I’M a sociable enough bloke, but like everyone I enjoy my own company now and again. So, what better way to spend some outdoor ‘me time’ than fishing a small river for chub?
When I go match fishing, I typically arrive at my peg loaded down like a pack mule, but today I was travelling light, carrying nothing more than a rigged-up quivertip rod, a landing net and a small shoulder bag holding all my little terminal tackle items.
It was a typical winter’s morning, with a clear blue sky and frosted grass that crunched underfoot as I made my way to test Daiwa’s new 11ft N’zon S Method Feeder rod.
Looking downstream from the footbridge, the River Nene wound its way across the surrounding fields, and even in the half light of dawn, it didn’t take me too long to spot a few areas that looked good for a bite or two.
Watercraft is all about reading the flow, with its creases, ebbs and glides, and learning how to spot fish-holding features. Undercut banks, floating rafts of vegetation, and overhanging trees are all likely to hold a chub or three.
As I trudged along I couldn’t help but remember my old man’s advice. “Stay quiet, stay low, but don’t stay too long, boy,” he would say.
The chub is an enigmatic species. Sometimes its greed overrides caution, and I have on more than one occasion caught the same fish twice in a day. That said, the majority of the time they can be incredibly wary and easily spooked.
When it comes to trying to find the perfect small-river chub rod, I’ve tried the lot over the years – expensive hand-built-models, off-the-peg big-name brands, even cut-down float rods – all the while seeking that perfect action that blends a soft, cushioned tip with a steely but forgiving mid-section that morphs into something with enough poke to halt a snag-seeking chub in its tracks.
I began to think that the perfect small-river chub rod was little more than a wishful thought but then, out of nowhere, like a genie from a lamp, up popped the rod I was using today.
Now, don’t let the name fool you, because it’s a small-river masterpiece. The pencil-slim carbon blank has a lovely through action, with not the merest hint of a flat spot, but despite its dainty demeanour it’s certainly pokey enough to turn the head of any plump chub.
Its weight casting rating is bang-on at around 50g (2oz), which means it will handle most sizes of feeders, but most importantly for me it will handle the small-bodied 20g and 30g wire cage models I use when feeding liquidised bread alongside breadflake hookbaits.
Having walked the river and fed a few areas, I figured that my best chance of a fish or two would definitely come from a spot near the far bank where a back-channel met the main flow, forming an area of flat water on the surface – it absolutely screamed ‘chub!’
It wasn’t the easiest of casts, with little room for error, but the N’zon propelled my cast straight and true, and with a satisfying ‘plop’ the feeder hit the mark. The line tightened against the stream, and the quivertip set into a perfect curve.
Not 10 minutes had passed before a familiar ‘tap, tap’ on the tip indicated there was a fish in residence. The rod whacked round as if the hookbait had been engulfed by a barbel and not the modestly-sized chub that splashed its way into the net 30 seconds later.
It’s safe to say that it wasn’t my biggest chevin, and it was followed by two more of a similar size. No doubt yet another ribbing in the Angling Times office would ensue. But you know what? I didn’t care. I’d had a lovely morning wandering along the river and was more than content with my lot.
As I strode back along the bank towards the car, the rod was so light in my hand that I barely noticed I was carrying it – yet another big plus-point of this magical little wand.
Take it from me, if you want a rod that will handle all you can throw at it on commercial fisheries, and double-up as a superb little river-roving tool for chub and silverfish in winter, this two-piece jewel from the Daiwa stable will put a spring in your step.
Price: £95, www.tackleuk.co.uk