Absence makes the heart grow fonder (Chub, entry 535)

I get to fish more than the average angler, but even then it’s not a case of what I fish for, but what do I leave out. With autumn well and truly upon us now, I decided to get my chub-head on. That’s pretty much how I do my fishing – a short and focused spell after one particular species that manifests itself in a blog entry.

The middle Severn
The middle Severn

To kick the week off I decided to fish the middle Severn. Along with a number of other species, notably barbel, perch and roach, that general section of the river has really come on in terms of fish weights the last few seasons. Well that has been my own experience anyway. On this occasion though I didn’t get amongst any of the really big fish; in fact it was a slow afternoon all round.

I managed to avoid a blank though and you can see the chub in the photograph below. I didn’t get to fish the Severn much last winter for the species, due to bad road conditions, but that actually proved to be a blessing in disguise. I ended up targeting a canal closer to home and netted a few 6s which I was absolutely thrilled with.

The first chub of the week
The first chub of the week

In fact it was back to the canal where I finish this week’s blog off, but first another session on the Severn. Being a keen barbel angler I do get more than my fair share of chub along the way. Fishing for the former pretty much exclusively with a hair-rig approach, I find that the smaller fish pluck at the bait and more often there is no connection.

However the larger chub will get hooked, and I did a bit of that style on the canal last winter with great success. So although I may have picked up a ‘rogue’ barbel as the water wasn’t anywhere near cold enough to deter them, that was my chosen tactic on the Severn.

Another middle Severn chub
Another middle Severn chub

The bait was 2x 12mm M2 boilies, which if you read my Angling Journal regularly, you will know is one of my favourite barbel baits. Therefore swim selection was the key – avoid the barbel hot-spots for starters. There aren’t many anglers who fish the middle Severn with the clear intention of avoiding barbel, and that’s a fact.

I enjoyed my river chub fishing but I was really keen to get back to the canal. Although it has only been months since I last fished it for the species, with so much piscatorial water passing under the bridge, it seemed like an eternity and I was raring to go. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that!

No chub but plenty of bream
No chub but plenty of bream

Last time round, my successful approach to the canal chub was a leger set-up, with a light free-running lead. I went for the same this time. My first couple of sessions were on the same day, one at first-light and the other into dark. I fished bread on the hook – a decent chunk on a size 4 hook. The opening visit saw me get a couple of hours in before the first boat came through.

However, no chub put in an appearance. I did get a few bream though and a roach. Decent enough for the canal, as you’d expect any fish to be that could take a hook of that size. The problem I had though was that small fish whittled the bait away. It was never in the water long enough; I was re-casting every couple of minutes.

The successful canal rig
The successful canal rig

The same thing happened on the evening session, which also covered a couple of hours. The problem was that the water temperature was 17.3C meaning the small fish were really active. Back to the drawing board for the final outing of the week, I switched to a hard bait – SBS Barbel Stix. You can see the rig in the photograph above.

The line is 6lb, with Maxima on the reel and Drennan Team England for the hook-length. The hook is a size 6 Drennan boilie and the system over the swivel is a Greys top and tail rubber. The flavour of the Barbel Stix is undercover and it was dipped. I put out some groundbait and a few pieces of bait, cast out and gently tightened.

The first canal chub
The first canal chub

The small fish were extremely active but the hard bait solved the problem from the previous sessions. I was fishing next to a bridge, as you can see from the photograph above, and while it was still light, my quiver tip pulled round with such a violent jerk that if you were barbel fishing you’d be certain that’s what you had connected with. But no, it was a chub, and I was really pleased as my change in tactics had worked.

The final fish of the week
The final fish of the week

I continued to get the small taps off other fish, but I could leave my rod alone in the knowledge the bait was intact. I only had to touch it when I had a chub on, as I did towards the end of my short-but-sweet visit. I have really enjoyed my chevin-chasing this week and there will be more to come over the winter. Finally, if you’re on Facebook why not ‘like’ my page and keep up-to-date with my angling? Here’s the link: CLICK HERE (Published October 12 2013)

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