We asked bait expert Paul Garner what his best baits to go chub fishing with were and he came back with five amazing chub baits that will make sure you land your biggest ever chub on your next session.
The scorching weather of the past few weeks has had a big impact on my river fishing so far this season.
With barbel off the menu, I have spent some enjoyable evenings stalking chub on my local rivers instead. The low, clear water conditions have been perfect for this, with the dark shadows lurking under the overhanging branches of bankside trees giving away the presence of my quarry.
Location is rarely a problem with chub – you know they are never going to be far away from cover at any time of the year, and a good flow will attract them too, even if the water is only knee-deep. Persuading them to take a bait can be a different proposition, though, especially if they have been fished for, as their superb eyesight and uncanny ability to spot anything out of the ordinary can make them frustratingly difficult to catch.
With time, and a steady supply of maggots or casters, you can overcome this natural caution and often catch most of the fish in a shoal, but I prefer to roam the river, looking for fish and making just a cast or two in any likely-looking spots before moving on to pastures new.
Fishing like this, especially if you can follow the path of the bait and the reaction of the fish, can teach you a lot about the behaviour of the wily chub in your local river.
Choice of bait is important, and although I will normally only carry one or two types with me at any one time, there are five that stand out as the best for summer chubbing.
Not for the squeamish, but by far the most effective chub bait that I have ever used, slugs elicit an instant reaction from chub that has to be seen to believed.
The loud ‘plop’ of a slug hitting the water will attract any chub in the swim and within seconds those white rubbery lips will engulf a freelined bait. If you don’t get a bite on a slug then you can be pretty sure that there are no chub in the swim!
While my garden is full of slugs in the spring, hot weather can make them difficult to find, just when you need them most.
Look in any dark corners of the garden, especially first thing in the morning. Compost containers are often home to loads of slugs and are the ideal places fom which to collect them. There are several different species, and the chub love them all! Store your slugs in a cool, dark spot and they will last for several days.
When I find it impossible to collect slugs my second choice, although it can be hit-and-miss, is worms. You won’t find a worm that is too big for a chub, so go for the largest you can find, as this will add casting weight.
The bigger the worm, the more it can resist the attentions of small fish. Just as with slugs, you are likely to get a bite on the first or second cast as the chub home in on the splash. If no reaction is forthcoming it’s best to move to a new spot and try again.
Hooked once through the ‘saddle’, worms will last for several casts if they aren’t gobbled up first. Although not as dense as slugs, worms can still be lobbed a reasonable distance without any additional weight needing to be added.
I always keep a couple of tins of meat in the car. Although not the most effective chub bait, a cube of meat can save the day when other baits are hard to come by. I treat meat just as I do slugs, hooking a large cube on to a size 8 hook and freelining it into any likely-looking spot. One benefit of meat is that its light colour is very easy to follow as it slowly sinks and drifts downstream.
Often, the bait will simply disappear as a chub swallows it.
On larger rivers it can be difficult to spot chub, especially if they are holding station in mid-river. In this situation you can still freeline a bait and simply watch the line for bites, but often a different approach is more effective.
On hot, windless evenings chub will often take emerging insects off the surface and we can make use of this behaviour to catch them. The crusts of a fresh loaf make the ideal bait, pulled into chunks and allowed to drift downstream. Pay particular attention to crease lines, where chub are likely to hold station.
Follow the crusts downstream until you spot the tell-tale splashes of chub picking them off. Once the chub are feeding confidently like this the hookbait is likely to be taken straight away.
For sheer fun and excitement, few methods beat light lure fishing for chub. A splashy lure fished on or just beneath the surface will often bring a response. Try fishing really shallow swims where the broken water gives way to a steady glide. Often chub will be here feeding on minnows and other small fish.
Alternatively, try using more imitative lures – grasshoppers, crayfish and tiny fish patterns – that can be mounted on a 3g jig head and bounced across the bottom of shallow swims.
Expect the unexpected, and don’t be surprised if this tactic catches other species too.