Living close to the river Ribble, I stopped off at Grindleton bridge; the gauge read seven feet of extra water, masses of rubbish, tree trunks and even a dead sheep were being swept seawards. I checked the water temperature, it was 46 degrees F. I decided the river Aire in the Keighley Golf club area could be a good choice with so many slacks to choose from, in times of high water one can always find some deep slacks where one has the chance of chub, bream, perch, pike and roach. My quarry would be the chub. I had set a target of 25 5lb chub this winter, so far I had caught 19, I needed another six.

After calling into KL Tackle in Keighley, chatting with Dave and Les to get the latest fishing information, I headed off to the river. It was certainly pushing through bank high with plenty of colour. I spent the day fishing several swims, switching between float and leger tackle. Float fishing with bread flake accounted for three nice chub around the 3lbs mark. Another swim downstream of a large sunken hawthorn bush screamed chub. Fishing a big bit of crust on a six inch link I quickly hooked a good fish which pushed the scales to 4-8-0. It was a lovely looking fish which might one day weigh six pounds, it had fought well.

I fished on for some twenty minutes with no more bites, then moved upstream to a very windswept swim where it was difficult to spot a bite should I get one. After ten minutes of this I moved on. The wind was increasing in strength, it even made walking upstream rather difficult I was quickly getting tired. I needed to stop for a rest and drink when I spotted a big slack, this would do. I thought it really was a good looking swim, on the inside of a bend and downstream of a sunken bush.

Baiting with crust, I cast out and sat back, peering at the rod tip in the deepening gloom. Suddenly the tip pulled over and I connected with a hard fighting fish which made good use of the powerful current. I certainly had a few anxious minutes before I was able to pull the fish over the waiting net. It was a good one, in fact it was a very long fish which measures out at 23 inches and weighed 5-4-0. It was a happy Martin who made himself a mug of hot chocolate. I sat back once more watching the rod tip being blown about in the wind.

Within ten minutes the rod tip pulled over again. No mistaking this bite! I had hooked another good fish which again made full use of the current. After a scrap that seemed to last a very long time but was probably only a few minutes, another good fish was in the net. Straight away I knew it was another five pounder, the scales said 5-5-0. I was certainly on a high! Two 'fives' in two casts from a flooded river with a gale force wind, not the best of conditions. My tackle had been quite simple; an Avon rod, centre pin reel, 6lb line, size 6 barbless hook and bread as bait. My total of 'fives' had reached 21. I was certainly on a high as I called a couple of my mates to give them the news.


Mr Martin James