It’s a very long while since I last crept up on a chav; the rivers around here simply don’t lend themselves to the intimate stalking I used to love back down south.
Here on the Welsh border the chance of a big, 6lb+ fish is good but the likelihood of winkling-out such a fish from a shallow, visible lair is pretty slim, and more’s the pity because chub have far more to offer the angler than size and a half-decent scrap: they’re a joy to observe and to deceive – if you can! It’s as though caution has been drummed into their heads since the moment of their birth and they’ve grown to adulthood positively brimming with doubt and circumspection. This is not to say that Mr Jagger will not greedily and immediately gobble a bait because he most certainly will, but anything – absolutely anything – that renders the bait’s presentation just a smidgin’ unnatural will put him right off. Freelining a crust or a slug or anything really, you’ll not catch a fish if the bait is allowed to swing out or to race downstream too quickly with an un-checked – or should I say ‘checked? – line. The line must be allowed to drift-down naturally, in loops, preferably greased and, therefore, right on the surface.
Apart from allowing the bait to wander along naturally with the current, the surface loops act as the most effective and beautiful bite-indicator, straightening slowly to begin with, then slithering sub-surface with greater speed and urgency; when all the loops are gone and the rod-tip just begins to move, a firm strike will put the most satisfying bend into your rod! Try this with a 1lb tc 10ft Avon – cane, glass or carbon – they all feel good thumping away to the tune of a battling rubber-lips.
Most of my chub captures in recent times have been during barbel-fishing sessions when it’s impossible to be fussy about what comes along; if a chub finds the bait before a barbel can – so be it. Any fish is welcome but bringing in a four and a half pounder with a 2oz lead on an 8 or 10lb line isn’t much of a thrill. The 2lb tc rod doesn’t help. Were I to slam into an 8lb chub on this gear – fine! But given the limited likelihood of this occurring I’d much prefer to deliberately chub-hunt on more intimate rivers and with the appropriate rig.
Watch the vid: how would you go about extracting one or more of these confident beasties? Tell us your tactics…
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