Chub on the sim­plest rig – Martin Bar­natt

It’s prob­a­bly the most ex­cit­ing, and eas­i­est, way of catch­ing fish. Martin Bar­natt ex­plains why you have to catch a chub off the sur­face this sum­mer

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Contents - Words & Pho­tog­ra­phy Tony Grig­or­jevs

CARE­FULLY, you drop a float­ing bait with pin­point pre­ci­sion next to a snaggy lair that screams big fish be­fore cam­ou­flag­ing your­self among the fo­liage. Min­utes later a gi­ant dark shape ghosts out from be­neath the tan­gled branches and a teas­ing vor­tex ap­pears on the sur­face. You hold your breath and your heart­beat steps up a notch when a pair of lips en­gulf your hook­bait. The strike is met with fe­ro­cious re­sis­tance as the fish re­alises its mis­take and surges off, cre­at­ing an almighty splash in the process. The pres­sure is piled on and shortly af­ter­wards your prize is safely nestled in the mesh of your net. Your hard work has paid off.

Tempt­ing fish to feed off the top is ar­guably the most ex­hil­a­rat­ing style of angling. For some rea­son, though, only carp and per­haps rudd seem to be tar­geted in this thrilling man­ner. But ask river fa­natic Martin Bar­natt about sur­face sport and he knows that there is an­other species can’t re­sist a float­ing bait. “On shal­low, clear rivers you re­ally can’t beat float­ing bread for big chub,” re­vealed Martin. “They love to feed on the sur­face and if you get your tac­tics right you can have a crack­ing day’s fish­ing.”

Prim­ing the swim

Carp an­glers tar­get­ing fish on the sur­face will spend long pe­ri­ods build­ing up the con­fi­dence of their quarry by cat­a­pult­ing pouches of bait. They won’t cast their hook­bait un­til the fish are feed­ing with gusto and com­pet­ing with each other to eat ev­ery sin­gle free of­fer­ing. It’s a com­pletely dif­fer­ent ball game when chub are the fo­cus, ex­plained Martin. “They aren’t used to see­ing large quan­ti­ties of bait float­ing past above them and they soon wise up that some­thing isn’t right. “If they see bait on the sur­face they swipe at it and can eas­ily spook at the same time. If that is a piece of loose­feed you’ve ru­ined your chance of it tak­ing your hook­bait. “Ex­ces­sive loose­feed can also drift into snaggy ar­eas that are out of reach for your rig, tak­ing the fish well be­yond where they can be caught.” Martin tears off just one piece of bread the size of a 50p coin and throws it in, stand­ing slightly up­stream of where he thinks the fish will be be­fore watch­ing it run down with the flow. “If fish are there the bread will be taken in an in­stant. If it doesn’t, I throw in one more piece of bread and if that still isn’t eaten the swim isn’t worth fish­ing.” Once Martin lo­cates a fish it is a case of hook­ing on a piece of bread and running it through the swim.

Fish­ing’s sim­plest rig

All of the best an­glers gain their re­sults by keep­ing things sim­ple, but I can con­fi­dently say that Martin’s set-up is the eas­i­est of them all to

to sit near Chub love this raft cover like Al­ways try of weed. these close to fish­ing

put to­gether. In fact, it’s dif­fi­cult to even call it a rig! “All you need to do is tie a hook to your main­line – that’s it!” stated Martin. “It is then a mat­ter of keep­ing the bail arm open to re­lease line and let the hook­bait run through the swim. “Keep your finger close to the spool, though, as you’ll need to trap the line with your finger should a fish take the hook­bait to cre­ate the re­sis­tance needed to set the hook when strik­ing.” Martin uses an 11ft feeder rod with 7lb Dren­nan Double Strength main­line to a size 6 or 8 hook. “I find that a tip rod gives you a lit­tle bit more sen­si­tiv­ity, pro­vid­ing more of an in­di­ca­tion as to how well the fish has en­gulfed the bait when you see those lips go for the bread.”

Swim se­lec­tion

No mat­ter which river you choose to try this ex­cit­ing style of angling, you can guar­an­tee that its in­hab­i­tants will all live in swims that have sim­i­lar hall­marks. “Chub love to sit close to cover so pegs that have ob­vi­ous fea­tures should be your first port of call. I’ll never walk the river first to get a feel for it with­out any tackle as there is ev­ery chance you’ll see fish. Then you have to head back to the car and by the time you ar­rive back, more of­ten than not they’ve dis­ap­peared. “It is bet­ter to go from your start­ing point and fish swims with large rafts of de­bris, over­hang­ing trees or other ar­eas of dense veg­e­ta­tion.” Once you have caught a fish from a spot it is only worth one more run through be­cause the like­li­hood is that it won’t pro­duce an­other bite. Chub wise up quickly and any re­main­ing fish will back away as a re­sult of the com­mo­tion. It is then time to move on but don’t be afraid to re­visit later as the fish will re­set­tle and there could be an­other op­por­tu­nity. Once you have en­joyed sev­eral ses­sions on a cer­tain stretch of river, you will no­tice pat­terns emerge. “Chub very rarely leave their homes and a swim that con­tained chub a few weeks ago is al­most cer­tain to still do so. Float­ing baits are highly un­der­rated when it comes to catch­ing chub but there is no more ex­cit­ing way of pick­ing them off at this time of year,” con­cluded Martin.

If chub are present they will take the hook­bait al­most in­stantly

Chub pro­vide fan­tas­tic sport on float­ing baits in the sum­mer

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