Could 2010/11 was the best chub river season ever?

The river season ended in spectacular fashion for the nation’s specimen hunters this week, with big chub stealing centre stage as the curtain came down on another year of running water sport.

Leading the way was Alan Stagg, who put in the hours on the River Loddon for a stunning 8lb 5oz chub.

The Basingstoke-based rod, a frontrunner in this year’s Drennan Cup competition, had spent a month prebaiting a couple of swims every other day before finally hitting the jackpot.

“I fished an evening session at a spot where I’d been trickling in some hemp, 6mm Elips pellets and dead maggots for a few weeks, but didn’t get a bite, so I moved to another area, which also proved fruitless. Ultimately I ended up back in the original area the next morning and at 8am had a proper wrap-around bite,” said Alan.

“When the fish came up in the clear water I initially thought it was a good seven. But when I unhooked and weighed it, and the needle shot past the 8lb mark, I knew that my ticket had come up and all the hard work had paid off ,” he added.

Alan tempted the fish, which smashed his old chub pb of 7lb 9oz, on two maggots fished ‘mag-aligner’ style on a size 12 Mugga hook, a 14ins soft braided hooklink and 8lb Hydro Flo mainline.

The capture comes at the end of a sensational campaign that has seen the Gardner Tackle employee bank perch to 4lb 1oz, a number of huge roach to 3lb 8oz, barbel to 15lb 8oz and rudd to 2lb 6oz.

“I thought the roach would be the highlight of the season, but this chub has now taken over as the pick of the lot. I’d known about these fish for a few years, and wanted to catch one so badly,” said Alan.

Elsewhere, George Whiley capped off his River Lea campaign by smashing his personal best with an 8lb 11oz chub – the biggest example of the species landed anywhere in the country this season.

Just a week after banking a huge barbel of 15lb 9oz, the 56-year-old returned for another short session, and adopting ‘roving tactics’ with a lump of chopped ham on the hook, latched into the enormous chub in only the third swim he tried.

“I primed six swims with free offerings and then fished them for 15 minutes each. In the third, touch legering in the margins, I felt a gentle pluck followed by a slow pull. The fish ran straight across the river, flat-rodding me and making me think that I had hooked another big barbel!” said George.

At first glimpse, the Cheshunt-based rod instantly knew the fish would comfortably beat his old chub pb of 7lb 8oz. “As she slid over the net I gave a huge sigh of relief as I gazed down at a chub of the size I had only dreamt about,” he added.

George used 10lb Power Pro braided mainline, 8lb fluorocarbon hooklink, size 4 Carbon Specimen hook and a two swan shot link leger to beat the fish.

TOP 10 CHUB OF 2010/11

8lb 11oz, George Whiley, River Lea
8lb 8oz, Steve Fenton, River Lea
8lb 8oz, Laurence Mason, River Lea
8lb 6oz, Keith Little, River Lea
8lb 5oz, Alan Stagg, River Lodden
8lb 2oz, Andy Clark, River Lea
8lb 2oz, Mick Millborrow, Hants Avon
8lb 1oz, Leighton McDonnell, Great Ouse
8lb 1oz, Adam Smith, Dorset Stour
8lb 1oz, Simon Giblin, River Lea