Join the chub club

Of all the coarse fish you can rely on, chub are probably top of the list, writes Roger Poole of Petworth and Bognor Angling Club.

David Bond with a Rother chub
David Bond with a Rother chub

They’re found mainly in rivers but also in still waters. Old ‘rubber lips’, as they are fondly called, are often the highlight for anglers even when targeting other species.

Chub are the river’s labradors: they love their food and accept almost everything that comes their way. I can think of no bait they don’t like.

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David Bond’s Rother chub (as pictured) fancied cheese paste, a popular bait. I’ve probably caught more chub on cheese than anything else, but bread, worm, maggots, and even boilies are sucked in by their wide-open mouths.

Fly anglers fishing for trout will often end up with a good chub. John Searl, a renowned angler on the Avon, taught me how to lure a chub on fly.

He knew chub nearly always liked tree and bank-side shrub cover. Having located their dark images holding station, even in the Avon’s clear water, he gently dropped a mayfly or grey wolf just upstream and close to the bank, no more than three feet out, and let the fly float downstream to where they were.

The chub let the first casts pass by, but their appetite got the better of them and before you knew it they’d taken it down.

The good thing about chub is they can grow to a good size. Our two main rivers, the Rother and Arun, both have a good population of chub. They are a shoaling fish, more so in the Arun than the Rother, where 3lb to 5lb specimens are quite normal but seem more isolated.

The Arun fish run in larger numbers but the larger fish are harder to find. Chub, while more of a winter fish for anglers, turn up throughout the year.

For me catching chub by trotting a float close to the bank is great.

Meanwhile, the glorious date of June 16 when rivers are officially once again open for coarse fishing has passed and that will doubtless take some of the pressure off our club’s ponds, most of which stay open for the whole year.

The still waters are very popular with a lot of anglers, many of whom like the tranquility they provide against the flow of a river.

This year, Petworth Park pond is seeing anglers finding large shoals of bream, tench and some fine crucian carp, while the clubs Stemps and Cart ponds at Walberton are popular for carp anglers and there’s plenty of roach to keep you busy on the float.

Sadly we seem to come across people of all ages who don’t bother to join a fishing club but are content to take a chance and fish in the hope they don’t get caught. There are those who can’t be bothered to buy a fishing licence.

Every year our club bailiffs have the unpleasant job of asking them to stop fishing and immediately leave the water. Why do people do this? I can’t understand the mentality – after all they obviously like fishing, so why cheat on others who pay their way?

All clubs have overheads and costs that membership fees have to cover, so why this dishonesty among the few who feel they can enjoy their fishing at someone else’s expense?

The Environment Agency have really toughened up against those who fail to buy an annual licence. Uf you haven’t bought one yet, do so now – if you’re caught fishing without one, it’s a criminal offence: that could be very expensive and you’ll end up with a criminal record.

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Roger Poole

Chairman, Petworth & Bognor Angling Club

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