A couple of times a year, and far too infrequently, I get to fish with great mate John Kemp. It’s something I always look forward to. I think we both have the same outlook on fishing, which is basically enjoy the surroundings, the friendship as well as the fishing.
Anyway, we had another trip planned to the upper Thames in pursuit of large chub. It’s a spot I particularly like and still holds some stonking chub. A couple of years ago John caught his Thames monster here, a magnificent chub of 7lb 2oz. So we know it still holds the potential to throw up a real whacker.
The forecast was pretty grim and yet we seemed to miss the worst of the weather, which is exactly what happened last time. The only thing this time was the wind. It must have been gale force at times. Nevertheless we fished on in brave fashion. As always we started in the big weir. John tends to fish a small cage feeder with liquidized bread and flake on the hook and I use a large piece of crust anchored a few inches off bottom. If the swim allows, I will throw in a few balls of liquidized bread as an attractant.
My fishing tackle collection is very simple. I fish 6lb line straight through to a size 6 hook. I slide on 2 Drennan Grippa Stops and then loop over a piece of line and attach the appropriate amount of shot that’s required to just hold bottom. I use the size 2 or 3 ssgs. I vary the distance from the hook but generally its 4 or 5 inches. If its really cold then it will be just a couple of inches from the hook. I then use a big piece of crust. The crust helps to balance the setup, so that it’s easy to move the bait with a twitch, in fact often the bait will move of its own accord. Once you have cast out, keep a nice bow in the line so that if the bait does move, it will travel downstream in a straight line and act far more naturally.
After a couple of casts to get the weight right, I flicked the crust out into the weir pool and put the rod on a rest. It was a tight swim but a good angle to attack the pool. The bait bumped a couple of times and then that tell tale knock on the tip indicated a chub. One more knock…..yes then the tip pulled right round. This is a typical chub bite on crust. The strike was good and the fish on the other end felt heavy as it plodded upstream. For a minute I thought maybe this was not a chub but then it headed for the snags on the inside and I thought, yes it’s a chub. It finally broke surface and I could see it was a decent fish. Once in the net I realised it was even bigger than I thought. I called JK and he came down to assist.
I though it looked a good five but inside I was thinking it was bigger. Well it turned out to be a good fish and weighed in at 6lb 1oz and is my first 6lb Thames chub. I jumped up and down a few times and shook John firmly by the hand. This was one of the highlights of my season. I haven’t caught a 6lb chub for some years. I used to fish for them almost exclusively and now rarely, so I was absolutely chuffed to bits and so was John.
John wandered upstream and I followed a couple of bite-less hours later. We opted to move upstream where there were lots of enticing marginal swims with deep water and loads of cover. We slowly worked our way back down towards the weir. During this process I managed 2 more chub, which both weighed 4lb 13oz, despite being caught a few hundred yards apart. John also tempted a couple of fish, including a good 4lb+ fish before we ended up back in the weir.
We finished here about 7pm. John took another nice chub that was in the region of 4.8lb and I sadly couldn’t tempt another fish. Still what a great day. Beautiful scenery, I saw a wild deer, plenty of bird-life and great company and all the chub were fat and healthy and in mint condition. Oh, and we never saw another angler as usual. Lovely chubbly