Every year Gaz Fareham’s attention switches over to running water and with just one species in mind, chub.
Winters these days are almost exclusively reserved for the rivers for me. I love the diversity that the seasonal change and shift to flowing water brings. Plus, I spend so much of my time in pursuit of carp during spring, summer and autumn that a change is undoubtedly as good as a rest and I actively look forward to the winter season.
Chub have been my quarry of choice for a few years now. Having the mighty Dorset Stour on my doorstep is undoubtedly a huge asset and I have tried to make the most of having one of the finest chub rivers in the country so close to my home, searching for the elusive seven and even rarer eight pounders it holds.
Usually, it is evenings, after dark, roving with cheese paste for me, a few hours here and there after work, aiming to pick out the bigger specimens. I do get the occasional full day and when the river is right for it, trotting with maggot is undoubtedly one of my favourite ways to catch them; watching that little orange-tipped stick float meander its way down the crease, set against a backdrop of wintery hues is one of the best, and most simple pleasures angling has to offer.
After a few weeks of massively fluctuating river levels, and a few big plugs of floodwater coming through, this week I managed to nip out for a quick impromptu late afternoon and I had a feeling the river would be running just right for the maggot and float and being keen to test out my new 14ft Acolyte Ultra float rod.
A quick stop at Bournemouth Fishing Lodge for five pints of reds and I was set. I chose a nice little trot just down from the New Weir area at Throop and settled in, feeding for 45 minutes before starting the trots through. It didn’t take too long to latch into one and soon I had a scale-perfect, burnished bronze chub, just over 5lb on the unhooking mat.
It took a bit longer for the second bite to come, this time right down at the very tail end of the trot. After a lengthy battle on 3lb 2oz Float Fish mainline and a light 2lb 8oz hook link with size 20 Wide Gape hook, a lovely long Stour chub was safely in the net, weighing in at 6lb 13oz. Two trots later I had another in the net, again coming from right at the very tail of the crease, this time slightly smaller at 6lb 8oz, completing a lovely February trio of chub.