tea. In the top swim we watched a pair of wrens hunting for food, often they were within a couple of feet of where we were sitting. After a warming mug of tea we went off downstream after fishing one swim I suggested we move upstream some ten yards where I can often conjure up a fish for my guest. Within five minutes of casting out Janet had a good pull on the rod tip, a chub was at home as I expected. Two minutes later the rod tip pulled over quite savagely sadly the fish was missed. We fished on for a short time then called it a day.

Thursday I arrived on a wind swept and rain lashed, bank high River Ribble which resembled the colour of a weak lentil soup, in fact the river was over the bank in some areas and the big tree trunk on the concrete sill had gone. Getting from the car into the cabin was a struggle; soon I had the kettle on. Looking downstream I watched a huge tree crash over the weir. I didn’t plan to fish, but to get some work done on the stiles, which I was covering with chicken wire. For the next two hours I struggle against the weather but eventually got two stiles finished. Back in the cabin I chatted on the phone with Will Carter seeking his advice on fishing this windswept and rain lashed river, he thought I was mad at contemplating such a crazy idea. He was probably right. After sweeping the cabin floor and washing the working surfaces, I made a fresh brew. As I sat looking at the windswept river I decided I would head off home. As I was washing off my boots, I thought the water temperature felt quite warm, checking the temperature I got a reading of 44 degrees three up from the previous day. I decided to fish for an hour despite the windy wet conditions. First chuck with a chunk of meat I got a 4lb plus chub in less that a minute. Five minutes later as I chatted with that well known big fish angler from Blackburn Brendan Ince I got another fish which I estimated at 5lb plus possibly 5-4-0. In about thirty minutes I had five good chub, with the river still rising and coming over the field I called it a day and headed off home. Friday with the forecast for snow I went off to town on the bus, after meeting up with some friends for coffee and picking up my magazine I arrived back home for a late lunch. The afternoon was spent in my shed building some nest boxes and repairing two of my mink traps.

Saturday Martin Salisbury and I had planned to visit the River Wye in Ross on Wye having joined the local club, but the horrid weather forecast put us off, I reckon we made the right move in staying at home. I spent the day working on my new book and planning my fishing and work schedule for the following week.

Martin James Fishing