The Chub Battle – Round Three

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…

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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!

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A super-strong 18 Super Spade to 4lb Hooks To Nylon was chosen.

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The extra power of the 14ft Acolyte Plus float rod proved essential.

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!

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Sticky Krill Powder added extra pulling power to Stu’s maggots.

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.

Feeding much larger quantities worked well in the coloured water.

Stu fed larger quantities in the coloured water.

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.

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A fluoro and red maggot cocktail was the successful hook bait.

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!

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Stu’s stepped up approach got the better of these wily chub!

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.

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