As temperatures rose for the last week of the season, big-fish anglers nationwide made hay while the sun shone, reporting numerous impressive chub including no fewer than six seven-pounders.
Leading the way was Cheshunt, Herts-based George Whiley, who had begun to despair of catching a couple of big fish from the River Lea to take his lifetime’s tally of 7lb-plus chub to 20.
But his final week’s fishing saw the 55-year-old forklift driver bank three ‘sixes’, a 7lb 3oz 8dr and a new personal best 7lb 8oz 8dr lump on the very last day, all of which fell to meat and paste baits, with cheesepaste tempting the biggest specimen.
“I saved up plenty of holiday in order to do a lot of fishing in the last month but the conditions only came good for the last week. Fortunately, that was all the time I needed and all the fish I caught had that lovely, fat end-of-season paunch on them,” George told AT.
The next-biggest specimen was a 7lb 7oz Great Ouse chub caught by Bletchley angler Michael Harvey from a stretch of the river above Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire.
The 49-year-old legered a hair-rigged lump of spicy cheesepaste to fool the fish, which beat his old best, caught three seasons ago, by a single ounce.
“Conditions have been very tough all season, but you’ve got to get out there if you’re to be in with a chance,” said Michael.
Another angler to have experienced late-season success on the Ouse was Geoff Collins, who tempted a 7lb 3oz specimen on his first cast with a legered meat hookbait during a short evening session.
The Rushden-based marketing manager abandoned a stillwater session to fish the river because it looked in ‘perfect nick with rising temperatures’, a decision that paid dividends in the form of his first seven-pounder.
And a series of big chub captures would never be complete without a few fish from the country’s foremost venue, with another brace of 7lb specimens reported from the Dorset Stour.
Blandford-based fishmonger Paul Williamson tempted a 7lb 2oz chevin on a hair-rigged 10mm pellet legered over a small bed of bait-dropped hamp and pellets.
The 47-year-old moved from swim to baited swim during an evening session to catch the fish, which fell 12oz short of his personal best for the species.
Elsewhere on the river Richard Kellaway-Moore landed one of 7lb 1oz, part of a five-fish catch made on hair-rigged corn with a pair of red maggots tipped on the hook.
Caught from a Blandford club water on the middle reaches of the river, Shillingstone-based Richard’s other fish weighed in from over 5lb to 6lb 10oz.