Chub can be obliging biters when conditions are right. They will literally eat anything, livebaits, worms, maggots, strawberries, cheese paste and bread. The list goes on. This week I challenged myself to fish an old method that has all but been forgotten in todays modern angling mags, a tactic renowned for sorting out big chub – Stick float fishing steak and mince. In this article I will show you just how I did it!
After a busy week the only free day to fish was Sunday, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Mild conditions at the back end of the week saw temperatures reaching 13 degrees, this coupled with rain on Saturday afternoon bought the river into what i consider ideal chub fishing condition. When I arrived the level was dropping with the water clarity at around 30cm. It was just perfect!
Choosing a swim was easy. This is my local river and I know it very well. Its roughly 7ft deep here with an over hanging bush at the end. For anyone unsure on picking chub swims this is what I look for as a rule of thumb.
Chub are like any other fish. They will sit in slack areas off the main flow and pick food off coming down. The picture above speaks a thousand words. Anyone walking next to flowing water will see swims like this. Note the feature at the end of the swim, chub will hide in snags such as over hanging trees etc for cover. Feeding in line will draw them out and away from the snag. Trott your float down the same line you feed.
I mix my mincemeat with Sonu Baits Cheesey Garlic Crush. This ground bait STINKS! My partner hates me using it, she thinks she can smell it for days after! Chub love it though and it never fails me. A quarter of a bag this size is usually enough to mix with 500g packet of mince, it will give you a consistency like in the picture above. All the long strands of mince have broken up and the ground bait stops the meat sticking together allowing it to break down in the water. For the steak theres no need to go out and buy rib eye or anything like that! Tesco quick fry steak is perfect, its quite tough and fatty so it stays on the hook better! I usually fish a slither of steak about as wide as my thumbnail and around 2cm long on a size 14 hook (see photograph below)
The first thing I do on arrival into a swim is introduce some bait. I mix my ground bait, and ball in three walnut sized balls on the line I am going to fish, then I set up if I haven’t already. If I’m fishing a totally new swim I set up first and have a few trotts down without a hook bait to get a good idea of the depth, snags, and anything else that may be lurking down there. I find that feeding first and leaving it while you set up will give the fish chance to gain confidence before to drop a hook bait in.
For the first five trotts I feed every time, and if I don’t pick up a bite or a fish within this time then I drop to every other trott, then every two trotts. I feed as much as seems appropriate, theres no point in throwing in loads of bait if theres no fish down there or they’re not feeding. Little and often is the key, I never feed anything more than a walnut sized (or smaller) ball at a time.
I use my trusty Drennan IM9 Classic Float rod. You always buy quality when you buy Drennan. This is by far one of the best all round float rods on the market. It can handle reel lines from 3-5lb and is as comfortable catching small silver fish as it catching a 7lb chub. I absolutely love this rod. I pair it with a Daiwa TD Match 2508, again another quality product. I fish 5lb Berkley XL float through to a loop-to-loop knot attaching a Drennan Suplex 3lb hooklength. The hook I use is a Drennan Margin Carp Barbless.
My float is a 12X4 Preston Innovations wire stem stick float with a big shoulder. This allows me to have better control.
It didn’t take long before I started picking up bites. My first 2 fish were two little grayling! But not what I was after. Shortly after that I struck into a PERSONAL BEST chub weighing in at 6lb 1oz. Several fish all above 4lb followed. It is safe to say that steak and mince is a brilliant winter bait to pick out the “big-uns” – and one that should certainly not be forgotten!