Category Archives: Specimen

Trio Of Stour Chub For Gaz

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.

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Huge River Perch

Simon Brough dedicates a lot of time each season during the colder months targeting big perch on his local rivers and this year he has been rewarded for his efforts with a huge perch of 4lb 14oz.


Simon has been using a 10ft Drennan Puddle Chucker Carp Feeder for his perch fishing as it allows him to access tight spots along the river and carefully lower his bait into position.

“I like to use a light glass tip as they are very sensitive and allow me to see the most delicate of bites. At the rig end, I use a simple running leger with a 20g Oval Cage feeder and an 18-inch hooklength of 5lb Supplex Fluorocarbon tied to a size 10 Wide Gape Specialist hook.”

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Chew, The Lake Of Dreams

This year we were lucky enough to be able to join Martin Bowler and Steve Rowley on the banks of Chew Valley Lake on its opening day for pike fishing.

Chew Valley Lake is well renowned for its scenic beauty and top quality pike fishing, with fish caught in excess of 40lb each season, which makes it every pike angler’s dream venue. It’s an impressive reservoir with an average depth of 14ft and a maximum depth of 37ft.

chew-9On arrival, we were greeted with gale-force winds with gusts of up to 40mph. They both knew that presenting a bait at any distance would be a real challenge. Both Martin and Steve began by trying to cast their deadbaits out but were only reaching 30 yards due to the strong winds pushing directly into their bank.

chew-8A decision was made and Martin decided to risk it all and use his bait boat, which would hopefully allow them to get their hook baits into 10ft of water around 60 yards out. This is a successful depth that they both look for at this time of the year when pike fishing at Chew. With the plan to use a bait boat a success and all dead baits in place, they sat back and awaited the first bite.

chew-4Within minutes of placing the final rod on the rest, Martin’s indicator dropped back and braid began to peel off the reel. With the fish steadily taking line Martin wound down and gave a firm strike with his E-Sox Piker Bait Rod to set the hooks, the rod hooped over and the battle commenced. The fish initially made a run to the left, towards Steve’s swim, but applying steady pressure and keeping the rod low the fish soon turned and made it’s way back across the swim, edging closer to the waiting landing net. When the fish finally glided over the net there was a huge sigh of relief for both. Steve stared down into the folds of the net and shouted, “It’s a thirty!”

chew-5The pair lifted the scales and the needle flew past 30lb with ease, settling on 34lb 12oz! A true giant, the reason many pike anglers flock to the banks of Chew every year to be in with a chance of landing one of the real monsters that reside within the lake. With a new personal best from Chew for Martin, he was lost for words, completely captured in the moment.

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Another Ouse Chub For Ryan

Drennan’s Ryan Hayden decided to make the most of the good conditions on the Great Ouse and made the trip over after work for a short three-hour session.

ryan-hayden-great-ouse-chub-6.2-webArriving at the venue just after 6 pm Ryan made his way down to his first swim. But without a single tap after an hour, he decided to make a move further downstream. Within two minutes after recasting tight up to the snag, he received a single tap, closely followed by another, and then bang, the rod hooped around. After a spirited fight, she slid over the net.

“An immaculate fish with not a scale out of place, which is rare nowadays, and at 6lb 2oz, definitely one to look out for in the future.”

Ryan used a Drennan Series 7 Specialist Avon/Quiver rod with 8lb monofilament mainline loaded onto a BR 9–40 Specimen reel. His rig consisted of a simple running rig, but rather than being completely free running, Ryan used a single Grippa Stop with a buffer bead 2″ above the run ring to create a bolt-rig effect. A 2ft braided hooklink tied to a size 10 Super specialist Barbel hook with a very short hair completed the rig.

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Big Chub For Lewis

Lewis Richards took the opportunity to fish a section of his local river for chub one afternoon and was rewarded with a fish just short of his personal best.


Arriving at the river early afternoon, he was pleased to see it was back within the banks, although still quite coloured from the recent rainfall. Lewis made his way down to his favourite swim and setup with a small 20g Gripmesh Feeder on a simple running rig with a size 6 Super Specialist hook. For bait, he used bread, liquidised to press into the feeder and a pinch of flake for the hookbait.

To his surprise, less than a minute after casting out into the swim his tip bounced around and he was playing a decent chub. After a spirited fight, Lewis slid the net under what looked like a very nice chub. The scales swung around to 5lb 8oz, just two ounces off his current personal best.

