SUPERBAITS FOR SUM­MER STALK­ING

Free­line ’em for some siz­zling river sport

Angling Times (UK) - - TIPS & TACTICS -

SOME­TIMES, it is the sim­plest things in life that give the most en­joy­ment, and I would def­i­nitely put stalk­ing chub from small rivers close to the top of my list of ‘fun fish­ing’.

Be­ing able to watch a fish take your bait is al­ways a thrill, and in the low, clear rivers of late sum­mer this is very of­ten a pos­si­bil­ity. At this time of year I also like to spend the odd even­ing on the river to learn a lit­tle about its fish stocks and hold­ing ar­eas in readi­ness for win­ter, when the water will be more coloured and the un­der­growth has died back.

MIN­I­MAL­IST AP­PROACH

Trav­el­ling light is what sum­mer chub­bing is all about. I’ll of­ten cover a lot of ground, hav­ing no more than a cou­ple of casts in ev­ery likely-look­ing hole, be­fore mov­ing on. A rod, a reel loaded with 6lb line and a few pack­ets of hooks are the bare essen­tials.

The same goes for bait selection. Over­grown rivers in high sum­mer is no place for lug­ging ki­los of bait about with you. A tin of lun­cheon meat, a few lob­worms or slugs and half a loaf of bread are plenty for a day spent stalk­ing chub.

SLUG IT OUT

If I can get hold of them, slugs are al­ways my first choice of sum­mer chub bait. ‘Old Rub­ber Lips’ de­vours these slimy crit­ters with a fe­roc­ity that has to be seen to be be­lieved. Even wily old chub that have seen ev­ery bait un­der the sun are suck­ers for a slug.

The best way to hook slugs is once through the back, and don’t be afraid to use a big hook – a size 6 or 7 wide gape is about right. Be­ing quite a heavy bait, slugs can be cast quite some dis­tance and make a big splash when they hit the water. Un­like other baits, which can scare chub away, I have found that the splash of a slug ac­tu­ally at­tracts chub and so I will al­ways aim to cast close to the big­gest fish in the shoal.

An­other big plus point with slugs is that you can col­lect them from the gar­den on damp nights for free! Store them in an old bait tub with some damp grass and as long as they are kept cool they will keep for a good few days.

Strangely enough, I find lob­worms far in­fe­rior to slugs, although they will still catch plenty of fish. If you watch the re­ac­tion of the fish care­fully they just don’t at­tack worms with the same gusto, so for me they are very much a back-up bait for when slugs are in short sup­ply.

GIVE MEAT A GO

For con­ve­nience, lun­cheon meat takes some beat­ing, and on many rivers chub will fall for this bait time and again. This is es­pe­cially true on rivers that are less-rich in nat­u­ral food where the fish are al­ways on the look­out for an easy meal. On rivers where the chub grow larger and are fished for more of­ten, meat can be

less ef­fec­tive, but it’s al­ways worth hav­ing with you.

I like to bury the hook right in­side a cube of meat, as this en­ables me to fish in weedy swims without the hook­point snag­ging con­tin­u­ously.

Meat sinks slowly, so in deeper runs it can be tricky to get the bait down to the chub. When this is the case I mould a piece of tung­sten putty around the eye of the hook to give it more weight. You don’t need to add much; a piece about the size of a pea is plenty.

BREAK OUT THE BREAD

Float­ing bread is a bit of an enigma; on some days the chub will race each other for ev­ery morsel, while on oth­ers they will ig­nore ev­ery piece that drifts over their heads. Even so, it is worth tak­ing a few slices with you, as on those mag­i­cal days when they’re up for it, the sight of those lips en­gulf­ing a match-box sized piece of crust can­not be beaten.

You get more crust on an un­sliced fresh loaf, but cheap sliced bread is more eco­nom­i­cal and can also be squeezed around the hook­shank to give you a slowsink­ing bait too.

This is all the ter­mi­nal tackle you need.

Paul with a fine chub taken while stalk­ing.

Don’t be afraid to use big baits when freel­in­ing.

Slow-sinking bread is cheap and ef­fec­tive.

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