Trotting for Chub
Chub – one of the most aesthetically pleasing fish found in our rivers. The colours: some a beautiful golden bronze and some a silvery grey, with a dark back and black edging to the fins. The most easily identifiable part of the chub is of course those great big white lips, attached to that cavernous mouth.
Chub seem to be distributed throughout most of the UK and are even rumoured to be in Ireland, despite the official line. They are the most accommodating of fish with a catholic taste and make bait selection almost endless. Most chub anglers have their personal favourites. Whether it is cheesepaste, casters, maggots, lob worms, slugs, fruit, bread, fish baits, boilies or pellets. Really the list of possibilities is endless. Try anything and everything and you’ll be surprised and probably delighted by the results.
Winter, for many, is the real chubbing season. The keen coarse fisherman is ready for any weather nature can throw at him. Ideal conditions though, are without doubt, spells of prolonged dry conditions. Whether it’s freezing cold or relatively mild, it doesn’t really matter. Even the harshest of winter frosts won’t deter the chub from biting, providing they have had a few days to acclimatise to the below freezing conditions. High water during flood conditions is another matter altogether. Best get the barbel rods out and forget the chub for a while.
So we move swiftly on to the technique of trotting. A method overlooked by many big fish anglers in favour of a more static approach. However, do not underestimate the power of a trotted maggot or piece of bread flake to entice chub of mammoth, nay, mythical proportions!
The basic principles of trotting are fairly simple. So I’ll start with the fishing tackle.
Any decent fishing rods, match or trotting of around 13 to 14 feet. This may well be governed by the stretch of river you are fishing. If there are a lot of trees, you may wish to use a shorter rod to avoid overhead branches, otherwise a 13foot rod is about perfect. Look for something with a nice tip that will be able to pick line up off of the surface at a distance. Don’t go for anything too pokey either, or you’ll suffer hook pulls galore. Ideally a nice tippy, soft, through action match style rod is perfect.
Your reel is one of the most important pieces of your fishing gear, nearly as important as your hook! Centrepins are perhaps the purists choice and that of the more experienced river angler. However I can assure you that with very little practice, if any, you will be able to fish quite effectively with a pin despite being a novice. They are simple to use, offer a smooth presentation of the float and unparalleled control of a hooked fish. One of my favourites is the TF Gear Classic Centrepin.
Centrepins are essentially a rotating drum. Most, these days, have ball bearings and so are incredibly free running. The mere weight of a float being carried along by the slightest current will be sufficient to turn the drum of the pin, thus allowing line to be taken from the reel. The float goes with the natural flow of the river. You can control the spinning of the pin further by using your thumb as a brake.
Closed Faced Reels
A number of closed face reels are still available. Essentially the line is controlled via a release button on the front of the reel. The spool of line is enclosed within the outer housing. Line spools off the reel once the button has been pressed. The flow of line is then controlled via your finger. This system allows line to leave the reel in a very free running fashion and suits trotting perfectly.
The standard coarse fishing reel. With the bail arm open line can spool off quite freely and as with the closed face reel, can be controlled with a finger. This is perhaps the least favoured reel for trotting as it is harder to control the line as effectively. However in experienced hands it can be every bit as effective as the centrepin and closed face varieties.