Summer has drawn to a close, transitioning to autumn. Daylight hours shorten as the leaves display a fiery array of colours. October brings change in my fishing as I step away from chub, and turn my focus back to bass, and later pike. It’s not that chub can’t be caught on lures though autumn and even winter. But, with so much to fish for, I’m excited to change my target species.
Although ready for a change, I’ve been out on the bank, trying for a few final fish before moving on. As covered in last week’s blog, I’ve been toying with different ideas and tactics. In recent sessions I’ve set my sights on fishing new venues, taking the opportunity to catch up with my good mate John Bailey.
TO THE RIVER WYE
My old friend Joe came back from the States to visit his parents. Years ago, we worked together in a tackle shop and have stayed in touch since. Joe’s an avid angler, and really enjoys targeting striped bass, salmon and steelhead back home. Exciting fishing. Joe, however, had unfinished business with one particular UK species… barbel. A fish Joe had yet to catch, along with big chub. With a bucket list fish to tick off the list, I suggested Joe and his father (Rick) make a visit to the River Wye for a guided session with John Bailey. I of course had to tag along.
We arrived in Herefordshire mid-afternoon, with a few hours to spare before checking in to the bed and breakfast. With time to spare, we decided to check out a day ticket stretch of the Wye, finding the river extremely low. Heavy rainfall was forecast, which would help us greatly on the quest for a barbel, but in the meantime we chucked on the waterproofs and decided to target chub.
Joe was excited to try and catch one on the lure, comparing the set-up to his light smallmouth gear back home. Joe was keen to see me take the lead, demonstrating the lures and techniques we would be using. I rigged up a 2-10g Custom Ultra Light and tied on a 3D Cicada, and we set off in search of some fish. With the river so low and banks steep, it was easy to spot fish.
Within a few minutes of walking, I set sights on a nice chub sitting beside a fallen branch. There was a clear path to the water below where I could land the fish, so I prepared to take my shot, casting from higher on the bank. Plop, I landed a few yards across river from the chub, aiming for my lure to pass within about 12 inches of its nose. I began to retrieve slowly, making the wings of the Cicada rock and churn water.
As the lure drew close to the chub it sprang into action, bolting forwards and engulfing the lure. I chose not to strike, allowing the fish to hook itself as it turned. A strong fight followed, the fish trying hard to reach the sunken branches. I grabbed the net and began to work my way down to the water. I missed my step, focusing on the fish and lost balance, and before I knew it, I was on my backside hurtling towards the water with a large splash. This of course gave the chub a second bout of energy, however I quickly recovered and netted my prize, a beautiful golden coloured chub. My first from the Wye.
The rest of the afternoon was spent teaching Joe to catch them on lures. The first hour proved difficult with a few missed and lost fish, including what would have been a PB for Joe. Eventually he got the feel for it, and after a well placed cast banked his first ever chub on a lure. Joe was thrilled with the result, so we fished on for a few hours, banking several more. The session with John really made the trip complete, as both Rick and Joe banked PBs, with Joe achieving his target species.
The next venture for me was to target chub from a kayak, something I’ve never tried before, due to most of the permissions I fish being quite small. With the opportunity to target a longer stretch I decided to give it go. It proved an interesting experience, with benefits and drawbacks. Long clean casts, to feature I would usually struggle to get to from the bank, opened up much more water.
The drawback proved to be the range. It’s difficult getting close to spooky chub while causing so much disturbance. However, with perseverance I soon banked a few fish, finishing my session with a cracking chub, while jigging a PVC Mayfly. Targeting chub from a kayak is certainly something I would like to explore more. While not overly beneficial on smaller rivers, it could prove to be excellent sport on larger public venues where fish are used to activity on the water.
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