Despite being present on many canals, chub are anything but evenly spread. Fish the wrong area and you might never see one, whereas a favourite hideout could be the home of a dozen fat fish.
Like perch, chub can be reassuringly predictable in their haunts and habits. They are lovers of shade and cover first and foremost. Bridges, lock gates, tree cover and moored boats are all likely places to find them. Sometimes it is possible to lure them out with free food, but in general terms chub fishing is about presenting your offering as close to cover as you dare. This is never truer than in less than ideal conditions and as a general rule, the brighter and sunnier the day, the tighter you’ll find the local chub clinging to any available shade. I once caught several of over 3lb on a baking hot day, but only by using a pole to lower a worm right under the hull of a barge on the far bank.
Tailrace Canal Fishing Photo Gallery
Other likely areas are more akin to river fishing lies. Chub certainly like little inflows and can sometimes be found in the streamier water just below lock gates. Baits can be trotted under a decent-sized float in such cases and the fish will often lie just off the main flow of water, where they can happily pick off any passing morsels.
Des Taylor tries close to some lock gates, often a good feature for chub.
Chub are not the most powerful of fish, but their love of snags combined with a bludgeoning fight render light tackle foolhardy. Line of 4lb should probably be seen as a minimum, but where chub run large and obstacles are present I would have no hesitation in stepping up to 6-8lb strength. Hooks, likewise, need to be strong enough for the job. Whether your choice is a size 16 to present double caster or a size 6 for a lobworm or boilie, I prefer a forged, wide-gape pattern. And while to some extent it’s true that you’ll earn more bites with finer tackle, there’s absolutely no point in hooking a fish you can’t land. With chub there is also a strong case for doing away with a weaker hooklength entirely. Indeed, my preference for either running line or pole fishing is to fish “straight through” with no connecting knot that could suddenly part.
Methods and baits can vary a great deal, but will be dictated to some extent by water clarity and conditions. A good general rule is to avoid busier times of day with boats and pedestrians, when resident chub ofen go into hiding. Many are the times when the fish suddenly switch on as boat and human traffic die down, or bright weather is replaced by cloud cover.