Third time lucky for the Sow chub (chub article)

I don’t know about you, but I’m not a morning person at all. Anytime before 7.30 am and I am the personification of ‘the living dead’. Now I know that some people struggle to get up for work but have no problems when it comes to doing something they want to do. But the proof of the pudding in my case is that I am consistent, even a fishing trip is not a lure enough to make me enthusiastic about an early rise.

Hence most of my fishing sessions are evening through dark. Of course, it also happens to be a most productive time anyway. On the day of the opening session in this article, I was up very early to drive my brother to the airport, as he was flying to New York that day.

By the time afternoon came round, I was so tired I didn’t know if I could manage the planned evening session! However, a little nap did the trick and an hour or so before dark I was on the M6 heading northwards. It really does have to be something special to stop me from going fishing!

If you follow my angling journal you will know that I have had two sessions on the Staffordshire Sow so far this autumn in pursuit of chub and that on both occasions I caught bream. Well, would I catch a chub this time? I suppose the title gives it away really doesn’t it!

I changed my tactics slightly for this trip, partly because I was fishing a new stretch and also because I fancied being on the move a little more. The river was very low and one fish would kill the swim for a while. I decided to fish a very traditional bait, the lobworm. I wasn’t going to bait up at all, but rove the stretch and cast into every swim and maybe staying put for ten minutes or so before moving on.

Of course it wasn’t the ideal style of fishing when one is tired, but a fishing trip is always an adrenaline soaked experience anyway, so there was no problem really! Making my way to the first swim I had decided to fish, the sun was just disappearing over the horizon.

Now that we are well and truly into autumn, dusk is happening earlier and earlier, which of course, is a good thing. Very soon, it will be getting dark by 3.00 p.m. in the afternoon. I’ll be able to have a really good night session and still be home by midnight!

Casting out into the gentle flow of the Sow, it wasn’t long before my quiver top began to show signs of activity. A few taps, and then the pull round, and I was into a fish. Immediately I knew it was no bream but a hard fighting chub that had taken the bait.

It tried its best to use what still remained of the current in the low conditions, and the still dense waterside reeds, to evade capture, but eventually I managed to net the fish. It was a beautiful fin perfect chub that weighed in at 3-10-0. I know that the demise in river angling gives those of us who revel at the thought of fishing flowing water, the opportunity to have whole stretches of river to ourselves.

But somehow I do feel sad that there is a whole generation of anglers coming through that have never had the pleasure of fishing a wild and natural river. I know it’s each to his own and all that, but it’s the fact that some have never even ventured onto the banks of a stream or river. In fact I met an angler some time ago in his 30’s who had only fished stillwaters.

Following on from the first chub, I had a few more, but none to rival that in size. Still, every one was fin perfect and a delight to catch. I guess the adrenaline can only flow for so long though, and by 11.00 p.m. I was ready to call it a day. I had only had a few hours fishing, but you could describe it as ‘short, but sweet’.

Spurred on by my first Sow chub of the autumn, my next session again took me north into Izaak Walton country. I didn’t catch any chub on this occasion though, but did manage a small perch and a roach. Particularly when roving I travel light when pursuing chub. A Fox Royale Rover rucksack on my back, and rod, net and rod rest in one hand and chair in the other and I’m well balanced for walking miles of river bank.

Actually I would go as far as saying that style of fishing – roving small rivers for chub – is my favourite. And particularly in the winter when there is snow on the ground! As I use a rod quiver I am able to keep the rod made up. However I always tie the hook length at the water’s edge. I don’t want to risk catching the line and weakening it in any way, and after all, how long does it take to tie a couple of knots?

For a few seasons I’ve been using Drennan Team England rig line. The old saying ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’ is very applicable in this instance. Although I’ve been recommended new ranges of line that have hit the market, I’ve never felt the need to change. Confidence is a big part of angling, and I’m 100% with my current line, therefore I’m not looking to change.

On the subject of terminal tackle, when chub fishing, don’t be afraid to use big hooks. Even a two-pound fish has an incredibly large mouth that makes a size 4 hook actually look quite minute. With a piece of bread or paste wrapped around it, the fish won’t be put off in any way by the size of the metal that is being used. After all, apart from the exposed point, there won’t actually be any of the hook on display.

The hook is an item of tackle that has seen an array of varieties and types in recent years. But for as long as I can remember I’ve been using Drennan Super Specialist for chub fishing. And as with the comments on the line, I don’t see any need to change. They are strong hooks, handle the strike well and have never given me cause for concern. So barring something major, I guess I’ll be happy to see my chub fishing days on this earth out with Super Specialists!


 (Article 11, originally published September 2011. If you like then why not share? Thanks)