Chub herald stick float season closer

March 14, 2020 at 6:07 pm

With all the doom and gloom following the latest Coronavirus announcements, I was looking for an exceptional last session on my local river Cut before the end of the season. Walking past the swim that had produced a 7 lb mixed bag a couple of days before, I continued downstream, taking a chance on a section of river that I had never fished before. On a part of the bank cut off from the main path, I had to split down my tackle into easily transportable lots, dragging and carrying my trolley over obstacles to reach my swim.

At the tail of a bend, the main flow was pushing along the side of a berm created by the Environment Agency a couple of years ago, which looked ideal for trotting a stick float for chub. As with earlier in the week, my choice of tackle was my 12 ft Hardy rod with ABU 501 closed face reel attached and a 6 No 4 Ali stemmed stick float to a size 16 barbless hook. Liquidised bread feed with a 5 mm punch of rolled medium sliced white bread was all I needed for bait, starting off with a ball of damp crumb upstream of the berm, while I set out my stall.

First cast the float had only carried a yard before it held under and I was fighting a chub that dived back to the woodwork of the berm, hanging on and back winding in rapid succession. With only two feet under the float, the fish fight hard in this shallow little river, but soon that big white chub mouth was clear of the water and sliding towards the landing net.

Not massive, but packed full of power, this chub was soon in the keepnet, another 5 mm bread pellet on the hook and the rig cast out again. The float sank in the same spot and I was playing another chub minutes after the first.

This one was even bigger, bending the Hardy to the butt as it searched for a snag to hang up the hook, the light tackle coping with all that was thrown at it. Two nice chub in the net in the first 5 minutes was a good sign of things to come. Third cast and I was in again, but this time it was the distinctive fight of a quality roach.

The chub had not finished, a smaller fish still putting a bend in the rod.

As I netted this chub, another Braybrooke member, Michael came along the bank, telling of his catch the day before further downstream, showing me images on his phone of two, two pound crucian carp and a pound roach that he had landed along with chub and more roach. Like me, he was keen to make the most of the penultimate afternoon of the river season and headed off downstream.

That’s better, the float sliding sideways through a ball of feed as a larger chub took the punched bread, powering off downstream at speed, testing the tackle in the sudden rush, taking my time to wear the chub down.

Phew! This had been a hectic fifteen minutes and I stopped for a breather and a lunchtime cup of tea, damping down some more bread feed, putting it in upstream again close to the far bank.

Trotting through again, the float dragged under and I lifted into a snag that moved, the deep bronze shape of a big bream drifting up to the surface, shaking it’s head slowly as it took the full force of the current against it’s slab sides. Heading off downstream, taking twenty yards of line on the backwind, it stopped, the slow thudding fight thumping the rod at full bend. Keeping the pressure on, it sailed back and forth, each time I had the bream close to the net, a second wind sent it off again. The swim was very shallow close in and I needed it exhausted and on it’s side to stand a chance of getting it in the net, while at this moment, the only thing that was getting tired out was me. Close to the net again, the hook pulled out, leaving it semi stranded in the muddy shallows, before the 4 lb plus bream regained it’s senses and scuttled off. I have had one of 3 lb 8 oz from this river before, but this was much bigger. I now needed another cup of tea and a sandwich to recover.

Another ball of feed and I was fishing again. The bream had seen off the chub, but now small dace were attacking the bait, only hitting one in four of the lightning bites.

In an attempt to slow down the dace bites, I added six inches to the depth and held back hard. A decent bite at last, brought a rod bending roach from under my rod top.

I was still getting dace, but gudgeon had also moved in on the feed area.

The roach were back, taking two or three then more gudgeon and dace.

These roach and too many to photograph were all clonkers, having just netted the one above, when Michael stopped on his way back from his labours, telling of another decent chub among his net of roach and dace. It was my time to go too and I said to myself “Just one more decent roach and I’ll pack up.” It obliged and here it is.

How many times have my last day of the river season been a day to remember? Too many. It is a shame to put the stick floats away for three months each year, but it allows the river fish to spawn in peace.

Over 8 lbs of quality fish in just over three hours, was the perfect antidote to the fears and uncertainty surrounding our lives in the months ahead.