My fishing trips of late have been dominated by chub fishing and as the title suggests you could say that there is a touch of ocd about me currently with regard to this species, admittedly if you were to ask me what are my favourite coarse species then Leuciscus cephalus would be at the very top of my list.
As species go they are one which is full of character and have an almost rugged look about them, usually carrying various battle scars and coming in various shapes and sizes, from long fish to short fat and dumpy (yes I am talking about chub not myself) and a variety of colourations from burnished brass merging into slate grey, to almost golden ingots and whilst they can at times be a fearless fish where feeding is concerned, they can also be rather tentative and apprehensive.
Currently I have on average been fishing once a week and throughout the majority of my trips I usually stay in a swim for no longer than 20 minutes, employing link leger for all of the trips, a method which most of you know I enjoy using, especially on some debris strewn waterways where you could be limited to less swim options if you did perhaps decide to trot a float.
The weather has been rather chilly at times and I must say the current mild spell has been much appreciated, it certainly makes for a welcome change to being sat on a frosty landing mat with rod blank and eyes freezing up, however the chub worrying itself has been consistent during these mixed conditions.
|A well built chevin taken during what was to become rather cold evening (5lb)|
|A short, stout fish (4-5)|
|A nicely proportioned fish (5.1)|
|Brassy Bullet train (4.3)|
I guess you could say I'm afflicted at the moment and as the season is rapidly dwindling away I have become quite single minded towards this species, but whilst it is single minded it is born out of a real love for the species and I know some anglers might be a bit puzzled and perhaps ask themselves "conditions were spot on for barbel fishing, why go chub fishing?" and the best answer I can give is that you have to fish for what your head and heart are calling for and right now that is currently chub and more chub.
|Lean and mean|
|A frosty five pounder|
|Golden ingot taken during the only real flood conditions of this season|
|A staunch scrap, taken from the edge of a fast flowing area (4-10)|
|A wiry scrap and tango coloured flank (3.9)|
|Brass merging with silvers (4lb)|
|The dregs of daylight are nearly drained, but the brass still lingers|
During our recent mild snap a trip had to be made, as having already fished in rather inclement weather ranging from gnawing winds as well as frost and sleet filled conditions, it would be most enjoyable to feel a bit of spring like warmth. The river had fined down rather nicely and it was to turn into a most fruitful trip with fish taken on bread,worm and cheese paste, as you might expect some of the swims can be rather snag ridden and once hooked it's a case of discouraging the fish from not diving back to the sanctuary of such bolt holes, usually easier said than done.
|A battle hardened battering ram (5lb)|
The first fish of the trip (pictured above) was one full of character that gave an absolutely tenacious scrap as it proceeded to head downstream towards the many dead weed beds, naturally I was instantly buoyed by this, especially as someone whom takes each fish as they come, I could have gone home happy then and there.
Further afield I found a nice area of smooth water, in fact you might have called it the perfect area for trotting, every so often along the near margin a fish would give away its presence with the odd swirl, a switch of bait was made from bread to worm something a bit more natural, I also find at times that worm is hard to beat on a waterway that has fined down and usually results in what can be instant and aggressive bites. By now the sun was well and truly popping out from between the clouds and I was feeling decidedly toasty not to mention quite contented. Half an hour later and after receiving some rather light fingered plucks I was playing a rather long chevin that was quite intent on showing me how well it had been sprint training before then ducking back under my nearside margin.
|A rather pretty fish with wonderful colouration (4-2)|
As I moved on downstream I found a swim that had more than a hearty helping of coverage and a plethora of debris intermingled with slack areas between sunken boughs, it looked too good to pass by and soon a bait was working its way under this jungle like area. It wasn't long before a response was had, plucks converting to a more confident bite, then hell broke lose and I was being taken for a whirlwind tour of this habitants homestead, my light quiver tip rod attempting to cushion the head first run toward sunken trees. After some nerve racking moments I slipped the net under an almost perfect looking chub and probably one of the most handsome I've had this season, this fish had a beautiful black marking on its tail, almost as if it had been partially dipped in a pot of ink.
|This particular fish took me to task, a superb scrapper (5.7)|
After returning this fish I decided to stop off for a snack and some light refreshment, which was most welcome as it was a very mild afternoon, it certainly did not feel like February and there was a cornucopia of wildlife activity, with three Roe Deer in the opposite field, Green Woodpeckers drilling away avidly in the nearby trees and Kingfishers doing low level flybys, it really felt like spring had truly awoken.
A bit further along the river I found a tiny swim, I suppose you could call it that, but in reality it was more like a little opening which should have come with a caption along the lines of "hit and hold". A Little bit of bread was nipped on to the hook and allowed to roll through this area, the response was almost immediate as the rod tip thudded round, it was at this moment that I was wishing that I had been using an 8 or 9 foot rod as this would have made for a less fraught scrap in such a confined zone. After an adrenaline filled scrap a perfectly conditioned chub was sat in the net and probably wondering what had just happened, one moment a free lunch is on offer, the next it's on the bank being stared at by a cheerful, tubby angler.
|An immaculate chevin, albeit hollow (4lb)|
By the time daylight was ebbing away I decided to stop off on a couple of swims on my way back along the river, both of which produced a chevin each, one falling to bread and the other to cheese paste.
|Short and stumpy like its captor (3.12)|
|Last knockings on cheese paste (3.4)|
It was a rather eventful, fish filled trip and although I know that I may run the risk of seeming a bit overly focused on the one species especially as there is not that many weeks before the river season closes, but the fact is that I am rather enjoying this obsessive chub disorder quite a bit.