Mild weather was forecast so I hoped for a rise in the water temperature which might give me chance with a river Dove barbel. Arriving at Doveridge in the early hours of the morning, I found three other cars parked up, so I decided to head off east to Lincolnshire and fish the river Bain. This river might only average twenty to thirty feet in width and have an average depth of around two feet six inches, but it holds some good chub, roach and bream and in the area of Coningsby you will find the White Hart, a good place for cooling glass of ale.

It was a mild and cloudy morning, a thick mist lay over the fields; in fact in some places visibility was down to 400 yards. The river looked in good trim, water temperature was 40 degrees F but this was disappointing - I expected it to be at least 42-44 degrees F. Conditions were not good for roach or bream, it was going to be chub or bust as I tackled up with an Avon rod, Mitchell 300 reel, 6lb Masterline fluorocarbon Illusion line, straight though to a size 6 Partridge Jack Hilton barbless hook. I thought of previous sessions on the river, some better than others but always enjoyable and interesting. I decided the best way of fishing that day was moving from swim to swim and took several good fish between 3-12-0 and 4-14-0 on bread crust, flake, cheese and meat. I find it's most important to move on after taking a fish then going back to the spot some time later.

Towards dusk I came across a good looking piece of water, on the far bank was a big alder tree. Some of its branches were trailing in the water where lots of rubbish had collected. Fifty yards downstream was a private mill pool that holds some really big bream and chub, but it's not possible to fish this pool, more is the pity. No doubt people in the past have left rubbish which has caused the owners to stop all fishing. Can we blame them? I don't think so.

Before starting to fish I checked the W/T it was 42 degrees F. I introduced a handful of mashed bread then baited with a big chunk of crust. Two LG shot were pinched on the line six inches from the hook. With a rise in the water temperature the fish would be more willing to move for bait. Within seconds of casting out the tip pulled round. I was puzzled by this movement as I didn't think the water flow was that powerful. The tip pulled round again. I quickly realised it was bite then hooked a good fish but after a minute or so it shed the hook. That fish had wanted to eat, it had grabbed the bread on the drop!

So they were willing to chase a bait, I thought. Casting out another bait I hooked a fish within seconds, it weighed 4-10-0. In the next hour or so I had six more good chub all four pound plus fish.

As I strained my eyes in the fading light, the rod tip pulled over, the strike connected with a good fish, then after a brief struggle I netted a very good fish. It pulled the scale needle down to 5-4-0, my personal best river Bain fish and my 17th 5lb plus chub this winter. After a couple of pictures it was returned to the water, it was a happy angler who then packed up heading off to my B&B where I tucked into shepherds pie and ended the evening with a gin and tonic.

The next day I'm back on the Bain, this time near Horncastle. The first job was to clear away all the rubbish in the area where we anglers park - thankfully I carry a pair of rubber gloves and some plastic sacks in the car just for this job. I completely filled one sack and half filled another, some of the rubbish included gutted trout purchased from a Tesco store. It's no wonder we lose so much good fishing.

After a brew I checked the water temperature, it had risen overnight to 44 degrees F - this was indeed excellent news.

Tackle set up was as before but this time I chose to use a centre pin reel, again moving from swim to swim. In the first hour I had chub from three out of four spots, all over 4lbs, the best at 4-10-0.

A group of local anglers were fishing without any success. Having seen me catch they wanted to know what bait I was using, I told them bread in various forms. One lad was very interested in my way of fishing so I explained how I decided on what spots to fish and how to look for a crease etc. He ended up catching some nice fish. Another angler caught a big brown trout which was sadly confined to a keepnet, which is against the rules. If you catch an out of season brown trout return it immediately to the water; it's an offence to keep such a fish in a keepnet and you can be prosecuted by the EA.

Around 1O'clock I went off for some lunch then drove further up river to another spot where the country lane passes over a disused railway line. Again I had to clear away a load of rubbish - left this time by walkers and not anglers. I chose to fish a long straight stretch of river with no features, not even a small bush. It was a good choice. I quickly caught a beautiful roach of 1-6-0 on a lobworm. Over the next two hours I had several nice chub and another roach of about 12 ounces. Just before dusk I moved up river to a bend where I chucked a ball of mashed bread close to the far bank then cast a big bit of flake to the baited spot; nothing happened, I sat watching a motionless rod tip for some time.

As the light faded I rebaited with a chunk of crust. Casting out I sat holding the rod, willing the line to move. In the fading light my request was answered as the line tightened over my finger. The strike connected with a good fish which rolled and splashed on the surface then pulled some line from the reel as it headed off downstream. It was a give and take scrap for two or three minutes before I had the fish rolling and swirling to the net where it was engulfed. Swinging the net to the bank I realised I had another five to my credit. It looked magnificent in the folds of the net. Zeroing the scales the fish was weighed, giving a reading of 5-10-0. "Yes" I shouted to no one, "My 18th five pound plus chub this winter". After a couple of pictures I watched the fish swim off strongly. As it did so, the rain started to fall. I decided to call it a day. What a super two days fishing I had experienced

Mr Martin James