I suppose my lack of confidence in fishing with bread, and especially crust is that I never knew whether I was fishing with a bare hook ten minutes after casting out because the bread had come off, so I was constantly reeling in to check. I needed to gain more confidence with bread again and by using this bait more its slowly all coming back to me. Sometimes in fishing you have to go backwards to move forwards. It would have been foolish of me to ignore one of the most successful chub baits of all time, and certainly one of the most versatile. Looking back through the records I have available to me of five pound plus chub that have been caught from the Waveney since 1987, it appears that crust or crust critically balanced with cheese paste, have accounted for a large proportion of the fish caught especially in the winter months.
|Tesco crusty white sandwich loaf makes great crust|
Although plain old crust is perfectly good enough to use on its own I have to say I really am one for using flavors and always have been since I started chubbing. I like to think that it makes my crust different and stands out from the rest of the crowd, and this gives me much needed confidence. There are of course many different flavors out there on the market to choose from but my advice would be to pick one that the chub are fond of. I've used many different flavors in the past but I'm currently using Lone Anglers Sausage Sizzle flavor on a variety of different baits including bread and its certainly one that the chub seem to approve of.
|Crust is easy to flavor with a spray like this.|
I'm determined to catch at least one chub on crust before this season ends so its no surprise to regular readers that I've been back at it again down the river, inspired by Martin James's blog that makes for some great reading on chub fishing. The river certainly looked in much better condition than it did a couple of days ago - still fining down, but this time with a greenish tinge instead of the brown color of strong tea that its been like for so long. Well that's a start I suppose. At least its not on the rise again as we have had little rain over here in East Anglia recently unlike most parts of the country. I'm very lucky that I've been able to get out on the bank so my thoughts go out to other fisherman who can't even get near their local rivers because of the floods.
There was a decidedly wintery and chilly feel to today's proceedings with little but a cup of steaming coffee to warm me up as I tackled up in my first choice swim. I decided to use a big size 4 hook with a chunk of crust stopped a couple of inches from my two swan shot to begin with. Usually the distance of the shot from the bait is dictated by the weather - the colder it is the nearer the shot is to the hook. By subtracting shot, and even going down to a single AA or less, I could alter the amount of buoyancy the rig had, so that on each cast the crust was washed further downstream, and in effect using the current to my advantage, progressively searching the swim.
My first tentative cast landed inches from the trailing far bank branches, as the crust slowly settled into place on the bottom, letting out a bow of line so that if the bait did move, it would travel downstream in a straight line, acting naturally. It was at this point I was in no doubt that a bite could not be far away. It was one of those rare moments in fishing when everything just seem to be right with the world, and in particular, the atmosphere. That mixture of in trepidation, excitement, and a tinge of nervousness was intoxicating. Its that feeling that will always keep me fishing for chub and keeps me coming back.
Having momentarily retreated into my own secluded daydream, I suddenly caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. A shiver on the line, and then the tip pulled round very slightly followed by everything going slack. A drop back bite! A chub had taken interest in my popped up crust. I struck quickly but it was to no avail. Well at least I'd had a bite on the crust, so I was getting somewhere which was a start. I recast again but this time not so far out and once again waited for another bite. Twenty minutes past by, yet nothing else happened. Time for a change so off came the crust which was replaced by a big blob of cheese paste. This time I had to wait literally minutes for my next bite, which was savage and unrelenting. My strike was met by sudden and urgent resistance as a good sized chub fled for the branches and the water exploded as a very angry fished tried to rid itself of the hook, but I was having none of it, my rod now bent into a very pleasing curve as I applied side strain to put the breaks on.
|A lovely 4lb 5oz fish. A good start to the day...|
After that fish we decided to return to our original swims which were right back at the top of the beat and that is some walk I can tell you. By the time we had walked back we were both soaked in sweat and the the sun had decided to hide itself behind the nearest clouds for the rest of the afternoon, as the wind ripped across the bleak landscape. We both fished on until the light was going but by this time we had both had enough and we still had to walk back to the car and negotiate all manner of obstacles in our path before reaching the safety of the car. We were both exhausted when we reached the car but as I remember Matt Hayes once said - a good chub fisherman will not only put himself out, but will also tire himself out.
I shall of course be continuing to use the Sausaage Sizzle crust even though it didn't produce any fish for me this time around. I can imagine that when the weather turns cold and the river low and clear, that flake and crust will come into their own. I can also see myself flavoring more crust and perhaps even dog biscuits in the summer for surface feeding chub. It certainly had a myriad of uses which is only limited by your imagination.