Saturday 11 December 2021

Warwickshire Avon - Elflocks and Eleutherophobia

Finding chub in winter with the rivers cold, running fast and often heavily coloured is not so daunting as it would first appear. It is to a large extent merely a natural progression from summer chub fishing.

It is just reward for the countless hours spent spotting and becoming familiar with the river's character when it is was running clear, when the deeps and shallow, snags and clear runs, weed-beds and gravel bars were all plainly visible. 

Therefore those who have done their homework and studied the river exhaustively will know exactly where to look. They will find that most of the choice 'feature' swims which held chub during the summer will also produce throughout the coldest months.

Certain swims swims beneath road bridges, mill and weir pools, trees overhanging acute bends, dense lines of trees, especially those whose trailing lower branches collect rafts of flotsam, rotting weed, reed stems and the like, these are the absolute certain winter chub haunts. 

They in fact contain far greater numbers of fish when temperatures are low and the shelter of summer weed throughout the river has been killed off by heavy frosts and dissipated by flood water. 

It stands to reason that chub which were spread throughout the shallow runs both up and downstream of feature swims only a few months back will not now wish to feel vulnerable. They fall back or move up and pack into the nearest sizeable feature in which they feel comfortable. 

Where trees are sparse, a single large overhanging willow might provide protection for a disproportionately large population of chub, certainly enough to keep you busy all day, whereas in the summer that same tree might shelter just a quartet of chub and warrant merely a couple of casts before moving on. 

And this is what I particularly like about winter chub fishing. Certain swims, even in small to medium-sized rivers, provide the opportunity of sitting there for most of the day and catching a number of fish. For this session though that was unlikely as the river was banging through and with a frost overnight roving would be the key to finding fish.

With the match cancelled on this stretch I had the banks to myself and fished the middle of the stretch. There are a few swims that whatever the level they can be fished even when the water is creeping over the banks. 

The first swim fishing cheesepaste sods law when pouring my first tea from ones flask, out of the blue a proper savage bite that nearly pulled the rod off the rest I connected in to, well nothing. Hmmmm not good at least there were fish willing to feed.

I re-baited and being a little more prepared this time within fifteen minutes another decent bite and a chub was on. I knew it wasn't a huge fish after the 2nd lunge but a spirited fight on light tackle and a small chub was in the net. I retained it in the landing net but sadly no more bites from that swim, and a few others either.

One swim looked perfect for a bite but after giving it more time than I usually would it was obvious nothing was going to happen. So only one thing for it I returned to the first swim and fished the last half an hour without even a nibble. Still lots of steps covered and at least not a blank this time and wow, what a sunrise, it's just nice to be about sometimes isn't it.


  1. Tomorrow's looking good.

    A trickle of warm rain today, temperatures soaring...

    1. does look good,fat chance I'd get out though :( my father-in-law is off to sunnier climes and big family get-together

  2. Conditions are beginning to look excellent for Barbel, I suspect the Chub will still feed.

  3. Might try and get out in the week if I can


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