Dr Paul Gar­ner re­veals his Top 10 big chub baits (and they may sur­prise you!)

Mag­gots, slugs, dead­baits and more are on the menu

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


‘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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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