Fishing for Chub – Tips and Tactics
Chub fishing tactics explained – indispensable info on catching chub, including rigs, tactics, location, tackle and bait.
A real Jekyll and Hyde fish, Chub; one day they can be the shyest fish you could wish to tempt, other days they seem to jump into your landing net! Chub eat a wide variety of food and so many different baits and fishing tactics can be used to catch them. Being a greedy fish, chub are inclined to feed in cold-water conditions when many other species will not and as a result, chub are the ideal winter fishing target – providing the river isn’t in full flood of course!
Chub are very similar to barbel in the swims they choose to spend their time. It makes a lot of sense – they share the same rivers and food source after all! Bends, steady glides, creases, snags, over-hanging trees, depressions are all swims that are worth fishing for chub. But this can be a problem: we aren’t really narrowing down the search for our targets, that list of features just described entire stretches of river. However, that is not to say that every single swim on the river will contain chub, so we have to find a way of locating the fish and learning their preferred haunts.
Roving The River
To find where the chub are holding up, roving tactics are simply unbeatable. By roving, the angler can determine where the chub are, where they are likely to be in future, and what swims are worth fishing in given conditions. Aside from being highly effective, keeping mobile is a good way to keep warm on those cold days when sitting in one place results in a cold miserable angler.
Roving for chub isn’t just a simple case of fishing a swim, lugging all the kit to the next swim, and so forth. Refining our approach will pay dividends, allowing the maximum amount of swims to be explored, and the maximum amount of chub to be caught!
No Kitchen Sink Required
Get rid of all those bits of what I affectionately call ‘Justins’. You know the ones – “I’ll take it, just in case”. All you need for chub fishing, is rod, reel, net + handle, a rod rest, a small shoulder bag, a small box of bits and pieces (SSG shot, hooks, swivels, a couple of leads, beads, running-leger rings and some cork cylinders), forceps, scales and camera. Oh, and seat – mustn’t forget that there’s nothing worse than numb bum and backache in the cold! That really is it! A small unhooking mat is advisable too. Fishing for Chub is simple fishing.
Chub Bait Selection
It’s a fact that chub really do like to eat everything and anything they can. Carrying a large selection of baits when fishing goes against the roving philosophy, so try to limit yourself to two different types. Bread lends itself beautifully to mobile fishing, it’s a light bait, cheap, easily seen by the chub. Oh, and they absolutely love the stuff! Half a bucket of mashed bread and half a loaf of medium sliced white is plenty of bait for a fishing session. Another favorite of chub is a whiffy, stinky paste of any kind. Our bait armory is complete, we have two different baits, that can be used in totally different ways, depending on how the chub want it on the day.
Chub Fishing Tactics
Head to the upstream end of the stretch. The walk will warm you up, but there’s more to it than that.
5lb 6oz chub – taken on breadOnce at the upstream end, creep into position, minding footfalls and keeping watch of any shadows being cast onto the water, we don’t want to spoil our chances before we even cast in – chub can be very spooky, particularly the big fish. Introduce a golf ball sized dollop of mashed bread to the swim, slightly upstream of any features or directly onto the crease. Squeeze a piece of flake onto the hook and cast out, letting the flow take the rig to where it wants to settle – this is where the fish will be holding up. If you don’t have any bites on the quiver tip in 10 minutes recast in case the bait was snaffled by minnows or similar. If there are still no bites on the next cast, move downstream to the next likely looking spot and repeat – fishing for chub is that simple!
In Darkness Or Coloured Water
Bread tactics work great for chub when fishing clearer river conditions, or slightly tinged rivers. However, smellier baits will be more successful for chub fishing if there is a bit of extra water and some color on the river, or indeed as the light fades and into darkness.
This is where your smelly paste bait comes into play. Introduce a small pinch of paste into the swim, then cast out your hook bait and wait. Bites may be a bit longer coming than on the bread.
Mashed bread breaks down into little particles, which drift downstream. By starting at the upstream end of the stretch, all day long particles of bread will be gliding down on the current to chub downstream. So as the day draws to an end, the fish nearest the car-park will have been picking them off, gaining confidence. As the light begins to fade, the bigger chub become more confident. By now you will be near the car park, or a banker swim, where the fish will have been steadily picking off the crumbs through the day, hungry for a bigger morsel. If the bread doesn’t bring any bites from chub, switch over to a running ledger rig, paste bait and play the waiting game. This tactic can score some big specimens!
Chub Tackle & Rigs
The ideal rod for chub fishing roving style, is an avon style rod in the 1lb to 1.25lb test curve range, with a 2oz quiver tip, for spotting potentially shy bites. A through action is necessary to allow pressure to be exerted without fear of hook-pulls. Mainline of 6lb is ideal for the job, with 5lb fluoro-carbon hook lengths. Leads no heavier than 1oz need to be used in most situations, as we are concentrating mostly on near bank/mid-river features. Rigs consist of 2-foot hook lengths, with either a running lead arrangement or simple link-leger rigs with SSG shot pinched onto the line. Size 6-8 hooks are the best tools, models being recommended are Drennan Super Specialists or Owner Iseamas.
The paste is effective for chub in colored water, or in darkness because chub can smell it. Bread is effective for chub because it is highly visible. One thing bread has got though, that paste hasn’t, is buoyancy. Negate the weight of the hook and create a wafty (bait that wafts off the bottom in the current) by side hooking a piece of cork and molding paste around that