Chub are greedy fish. There are very few edible substances that haven’t been used to catch them at one time or another. From cockroaches to bullock’s pith, they’ve all had their followers.
Nowadays most chub are taken on more standard baits. Maggot, caster, bread, cheese and luncheon meat all account for good numbers of chub. However, there’s an excellent bait for chub that only really started to be widely used in the mid 1980s – stewing steak.
If you haven’t come across it before, it might seem a little outlandish at first. But in fact, it’s quite natural that a fish which takes luncheon meat with such relish can be tempted by a better class of meat.
Extra strong mince
Unlike luncheon meat, steak is not primarily a specimen hunter’s bait. It has come into its own in match fishing and was first used on the River Trent, where it became a proven winter winner.
Fish were even caught in some areas that rarely produced chub to more conventional baits. Indeed, so successful had it become that its use was banned from some matches.
Apart from its ability to take fish that have perhaps got tired of maggot, steak has another plus – it’s cheap. For a five hour session you need about two pounds of minced meat and a few ounces of stewing steak. This is a lot less expensive than the six pints of maggot you might otherwise use.
Feed and bait
Keep the meat in the fridge until you need it and take it to the river just as you bought it. At the bank, use mince as feed and the steak as hookbait.
Put the mince in a mixing bowl and add water, breaking up the lump with your fingers as you go. When the mince is soft and wet, trickle in some dry crumb or groundbait, mixing all the time. Some anglers add casters to the mix, which may get the fish feeding more quickly.
If you’ve added enough water, two hand-fuls of groundbait are enough to turn the wet mince into feed. It should be easy to squeeze the finished mix into pigeon egg sized balls with one hand. The stewing steak, which is to be your hookbait, needs to be cut up. Use a pair of scissors to produce different sized hook-baits. Caster-sized pieces are perfect for small hooks, with bits the size of a thumbnail if you prefer using bigger hooks for larger specimens.
Steak can be presented on most rigs and methods. However you choose to fish it, you’ll find it a bait well worth trying.