Dr Paul Garner reveals his Top 10 big chub baits (and they may surprise you!)
Maggots, slugs, deadbaits and more are on the menu
CHUB have to be one of my favourite fish to target in autumn.
They put a satisfying bend in the rod and can be caught on all manner of baits and tactics – if any fish could be said to eat just about everything, the chub would be a strong candidate!
Picking the right approach, though, can be tricky. Often it can be a case of ‘right bait, wrong day’. With so many options available, here are some of my favourites and when to use them.
1 USE SLUGS NOW!
If you can face using them, slugs are among the best chub baits of all. Most people, me included, use them as stalking baits. Their weight and shape make them ideal for freelining in nooks and crannies on smaller rivers in summer. Less well known is that they can be just as effective when legered, and often you will find them in abundance if we have a wet autumn, making bait collection very easy indeed.
2 BUOYANT BAITS
For many years the chub angler’s go-to bait was a matchbox-sized piece of crust anchored an inch or two off the river bed with an SSG shot. Highly visible, and with a taste and texture that chub like, bread is a very effective bait, but it is the buoyancy of crust that can make all the difference.
Chub have a tendency to pick up baits quite delicately in their lips, which leads to missed bites when using bottom baits.
Add some buoyancy and you’ll miss far fewer bites. Wrapping paste around a piece of cork attached to the hair works well, and many successful chub anglers wear by pop-up boilies.
3 THIS BREAD IS MAGIC!
There are few more pleasing ways of catching chub than long-trotting with a big balsa float down a powerful river. Bread flake works really well for this, but keeping such a soft bait on the hook can pose problems. A while back I began using Sensas Magic Bread on the hook instead of a normal sliced loaf. When soaked, this produces a really dense bait that sticks to the hook well for trotting.
4 MAKE CHEESE PASTE
I use the same lump of cheese paste right through the winter, adding more cheese to it as it gets used up.
Paste seems to improve with age, as the
enzymes in this living bait slowly digest the milk proteins. I make my paste by melting grated cheese carefully in the microwave and adding breadcrumbs and some margarine. Store it in an airtight bag in the fridge.
5 SPRAY PELLETS
‘Wag and mag’ has been a great way of catching chub up in the water on many rivers, but in recent years the pellet has
all but taken over on my local Warwickshire Avon.
Now you are just as likely to see anglers spraying 6mm pellets and fishing with a banded 8mm pellet on the hook. Pellets are much less vulnerable to small fish, such as bleak and dace, than maggots, making them a better choice when small fish are plentiful.
7 FLOOD BAITS
At the other extreme, chub can still be caught when the river is bank-high and the colour of drinking chocolate, but very different baits are required. Try luncheon meat or even a chunk of steak (right) when the river is very murky, as the fish will sniff out the baits from afar.
A smelly bait also means that you don’t need to try and introduce any feed, as this will only get washed away in the flow.
8 PREBAIT WITH BOILIES
Chub are great opportunists, and on rivers with a low stock of big fish prebaiting can make them much easier to catch.
By introducing just a handful of bait into a couple of swims on a regular basis you will encourage the chub to stop and feed there.
Chub may roam over several hundred metres of river in the course of a single night, so training them to feed where you want them to can make a world of difference to your results.
9 MAKE BREAD MASH
Keep any left-over bread in the freezer ready for winter chubbing sessions. I use this stale bread to make mash, by soaking it in plenty of water and then forcing most of the water out by squeezing it in an old tea towel.
Mash can either be loosefed or introduced via a cage feeder.
10 TRY A DEADBAIT
If you want to catch a really big chub, why not try a deadbait? The great Peter Stone was one of the first to write about their effectiveness for chub, and today it stands to reason that fish should reach outsized proportions by turning to this protein-rich diet.
Each winter some seriously big chub get caught by pike anglers fishing with sprat, sardine and perhaps the best of all, lamprey.
Try wrapping paste around a piece of cork.
Cheese paste improves as it matures in your fridge. Soaking Magic Bread turns it into a great bait for trotting.
A banded 8mm pellet deters small nuisance fish. Bread mash spreads through the swim. Best chub deadbait of all has to be a lamprey. Prebait with boilies to keep chub visiting the same spot.