Chub can be caught on the crudest of tackle and are often taken by those of us fishing for barbel. However, those of us after a specimen may well adapt to a much stealthier and lighter approach with reel lines as light as 4lb b.s. – the problem with this approach is that barbel and chub often populate the same swims and light tackle and barbel do not mix! However, the chub is an obliging fish and will feed in the depths of winter when no self-respecting barbel would be active! Winter is a time of year when the chub fishing comes into its own and huge specimens are in peak condition.
Chub are easily spooked, try to move stealthily into your swim and stay quiet – no clomping around in heavy boots or banging in bank sticks etc…To have fun with chub use a light tippy rod not your carp or barbel rod, chub do not give a huge fight so with care can be caught on relatively light gear. Bait choice is wide and varied, they are omnivorous and can be caught on practically anything from humble bread or cheese right through to live minnows and even small spinners.
As for barbel, match the hook size with your choice of bait – chub have enormous mouths and can be caught on the most ridiculous sized baits/hooks – a huge lump of bread on a size 2 will be dwarfed in the mouth of a medium sized chub! When using maggots or small baits use a finer wire pattern size 14 or even 16.
Chub are inherently lazy and tend to like laying up just off the main flow to intercept any tasty morsels drifting by. Good spots are near overhanging bushes or snags and they often lie tight in to the banks.
Watch well known angler Matt Hayes catch chub on bread here.
Here are some more tips from top specimen hunters:
- When rivers levels are low and clear a small cage feeder packed with liquidised bread and a large piece of flake for hookbait can take some beating.
- Flavours play a major role in winter chub fishing. Cheese flavours are my favourite and a quick squirt of your chosen flavour added to your feed the evening before can work wonders. Last winter I had good success using Sonubaits Hemp N Cheesy Garlic flavour.
- Keep gear to a minimum and rove the river. In cold conditions fish will often be tightly shoaled leaving most swims devoid of fish. Keep on the move for the best results.
- When time is at a premium chub are the ideal short session fish to target. Making the extra effort to get out on the bank when a few hours become available will often lead to success.
- Chub love snags and cover over their heads. Target these areas but try not to fish too close as when you get that bite they will be in there like a flash.
- I once listened to someone who said ‘learn to be quiet when chub fishing and when you have accomplished this learn to be quieter still’ – big chub are so easy to spook.
- In winter you can get away with using lighter hooklinks as there shouldn’t be so much weed in the river. This will help you fool wary specimens, but be careful that there are no snags for the fish to get into.
- When winter float fishing for chub you need to feed little and often (ideally every trot down), otherwise the fish will drift away. You need to get the chub competing for food, once you’ve got them doing that then you could be in for a real ‘red letter’ day.
- I’m a big fan of maggot for chub. When float fishing I feed maggots into the swim every 30 seconds for about 20 minutes before casting out. You will need to judge where the chub are and sometimes this means feeding way upstream with a catapult so that the bait drifts down to the chub.
- I use Nisa inline swim feeders with very short hooklinks of about 3-4lb. It’s a very effect rig for hooking fish and with regular casts, every 10 minutes or so, at the start of the session you can get the chub really feeding well.
- Chub love clear water in a river to feed, even if it’s really cold they will still oblige. Fishing just after a flood when the river is fining down is perfect., but floodwater fishing for chub is difficult and best avoided.