Home | News | Catch Reports | Big Chub – Missing the Eights

Big Chub – Missing the Eights


Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
On the unhooking mat I unwrapped the mesh and there before my eyes was the biggest chub I had ever seen! On the unhooking mat I unwrapped the mesh and there before my eyes was the biggest chub I had ever seen!

Bob Hornegold has been after an 8lb chub for a very long time – and he narrowly missed out again with his last capture – it was a nine!








Bob tells the story of one of the largest river chub of all time in his own words:

“I had to go down to see Daryl, the owner of Truesport Angling, who has a small engineering firm at Hertford and after he had sorted out the male ferrule on a cane rod, made me a cup of tea and we had had a long chat about specimen fishing, I headed towards the Old River Lea. However nature called and I had to stop off and use the facility at Tesco in Hertford Town.

I had a change of plan during this break and instead of the Old River Lea I aimed the car elsewhere and set up my stall for a spot of barbel fishing, as I thought it would make a nice change from the ‘slog’ of chub fishing. However, fate had a change of plan in store for me when a group of school kids with canoes decided that my barbel swim was the perfect place to practice the art of going through angler’s lines - and then laughing about it! I had a word with the young PE teacher who was supposed to have been ‘supervising’ them but to no effect so I decided to call it best and pack up.

As I had to pass the entrance of Fishers Green on the way home I thought I would just have a quick look at the state of the river (like you do) and I was surprised to see that it looked OK. Sure there was a spot of colour and although it was maybe a foot or so up from normal it was in good shape – chub were indeed on the cards...

I set up in a swim I had shared with Simon King on many occasions over the past six months, sorted out the rods and put on fresh All Season Bait Developments’ Salmon boilies with a PVA bag of chopped boilies and a lump of salmon paste pushed into the running Gripper Lead.

I'm not exactly sure but I reckon it was about 3pm when everything was sorted and I was able to sit back and enjoy my first cup of tea; I was surrounded by snow but it was really nice to be out.

The swim I was fishing had been kind to Simon and me with a series of chub captures with the whole spectrum of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8-pounders but they had certainly not come easily. I worked it out that I had done about 24 afternoon/evening sessions in all weather with about one bite in every four trips.

All of the 7lb fish had fallen to me, with a pair of different 8lb fish to Simon, which you will have previously read about here on FishingMagic. I'm not complaining about not getting an 8lb fish (although I wanted one) but I did have the chance of a monster a little while back when I hooked and lost one in early January, but then it was just not to be.

I can recall what happened that evening in perfect detail: Using two rods to enhance your chances of a bite has its disadvantages and when playing this particular fish it went under the line of my second rod, not a problem I thought as I have had this situation many times before, but this time it pulled the free line into a snag and I ended up playing a huge chub snagged via the other line.

To make matters worse I could see the fish just out of reach of the landing net cord - it was so frustrating! In the end the line parted and all I could do was watch as this huge chub sank slowly away from sight – an enduring image that has haunted me for the best part of six weeks and the reason why I have kept going back.

This time back, although the river had looked good, it was cold and getting colder by the minute. After a short while I reckoned I was wasting my time; a good mate thought the snow melt would not help and I was inclined to agree with him. Still, that last hour of daylight and into first hour of darkness had been good to me and Simon so I thought I would give it to at least 6.30pm.

Nothing happened...I was snuggled down under the umbrella out of the wind and the frost was starting to form on the surface. There was hardly a bleep on the buzzer, which meant there was not a lot of rubbish coming down the river and few crayfish about so at least that was good news. I decided not to check the baits and just trusted my knowledge of the river and decided to leave things alone until I packed up.

By 7.30pm my feet were frozen and I had had just about enough, ‘there will be another night!’ I thought to myself and I eased myself out of the chair and headed towards the path, where I was going to stamp my feet back into life.

Beeep, beeeeeeeeep... I turned around to the see the right hand rod taking on a bend and within seconds I was there pulling into a good fish. I knew straight away I was playing another very big chub - it's not just the weight you can feel,  it’s the way they kite and kick.

Pump and draw, wind down, pump and draw...slowly I gained control of the fish in the strong current - I was winning - but every time I dropped in the landing net it was swept away from the chub which, by then, was laying on the surface kicking, then spooking at the landing net and powering away again.

I knelt down, extended the landing net handle and put it behind my back to make a lever, the chub was still not done though and powered away a couple more times before it was finally in the net - job done!

I pulled it to the edge and lifted up the dead weight within the net and knew straight away it was a new PB. On the unhooking mat I unwrapped the mesh and there before my eyes was the biggest chub I had ever seen! I quickly got the Salter digitals out of the bag, wetted the weigh sling, zeroed them and it read...

I could not believe it, I put the chub into the large keepnet I have in the boot of the car for just such an occasion and rang Simon:

“Yes mate” he said, “I will be down in half an hour.”

