There are quite a few species of fish called “chub”, so before I start with this post, I have to specify: it’s about the European chub (Leuscius cephalus), in the Cyprinidae family. As its name suggests it, it’s an European fish, can be caught in any country of Europe, and Russia. Although is not exactly one of the most popular game fish, and they don’t grow too big either (the record is 4.2 kg), fishing for chub requires finesse, since it’s one of the most skittish fish.
Where to Catch European Chub
Chub are fresh water fish, they prefer small and medium rivers, with sandy, gravely and stone beds, with plenty of vegetation on the banks. They often hide under fallen trees, submerged logs, tree roots or any structure that can provide shelter. Trees hanging over the water are also excellent markers of chub spots, as they feed on whatever insects, fruit or leaves that drop in the water from the trees. And it’s also indicated to use insects from those trees as bait.
Up to a medium 0.5 kg size, chub travel and feed in small groups, but as they grow larger, they tend to become solitary and choose a certain spot as their hideout.
Chub Fishing Techniques
Since chub are very skittish fish, have a very good eye sight (it’s said they have an eye in each scale), they are sensitive to movement and water splashes, chub fishing requires quite some stalking. Camo outfit, and as little moving as possible is required. Pole fishing, spinning with small lures or fly fishing are the most used fishing techniques for chub. When pole fishing, one of the techniques used by many anglers, especially on a small river, is trotting – allowing the float to unspool the line and carry the bait down the stream.
Chub fishing doesn’t necessarily require groundbaiting. Walking along the riverbank and casting a few times in each spot where you think/know chub are hiding can be a lot more productive in biting/hooking, than standing in one spot. This rule stands for any type of fishing – spinning, pole fishing or fly fishing.
Bait and Lures For Chub
Chub are omnivorous fish, like most fish in the Cyprinidae family, so their diet includes insects, fruit, seeds, worms, larvae, small crustaceans. As they grow bigger, they become more and more interested in preying on small fish, frogs, taking bigger baits.
There are a couple of natural (live) baits for chub that most anglers use. Among these should be mentioned: small boilies, boiled corn, redworms, maggots (3 on a hook), leeches, small slices of liver (one of the best baits for chub in murky water), small fish or sections of small fish (especially tails), cherries or mulberries, cheese paste or dough with various flavors (like cheese, vanilla, cocoa, strawberry etc).
In case the water is carrying color, with a lesser visibility, smelly baits are better. However, if the water is very clear, you should count on colorful baits, and fly fishing or spinning might bring better results.
Lure fishing for chub is most indicated in larger bodies of water. As a general idea, if chub are not spooked by the splashes, it’s likely they will take the lure. Color is much more important than the type of the lure. They are quite picky when it comes to this, and you’ll probably have to change a few lures until you find out the type they prefer. It’s best to start with a silver or yellow lure – small spinner, spoon, or plug – since these are the colors that shine best into the water. Small Ondex or Mepps spinners are excellent choices. Chub can also be caught with small jigs, but then again, you’ll have to swap a few rubber grubs or minnows until you find the right one.
Finally, if you’re going to try fly fishing for chub, a few flies that you should try are: Soldier Palmer, Black Gnats, Griffin Gnats, Knotted Midge, Sawyer Pheasant Tail Nymphs, Parachute Adams flies. Anyway, for fly fishing, keep your hooks a bit smaller, between 10 – 18, depending on what’s the size of the chub you’re targeting.
European Chub Tackle
If you’re looking for a balanced chub fishing tackle, here are some recommendations:
Rods: The standard float rod for chub should be somewhere between 13-15ft , 1.5 t/c. For spinning you should go with an UL stick, 6-8ft. And if you’re fly fishing, any rod that you would use for trout, should work fine for chub. A few names to go with are: Drennan, Harrison Power Float, DAM quicksticks etc. Chub aren’t exactly monsters, they don’t grow that big, so almost any brand should do.
Reels: Unless you’re going with fly gear, a light or medium size spinning reel is always a great choice for chub fishing. Daiwa TDX 3012, Daiwa Exceler 2500 TSH (Spinning), Okuma Zeon, Shimano Exage 2500 or a Mitchell 310XE.
Line: 2-6lb, monofilament. Chub don’t have teeth, so you don’t need an extra abrasion resistant line. Mono is also cheaper and lighter.
Hooks: Chub have a rather big mouth, and they’re experts in spitting the bait out, if they feel something’s not right. So, depending on the one you’ve located, you might want to swap hooks and choose the right size. Anyway, hooks ranging between No. 4 and 8, should be OK, with a medium shank (for earthworms) or small shank (for maggots, snails, small boilies, dough etc), medium or large gap, and not shiny if possible.
Rigs: Keep your rig as simple as possible. Always use a stick float, green, black, brown or the less colored, the better. Always use a gliding sinker, to oppose as less resistance as possible. In case you’re going with a rig with boilies, similar to the rigs for carp, it’s best not to put the boilies on hair rigs. Just put them on the hook and bury the hook into the bait as much as possible.