‘Ag­i­ta­tion feed­ing’ finds chub

If you’re find­ing chub hard to catch, try this ap­proach to get them re­spond­ing… it cer­tainly worked for me!

Angling Times (UK) - - TIPS & TACTICS -

SINCE RiverFest be­gan in 2013, I’ve vis­ited new waters and make a lot of new friend­ships along the way.

One such venue is Morton, on the River Swale, a venue that I liked from the mo­ment I first walked along it with match or­gan­iser Kevin Weighell.

This was the scene of my first RiverFest qual­i­fier for 2016, and the swim I drew was one of those ‘might be okay’ af­fairs.

It cer­tainly looked invit­ing. Fast wa­ter from the right ran a good way down past two bushes on the far side. I’d been told that most of the chub from this swim over the past few sea­sons had been caught in front of the sec­ond bush, but were dif­fi­cult to get out be­cause of snags and weed!

There was a lot to con­sider in terms of gear, in­clud­ing what main­line to use. I wanted to give my­self op­tions to scale things up if big fish did prove to be a prob­lem.

I set up two 13ft Daiwa Con­nois­seur 13P rods and matched these with TDR 3012 reels loaded with a pro­to­type 0.22mm line I might be launch­ing un­der my own brand soon.

Floats were small and dumpy as the swim was only shal­low. On both rods I used my No2 (Stan­dard) Speci Wag­glers in sizes from 3AAA to 5AAA. For most of the day, 4AAA was per­fect – I only went big­ger in the last hour when a down­stream wind got up. On one rod I put a 0.16mm hook­length tied to a size 12 Dren­nan Wide Gape hook, and on the other went a size 12 Ka­masan An­i­mal Spade hook di­rect to the main­line.


When the match got un­der­way, for the first hour I fed cast­ers and hemp and a few 6mm Bait-Tech carp pel­lets via a cat­a­pult – but no bites came.

Go­ing into the sec­ond hour, I changed things slightly, go­ing from feed­ing then cast­ing to a sys­tem I call ‘ag­i­ta­tion feed­ing’.

Let me ex­plain. In­stead of fish­ing, you spend a cou­ple of min­utes feed­ing small amounts of bait in rapid fire to cre­ate a col­umn of feed that con­fuses fish that have be­come used to

see­ing one big clump of bait ei­ther be­fore you cast in or just af­ter. By feed­ing small amounts of feed as much as 10 times be­fore you cast in, the fish grow ag­i­tated and it’s of­ten the trig­ger for them to start feed­ing. It cer­tainly worked this time – in a cou­ple of min­utes I was at­tached to a very big chub a fair way down the swim.

I ap­plied as much pres­sure as I dared and slowly started to bring the fish up­stream, but was gut­ted when it ran into a snag and broke me. One nil to them. I was gut­ted!

I quickly picked up the other rod with 0.22mm straight through and went through the same feed­ing rou­tine. First run down on this rig, the float shot un­der and I was into an­other big fish. This time I piled on even more pres­sure and brought it up­stream as quickly as I could. A four-pounder was soon in the net, joind 15 min­utes later by a 5lb chub. Two-one to me!


I was start­ing to feel con­fi­dent with the heavy gear on when an­other dis­as­ter struck 30 min­utes later. I struck into what felt like it could have been a bar­bel, and the fish swam be­hind a snag on the op­po­site side and oblit­er­ated me!

I man­aged to land the next two, in­clud­ing one of 6lb, by hold­ing the rod re­ally high and putting an enor­mous amount of pres­sure on to keep the fish away from snags and weed. I was now win­ning 4-2 and had 16lb in the net.

It took a while to get the next bite, but when it came I was hor­ri­fied when the fish snagged me in weed within sec­onds of hook­ing it. I’d prob­a­bly lost as much weight as I’d landed!

With an hour to go chub num­ber five was in the net and I’d got over 20lb. I felt I needed an­other one to win the zone, as talk on the bank was that two an­glers lower down were on close to what I’d got.

With half-an-hour to go, I hooked the fish I wanted. I played it hard, got its head up well down the swim and be­gan to bring it up­stream. I was within three yards of be­ing able to net it when it dived down into weed and shed the hook. At that point I thought my chance of qual­i­fy­ing had gone.

The whis­tle went and the fi­nal score was 5-4 to me. At the scales I weighed 21-2-0. I es­ti­mated I’d lost about the same weight in the four fish that had es­caped. Thank­fully, though, my 21lb 2oz was enough to win the zone.

The match was won by Mark Turner with a su­perb 43lb, while long-time friend Paul Downes won the top sec­tion with 37-11-0.

These two ex­cel­lent an­glers will make up Team Swale with me in the two-day Novem­ber fi­nal and I fancy our chances if the river fishes well.

Five3c6hub to­warJdUs mLYy 2119lb, 2o0z1q6ual­i­fier.

My ‘Team Swale’ team-mates for the fi­nal – Paul Downes (left) and Mark Turner.

Suc­cess or fail­ure hinged on a sin­gle chub.

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