“Scaling down resulted in my biggest-ever Severn chub” – Roger Carswell

7lb 8oz specimen falls to classic baits and tactics

“Scaling down resulted in my biggest-ever Severn chub” - Roger Carswell

by Angling Times |

“This season on the River Severn I’ve found that fishing with maggots and hemp on scaled-down gear has been far more successful than the conventional pellet and boilie approach.

“I’ve been through the full repertoire of baits, trying to fool a few barbel. They’ve not been easy to catch, and I’ve found that, apart from when the river comes up, these traditional baits have produced the goods. Of course, using hemp and maggots means you’ll tempt other species, as I found on my latest outing.

“Not only did I land a couple of barbel, but also five chub, topped by one that turned out to be the star of the show – a 7lb 8oz fish. I’ve fished the Severn for 60 years and can’t recollect many, if any, chub bigger than this beauty.

“Fishing a 50g Kamasan Black Cap with an added 20g ‘dead cow’ lead, I alternated between hemp and maggot in the feeder. My target area was a clump of far-bank willows, casting every few minutes to ensure a trail of bait downstream.

I alternated between hemp and maggot in the feeder
I alternated between hemp and maggot in the feeder

“I used a metre-long hooklink and a size 10 Specialist Barbel Hook which I baited with three imitation sinking maggots. Thicker gauge hooks tend to burst maggots, so the rubber ones mean that you’re presenting a visually acceptable bait.

“The session was developing steadily, and a couple of fish had already come my way when a positive pull on the tip signalled another bite.

“A good old bend developed in the rod as the fish swirled on the surface and battled to get back under the willows. I applied more pressure and managed drive it into open water.

“The fish was heavy, and lumbering about powerfully down deep as I slowly steered it to my side of the river. When it was within netting range, I peered into the water for a glimpse as it came to the surface. I was thinking: ‘Is it a carp?’, before seeing that it was a huge chub… which, unbelievably, swam straight into the landing net! My scales confirmed what I had hoped for. It was my biggest-ever Severn chub and was fooled by three bits of coloured rubber!

“Compared to southern rivers, the Severn tends to trail behind in the big fish stakes, as it’s a hostile spate river with wide temperature fluctuations due to snowmelt from the Welsh mountains. I regard this fish as an epic capture, and, interestingly, it tops a great season for big chub on the river, although the barbel are becoming increasingly elusive.

“If your local river is suffering a similar fate, why not try my scaled-down approach? Get some hemp and maggots and enjoy the other species on offer. And if there are barbel there, you stand a great chance of catching them too.”

Roger Carswell – 7lb 8oz chub
Roger Carswell – 7lb 8oz chub
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