Chub Leuciscus cephalus

Waters: Mainly rivers and weirpools, weedy channels, undercut banks; occasionally canals and, more rarely, lakes.

Baits: Bread, cheese, sweetcorn.

Hempseed, luncheonmeat, maggots, casters, minnows, crayfish, plugs, spinners.

Techniques: Float, leger, feeder- leger, free-lining, spinning.

This is a potentially big fish and although specimens of over 10 lb 14.5kg) are extremely rare a surprising number of chub in the 6 lb (2.2-2.7kg) class are caught each season, especially in rivers rich in their food-supply and with a strong current to enable powerful muscle to be built up.

A chub of this weight is a worthy opponent for any angler for it does not fall easily into taking a bait, but when it does it lights extremely hard. The fish will head for any weedbeds in the area, and if it is allowed to reach this security it will take skill and strong tackle to get it out into open water. Where it can be brought to the net.

The big, bllunt head and thick lips of the chub make it fairly easy to recognise. It has a strong, well-proportioned body with large, clearly marked scales. It is usually greenish- brown along the back, shading down to silvery flanks, at limes rather brassy, and a silvery-white belly.

Small chub may well be confused with large dace, and many a small chub has been weighed in as a specimen dace. The practised eye, however, is aware that the dorsal fin is a sure means of specific identification. ‘fhe chub’s dorsal is convex, or outwardly rounded, while that of the dace is concave. The same applies to the anal fins of both species. (’hub are omnivorous. The immature fish will take insects and crustaceans, while the large, adult chub will iced on fish, large invertebrates such as crayfish, and even frogs and newts. In summer, when there is a rise of large Hies, chub will take them from the surface in the manner of trout.

The usual livebait for chub is a minnow. This small fish can be lip-hooked or the barb may be passed through the back, or root of the dorsal fin. This bait can be trotted down with the current, or legered in the likely swims. But small livebaits are ideal for long casting. When using the minnow as a deadbait. It is lip-hooked or mounted on the hook by means of a baiting needle.

Legering for chub in a deep, steady-flowing river. The long rod is held at an angle to keep most of the line clear of the current.

Coral red anal and pelvic fins against a silvery-white belly help to distinguish the chub – a fine fighting fish.

Wasp grubs make highly attractive baits for chub of all sizes. The grubs can be float-fished singly, in twos, or -when seeking the really big. Lone fish -as a bunch on a size 10 hook.

On some waters a crayfish is a particularly deadly bait for chub. It is most effective fished on leger tackle. When using live crayfish keep the distance between the leger weight and the hook fairly short, the reason being that if its movements are not restricted the crayfish will crawl about and hide under stones or in the roots of weeds, thus pulling your bait out of sight of any hungry chub. One useful lip about using crayfish as bait: when the creature is a medium-sized one a chub usually gives plenty of warning by nudging and mouthing the bait before finally taking it.

The angler needs to move quietly and fish without creating any undue disturbance because the chub is a shy fish. Approach the water cautiously, for some large chub may be hanging just below the surface and if they see your shadow they will disappear fast!

Overhanging willows make a likely chub haunt, so look out for one on the far bank within casting distance. Use float tackle and cast upstream as far as is practicable, then work the bait down to the area where the chub are lurking. I.el the bait approach the area naturally – never cast directly into the swim, it will surely scare them off.

Whirlpools are other likely spots. Here, the leger will find chub in the weir stream and at the eddying tail of the How. Use the lightest leger weight that will hold bottom cast upstream and again work the bait down to the fish. A feeder-leger can be employed here, its contents acting to attract hungry chub to the hook bait.

Legering is a good method of fishing other river swims without the angler disclosing his presence to the fish. The free-running leger is often preferred. And because the chub has a large mouth a substantial bait is recommended – which, of course, also means a large hook. A size 8 or 6 is usually about right, and it is best if it is tied direct to the reel line.

If the swim is suitable, use a trace about 3ft (1 m t long and select the lightest leger weight that will hold bottom in the current. All chub fishing must be done so that the bait is presented as naturally as possible.

No one can be sure how a chub will lake a bait: it might just twitch the rod tip, or on the other hand it may give the rod a sudden, mighty thump. If the water is fast and streamy this last kind of bite is likely because a chub has to lake an item of food quickly as it passes on ils way downstream. In swims with a slow, or steady flow a quivertip may be used, but the bite might still turn out to be fierce and unexpected. Experience will indicate the strength of quivertip to use.

Some streamy runs and channels between weed beds are best fished by float, and trotting the stream is often most effective. The chub almost always lie in thecurrent, heads facing upstream, in midwater to intercept any item of lood which is carried towards them.

When trotting the stream the bait can be cheese, sweelcorn, breadllake, casters-almost anything edible. Whatever the hookbait, few samples should be thrown into the swim at regular, frequent intervals. The bait size will depend very much on the size of chub expected, bearing in mind that they can take a very large bait in their capacious mouths. Such is the range of possible bait sizes that hooks will be from size 8 to IS. A rule of thumb is that when trotting the stream the bait need not be so large as when legering.

It is good technique to vary the depth at which you are fishing now and again, and hold the float back for a second or two as it is being trotted down the swim. This allows the bait to waver about in the current, a tactic that often induces a chub to lake.

Another method of chub fishing is free-lining in a streamy run. Allowing the bait to be swirled round and carried downstream into eddies and under overhangs of trees and banks. Extra weight can be added to leger the bait, allowing it to be trundled along the bottom. This style works well in weir streams.