Cheese paste is certainly my favorite chub bait above all others. It has worked on all rivers I have fished for chub and seems to be taken instantly with no loss of effectiveness year after year. It seems to excel in colored water, after dark and flood conditions, but tends to lose its edge in clear, cold conditions, although the fish will still take it but with less enthusiasm.
When I first started out chubbing I used the same recipe as Tony Miles in his book 'Search For big Chub' and up until recently I was quite happy to use it but the only trouble with using mixtures from books is that a lot of other anglers read the same books, the mixtures tend to get used a lot, and the chub eventually become wary of them. Remember that chub see the same old mature cheddar/blue combo all the time and although it is a very good combination it can loose it's effectiveness on some stretches due to a lot of people using the same mixture. Chub can be very wary of baits they have been caught on a few times. There are literally hundreds of combinations of cheese to choose from so let you imagination run wild. You may find that winning recipe!
I'm not going to give away my recipe for cheese paste. We all need our little "edges" and if we gave them all away we wouldn't have that edge anymore. It may be only be a recipe for cheese paste but its no different to a carp angler giving away all his boilie recipes that he has took years to refine and develop. This one I will be keeping close to my chest as I was given the recipe from one of the country's best chub fisherman and I will not betray his confidence under any circumstances so please don't ask. There are as many different recipes for cheese paste as there are chub anglers so make one you will be confident using and stick with it!
Experiment with different cheeses
Cheese + Cheese = Cheese Paste
You can cut out the pastry if you add another ingredient as it has the same effect but without "watering down" the cheese. The one common denominator that all cheese paste has in common is the cheese. Its the cheese that attracts them not the pastry. If it was the pastry then we would all just use pastry and not bother with the cheese. The pastry in cheese paste only serves one purpose and that's to keep the paste pliable in cold water. Ludicrous when you think about it as there are much better alternatives out there.
I also avoid using using bread in my paste as it ferments if kept for too long and puts the fish off. Most of what you read will recommend the bait to be as smelly as possible. I totally disagree and have had my best results with fairly fresh paste. Gone are the days of making the paste months in advance and leaving in the shed to mature. Not only is this a very unsociable activity but it will not make you very popular with the wife. I remember my dad accidentally leaving some in his bag from one winter to to the next over a long hot summer. It had putrefied and had more hair than me! It looked like a bag full of yellowy green sick but my dad insisted on using it. How he could even bear to touch the stuff was beyond me. Just the slightest smell of it wanted to make me vomit and although he did catch on it I feel that its effectiveness was short lived compared to the fresher stuff.
Flavors & Additives or Not?
Are they needed or not? Well as you can probably surmise from above that now I don't add anything to my cheese paste but in the past I always used to some form of liquid flavoring and powdered additives to enhance the pulling properties of my paste. The thing with flavors and additives is that they give an angler confidence and confidence can be a great thing. If you think your bait is good then as a result of this you fish better.
Looking back now, adding all those flavors and enhancers is a complete red herring. How could I possibly know what is was that was attracting the chub? These days I know better of course and know that its the cheese they are attracted to and nothing more. It could well have been that all these bits and bobs whether chemically or naturally derived actually made the paste less effective!
A big cheese paste chomping chub