Here are some great tips to get the best out of your next session on the bank.
Although chub will eat just about anything, they can be very difficult to catch, and with my favourite feeder approach of maggots you really do have to be patient at times.
At this time of year, if the river is clear, time your sessions so that you can fish late in the day – you’ll often not catch until the light starts to fade.
Choosing a swim
I look for snag-free swims where I think chub are likely to be present, or better still, a short way upstream of where they are likely to be.
Overhanging trees, bends, weed beds and creases are all good holding areas for chub, but rather than cast really close to a potential snaggy area I use a constant stream of maggots from the feeder to draw them to a ‘safer’ area where I stand the best chance of landing them.
At the start of the session I like to cast an empty feeder around the water in front of me to get an idea of the depth and check that there are no hidden snags. Boils on the surface where the current has been disturbed by something underwater are a good clue that there may be a hidden snag.
Once I have chosen where I am going to cast I select a marker on the far bank to cast to. A far-bank marker ensures I cast on the same line and I use the reflections on the water to ensure I cast the same distance each time.
If I overcast I can quickly pull the feeder back to the right spot. This ensures I can cast repeatedly into a very small area. This concentrates maggots in one place, which in turn will help get fish feeding competitively.
Although I’ll stick to using maggots and hemp in the blockend feeder, I’ll often use a different bait on the hook, such as a small piece of luncheon meat or a grain of sweetcorn.
This is less likely to be taken by small fish, and allows me to keep introducing maggots to attract chub without hooking a small fish immediately after casting. Once the chub turn up, they will generally bully small fish out of the swim and then I’ll revert to maggots on the hook.
Make a bow
When casting I like to ‘feel’ the feeder down until it hits the bottom. After the feeder has settled I allow a couple of feet of line to be released from the reel. This will help create a bow in the line between rod-tip and feeder.
I’ll also use a long rodrest to hold my rod-tip high. This keeps as much line off the water as possible, which in turn reduces drag and helps make sure the feeder stays put, while also helping to show up bites really well.
Tentative bites will cause a slight movement on the quivertip, whereas stronger bites should move the feeder, giving you a little extra time to strike.
Empty the feeder
At the start of a session I make five or six quick casts, each one lasting just long enough to allow the feeder to empty – they’ll empty faster if they’re not too tightly packed into the feeder.
Normally 30 seconds will be enough, but the only sure way to tell is to check whether there are maggots still coming out as you wind in. If in doubt, leave it a little longer – the aim is to put some bait in the exact area you are going to be fishing to draw fish to the spot.
You do not want fish chasing across the river after maggots that are coming out of the feeder as you’re winding in.
After these initial casts I attach the hooklink and recast every five minutes, unless I get a bite. Often, small fish will arrive first and when this happens I start to recast more frequently to introduce more bait to feed them off. I’ll add hemp to the feeder, too, as it is less likely to be eaten by small fish, hopefully leaving something for the chub.