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How to Fishing for Chub and Barbel
Block End Tactics
Float Fishing for Chub and Barbel
Fishing the Waggler
Long Trotting with your Chubber Float
Traditional Handmade Floats


How to Start Fishing for Chub and Barbel

Although chub and even barbel have been stocked into stillwaters they are really river fish and to catch these two exciting species from flowing water I have assembled this comprehensive guide which allows you to both float and ledger for them.
For finer presentation in really clear rivers you will probably require a 3-4lbs reel line and some eyed hooks in smaller sizes, say 14 and 16's.

First, consider the three knots below and leam to tie them.

1. The seven turn, tucked half blood knot is used for tying your hook direct to the line or a bomb or feeder to the ledger link, via a snap link which facilitates quick changing.

2. The four turn water knot is for adding a lighter hook link to the reel line (for spooky fish) or for making up a ledger link by cutting off 12 inches of reel line and joining it on 20 inches above the hook. This knot allows you to ledger without any rings, beads, swivels or anti-tangle this or that on the line, all of which pick up loose weed in running water.

3. Lastly the knot called a spade end or barrel knot, is for adding a fine hair rig to your hook (made from back fly tying thread, cotton or 5lb test dacron) so the bait can be presented 'off the hook' to really shy biters. Use a baiting needle and hair stops to help make it


John's Simple Fixed Paternoster Ledger

For all my ledgering in running water I use the simple set up shown below using the four turn water knot as the junction. Weight to hold bottom can then be either swan shots pinched on to the link (in slow currents) or bomb or block end feeder attached via one of the snap links provided.
Good baits for ledgering are casters, maggots, worms, sweetcorn, breadflake, cheese paste, small boilies, meat cubes etc., etc.

You can, of course, catch both species using 'freelining' tactics in really slow currents employing nothing more on the end of your line than a baited hook.
For casting weight, large baits such as a big lobworm, lump of breadflake or cheese paste, or in the case of chub a big slug - are recommended.


Block End Tactics

The beauty of incorporating a block-end feeder into a basic fixed paternoster ledger rig is that it releases free food on a continued basis each time a new cast is made and therefore keeps the barbel and chub foraging up and down the selected swim.

Obviously accurate casting is essential when feeder fishing, particularly in wide, fast rivers or you will scatter the attractor feed and the fish all over the place. So learn to be precise when casting and religiously place the feeder in more or less the same spot (give or take a few feet) every time, cast after cast, after cast.

Eventually chub and barbel learn to associate that great 'plop' of the feeder not with danger but with an arrival of free nosh, so be alert and expectant of a bite from the very moment the feeder settles on the bottom. Very often within seconds of tightening up and concentrating your eyes on the end of the gently bent quiver-tip it springs back violently as though someone has cut the line. But the culprit of course is a fish taking the bait and moving across the current, dislodging the feeder and causing an accentuated 'drop back' bite. Those which engulf the bait and simply carry on downstream sometimes create a bite which looks as though the rod is going in.

In really fast currents minimise resistance when fishing across the stream, by placing the quiver tip rod on two rests and angle it up high. Otherwise the flow will simply pull the bait into water where the fish are not.

The most effective attractor bait for chub and barbel is stewed hempseed and to build up an accumulation of free nosh plus hook bait samples on the bottom of a distant swim spend the first 20 minutes constantly casting out a full feeder. Doctor the holes by enlarging them with a pair of scissors to initiate an immediate release of the contents and continue until you are satisfied a sufficient carpet lies on the bottom. Then rig up a new feeder with its intended size holes and hook length to match. When bites do not happen or are merely spasmodic you have to assume they are not at home, or that they are wary. If the fish are a little on the wary side, tie up a hair rig and present the bait 'off the hook' which usually initiates bites.


Float Fishing for Chub and Barbel

Although most anglers associate feeder fishing with catching chub and especially barbel, both species can be caught on the float. In fact my largest barbel ever was caught stret pegging. So here are some rigs for doing so.

Stret Pegging

For all deepish runs close into the bank there is nothing that can beat stret-pegging. It's a brilliant technique for catching river barbel and chub.

• Remember to set the rig well overdepth in order to form a bow in the line which helps hold the shot in place on the bottom and allows the float to lie flat.
• Try prebaiting your chosen swim with mashed bread or stewed hempseed to attract the fish into the area.
• Your shot should be no more than six inches from the hook.
• Baits can be anything you like. Try flake, worm, meat, cheese, boilie, or trout pellet paste.
• In heavy flows switch to a bomb or link-leger attached via a Drennan ring.
• Cast directly downstream - not against the current.
• Put the rod in two rests with the tip angled upwards so line is held off the surface.


Fishing the Waggler

Owing to the distance involved in reaching certain swims with float tackle, even after wading out a few yards, natural presentation of the bait can be hampered by a float fixed top and bottom. Any kind of control, or the slightest wind, will drag the float and consequently the bait off the feed line, across the swim instead of down it. Then, the obvious remedy is to fish the waggler. Indeed, on certain barbel rivers it is the method.
For ease of casting, and to hit the same line consistently, do not be afraid to rig up a really big, thick peacock waggler that takes plenty of shot. For long, medium-paced swims where there is time for the bait to find its level slowly, bulk most of the shot around the float, leaving room down below for a couple of No. 1S and a No. 4 20 in above the hook. In order every so often to mend the bow that forms between rod tip and float as it is carried downstream unchecked, grease the line above the float with mucilin. The bow is impossible to mend if the line is sunk.

If the bottom is clean, smooth sand or gravel, the float tip may be shotted reasonably well down. Where the river bed is uneven, however, leave a good 1 inch of the tip above the surface, encouraging the buoyancy in the peacock waggler to drag the bait over the river-bed without the tip being submerged.


Long Trotting with your Chubber Float

There is nothing at all complicated about this method, it really is very easy if you follow a few basic rules. If successful you'll enjoy the clunk of the large chubber float as you strike into your first float-caught barbel or chub.

• Use 3lb to 6lb reel line depending on size of fish and snags. But fish as light as possible as it makes presentation much easier.
• Always attach the chubber with three rubber sleeves. It takes a lot of strain on the strike so the bands do some-times break. If one goes, you still have two left.
• Don't thread the line through the float's bottom eye or you won't be able to switch your float quickly when reacting to changing conditions, such as an increase in flow.
• Use breadcrust on the hook for uneven bottoms as it will ride up and snag less frequently than heavier bait like worms.
• On clean, even bottoms you can use baits such as maggots, casters or the tail of a lobworm.


John's Surface Bait Rig for Chub

This is a simple set-up, but when the water is warm and the chub are looking up for food then you will enjoy some heart stopping moments using it.

A simple flat float locked either end with shot makes an ideal controller. Use your balsa trotter, or a length of unpainted peacock quill.
The addition of an AAA shot at either end holds the float flat to the surface.
Don't forget to grease the line so it doesn't pull the rig under and striking is easy.
Without the controller float the current will bend the line in a snaky and uncontrollable position on the surface.
A live Daddy Longlegs on a size 14 hook is an excellent Summer bait.
For bigger baits like crust, wasp cake or Chum Mixers use hooks from size 10 to 6
Drift your bait under overhanging bushes or close to other features like weed rafts.


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