Chub fishing varies greatly in terms of tactics and baits, but by far the largest contrast is between summer and winter chubbing. In this blog I am going to discuss how my methods change and share with you my most recent session.
During last winter, I fished a couple of times for chub whilst there was snow on the ground, the water was icy cold and the chub were inactive. I targeted slow moving, deep water where the fish were safe from predators and could hold station in the current without too much effort.
Baits which seemed to work well were small smelly hookbaits with little or no loosefeed. Baits such as cheese paste, worms, and flavoured maggots did the trick for me. Chub and indeed most other species do not need to eat much in winter so there is no point throwing out a load of pellets or using a feeder full of filling groundbait.
The other important factor with winter chub bait is colour and visibility. When the river has a tinge of colour, a white bread flake seems to work well as the fish can find it with ease. I don’t like to use too larger hookbait though; just a 50p sized bread flake is normally adequate.
In terms of tackle and rigs for winter chub, delicacy is key. I use the finest quivertip I own (around 0.5oz) and fill my spool with 4lb mainline. The rig will always be free running as I want to avoid the fish feeling any resistance.
For a casting weight, a tiny feeder or lead is normally adequate, but obviously if the river is high you may need to use more lead. If your river is shallow or slow moving then you can often get away with just 2 or 3 shot pinched onto a tail link ledger style.
The last thing I have found that makes a massive difference in my catch rate is to always mount the bait straight onto the hook. I have watched chub pick up my hookbait but not my hook when hair rigging baits, and have decided that by having my bait actually on my hook then there is more chance of it entering the fish’s mouth and me being able to strike.
When you compare these tactics to the ones I was using last weekend, you could be forgiven for thinking I was targeting a different species! I like to feed plenty of small pellets, pints of maggots or just feeder-fulls of fishy groundbait.
I have actually witnessed chub attacking dace, minnows and roach and am convinced that in summer, other fish, crayfish and small mammals, create a reasonably large chunk of their diet. For this reason, hallibut pellets and meaty boilies work wonders for summer chub, especially the larger ones.
Summer is the only time I am happy to hair-rig baits for chub as they are so greedy!
Rigs are still super simple, but now I like to introduce more feed, either by a groundbait feeder or sometimes a lead wrapped in paste. If I am float fishing, then I will feed on every cast either maggots or mashed bread.
Summer chub can be found wherever there is cover for them. On my local river the chub will happily sit in fast shallow water, providing there are branches or snags hiding them from predators. Targeting chub in these shallow runs is not easy but a freelined bait will work better than most, especially with a big worm or breadflake on the hook.
On a recent session I fished in around 4ft of water with a groundbait feeder filled with Bait-Tech Super Method Mix, a 1ft hooklink and a Hybrid Barbel Hookbait. This dark grey coloured pellet cross boilie worked wonders for the resident barbel but did not catch as many chub as bread flake or maggots would.
I caught a couple of fish which I recognised from previous trips to the river, one which I have named Arthur Dent, a fish which Alex has caught twice and I have now caught 3 times! The way we recognise it is by its rather prominent ‘dent’ in its head which has almost recovered now.
I fished three different swims and had a barbel from each, all around 2.5lb but very welcome indeed. The barbel are another reason I fish pellets and boilies for summer chub as I will always be happy when a barbel comes along! Along with the beards, I netted around 15 chub, with almost every bite coming soon after casting.
Although I have managed to get through a lot of bait, it has been worth it as in the last two weeks I have caught as many barbel and chub as I normally catch in a whole season!
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