Chub – Basic Knowledge

I’ve got to say as an angler that the chub is one of my Favourite fish to catch. Naturally, the chub is a river fish, although the development of commercial fisheries has seen the species stocked in all kinds of waters nowadays, offering great sport to anglers throughout the country. It has even been caught in brackish waters in river mouths believe it or not!

The chub is one of the most widespread fish in Europe, occurring in every location with the unusual exception of Ireland, Denmark and the north of Scandinavia. The body of a chub is generally long and cylindrical, with a gray/brown tinged with green network of scales across the back working down to a lighter golden flank and a light belly. Its dorsal fin is a grey/green colour, with all the other fins being orange/red. The chub is renowned for its huge ‘bucket’ mouth, usually solving the confusion of chub with dace. Another way of telling the difference is that the anal fins of a chub are convex compared to the daces’ concave fins.

The average size of chub around Britain is 2½lb, although it isn’t unusual to see fish in excess of 7lb to be caught and published in the angling press. Smaller chub tend swim in shoals, although the bigger ‘dogs’ get very territorial in natural waters and much more solitary. In rivers, chub share the gravely patches and bars with barbel, and very often are caught by anglers targeting barbel, who call them ‘pests’. I certainly wouldn’t call a 5lb chub a pest!!! The chub has more than one criminal record in rivers too, as it is seen as an unwelcome invader of trout and salmon streams, competing with the game fish for food, and eating young par.

A Chub Taken on a PlugThe chubs’ natural staple diet consists of invertebrates as youngsters, although small fish and vertebrates such as small vowels are always on the main course menu for the big boys. The chub spawns April to June among aquatic plants and stones in high oxygenated turbulent parts of rivers. There is some debate as to chub spawning in still water and whether it is right to stock them.

The chub is basically an eating machine. If it fits in its mouth, it will have a go at it! Natural baits have always been a favourite, especially on rivers. The stick float fished in conjunction with regular loosefeed of maggots casters and hemp his seen anglers catch chub in rivers ever since they existed! However, a big old black slug or lobworm free lined under an overhanging willow might just be the killer for that fish of a lifetime. Chub will have a chew when the river is at all levels, from clear and low, to chocolate, running, and in flood. Ledgering is another great technique, with a block end feeder or even a crumb feeder. A big smelly piece of cheese, meat or steak on a ledger was the method on the Trent for big chub at one time. The main thing to remember when fishing for chub is that they can eat some snap!!! Give ‘em plenty!!! The specimen world has also had an effect on chub fishing, as many of the real big dogs are now taking boilie baits or large halibut pellets. Basically, a chub will eat anything. Wasp Grub was another hugh but successful craze for chub that you dont hear much about nowadays. They can be caught on plugs and spinners; I have caught even 12oz chub on a spinner on the canal!!! Chub can also be successfully targeted on the fly, in the summer theres one chap walks down the canal and catches more than anyone on the fly, I couldnt believe it when I saw it!

A lovely river chub

Commercial fishery chub also offer great sport, and are growing very big. They can be caught well with the usual carp methods, pellets, paste, but chopped worm and caster has seen several big match weights of the species.

One more thing to remember about the old rubber lips, especially on rivers and natural venues, is that they will find a snag in a snag-less peg!!! On the local canal, they will make a mad dash into the rushes and trees on the far side, or under a boat, and if they don’t succeed in that, they will have a go at snagging you under your own keepnet, fighting in bursts of energy. Somethimes you can get away with fishing heavy lines and big strong hooks for chub, which is recomended when your fishing upto snags and for big fish, although sometimes, scaling down to a 20 hook and a light line can bring results. The Italians are awesome at catching chub, and fish unbelievabley fine!!! Chub are match winning fish on canals and rivers all over the country, as well as a prized specimen fish. To me there is just something about them that makes me love them so much, they’re just brilliant!!!


  1. Stephen Mc Kenna

    Sep 28, 2009

    I just wanted to know what do you think about the introduction of chub into the river inny system in ireland. Do you think this species will thrive in ireland. I know the shannon regional fisheries board are trying to eradicate the chub from the river inny at present. I would welcome your views.
    Yours Sincerely,
    Stephen Mc Kenna.

  2. T-j-92

    Aug 03, 2011

    Caught a 5lb CHUB last night on the CANAL!!!!!, 3 sweetcorn on a size 10 hahaha


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