Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Small river chub fishing

Do you ever pass by a water that others ignore? Overgrown and forgotten, cars rumbling by as it cuts its way underneath old road bridges and alongside weed choked footpaths, from tiny trickles with weed choked pools, to brooks and small rivers that cut through urban sprawls. There is many a tale waiting to be told, each one holding a surprise or two in their depths, just waiting to make your reel clutch sing, they provide excellent opportunity all year round for stalking chub in summer or winter.

I really do enjoy fishing the smaller tributaries, brooks and feeder streams, in many ways they are places time has forgotten, usually ignored by other anglers, disregarded as unworthy of their attention. Keeping proceedings simple and staying mobile is the name of the game, rod equipped with a small cage feeder or link ledger, landing net and a small rucksack is all you need to begin this minimalist and most enjoyable styles of fishing. Hunting out likely features such as weed rafts, bankside cover, deeper pools, undercut banks and structures such as bridges, all perfect places for chub to skulk around.

Bait need be no more complex than a loaf of bread, cheese paste, worms from your garden compost or maggots, fishing each spot with little or no groundbait, lest you spook your quarry.
I do fish a wide variety of baits when targeting chevin, what baits I use can vary a lot and are also dependent on the time of year.

During winter I favour cheese paste, maggots and lob worms and I have two cheese paste recipes that I use. One actually contains no cheese and I call it my "quick mix",this is perfect for when there is no cheese in the house and uses the following ingredients.

Removing all the crust from the bread and adding 1ml of Richworth Cheese and half a level teaspoon of the Richworth Active xtracts blue cheese and garlic, I then knead the ingredients together whilst adding a small amount of water, until I am left with a nice smooth ball of paste.

It is important to make sure that the paste is thick enough to stay on the hook, but also soft enough to allow the hook to penetrate and pull through the paste when striking fish. This recipe can be made in just a few minutes and you can be out fishing more or less straight away.

My other recipe is very similar and replaces the liquid cheese and blue cheese and garlic additives with the following.

Blue cheese, and shortcrust pastry, mixed until you get a completely smooth and well balanced paste. Once again you want a firm paste, but one that you can still pull the hook through when striking into a fish. Remember in cold water conditions the paste will harden more when it enters the water. For such reasons I always make sure the tip of the hook is well exposed and the paste is only moulded around the hook shank. You can of course use any cheese, Camembert and Brie both work very well and provide a good scent trail for the chub to pick up on.

My fishing rig consists of a low resistance Nine Bream Kwik change run ring, a simple but effective run ring, enabling a fast switch of feeder or weight, so that I can change straight back to link ledger too, these have over the years become an integral part of my fishing and allow a very low resistance presentation for wary fish, beneath this I use an Enterprise Tackle protect-a bead both these components are then slid over the swivel which connects the hook link and main line.

The anti tangle tubing helps to push the hook link away from the feeder or link ledger, minimizing tangles. As can also be seen in the picture above, the cage feeder is filled with a mixture of bread which has been chopped down in a food processor, to this mixture I add a tiny amount of krill powder, this leaks off a very strong, fermented shrimp scent trail which the fish absolutely adore, but at the same time does not over feed them.


Most of my fishing for chub is done using a roving style, fishing in such a manner you are a lot less constrained into fishing only certain areas due to the amount of tackle you are carrying and as such you will feel the urge to wander somewhat more as you fatigue a lot less, learning a lot more about the water you are targeting in doing so and being able to seek out fish holding areas. Believe me the rewards are there and tools such as Google earth can come in very handy in finding hidden waterways.

Come winter and when sport is perhaps not so forthcoming on larger waterways due to flooding (2012 springs to mind),  smaller streams can be excellent, the fish remain in an amiable mood and quite willing to feed, providing some excellent winter sport, many is the time I have had a mornings roving, on a snow covered small stream or river and been pleasantly rewarded with a fish or two, where had I perhaps targeted the Thames in spate conditions, results would have been quite different.

So the next time you pass by what might look like just a ditch, perhaps narrow enough to jump across, or a weed choked small river, don't treat it with disregard, stop and take a look, because chances are you will be rather pleasantly surprised with what you may find.


  1. Fantastic read, and i totally agree with this, because funnily enough some of the most rewarding fish can come out of such a water way...

    Thanks for sharing this Mark, awesome! :)

    - Matt

    1. Cheers Matthew,

      agree with you mate, some of the most enjoyable and challenging fishing can be had in these little brooks and rivers, yet are generally overlooked, not that I am complaining about that being the case though.

  2. Excellent piece Mark, so many anglers just want to lob a couple of feeder rods out and sit back, you however have discovered the true spirit of angling.

    1. Thanks Dave,

      With a light amount of tackle, less burden and more waterway covered, it is really angling stripped down to the bare essentials and very much enjoyable for that and then there is the unknown, who knows what will you find lurking in the tiny pools and miniature creases of such rivers and brooks.

  3. nice read,and hey its the guy off youtube :)

  4. Hello there Michael! Glad you enjoyed the post, perfect chub conditions right now as it happens too!

  5. Read this a few times, great blog Mark,

    1. Thanks Tom, this was one of my most enjoyable blog posts as I think it encapsulates why both of us enjoy the more intimate and dare i say overlooked waterways.