This winter I have taken quality chub from the rivers Severn, Teme, Wye, Ribble and Aire. Non of these waters could be called exclusive fishing. All the waters I have fished can be done so through purchasing a day or syndicate ticket or club card. One of the best value season tickets must be the Prince Albert AS club card costing less than 70 pounds sterling. This includes some excellent sea trout, grayling and salmon fishing. Enquiries for membership to Mr C Swindells 37 Sherwood Road Macclesfield SK11 7RR Please make sure you send a stamped addressed envelope.
Another club card which will offer excellent value for money is the Bradford City AA with many miles of good chub waters. They also have some excellent river brown trout fishing. For further details write to General Secretary Mr M Briggs, 4 Brown Hill Close, Birkenshaw BD11 2AS.
Keightley AC also have some small river chub fishing, in fact some of the best available in the country where you have an excellent chance of a big chub of five pounds plus. Day tickets available from K.L.Tackle Keightley, price just 2 pounds sterling or you can purchase a season ticket for just 20 pounds sterling.
Another great club card is the Preston Centre card. It's just the ticket for you anglers who want to fish the river Ribble. Cost for a year is just 10 pounds sterling, available from several tackle shops including Carters Tackle, Church Street Preston, Lancs. The river Ribble is a big spate river which has produced 7lb plus chub which have been fully authenticated, in fact one fish of 7-2-0 was caught in a club match and weighed on the club scales. If that doesn't satisfy the doubters nothing will.
My way of chub fishing is moving from swim to swim, sometimes only fishing a bait in some spots for a minute. Yes that's right. A minute. In fact, some of my chub fishing spots will produce a chub within sixty seconds, if they don't I move on, as I know from my many years of experience that I will not get a bite how ever long I stay fishing. When I have a guest on the water, I will say "Cast there, give it five minutes" (Perhaps ten minutes or just a minute) "But trust me when I say it's time to move". I know my chub fishing rivers.
There are times when I might spend half an hour or more in a chosen spot, especially on the Wye. The swims I look for are under trees with a steady current or behind bridge supports - though these swims are not the easiest to fish usually, demanding an upstream cast past the bridge support then allow the bait to freely move downstream close to the bridge support.
Fishing a bait in front of a submerged tree or bush often produces a good fish. Robert Goodwin of Derbyshire and I were fishing such a swim with our baits just under the branches, the baits no more than a foot apart. At exactly the same time we both had a bite and we both hooked good fish. Robert's chub weighed 5-2-0 mine weighed 4-15-0.
If I don't get a bite upstream in this type of location. I will fish the bait down stream of the obstruction casting upstream to put the bait under the trailing branches. It's surprising how often this produces a good fish.
At one time I always thought the classic chub swim was a raft of reeds and other rubbish but I have come to realise these are over rated fishing spots. The classic crease swim must always be fished as chub love to lay just inside the faster water moving out when food items drifts bye. I have spent many hours watching chub as they have cruised and drifted to and fro in the crease, moving out when they can see some food item drifting down the current. I have sat in several of these swims chucking bits of food into the main current then watching the chub drift across. In fact they sometimes swim quite fast to take the bait samples. Time spent in watching fish feeding is well worth doing.
Tackle - It's quite simple. An 11 or 12 foot rod with a soft Avon action and a test curve around the pound mark. I don't use a quiver tip I don't feel the need to do so, I just watch the line or rod tip. Use a dough bobbin or touch ledger. I only use the latter when the weather is warm enough. I don't understand how some anglers can touch leger for hours on end in freezing weather conditions. Five minutes in cold weather and my hands are numb - no chance of feeling a bite. When the fish are feeding in a suicidal fashion and savagely pulling the rod tip round I will hold the rod and feel the bites through the rod.
Reels are a personal choice. I use both centre pin and Mitchell 300. I have used my Mitchell 300's since 1952 they haven't caused me any problems so I see no reason to change, though many of my friends feel I should update them as they sound like a coffee grinder! Until they let me down I will stay with them, coffee grinders or not.
I use 6lb breaking strain line straight through to the hook. I don't think chub are line shy. I also use crust for much of my fishing so I don't think the fish even get to touch the line. Over the past few months I have been testing some fluorocarbon line, though I cannot honestly say I have had more bites or caught more fish through using this line. Probably the most important item has to be the hook. I can catch fish with a stick and a thin bit of line but I would need a good hook. Safety pins don't work! I only use one type of hook these days and that's a Partridge barbless Jack Hilton in sizes 4's through to 8's. I attach the hook with a seven turn tucked blood knot or the Palomar knot. Both work well. I don't use any fancy rig. I just pinch on the line as many large shot as are required to fish the chosen swim.
My winter chub fishing baits consist of bread crust, which is my first choice bait, with breadflake my second choice. Cheese paste and luncheon meat paste are two other baits. These are usually used in coloured water. Though I will always start off using crust even in swirling muddy water.
Some anglers talk about only getting small taps on the rod tip in low water temperatures. I haven't found this in practice. I get plenty of savage takes on the coldest of days. I have had the rod tip pulled round on days when there has been ice down the river margins and a water temperature of 36 degree F.
Before I leave a fishing spot, I put in a handful of mashed bread, then fish the spot on my way back to the first swim.
Once I have a fish in the landing net, unless I need a picture of the fish, I keep the net in the water whenever possible. Then I slide out the barbless hook before lowering the net then watching the fish swim off.
Go on go out and catch a winter chub - it's good fun!