Winter is the perfect time of year to target big chub. These big blocks of silver are not only known for being greedy, they're also one species that will feed however cold the weather gets. If you need to get a fishing fix when everywhere is frozen – get down to your local river! Big chub can often live in very tiny waters, so just because you don't live next to a big river, doesn't mean there won't be any big chub. Check out local clubs and their websites and ask in your local tackle shop. You may be surprised just how big the chub are in your local river.
The tackle to target chub is simple. There's nothing complicated about the rigs, tackle or bait for catching them. I use a simple running rig with a small feeder and 2ft hooklength. That's as difficult as it gets. My rod of choice is a 12ft Korum Feeder Rod coupled with a Korum Feeder reel loaded with 6lb Feeder Line. This longer rod gives me the ability to lever fish away from snags, whether in the river, or marginal snags. I've opted to use the heavier 1.5oz tip for all of my chub fishing. This tip is better in the flow of the river.
Sliding on the reel line is a Korum Feedabead. This sliding clip allows me to quickly change the size or weight of my feeder depending what is happening with the fishing. If I need to add more weight due to increased flow, I can do it without tackling down the whole rig!
I'll stop the Feedabead with a Dura Bead which allows quick changing of my hooklength. The hooklink is 60cm of 4lb Xpert Power Mono if the river is running low, tied directly to a size 8 Xpert Specialist hook. This makes a super simple chub rig that I can use in any river conditions!
Bread makes up the base of my bait for chub. For a full day's fishing two loaves are all I need. The night before I planning on fishing, is spent preparing the bait. I'll stick one whole loaf of bread into a blender until the bread has been chopped into tiny pieces. This gives me enough liquidised bread to form the main part of my mix. Sonubaits Cheesy Garlic Crush, Sonubaits Natural Hemp and crushed boilies all add to the pulling power of the mix, creating a stinky bed of highly visible bait for the chub to find.
Before fishing in a swim i'll bait up with a couple of small handfuls of the bread mix, giving the chub time to work up the swim to my bait. I will spend some time at the start of my session walking along the stretch I intend to fish, putting some bait into a few likely spots along the way.
I've got three options for hookbaits when chub fishing. Paste, breadflake and lobworms. These three baits are loved by chub. I'll start with Breadflake, this is a highly visible bait and the chub will quickly grab a piece floating around in the flow. Rip off a 50 pence piece sized chunk from a slice, fold the edge over, slide your hook into the bread before folding it around the shank of the hook to secure it; this will help the bread stay on for longer! A lobworm can be great for chub, but may sometimes attract the attention of small perch if they are present in the swim. These big worms can often produce a bite on the most difficult of days and its always worth putting a tub into your bag.
Where to fish?
Once you've sorted your tackle and bait it's time to get fishing! Look for swims with plenty of cover to hold fish. Weir pools, deep holes and big overhanging bushes will be good spots to target. If these features are on the nearside bank you can use this to your advantage. Cast tight to the edge of the overhang or snag and hold the line tight. The feeder should swing on a tight line, being pushed under the overhang by the flow of the river. You can then place your rod on the rest, knowing that your feeder is sat nearer to where the chub feel comfortable to feed.
I'll re-cast the feeder every 20minutes. This will keep a steady stream of bait going through the swim pulling the chub further out of the snags and hopefully to your hookbait!
I'll be looking to spend a maximum of 45 minutes to one hour in each swim. If you've not had any indication of a fish being present within this time, up sticks and try another swim! If a chub is at home, you should get a bite pretty soon.