Although the chub is widely regarded as a classic British river species, their widespread presence on many canals more than merits special attention. Nor are these solid golden-bronze fish a poor relation to those found in running water. To take just one example, I will never forget the day my friend Seb Nowosiad hooked and landed a huge fish on the Kennet and Avon Canal. We had assumed that the thumping presence on the line was a pike, before a fish rolled that left us both speechless. At just an ounce shy of 7lb, this was a monster to open anyone’s eyes to the potential of giant chub from Britain’s towpaths.
The fact that this beast took a small lure also highlights the diversity of methods that can be used to catch chub. A broad spectrum of approaches is equally valid, from pole fished worms right through to specimen tactics and even artificial flies. In short, whichever method you prefer to use on the local Cut, the chances are you’ll be able to target chub if they are present.
Union Canal Fishing Photo Gallery
Perhaps that should come as little surprise, because chub are incredibly adaptable. It is this versatility and wide-ranging predatory diet that explains their great success on canals. From fly life to roach fry, discarded baits to crayfish, little escapes the keen eyesight and bold mouth of the chub.
Canals that meet with rivers are one explanation of rogue chub populations, but in many other cases their presence is the direct result of stocking programs. Such has been the case on many waters such as the Shropshire Union and Taunton to Bridgwater Canals. Introduced to boost catches, fingerlings of this greedy species don’t stay small for long. Nor are these wily survivors short-lived. Fast forward a few years and the resulting beasts weigh pounds rather than ounces. And what phenomenal fish they are: cunning and sometimes easily spooked, yet eminently catchable for any single-minded angler who knows where to look.
They might be spooky fish at times, but chub are also a naturally inquisitive, aggressive species. The angler can capitalise on this by imparting some movement into their offerings. Pole anglers in particular can earn extra bites by regularly lifting and dropping their baited rigs. Chub will ofen home in and make a grab as the bait is falling or settling in the water.
Chub are lovers of cover and shade. Several were lurking under this barge on a hot day.
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