The quickfire chub bait mix – Dave Roberts
When time is limited you need to do maximise every available minute. Dave Roberts reveals the simple preparations that enable him to go fishing at the drop of a hat…
IMPROMPTU fishing sessions have always been the most exciting for me. Those days where you find a window of opportunity because you’ve finished work early, or the family have gone out and left you alone. You think: ‘Could I squeeze in a couple of hours?’ It can be easy to talk yourself out of it. The reasons not to cast doubt in your mind. It will take too long to load the car, I haven’t got any bait, or I’m not sure where to go. Sometimes it is easier to just not bother. Like many people I find these opportunities rare, but with a different outlook I’m rarin’ to go and have enjoyed some cracking sessions recently.
If you don’t need it, don’t take it!
The first thing to look at is your kit. I am predominantly a match angler so tend to carry a lot of kit – seatbox, holdalls full of gear, and a trolley to cart it all about. This is not going to work when you’ve got limited time. Over the winter when there wasn’t much fishing going on, I put together a rucksack of equipment to cover me for a roving river approach. A selection of terminal tackle for both float and feeder. Disgorgers, baitdroppers, scissors, hooks and split shot etc. Everything that I need, but just enough to cover me. I then sorted out a couple of rods and reels – one float and one feeder – and a landing net with a short handle so they were handy if I was in a rush.
It’s all about forsaking a few luxuries. Do you really need a large comfy seat for a couple of hours fishing? No. You don’t. I like sitting on the bank or, like today, wading in the river. There is nothing better than standing in the water while you fish, especially in late summer when the river is alive with small fry and minnows.
The goody bucket
All of the above takes up very little room in the car and most of the time it just stays in there. All I then need to consider is bait. This is often the deal breaker to the ‘shall I go or not?’ question. Whether it’s maggots, casters or worms, they require a level of care and cost. If you want to take multiple baits they also take up room. This is where my goody bucket comes to the fore. Depending on the venue and the time of year, there’s no reason why supermarket baits can’t score as well as live baits. Indeed, in many swims at this time of year putting in maggots and casters will only lead to masses of small bleak or tiny dace. Hemp is a brilliant stock bait and easy to keep. I always have either tins in storage or frozen down. These days I recycle so much bait through freezing. Frozen maggots and casters are brilliant feed, and in my experience chub and barbel really don’t care if they’ve been frozen. Any fresh bait that I have left over after a match goes straight in the freezer. The way I like to use my bait is simply putting it all in one bucket. But I do it in such a way that it becomes very versatile. Today’s bait is two tins of chopped luncheon meat, one tin of sweetcorn and two tins of hemp. The hemp juice really brings the mix together. The BaitTech hemp I use comes with plenty of juice which has a real oil slick to it. If you boil your own hemp though, you can freeze the water too. It’s such a good attractant. These ingredients are mixed to create a sloppy particle mix. The final part is to add small amounts of dry groundbait to soak up the juice and bind it together. It doesn’t have to be a special groundbait – try simple brown crumb or a half bag of something you have left over. The amount of groundbait you add is determined by how far you want to throw it and how fast you want it to sink. It’s not a case of
using it as a traditional holding groundbait, it’s more about delivering a stream of particles into the peg. Once the mix is right, I transfer it into a collapsible bowl that I can carry separately, or if I’m wading I strap it to my waders. This is the only bait container in need. The mix is there to feed, but it also contains my hookbaits. I could do the same with maggots, casters or even pellets. It’s all about what you have available at the time, and how much you want to spend.
With the water I’m looking to cover today I’ve brought my 14ft Tri-Cast Trilogy X Float rod set up with a classic 4AAA Drennan loafer float. This is a versatile float that can be fished through shallow or deeper runs. Shotting is a simple bulk of AAAs and two No.6 droppers. I’m fishing generally fast water with big hookbaits and I need a float that rides the boils, and is visible in rough water. The way the float is shotted means I can tell the depth of the swim by just moving the float up until it starts dragging under. This only takes a few casts and means I can hop into a new swim and be fishing in a matter of seconds. My reel is loaded with 4lb line should I encounter a barbel or big chub, but doesn’t negatively affect my line control too much.
Exploring for chub
For this session I had five swims in mind, but I didn’t know if they’d be right until I got there. As it turned out the river had dropped away after a recent rise, so only three were suitable. It was just a case of dropping a couple of goody balls into the swim and running the float through. Because you’re targeting areas you know, or expect fish to live, the response is usually pretty quick. I’ve had a fish out of every swim I’ve tried. Sometimes it was just a greedy dace or two taking a piece of sweetcorn, but I’ve caught some lovely chub. The only disappointment was not seeing a barbel, but on the right day with a bit more colour in the water, I’m sure we would have caught a few. A little later as the sun came out properly the fishing got tougher. The beauty of fishing like this, though, means moving and exploring is easy. I wandered a fair way downstream to an area of steadier water, where there were some overhanging willows. Using my Polaroid glasses I spotted some chub moving around. It was a bit out of range for the loafer float so a quick change to a large thick waggler enabled me to get over to the willows. I had a couple of casts with corn without a sniff, but when I put on a piece of meat, I missed a bite straight away. Next cast I caught the first of three decent chub. It’s been a lovely short afternoon session, and travelling so light has enabled me to move between swims to keep bites coming. Faced with bringing all my gear, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. I’m packed away in no time, the bait bill has been minimal and I think I’ll leave the kit in the car in case I get an hour tomorrow!
INGREDIE NT1 Two tins chopped of n meat luncheo INGREDIE NT3 Two tins of hemp
Three chub were caught from close to the overhanging trees
NT4 INGREDIE h Bait-Tec Natural Pro undbait gro INGREDIE NT2 One tin of sweetcor n