The Chub can be found in most of the UK’s rivers and in recent years in stillwaters where it is often stocked. The Chub is a predatory fish and tends to live together in shoals, although larger specimens usually become solitary. The staple diet of the young fish are small invertebrates with older Chub also feeding on small fish, insects, small crayfish, fruit and berries.
The Chub can often be found under overhanging trees and bushes but also in faster water on gravel beds where they can be often be seen feeding voraciously on anything that is edible!
The Chub can be distinguished from its smaller relation the Dace. Points to note are the convex anal fin which is orange in colour, Dace’s fins are grey-blue. It has a long, cylindrical, streamlined body with grey or black-bordered scales, it’s back is greyish brown in colour, tinged with green, it’s sides are lighter and often golden blending into a white belly. Chub are distinguished by their huge mouths and are unmistakable in this respect.
Despite their voracious appetites, chub are a relatively slow growing species. It can take 6-10 years for the chub to reach a pound in weight and a specimen of five pounds may be twenty or more years old. Chub can live for 25 years, and probably nearer 30 and unlike most coarse fish they will continue to grow in length for almost all of their lives.
Fish for Chub in open gravel runs flanked by weed and either close to or under overhanging trees using maggots, worms, pellets, bread, corn, castors, boilies, or small cubes of luncheon meat with a steady feed of loose samples. Cheese is an often a superb bait for chub. For the large specimens a small deadbait such as a minnow or pieces of large bread-flake can often be deadly. Chub are greedy fish and are only too happy to oblige on many occasions. Chub may often nab a spinner or fly if the conditions are right!
In rivers and stream they will undertake short migrations to suitable spawning sites, they do not breed in stillwaters. Males sexually mature aged 3-7 years, with females slightly later at 4-8 years of age; environmental factors will affect the age at which they mature. The spawning takes place between May and August when water temperatures reach between 18°C and 20°C. Single ripe females, which can produce 20,000 – 30,000 eggs/kg of bodyweight, are pursued by groups of males and spawning may take place with more than one and can involve considerable splashing as males compete to mate. The eggs are fertilised over shallow riffles and the eggs fall into the gravel where they will hatch within 7-14 days.
Female Chub can spawn more than once during a season and hybridisation is common with Bleak where they co-exist and the hybrids are fertile.
The fry inhabit very shallow shoreline habitats and gradually move into deeper, faster water as they grow. They can live up to 30-years of age, but with 15-years being more typical, with females living longest.
Float fished baits during the summer months can have devastating results, as Chub often prefer a moving bait to a fixed one. A stick float used in experienced hands can be a deadly method, holding back slightly and allowing the bait to be carried through the swim mid-water or just above if not trundling a bait along the bottom can work its magic. Legered baits can and often work well especially during the winter months when the fish are less likely to chase food, but this method can be equally effective during warmer seasons in the right conditions especially if the fish have been sighted.
Tackle up accordingly for Chub, a lighter set up is ideal and lines of around 4-6Ibs with an Avon rod will put you in a commanding position to land a chub of a lifetime. Chub bites are generally very fast and rapid as they tend to snaffle a bait very quickly, Chub can certainly pull a rod full tilt and demand your attention immediately! Be aware that Chub are possibly the most easily spooked fish in a river so when Chub fishing approach your quarry silently and keep well back from line of sight.
On FAS waters, head out to the excellent choice of superb river fisheries on offer, the River Loddon for example contains very good all round year classes of chub and also the River Wey and River Blackwater are able to satisfy the chub angler to varying degrees. Chub can reside in stillwaters and there are a few Chub in Badshot Lea Small Pond and Kings Pond, but these are not in numbers that you would fish for them as a distinct species due to their low numbers.
For the specimen hunter the Loddon, at all venues, offers the chance of a specimen chub to approximately 7 Ibs or possibly higher. Chub catches in recent years have shown some outstanding fish with many an angler able to claim a personal best.
|River Lea, Herts
|Stanford End, River Loddon