Justin Grapes- Getting To Know The River For Chub

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Justin Grapes- Getting To Know The River For Chub


Chub fishing has been a passion for me for several years now, and the thrill of not knowing what you're going to catch and how big the chub are going to be is what draws me back again and again . After several years of fishing different stretches of rivers for chub and catching big chub over 7 lb from stretches that don’t normally produce monster fish there’s a few things which I always look for and things I don’t ignore. To get the most out of your stretch of river and catch those target fish here are a few pointers to think about.



The first thing to look for are massive chub holding areas are features . It might sound the most obvious thing but there are a lot of features that you can’t see.

These features you won’t find unless you make the effort to walk stretches in the summer when the water is low and clear.

Deep holes on bends and under water obstructions like tree roots, weed beds and even things like tractor tyres can be great hiding places for chub.

A good pair of polarised glasses are a must on the rivers to find features and fish. Keeping a note of bank side features is one of the most important things, so keep a mental note or even write down exactly where these marks are for when the landscape changes in the winter,as things look very different! If you're even just a rod length away from some areas it might be the difference between getting a bite or not .



The next thing is the position of your hook bait. On a bend I have found that if it is fast flowing, then on the inside line is better, while if you're fishing a long straight then the centre of the river is a good spot . But if there are features involved then casting under or in front of these features will catch those hungry chub. There have been times when I’ve sat over a hook bait and watched the behaviour of chub and if it doesn’t react naturally then they just move off. So, if you can, position the hook bait in such a way that it lays in the swim naturally .

Bait is the next thing and in my eyes not the most important thing, as chub are a greedy fish and if you put a bait in front of them they will normally take it. Don’t get me wrong , sometimes chub will take cheese paste and not touch bread flake, and other times bread is the killer bait, but if you take a couple of different baits with you then 9 times out of 10 a chub will take one or the other.

If you are fishing a stretch which has very few fish in a long stretch then the smellier the bait the better in the location of these fish .



Time scale in a swim can be very important on different rivers.

Most of the rivers that I have fished, a mobile approach is the best way to locate and catch chub, but sometimes on bigger rivers a sit and wait approach is the way to go.

My approach to most of my river fishing is that when I’ve found a good amount of hot swims I will go to the first swim and bait it up, then the next swim etc until I’ve got enough swims baited for the session,then go back to the first swim and fish it; by that time if there are chub in the area you will get quick bites and no more than 15 minutes per swim will do.

The only exception to this is if I’ve had some sort of indication on the quiver tip, then I might give it longer or even another cast.

Sometimes consistently fishing the same swims can work against you; if you're constantly fishing one swim and hooking a few chub, then it can go dead, so giving it a rest and just baiting it in passing can keep that swim productive for longer.



Travelling light is a must as on most rivers you can be walking 3 or 4miles in a session, so all I take is a small rucksack for a camera and a few items of spare tackle, a lightweight seat, a rod rest and my rod and reel and a good quality extendable landing net.

Good footwear and clothing is a must for those long winter nights so you're not cold and uncomfortable when you're out in the frosts for hours.

Probably the most important thing is to do your homework on the stretch to make sure there are chub in it and of a size that you can target .


Making a record of what you have caught and from where ,and most importantly what state the river is in, as most swims fish differently in different conditions; in flood conditions the straights are normally better as there is a steadier flow for the fish to sit in. Never ignore the water under your own bank as this is one of the best places to find chub .


On the rig front there are only a couple of rigs I go to now ,but the one I will use nine times out of ten is a simple paternoster rig. The only thing I do to give me an edge is use a length of Preston power line for the hook link, in conjunction with a size 4 hook . I like to keep the bait moving across the swim, so I use as little weight as possible . And that is as simple as it gets, but it gives great results .

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