Stu Lennox has been trying to outwit some particularly stubborn chub on a stretch of the River Kennett. Here’s how he fared during his latest encounter with an old foe…
I arrived at the River Kennet near Newbury for my annual battle with some wily old chub that are resident in a particular set of snags I have found. This was my third winter fishing this stretch and so far it was 2-0 to the chub!
Each trip they had gotten the better of me and I had lost a lot of fish trying to keep them out of the tangle of roots and branches that formed their home. I had gradually upped the strength of my tackle, however, and this year I felt particularly ready for them!
Arming myself with a 14ft Acolyte Plus, I hoped would give me the extra backbone to clamp down on them fast. I also replaced my traditional centrepin reel with an FD 3000, so I could gain line back onto the spool quicker and heave a surging fish back out into the main river. My main line was the new Float Fish in 4.4lb and this was matched to a size 18 to 4lb Super Spade Hooks To Nylon. Overall a significantly ‘beefed up’ approach and one I hoped would pay dividends!
The night before my trip there had been torrential rain and therefore the water was pacey and carrying extra colour. This meant I would have to alter my feeding approach slightly. My bait was my new found favourite of red maggots heavily dusted in Sticky Krill Powder. I buy my maggots two days out, riddle them off and add a heavy amount of the powder. This results in a very strong smelling, fishy flavoured maggot that the fish just seem to adore. It is a great bait at any time of year, but particularly devastating in winter.
With the conditions in mind I also fed much heavier amounts per cast; a couple of large handfuls rather than just a pinch or two. I hoped that more bait falling through the water would give the chub a better chance of seeing it. My hook bait was a double maggot combo – one red and one fluoro pink – to add a visual aspect in the murky depths.
Having fed constantly for 20 minutes I made my first exploratory cast. I was full of anticipation and on only my third or fourth trot through the float buried. I instinctively struck and was immediately into a hard fighting chub. It tried desperately to bury its head into the brambles, but stiff sidestrain soon had it out in open water. It was a nice heavy fight and minutes later I had a stunning chub in the net of about 4lb – an excellent start!
This process was repeated throughout the morning with the fish coming in little pockets of two or three fish at a time. Heavy feeding was required to switch them back on again after each burst of activity.
At the end of a very quick three-hour session I had fed four pints of maggots and landed seven chub up to about 5lb, including a couple of nice 4lbers and nothing smaller than 2lb. The trip had well and truly gone in my favour and with the score now at 2-1 I am looking forward to next year’s visit.