Chub on chips with Jack Pells

We all have our favourite ‘go-to’ baits and tactics when fishing – but sometimes a little change here and there can give us a new weapon in our armoury, and lead us to a real red-letter day.

When it comes to chub fishing, I was guilty of fishing the same method every time because I knew it worked for me.

It wasn’t until one day, when I thought outside the box, that I found a fun and exciting tactic that has caught me some of my biggest chub, including several six-pounders.

It all started while I was chub fishing late one night on the River Thames and got interrupted by a group of people walking home after a drunken night out. 

As they crossed the bridge I was fishing near, one of them threw a bag of chips into the river.

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While this was a disgusting act, it did get me thinking. There are a few pubs and takeaways in the area and I wondered how many takeaway leftovers find their way into the river and on to the chub’s dinner plate?

There was only one way to find out. On my next trip, instead of going to the tackle shop for my bait, I headed to the chippy.

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Sausage, chips, and curry sauce for an evening’s fishing – if I didn’t catch, then at least I was having a decent meal on the bank.

I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive at first as I threaded a chip on to my hook, and thought I’d give it just a few casts before probably having to switch to my tried and trusted breadflake or crust baits.

I never got the chance to think about it any further as a big chub smashed the tip around!

These bigger fish, which usually give you the more delicate bites, were proving savage, and I believe this is because they fed on a bait which they considered ‘safe’.

Chub have huge mouths, and for a big mouth I will use a big hook, so a size 4 or 6 is ideal for holding on to the bait as well as the fish.

I hook the chip through the end and aim to have as much of the hook shank buried in the bait as possible, leaving the hookpoint exposed. With the chip being soft it will simply fall off the hook on the strike, enabling the hook to do its job.

My chip rig is a simple one, I use a medium strength quivertip rod and fish 6lb line all the way through to the hook.

I find a link-leger to be ideal, as you can add or remove shot to ensure the bait flutters down enticingly. The link-leger is held in place by a couple of float stops.

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This way you can alter the distance between the hook and shot if you need to. I tend to use a small rubber bead between the link leger and the float stops as a shock-absorber. 

So what are the chances of this working on your local river? To be honest, pretty high, as I’ve had success fishing this method opposite people’s gardens, beside boats and along towpaths – not just near bridges.

For the record, other takeaways can produce the goods too, and I’ve also caught chub on kebab meats and pizza crusts.

Chip shop chips are my first choice, though – be sure to ask for plenty of salt and not so much vinegar, as I think thist can sometimes put them off a little.

If the option is there, a pot of curry sauce can be a deadly glug as it leaks off an irresistible scent trail. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s certainly worth a go as it can be a fun and effective alternative to baits that the fish get used to being caught on.

What’s more, you’ll never have to worry about getting rid of your leftover bait!

For more great tips from top anglers head to this year’s The Big One Show