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Bob Dellar Coarse

For The Love Of Chub

I think I’ve grown to love chub. It wasn’t an immediate infatuation, like my experience with tench and pike, more a slow-burn, a gradual awakening of admiration, prompted by Matt Hayes and ably assisted by the river Roding.

One crisp winters morning about twenty years ago, I was driving to work down the M11 when I noticed a river meandering through the farmland adjacent to the motorway. It was the Roding, glistening in the low winter sun.

I knew it was there, it makes its presence known most years when winter rain causes the river to break its banks and saturate the surrounding fields. But I’d never fished it, never given it a thought really, despite it being practically on my doorstep. But this was soon to change, thanks to Matt Hayes. 

Obviously John Wilson had the edge when it came to compulsive viewing fishing shows with ‘Go Fishing’, but Matt’s ‘Total Fishing’ came a close second in my book. One episode featured him stalking chub on a tiny river, fishing link legered breadflake amongst the numerous rafts, overhanging trees and snags; crawling along on all fours avoiding the cowpats and nettles, “jungle warfare” as he christened it. He caught a couple of pristine chub, tussling with them as they dived for the snags.

I had to have me some of that, it looked a lot of fun and it was a style of fishing I’d never attempted before. So, after securing the appropriate ticket, I found myself on the banks of the aforementioned Roding with a newly purchased ultra light quiver rod and a loaf. 

Conditions were spot-on; mild and overcast with a slight tinge to the river after recent rain. I was excited. I had a huge choice of overhanging trees, undercut banks, rafts and slacks to cast a fluffy lump of bread at. I chose a far bank raft of debris beneath a willow, slightly downstream and a relatively easy cast. Much to my deep joy, the flake had hardly settled when the tip dinked twice and then pulled round. A lively chub of about 3.5lb. What followed was a rarity, certainly as far as my angling experience is concerned anyway: a Red Letter Day. Six chub in the space of an hour, biggest nearly five pound. When that swim died I moved to another and caught another three. Then I ran out of bread and switched to lobworm, and caught another two. What a day. I’ve stalked many small rivers for chub since and have nowhere near equalled that very first session. 

I came close on the river Wye last July whilst barbel fishing. I caught eleven chub over three sessions but to be honest they became a mild annoyance as barbel was the target fish. Only one managed to fight it way through the chevin to my hookbait and I was very pleased to make its acquaintance, a good looking fish of about 6lb.

One afternoon session found me, my wife Cath and my dog Indy perched atop a precipitous bank for which the Wye is famous. They picnicked on a sunny plateau while I risked my neck trying to fish from a cliff face. Nonetheless I managed a couple of chub, one of which created a temporary but major rift in my marriage. The chub in question felt a lot like a barbel when I hooked it, and tore off downstream. Then it reverted to norm and headed for a very snaggy willow overhanging the bank. I could do nothing to stop it and before I knew it had crocheted its way around the tree’s lower branches. There was only one thing for it: I had to go in. Off came the kecks and into the Wye I waded, but I forget my landing net, the only appropriate tool for getting at the line wrapped around the tree and ultimately the fish. Wife Cath was summoned and as she lent over the cliff edge to hand me the net (in hindsight she could have just thrown it) she slipped down the bank, through a jungle of nettles and joined me for a swim. As you can imagine she wasn’t best pleased, scratched, stung and soaked as she was. I told her to tread water for a minute while I got at the fish, a really nice chub that would have warranted weighing in less trying circumstances. I eventually managed to clamber up the bank and extract the wife on the way, treating her to yet another nettle anointing for good measure. Needless to say showering was a trial for Cath for a couple of days, such was the extent of the nettle-rash. But apart from that we had a good holiday.

As a boy I fished the river Lea Navigation at Cook’s Ferry in Edmonton, usually with my fishing pal Gary. I’d bus it to Chingford Mount where he lived and we’d walk to the river via the service roads that provided access to the reservoirs and pumping stations, where the Lea departed from the Navigation into ugly concrete water channels that emitted a dystopian dreariness we couldn’t wait to leave behind. The Cook’s Ferry stretch itself wasn’t exactly a bucolic idyll either, what with the North Circular Road’s traffic thundering past and the nearby incineration plant’s colossal chimney belching out toxic fumes all day, but if you walked a half mile or so down river you’d come to a great swathe of far bank willows that we often fished opposite. We’d knock out the usual schoolboy fare of tiny perch, gudgeon and bleak, with the occasional unlucky roach, but one day we were treated to an angling masterclass, which became an epiphany to me in terms of what the river really had to offer and the skill required to harvest it. 

A middle-aged man was fishing a few swims up from us, casting a long, slim float with pin-point accuracy in what looked to be an impossibly tiny gap between the far-bank willow branches. As soon as the float settled he’d catapult maggots around his float; repeating every thirty seconds or so. Fish were falling to his tactics at an alarming rate, and they were big, silver-backed fish the likes of which we’d never seen before. We had to have a closer look so we went and stood near him; he didn’t seem to mind. “What fish are those” I said. “Chub, mate”, he replied. He didn’t talk much but showed us a chub before he slipped it into his net, and we were enthralled by its sheer size and beauty. Suddenly, our six foot Woolworths starter rods and “Black Prince” reels seemed wholly inadequate. This man fished with a long, elegant match rod and a reel with line filled to the spool’s rim. His tackle was neatly arranged around him, with a bait tray close to hand  brimming with bronze, red and white maggots all in separate boxes. Witnessing a real angler at work was a double-edged sword for me. It enlightened me to the sheer potential that fishing had to offer, but also made me painfully aware of the gaping chasm in my own skill-set.