Sitting down in the aftermath of the capture the freezing cold seemed to have disappeared, I poured myself a cuppa from the flask and thought maybe I should cast out again... ‘No, don't be silly!’ I told myself and by the time Simon had arrived all the tackle was in the car and I was ready to sort out the chub.

Simon knew the fish straight away and as I lifted it from the keepnet and onto the mat he said, “That’s the ‘Police Pit Chub’, there's a mark on its back, just below the dorsal fin.” And so there was.

 Simon took charge of the weighing, wetting the sling, zeroing the scales...


We weighed it on two different sets of scales and it registered exactly 9lb on both. I had missed out on the ‘eights’ and gone straight to a ‘nine’! I guess I’ll just have to go back and try to fill in the gap!”

By the Same Author

Rate this article


Comments (14 posted):

chav professor on 19/02/2013 08:45:23
Outstanding Bob!!!:w A proper eye watering whacker!!!!
Simon K on 19/02/2013 10:21:00
As I was saying on another thread recently, there are distinct advantages to working with another, trusted angler. This has been proven even on a stretch we both know well. Testing swims along the entire length of the fishery until the quarry is contacted, taking note of the conditions to work out the most likely movements of the species, when the best chance of feeding spells are, keeping the bait going in, in our case using the same bait..........and the results speak for themselves. Multiple 7's, multiple 8's and a 9. Plus a host of back-up fish. I'm especially chuffed for Bob as his long-term illness has curtailed his fishing over a long period of time and, by chance, this winter has seen my fishing severely restricted by illness, too, so he was able to spend more time on the bank than me, for a change. Focusing on your target, learning from blanks and having faith in your watercraft is the backbone of specimen angling and when it pays off.........it's such a great feeling! I wouldn't mind, but I damn near wrote my car off on the way to photo his first "7" a month ago. I knew I should have told him I'm only coming out to witness an "8". :o Well done again, mate. An amazing Winter's Chubbing. :)
Sean Meeghan on 19/02/2013 16:26:40
Thoroughly deserved. Well done Bob!
rubio on 19/02/2013 16:47:48
Outstanding. Gotta admire your cunning strategy to wait until they get to 9lb before you bother catchin' em
Peter Jacobs on 19/02/2013 16:54:55
What a fabulous Chub. Top Angling Bob.
jimlad on 19/02/2013 16:57:07
Incredible fish Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Graham Elliott 1 on 20/02/2013 15:13:56
Brilliant Bob. A Really massive Fish. And Very Well earned. Nice to show these young whippersnappers the way.....................(Lol) Graham
benny samways on 20/02/2013 17:08:08
Awesome. Well done. Is there any articles documenting the bolt rigging and back leading you guys do for your chubbing? Im intrigued because I cant get my head round it.
Bob Hornegold on 20/02/2013 18:37:19
Thankyou everyone. benny-- Simon King--Big Chub-Thoughts and Observations
Sean Meeghan on 21/02/2013 09:31:59
This is the article here
benny samways on 21/02/2013 12:09:44
Thanks. Well done again Bob
nomeansno on 21/02/2013 16:49:34
Fantastic result Bob! I bet you're over the moon. Dreamland.......... :)
Bob Hornegold on 22/02/2013 05:27:19
One thing I should have mentioned in the article, the Lea is FULL of Signal Crayfish. From a fishing point of view they are a complete nightmare, eating anything that comes withing range, soft baits don't stand a chance. Even Hard baits such as Boilies and Pellets have to be checked every half an hour if you are fishing areas with high populations of Crayfish. And those area's are the soft bottom parts of the rivers and lakes that have the Lea running through them. The good thing is, all species of fish like eating Crayfish and they now seem to form part of the staple diet of Chub, the main reason I believe the Chub of the Lea system have grown so big in recent years. Leading around is well known to Carp anglers as a way of feeling the lead as it drags over the bottom and is trasmitted through the line to your rod tip and fingers. It gives you an idea of the bottom type you are fishing over, be it silt, clay, or gravel and the contours of the bottom. From experience, finding areas of clean Gravel on the river bed has one distinct advantage, the Crayfish don't like it and even in predominately clay and silt parts of the river, finding small areas of gravel gives an angler a better chance of keeping his bait in the water for longer without the attension of Crayfish. This was one of the things that gave Simon and I an advantage, we would always lead around in new swims to find the Gravel spots. If we had trouble with Crayfish, often it was down to not being on the gravel outcrops, which can be quite in small, maybe a metre or so in size. If the Boilie did not land on on the Gravel it would go missing along with the hair and boilie stop in a matter of minutes, find the gravel and the boilie would still be there in hours !! Bob
Fred Bonney on 22/02/2013 05:53:56
Great fish Bob congratulations. Thanks for the information/thoughts in respect of the crayfish, that may come in handy at some time, although at present,crays are not a problem up here.

Add a comment

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Tagged as:

River Lea, Big chub, Bob Hornegold, chub fishing