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Maggot Feeder For Chub

River specialist Matthew Tann knows that when the temperature drops one of the most obliging species has to be chub. 

matthew-tann-am-chub-article-1In this week’s Anglers Mail, Matthew visits his local stretch of the Hampshire Avon to target chub with maggots using his own adaptation of the Drennan Vari-weight feeder.

Pick up a copy of Anglers Mail at your local newsagents to read the full article or simply download a copy via your Android or Apple device.

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Highlights Of Barbel Season

Dave Chambers from Petersfield has kindly sent us some photographs from the highlights of his 2015 barbel season. 

18lb 2oz

A new personal best 18lb 2oz barbel!

Using our 1.75 Martin Bowler Specialist Barbel Rods, Dave had no less than six barbel over 15lb in 2015 with the biggest of the season and a new personal best going 18lb 2oz! Opting for a mobile approach caught Dave the majority of his fish, using a very simple rig with big lumps of meat. His new personal best, however, was caught on boilies at the end of a long and challenging campaign on a very low stocked southern river. Impressive fish!

For more information on the 1.75 Martin Bowler Specialist Barbel Rods click here.

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Six Roach For Over Ten-Pound

All-round angler Mark Pilley from London made a last minute decision to go roach fishing and was rewarded for his effort with six impressive roach.


After receiving a call from a fellow angler saying that the river should be perfect for roach within a few days, Mark took the opportunity early the next morning.

“I arrived at the river around 7 am, quickly got the waders on and walked down to a swim I had in mind; one where I knew there would be some good roach sitting out of the flow in the slacker water.”

“I stood there feeding the swim with red maggots for around 40 minutes while waiting for it to get light enough to see the float. The first few trots were uneventful, but about 10 trots into the session the float buried, followed by a firm strike and a solid thud on the rod tip. At that point, I thought it was a big roach, but shortly a chub of about 3lb was resting in the net.

“I thought that the chub would have spooked the roach out of the swim, but how wrong was I. Within the next three hours I went on to bank six roach, the best being 2lb 1oz, backed up with another 2lb exactly as well as roach of 1lb 15oz, 1lb 13oz, and 1lb 11oz. Definitely, a morning’s fishing I will not forget for a long time!”

Mark used his 14ft Drennan Matchpro Ultralight float rod coupled with a centrepin loaded with his favourite 3.2lb Floatfish. He used a small No.4 stick and a 2lb Supplex hooklink to a size 18 Kamasan B980 hook to present a single maggot.

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Specimen Perch Highlight Of Tough Day

Matthew Fernandez managed to fit in a perch session over the Christmas break and was rewarded with a new personal best of 3lb 4oz.


Arriving at his chosen commercial, Matthew’s swim choice was very limited as the banks were lined with carp anglers taking advantage of the mild weather. Luckily a swim that previously produced for him was free and without hesitation he made his way around the lake.

“My setup for commercial perching consists of two Drennan 12ft1 1/4 Series 7 Avon/Quiver rods, matched with small fixed spool reels loaded with 6lb Feeder & Method Mono. A simple low resistance running rig with a 13in Supplex Fluorocarbon hooklink and a size 5 hook completes the setup,” explained Matthew.

With each rig baited with a king prawn, he lowered them into place just down the marginal shelf and fed over the top every few minutes with half a pouch of maggots.

“It was a slow day with two aborted takes first thing, but then at dusk I received a very steady rise on the bobbin on my left-hand rod. I closed the bail arm and struck into what felt like a decent fish. After a very spirited fight, the perch surfaced and was quickly scooped up. The needle spun round to 3lb 4oz, a new personal best and a very welcome fish after such a hard day.”

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Another Seven For Jamie

Jamie Cartwright’s start to his chub campaign just keeps getting better after landing yet another impressive fish at 7lb 7oz!


A boilie wrapped in matching paste presented on a 10lb braided hooklink did the trick for the former Drennan Cup champion, fishing a stretch of the Great Ouse — a venue that recently produced his previous chub of 7lb 3oz.

Jamie likes to use a large Specimen Landing Net rather than a shallower match style net to allow him to safely rest fish in the margin after being landed. “By simply pushing the end of the landing net handle into the bank you can allow the fish to rest while you sort out your unhooking mat, sling, and scales,” he explained.

This fantastic cap­ture earned Jamie a weekly Drennan Cup award in Angling Times on the 15th of December 2015.

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