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The River Lea at Cook’s Ferry, Edmonton, N.E London

Every winter nowadays I look forward to chubbing sessions. I’m very lucky to live near the Suffolk Stour, the upper stretches and the middle. It’s not the easiest of rivers but the rewards are there if you’re willing to make an effort. A number of times now I’ve fished the upper reaches, either legering breadflake or trotting maggots. I’ve never blanked and have caught chub to 3lb and some huge dace. On one occasion, when I was a scout leader over- seeing the fishing badge, a young scout called Patrick caught a 4.5lb chub on breadflake. None of us could believe it! Needless to say Patrick got his badge!

I fish the middle reaches of the Stour through Sudbury as much as possibly. It’s taught me a thing or two and has enabled me to witness the evolution of angling theory into angling practice. One phenomenon in particular springs to mind, namely the importance of deeper than average marginal water coupled with vegetative cover, providing sanctuary for young fish, especially in the colder months. I’ve fished, on maybe five or six occasions, a swim with all the above attributes and have reaped the rewards, particularly when targeting predators. It really is a sight to behold, at dusk, watching this swim come alive as pike, perch and chub take advantage of the burgeoning food source. On a good day, the water literally teems with fleeing fry as the preds strike. I’ve been lucky enough to catch pike to 14.5lb, perch to 2.2lb  and this lovely old chevin of 5.2lb. What a swim!

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Categories
Cameron Harris Coarse Lure River

Big Chub CANNOT Resist This Lure!

This was the last day of my two days off and I decided to pop back down to the new mark id found on my river where the sea trout was. I wasn’t expecting another trout but in the back of my mind, I was hoping violently hoping for it to happen. id armed myself with the Salmo minnow 5cm again in “minnow” pattern to match the baitfish and I was super impressed with it on the day before and again it absolutely crushed everything that came in its way.

10 mins in and on the same corner that I had pinned the sea trout the day before another gleaming bar of sliver crushed the minnow putting up a super hard scrap and diving into weeds to try and get off the hook, ill be honest it did scare me a few times! Eventually, I just about managed to get her into the net and it was a lovely soldier of an adult chub maybe 4lb in weight brilliant!

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The rest of the fishing was quiet even some of the shoals had moved on I swiftly got to the “chub corner” section of the river where I surprisingly couldn’t hook Into anything no one was home! As I continued down the river and reached the shallow and fast water my mind instantly thought of trout so I retrieved the lure quickly so it was smashing its way along the bottom and I managed to pick up another trout! I learnt from yesterday where I hooked into about 5 brown trout and lost them all was that the rod tip had to be kept low to avoid the trout coming to the surface and shaking the hook.

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I had been getting quite wound up for the rest of the day after getting into a few snags and close calls so I packed up and decided to call it a day.

unfortunately, the footage corrupted and I lost all of my video files so I cant make a youtube video but be sure to check out my channel anyway there are some good things coming soon.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgmuzhLOS9xjStBt9NcUb8A

Categories
Cameron Harris Lure River

Chub Chasing

So on this day, I took the heavier gear and some jerk baits around 10cm and smaller. I went to the clear part of the river it sits at about 2ft with deep holes of about 4ft chub central. I found a lot of shoals but being a bright day it’s difficult fishing and managed to get a lot of followers however no takes.

I stopped sight casting thinking that the fish were not gonna be in the shallows, one blind cast resulted in a fish within the first twitch of the lure. The fish was fighting like a chub but when it showed up it was a pike of maybe 3-4lb I landed it in my 30cm trout net which was a comedy show in itself. but finally got the tripod set up and a nice fish

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After spending more time with it going extra quiet I decided to move to deeper darker more weeder sections of the river I found a particular bridge I had been looking for for a while I knew it was covered in perch so I just wanted to find a couple of perch to save a blank. I ended up with one first cast which came out as a nice fish.

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If you’d like to see the video check this out!

Categories
Cameron Harris Coarse River Tackle Reviews

Using the Salmo Slider to find big chub.

Last year I received a 7cm Salmo slider for Christmas after hearing this lure was a must-have for pike I decided to pick one up in real roach colour, and to say I’m impressed is an understatement!

As I have learnt more and progressed through my fishing I have come to realise that its also an outstanding big perch and chub lure! After starting freshwater fishing last October I have been determined to master the fresh and catch everything from dace to salmon. And this chapter is on chub.

I started the day by waking up at around 6:00 and got to the river at 7:00, the lure got a lot of attention from small fish and within 10 mins a follow from a big chub and not only big but my first! she took the lure and missed the hookup. Heartbroken. Anyway, after trying to find her again it proved unsuccessful so I carried on moving to what I like to call my honey hole. Every time I come here there is some sort of fish be it chub, dace, trout, perch there’s always something to save the blank. And that I very much did, a specimen perch showed its face and took a liking to the Salmo with a spectacular fight to put a massive grin on my face!

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After this I spent the rest of the day trying to find another chub in the crystal clear urban setting, unfortunately, I spent most of the time pulling hooks out of my fingernail or net, what a pain. But I didn’t let it get me down I swiftly ripped the hook out and carried on fishing, after my repositioning proved unsuccessful I went back to where I got my follow hoping the fish had come back and was ready for another go. And there she was sat in the flow sunbathing I dropped my net and pitched a perfect cast to her face after the follow and a few twitches of the lures I felt it. BANG. Reel screaming, rod shaking adrenaline making me feel bulletproof, this was my first chub. As she neared the net I prayed she would stay hooked and everything came to plan.

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I have recently been down to the river and noticed a massive population of chub and super big ones mixed in with the average size ones, due to the slider being 21g I cannot cast it with my UL set up but I will be picking up some rattling hornets and lighter Salmo crankbaits and getting some real fun on the chub, remember to check back in then!