The gruesome slug is often considered slimy, ugly and a real pest — but to the chub angler it is a black beauty. The reason for this is that the slug is a very effective free bait!
Anglers realized long ago that slugs were lethal for chub. Izaac Walton himself swore by the slug when fished ‘with his belly slit to show the white’.
Finding and keeping
It used to be said that slugs should only be used on rainy summer days – when some may well have dropped into the water by accident. Today anglers find that slugs can be successful at any time and in any weather conditions – if you can find them.
Slugs are found under stones and fallen trees, or on the lawn on wet nights – particularly after a dry spell.
There is no need to go slug hunting every time you wish to fish them. They can five for several days in a plastic bait container with grass cuttings – and even longer in a mixture of chopped newspaper and pulped leaf and root vegetables, such as cabbage and potatoes.
If you want to keep slugs for longer than a week or so, obtain an old aquarium and fill it with about 15cm of soil – including a few lobworms. Catch your slugs from the garden or hedgerow and put them in the aquarium – fitting a non-airtight top.
A couple of upside-down flower pots give privacy for slugs during the day. They eat vegetable and green waste and garden cuttings. Your aquarium can become quite moist – it’s important to keep water levels down or the slugs drown.
If you want to breed slugs, set up your tank no later than early October. By November – when the tank has settled -they are ready to breed. Lay newspapers on the soil and wait for the slugs to lay clusters of white eggs. When the eggs have been laid, remove the slugs – which only live a year.
Keep the tank warm and in spring you will have small slugs. They eat very small flies and soon start chewing potato peelings and greens.
The weight of the slug is ample for quite lengthy casts – you can reach overhanging bushes, rafts of debris, moored boats and other typical chub spots.
In clear water, where chub are visible – or where there are obvious chub lies – cast the slug upstream and work back towards them.
Where you can see a chub move to take the bait, chub expert Charles Landells recommends waiting- before the strike – until a movement of the chub’s gills shows it has taken the slug from its lips into its mouth.
Interestingly, chub often spit the slugs out, up the line, just as they are hooked. It’s not unknown for other chub to try for the same bait too as you reel in.