Bread punch chub dominate river revival

July 20, 2018 at 7:54 pm

A couple of weeks ago I visited my local river for a test fish, to see what species were showing, following six months of continual pollution with waste oil products, that had been washed down the drains of a business upstream of the river. Fishing at the upper end of the stretch, chub had made the running, with a few stocked roach and dace adding to the mix, plus a surprise perch, which took the bread punch bait.

Today I chose a slower, slightly deeper swim toward the middle of the venue, needing to pull out 6 ft high clumps of invasive Himalayan Balsam, before I could get close enough to put my tackle box down. Fish were already topping as I tackled up, trying to keep off the skyline to avoid scaring them off.

Intending to fish the stick float and bread punch, I put in a couple of egg sized balls of liquidised bread past the middle, while I was tackling up and was rewarded with a slide away bite first cast, my 12 ft Hardy rod bending well over to stop the surging run of a chub.

About six ounces, I had to swing this one in as my landing net had become tangled in the under growth.

Another swinger. Hooked firmly in the lip, the crystal bend barbless size 14 gave confidence with these hard fighting chub on light tackle.

All part of the same year class, these chub were spewing up the bread feed, the float sinking down and away each time.

This fish made a bee line for my bank in an attempt to find a snag, diving left and right in rapid succession, a slightly larger chub may have managed to pass the hook to an underwater branch.

Another slide away bite, but this time a fight that skidded across the surface. A rudd, I thought that all of these had perished in the pollution, but here was one to prove me wrong. These were so common once.

A shoal of rudd had moved in, topped by this beauty, making sure the landing net was ready, when it eventually stopped running and turning.

This used to be a roach river and it was good to see a few roach turning up, the chub were still about and I had just netted this one, when there was an almighty splash ten yards upstream.

Two dogs had seen several ducks sheltering under the tree to my right. They were not on leads and ran down the bank, full tilt into the river, scattering the ducks, appearing from under the branches in pursuit, straight through my swim. “Peter, Daniel! Come here!” Biblical names! The lady owner was standing to my right red in the face with rage, as the two spaniels circled the pool. The ducks had flown, but the dogs could not get up the bank, as it was too overgrown. They disappeared back beneath the branches into the hands of their owner on the bank. She now praised them for returning, then followed them at a pace as they ran off downstream. Not a word of apology!

My swim was dead. I had only been fishing for just over an hour and decided to pack up what I could, then move downstream. Weighing up, there was over three pounds of fish in my net. The roach were just beginning to show. It could have been a productive few hours.

With my rod still made up, I searched out another swim, but most were hidden behind a thick wall of balsam. The one I found was in a jungle of stinging nettles and I set about hacking them down with a bank stick.

I have had good results from this swim in better times and I started off as before, a couple of balls of liquidised bread, then a cast into the area. The float settled and sank and I was playing a six ounce chub.

Another chub and a rudd followed. I was back in business. Moving was a time consuming effort in oppressive heat, but an hour here would make up for the ruined swim upstream. Thunderstorms were promised, but humidity close to drizzle was all I got.

There were a few roach here too, but with little flow, their fussy bites were hard to hit.

Once again it was good to see that the rudd had spread out along the river.

The wind picked up briefly, shaking dried out leaves from the trees, which just sat there with the upstream breeze. Every time I put in a ball of feed, I could see it breaking up and spreading downstream, but the float was trapped each time by the leaves. Two out of three casts resulted in a hung up float rig.

When the bait got down to the fish, I had a bite, usually from a roach. At 1pm I made my last cast, the surface litter was making fishing difficult. The float dithered with a roach bite, dipping and lifting. I struck as the float held under for a second and the rod bent over into another chub, that ran to the far side debris. The fight was short lived and I netted it.

The fact that there seem to be more chub about, may be due to fewer roach. If these chub continue to grow on, next year could see some impressive weights of fish. I just hope that we have seen the last of the pollution.

Two nets of fish from a split session, two hours of fishing time putting over 5lbs on the scales.