Of course, the efficacy of these much-maligned gastropods as bait is quite well-known but, somehow, I suspect relatively few fishermen actually use them. Their physical qualities don’t exactly enamour them to us humans but chub absolutely love them! I confess to fishing with them with only one method to date – free-lining – and have no idea how they might square-up as a legered or float-fished offering; presumably they’d be just as tasty regardless of their presentation, but they may not be so effective fished on the bottom or trotted-down beneath a chubber.
You see, it’s the ‘plop’ that sends the chav’s wild. Find the right kind of swim on the right kind of river and immediate takes are almost guaranteed. I suggest a 10ft Avon rod, 5-6lb line and a round bend size 8. A really big slug – preferably the ones with the go-faster stripe – will put a discernable bend in your rod and just the right weight to be cast far and accurately: 30-35 yards is quite possible with a correctly-filled spool and the right rod. Upstream, downstream, across to the far side – it matters not, so long as the bank is heavily overhung and the water has a half-decent depth.
Make sure your line is greased and allow it to settle gently on the river’s surface after casting, in loops. Watch with a quickening pulse as the line slowly drifts downstream with the flow, then feel the excitement of seeing that line straighten, submerge and tighten as your intended makes-off with your hapless, shell-less mollusc! Strike!
Yes, you’re straight through to the fish; no feeders, no bombs, no floats – just you, the line and the fish battling with ten feet of carbon or cane – preferably the latter: this really is a matter for bamboo, you know!
Fishing this way allows mobility…the chance to wander free and far; and on a pleasant day you might find yourself a mile from your car and snoozing beneath the shade of a big old horse-chestnut: think Thames. This river and those of similar character are the ideal summer chub-hunting haunts… slow, tinged and lightly-scummed…perfect.