There was a definite chill in the air this morning signaling that winter proper was not far away, so I was glad I was wrapped up warm to keep the cold out. If you are serious about doing some winter chubbing then please get yourself kitted out with some quality thermal and waterproof clothing. I've been using the Korum Two Piece Thermal, three quarter length jacket and bib & brace, and its a superb bit of kit, very well made, and at an affordable price. I compliment these with a pair of Sundridge Hot Foot boots which are very warm and great for walking long distances in. I prefer these to the more expensive and a lot less comfy Skeetex model. I also wear a Korum neck warmer (I can't stand a cold wind down my neck!) and fleece hat. No, I'm not sponsored by Korum or any bait or tackle company before you ask - I'm just a believer in finding the best quality and practical bits of kit that suit my needs. I sometimes wear gloves when its really cold but find them more trouble than they are worth.
Me and dad headed back to the first swims we fished on Monday and went through the usual routine of pre-baiting with a few small bits of cheese paste, then tackled up, taking my time, checking knots, etc. Then a leisurely cup of coffee while I soaked on the atmosphere completed the scene. As I took drank the steaming hot coffee I couldn't think of a place I'd rather be, I felt at one with the world and complete. It was our chubbing paradise and away from everyone and everything with the solitude that chub fishing brings there is no finer fishing.
About half an hour passed by during the baiting up and tackling up period, and it wasn't long before it was time before a cast was made. Probably two minutes in and I heard a shout from up the bank and dad thought dad was into a fish, but it had just missed his first bite, then without warning it was my turn as the tip wrapped round. I struck firmly but felt nothing on the end. We had both had two bites within five minutes of starting! Wow! I recast again and let the bait settle nicely but before I could get comfy dad was into his first fish. I walked up to where he was fishing. A lovely deep hole under a tree, and from the bend in his rod, he was into a good fish. By the time I had got to him the fish was almost ready for netting, but it still had a bit more fight in it as it tried to get him in some unseen snag.
I did the netting duty for dad and could feel when I lifted the net that it was a good fish, certainly a big four, possibly even a five. Out on the bank the size six hook was lodged firmly in the corner of the mouth. It still amazes me how small and insignificant a reasonably large hook looks when compared to a chub's mouth, one reason I'm not a fan of using fine hooks and small baits when chubbing.
Scales quickly zeroed and into the weigh sling dad was very pleased with a fine specimen of 4lb 13oz. This was his first fish on the new cheese paste and it was a great way to start. A good chub by anybody's standard, and a fish a lot of people would be pleased to catch.
Dad with 4lb 13oz fish on the new paste....
After all the excitement in the two swims we introduced a few more free offerings and then decided to take a walk further down the section of river. I love fishing these unexplored stretches as it really is pioneering stuff. You never know what sort of swims you are going to find and I have to say that I wasn't disappointment in the least. The further we walked the better it got. Glides, overhanging trees, bends, everything you could ever want in a chub river. It was like it was made just for chub and to have it to ourselves was pure heaven.
One swim in particular caught my eye, and it just screamed chub the closer I got. A deep hole under a willow on the near bank followed by a nice smooth, steady glide mad it a dead cert. I threw in a few bits of paste to give them a nice little appetizer of what was to come and left it for ten minutes or so. First cast and the bait had hardly settled when the tip pulled round tight. To be honest I'd hardly expected a bite so quickly and it caught me completely off guard. Within the blink of an eye, what was obviously a very big chub, had me well and truly jammed in a snag under the tree and it wasn't going anywhere. I tried every trick in the book and despite my best efforts I couldn't get the fish out. Reluctantly I had to pull for a break as neither of was willing to give any ground.
Cursing my luck I decided to have another cast as the fish hadn't disturbed the swim to much and over the next hour or so I must have had another six bites or so in total. Full on wrap around bites, the kind that shouldn't be missed but missed they were. If I'd have had any hair by this point I would have torn it out! There seemed to be a lot of fish in this swim and they were, ready and eager, to wolf down my paste at every given opportunity. It absolutely maddening to miss a few bites but by this point I'd missed seven bites in total by now! What on earth did I have to do to put a fish in the bank? I tried everything - longer hook length, shorter hook length, smaller bait, bigger bait, more shot, less shot, bigger hooks, smaller hooks, but all to no avail.
By this point my sanity was severely in question, so I baited up a little more while I went to fish a few more swims and guess what? Yes more full on wrap around bites that shouldn't be missed. Oh my god! The chub really are driving me crazy today, almost laughing at me. Later on in the day I returned to the swim mentioned above and had another cast. This time the bite came quickly again, but this time the fish was firmly on, and with a now tightened clutch wasn't going anywhere but in my net. Yet despite this it insisted on burrowing itself into the near bank reeds. I could actually see the fish in the water, it's big white lips showing but this time my line was wrapped around the reeds and all I could do was try and hall the thing out. Luckily at this moment dad came along the bank to see how I was getting on, and could see I was in trouble. He quickly grabbed the net and bundle the chub into it, reeds and all.
A hard won fish of 3lb 14oz
That was certainly a very close call but I was glad and relieved that the fish was in the net. Mission accomplished at last! A quick weight and the fish went 3lb 14oz. A small conciliation to make up for the fish I lost earlier and I was pleased to get that. By now the weather ha decided to take a turn for the worse as the rain that had been threatening all day arrived and got heavier, yet despite fishing a few more swims nothing else of note happened. We decided then to pack up, satisfied with a days sport. There will be other days to bag the big one.