There is something about chub. I’ve come to realise this, now, after years of fishing for them. Something that I always rediscover when I have not caught one for a few weeks. Now I think about it there’s not many fish that give me as much pleasure as the Chevin. Maybe its because they can be caught on different methods and baits. Each to suit the conditions on the day. Or the mood of the angler. Maybe it’s because they are obliging feeders one day and a nightmare the next. Yes, they’re certainly a challenge. Especially when they are old and wise. Like big roach, big chub look their age. Their bronze scales almost embossed. Etched with lines like the rings of a tree. Yes, I love chub and all that comes with trying to catch them. Even if that does mean crawling around trying to stay off the skyline. Or slipping down steep river banks after a winter flood. Thats it, time to go chub fishing! After arriving at the river and setting up with a lovely little stick float it was clear I hadn’t given any thought to the conditions. The float on this occasion certainly catching the angler. The river was running through at a lively pace and the wind was gusting. I couldn’t mend the line with such a minuscule weight at the other end without pulling the float across the current. Definitely time to change to a much heavier float. A cup of tea to see me through the re-tackle. Before I knew it I was back fishing. The change had an immediate affect as a procession of small grayling came to the net. In the increased flow even these relatively small fish put up a great scrap. As I turned to put my camera back down after taking a quick picture I noticed the river was now starting to trickle behind me. Oh dear, I thought, chub fishing on a rising river. Hardly what you would call ideal. Still, the water clarity seemed to be ok and for now I put those thoughts to the back of my mind and headed to a less pacey swim.
Since my last visit to the stretch a lot had changed. Not only had the trees’ burnt orange leaves now all but gone but a recent high flood had completely reshaped some parts of the river. What once was gravel was now buried in sand. Where once a tree stood; now just a hole remained. Banks had been scoured out as forceful water rushed and any plants growing on the fertile soil were now absent. Although at first its a little disorientating this is what I love about rivers. They are ever changing. Destructive and creative in turn. To prove the point I was looking at an area of river that was usually not worth fishing. At least with float tackle. But with the bank now cleared of saplings, brambles, balsam and the addition of a new snag for chub to hide behind, I had found myself the next swim to fish.I began by feeding some maggots on the crease of the main flow. The slacker water was to my own bank and it was here I expected the chub to be congregated. After ten minutes, and another cup of tea, I had a trot through. Nothing. I deepened the rig somewhat and held the float back quite hard. The rig edged through the swim. As the float neared the snag the float gently sunk beneath the ripples and I was into a good fish. The stout plodding of a good chub. I thought the small grayling earlier fought well in the stronger flow, well this chub had been taking lessons. Or giving them. Masterfully using the flow to it’s advantage, for a minute or so it was deadlock. With a small hook and light hooklength there was no room to bully. Eventually with careful and steady pressure the chub came within netting distance. No last minute dive into unseen near bank snags. The fish was safely netted. A cracking fish in immaculate condition. One very happy angler took a photo and returned the fish a good few yards upstream.
I had noticed that the water had risen a good few inches since my arrival and felt that with the river rising rapidly, I needed to make the next half an hour count. These chub wouldn’t carry on feeding as the river rose, I was sure of that. I fed a few more maggots and ran the float through the swim. Nothing that time. Another little palmful of maggots fed and another run through. This time the float sank in that unmistakable way; a small stutter and a tip melting into the ripples. Another fish hooked, a good fight enjoyed and a little quicker than last time, a solid chub was landed. Unfortunately this chub turned out to be the last from this swim. In fact it was the last fish of the session too. The river rose over a foot in the next few hours and I could not tempt another bite despite trying a few favourite swims. My earlier prediction sadly being proven correct. Even so, I had a tremendous time. The fish I had caught in the first swim was reward enough. I’ll never tire of catching wild fish on this beautiful, little river. I can’t wait to get back on her banks.
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