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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


Choose a Well Shotted Float to Boss the Stream

Choose a Well Shotted Float to Boss the Stream

Itís most important when float fishing on rivers with some flow, to choose a float that takes some weight, the minimum I use would be 6AA. Often itís a float taking 10 AA. I bunch most of my shot 12 - 18 inches from the hook with a BB 6 inches from the hook, though this might change at various times during the day. When mending the line, you donít want to be moving the float; you need something that takes some weight so you can boss the stream.

Once I have chosen my swim I will introduce a golf ball size of finely mashed bread and bran sprayed with Pallatrax cheese spay, repeating the process every fifteen minutes for the first hour, but I want attempt to fish for perhaps fifty minutes to an hour. But every three or four minutes I will introduce a piece of cheese flavoured hook size bit of bread flake or flattened pieces of cheese paste.

Having plumbed the depth and make sure you use a heavy plummet why not plaster the base of your plummet with Vaseline; this will let you know if youíre fishing over pea size gravel which is so attractive to fish, especially roach. I start off by fishing the bait a few inches off the bottom, if nothing happens after a few trots down the swim, I will try fishing the bait a bit higher up in the water. Should nothing still show, and I feel I have fish in the swim I will set the float so the bait trips along the bottom. At the same time I will drop a chicken egg size lump of finely mashed bread and bran every fifth cast at the head of the swim. Should I be fishing a river that is carrying extra water with colour I will try fishing whole lobworm on a size 6 hook, its accounted for a lot of big roach over the years.

Stret-pegging or Laying-on

Should I only catch the odd fish when trotting, I will switch to another searching method known as Stret-pegging, not to be confused with Laying-on. I have used the method with great success, since the late 1940ís when I was first taught and explained the method by my Grandfather. In those days we used 15 foot bamboo rods; today I use a light carbon 15 foot rod from TFG. For the best success I reckon a 15 -17 foot rod with a centre pin reel a great combination, one that will often be your best chance of success. I start off by plumbing the depth, then set the float about three or four feet over depth, the shot either BB or AA being bunched between 12 and 18inches from the hook, unless I am using crust then its just inches depending on the water temperature. Having cast out across the river and downstream, I hold back the float on a tight line the float will then settle at an angle. After between five and fifteen minutes with no sign of a bite, I lift the rod allowing the float to move a few feet downstream before once again tightening down to the float. I repeat the process until I have hooked a fish or the tackle is well downstream that I need to repeat the process. Bites can often be quite savage, on other occasions the float will just drop flat.

Laying-on, all you need to do is move the float up the line so the bunched shot are resting on the bottom. Holding the rod and using a rest I tighten down to the float causing it to lie at an angle. A bite is usually signalled by a sharp dip of the float or the float moving across the flow and slowly submerging. Both these two styles of angling are a good way of fishing at dusk and into the darkness when I illuminate the float with a torch beam. Why not give it a try.

London Anglers Association- Britford Fishery

A great roach fishing venue on the Hampshire Avon close to Salisbury is the Britford water controlled by the London Anglers Association, day permits cost just £10-00, a season permit only £42-00 excellent value for money, the river keeper is Stuart Wilson a very knowledgeable guy. You want find a better river keeper. The LAA in 1965 had the foresight to purchase the fishery for I believe £65,000-00 which included a house. It probably cost £1-00 for each member of the association in those days. Today I suppose that fishery would fetch millions.

Chairman Dick Hodges follows in the footsteps of a long list of Chairman that have guided the association over many years and long may they prosper. Looking through rose tinted glasses, I suppose the great days were those after the Second World War when up until the end of the 1960ís many of the affiliated clubs would run coach trips to the various LAA venues. We learnt so much in those days which has helped us catch more and bigger fish these days.

Pike, perch, chub, dace, roach, barbel, trout and grayling are spread throughout this delightful fishery at Britford which comprises some carriers, the old river and the new, the latter built to alleviate flooding in Salisbury. Roach are what most anglers seek these days and you have a chance of a 3lb fish, they are caught each season. Of course they donít get taken often.

Chub to five pounds plus, with a good head of fish averaging 3lbs.
Perch fishing can often be exciting either free lining with lobworms legering or trotting the stream. Remember perch hate resistance. but I reckon there is a chance of a 4lb fish for someone who is prepared to target this species for a season. Pike are abundant, as are dace. You might just catch that thirty pound pike you dream of

Martin James Fishing