Frosty Morning

Frosty Morning

Friday, 20 July 2012

Lacock Chub

For me, nothing quite beats catching fish on your local river. I am fortunate enough to live within a 5 minute drive of the beautiful and famous village of Lacock. Meandering through the grounds of the glorious Lacock Abbey is a well known stretch of the Bristol Avon. Known as the Abbey fields, this section of river is a perfect habitat for chub and barbel. It is rich in natural food sources and contains many overhanging trees and weed beds for my quarry to hide amongst.

The likes of Trefor West and Tony Miles brought this section of the Bristol Avon to the forefront in perhaps the most famous of all Barbel books “A Quest for Barbel”. They enjoyed large catches of barbel over a number of years from this stretch and in fact from time to time I bump into Trefor guiding or simply fishing himself. It has however declined in recent years, most notably due to otter predation (say no more).

                                     Quest for Barbel - Tony Miles and Trefor West

As I arrived at my chosen swim there was still a noticeable pace, it was however dropping compared to the previous weeks. With many non-anglers complaining about the deluge of rain we have had in the last couple of months I can hand on heart say it has been a blessing in disguise for us anglers. Fishing on Lacock can be tough as summer normally means stalking tactics with lighter tackle. The extra water has generally led to fish feeding more voraciously, and as a result, catch rates have improved drastically when comparing to the previous couple of years, not just on the Bristol Avon but, up and down the country. 

                                      The wait begins...

This swim in question had all the features which pointed towards my chosen quarry, not barbel but a fish for all seasons, the chub. To the right of me was a reed raft and beyond that an over-hanging tree, both ideal holding spots for a hungry chub, I  could envisage them hovering there waiting for their meal to come to them. I threw a few pellets out into the current perhaps 10 yards upstream from the spot to allow for the pace of current.

As there was a significant pace on the water I decided that a 3oz gripper lead would hold my bait in position. The bait in question was a pair of drilled 10mm Dynamite Halibut pellets attached to a hair rig. Pellets have become a staple part of the chub’s diet in recent years and I have complete faith in using them to pull in fish of specimen proportions. With the pellets attached I made my first cast and sat back in anticipation of a ravenous chub picking up my bait. 

                                          A 3oz gripper lead teamed with a pair of 10mm Dynamite Pellets

As time frittered away I sat back and enjoyed my surroundings. A suicidal squirrel jumped from tree to tree, a blackbird sang its merry song and perhaps the most beautiful bird of them all, a flash of blue, the kingfisher flew past at an astronomical pace several times in search of its supper. Not only do I envy the kingfisher for its stunning appearance but also its ability to out fish me everyday of the week.

As I watched a kingfisher sitting on a branch on the far bank eyeing up its next meal my rod started moving from left to right - just a small tap - I struck and was met with a small resistance. This fish was indeed my target species but it was unfortunately ounces rather than pounds. Somehow a chub of perhaps 8oz had engulfed two 10mm pellets! A chubs mouth is rather cavernous for its size, and what many people do  not realise is that chub have a set of teeth in the back of their throat, specifically designed for crushing their food, in this case pellets.

I wouldn't recommend putting your finger in a chubs mouth!!!

I recast my bait into the same spot using the now famous Wallis Cast. PLOP. It landed just under the tree on the far bank; the flow pulled my bait further along the river and nestled perfectly under a reed raft. It must have only been a further 5 minutes and my rod tip sprung into life, once, twice and whack. The rod was bent double and my 1930s Allcock Aerial began screaming. I swept my rod from its rest and pulled into what felt like a very good fish. It held its ground to begin with, staying firmly on the river bed. I began easing the fish in, just as I thought about putting one hand on the landing net handle the fish changed course and headed straight for a snag.

                                      Let the battle commence

                                       ... scooping up my prize.

I held firm not giving the fish an inch, chub are famously considered expert snag finders and this fish was by know means an exception to this. However, after a good battle, I finally defeated the chub and it floated towards my gaping net...

A perfect combo - a pristine chub with my favourite reel.

                                         Worth the wait. A Bristol Avon chub of perhaps 4lb 8oz

What a stunner! This beautiful chub was both scale and fin perfect, it also still appeared to be holding its weight from the spring. I would say it was a typical example of a Bristol Avon chub, perhaps 4lb 8oz of pure power. Why not try for yourself by joining the Bristol Amalgamated or purchasing a day ticket?

Bristol Amalgamated website

All pictures courtesy of my beautiful fiance Mandy Garner

Tight Lines


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