How To Catch Chub



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Chub Factfile

  • The Latin name for a chub is leuciscus cephalus
  • Often confused with dace when small, a check of the dorsal and anal fins can clear up any doubt.
  • Most commonly found in rivers, chub can also be caught in stillwaters, too.
  • The British chub record stands at 9lb 5oz and was caught by Andy Maker from a southern gravel pit in 2007. It was equalled in 2012 by Neill Stephen with a fish from the River Lea.


Chub Fishing

Where do I find them?

Chub mainly inhabit rivers and are widespread throughout the UK. They can be increasingly found in stillwaters, too.

Recognising what they look like

There is often some confusion when it comes to recognising chub and this mainly occurs with juvenile examples of the species. They can be mistaken for dace when only an ounce or two in size.

The way to tell the difference is to study the dorsal  and anal fins. A chub’s fins are convex (an outward shape), while the dace’s fins are concave (an inward shape).

As chub mature, they are much easier to spot. They have a big, blunt head, brassy-coloured flanks, big scales, orange anal fins and large white lips that enable them to big items of food.

The biggest chub caught in UK waters weighed in at 9lb 5oz and was taken in 2007 from a southern stillwater. A fish equal to that weight was banked in 2012, this time from the River Lea.

Which venues do they live in?

Chub are naturally a river-dwelling species although in they can be found in certain stillwaters, too. Indeed the fish that jointly stands as the British record was taken from a large gravel pit.

Almost all rivers in the UK are home to chub. Look for overhanging trees, undercut banks or depressions in the river bed – anywhere this often very wary fish can find cover.  

Stealth is the angler’s chief weapon when chub are the target. Although, on occasion, they can be voracious eaters, generally speaking they are extremely cautious – especially on low, clear rivers in summer conditions.

Some stillwater chub are escapees from their river environment (generally during floodwater conditions), whereas others are purposefully stocked. These commercial water chub tend to be less wary than their stillwater cousins, largely because the stocking density forces them to compete for food.

What is on the menu for chub?

Chub have varied tastes – and will eat almost anything! Naturally, their diet is made up of freshwater shrimp, insect larvae and even small fish.  

Although they are predatory, chub do not have teeth in their mouths. Instead these – called pharyngeal teeth – are found at the back of the throat. These are extremely powerful and capable of crushing up the hard shells found on water snails and crayfish.

What is the best way to target them?

Assuming a river is the target, the angler has two options: either floatfish or leger.

If choosing the former, a waggler or stickfloat approach can be adopted to trot for fish. With a maggot on the hook, this can be a very effective way of catching smaller chub.
However, legering is probably the preferred option if you want fish in excess of 3lb to 4lb. A light link leger, with a piece of breadflake, a lobworm or a lump of paste makes for a great combination. Up the lead you need to hold bottom dependent on the flow.

If you are fishing a commercial venue for chub, maggots fished up-in-the-water take some beating. Present a couple of maggots a few feet deep underneath a waggler and keep spraying maggots over the top until the chub are competing for every mouthful.

Go and target chub now!
If you want to take the legering approach to catch chub then a rod with different quivertips is the answer. These can be selected dependant on the river’s flow, the weight of lead and the size of fish that are the target. This one is exceptional value for money at just £20, while this Garbolino rod is at the top end of feeder rods – but offers incredible performance.

Couple your choice of rod with a suitable reel. This one offers the added advantage of coming with seven spare spools.

As chub tend to inhabit snaggy, awkward to reach places, choose a mainline with enough strength to allow you to apply a fair degree of force. Line like Maxima Chameleon in 6lb is a reliable choice.

When it comes to bait, chub aren’t fussy. Natural options like worm, bread or sweetcorn are good, but then so are boilies like these Dynamite Marine Halibut variety.

Dynamite Frenzied HempRemember, chub are like many other species of coarse fish – they love hemp and pellets. Both can be introduced in quantity to both attract fish and keep them in the area without filling them up.

It pays to travel light when chubbing so keep gear to a minimum. A small rucksack or holdall,  a lightweight chair and a landing net are all that’s required.


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