Summer Chub challenge
I like a challenge and summer Chub fishing on the river Adur has proven to be a real head scratcher. I don’t think there is a single aspect of fishing the upper Adur which is in favour of the angler, especially in the summer. I’m quite happy with my fishing in the winter, (between floods) and the first month of the season. But get into the summer and the fishing becomes very difficult, especially for the Chub.
Let me tell you about the problems.
The banks can be quite overgrown making it difficult to get close to the water. I have already solved this problem in two ways. Firstly I fish there in the winter, so I get to see the banks when the vegetation has died back. I take photos or make note of the best and safest places to get to the water. Secondly I always take a small grass swat and gloves to cut down the stingers, but never cut more than I need to.
Because the river is obstructed by weirs every few miles, the flow drops to virtually nothing in the summer. This allows eel grass and rushes to grow all over the river. In the height of summer there is barely an open stretch of water to fish.
For the first month of the season there is a usable flow and float fishing with a waggler can be productive. I once caught six Chub from one swim which is unusual. Come the height of summer, the slower flow and all the eel grass make a good presentation float fishing very difficult.
In the summer the water can look black. Not dirty black, but a deep and mysterious black. Which tells me the fish, including the Carp, are not digging for food and clouding the water. The presence of thousands of damselflies, dragonflies, caddisflies and all manor of insects indicate a full and rich larder for the fish. The weeds and slow flow are ideal to sustain vast numbers of larva and aquatic insects. The fish don’t need to dig for their food it’s just there all around them. So why would they show any interest in my bait?
These Chub are properly wild living on their instincts. They will not tolerate a clumsy angler. Anything that looks or feels wrong will cause them to simply melt away. I have partially solved this problem by fishing at a distance from where I’m sitting, the further the better. Fifteen to twenty yards seems to be a good distance, but it really tests my casting on a narrow weed filled river.
Each summer I try and each summer I fail, but each summer I learn a little more. So far I have crossed off float fishing and the bottom gets too weedy for normal ledgering. Also I have never seen a Chub take a floating bait despite many experimental free offerings. I am now experimenting with pop-up baits at various water levels. I have had a couple of good bites with bread crust presented mid water, but was unable to connect. So now I am considering other buoyant baits.
It’s now October, autumn is taking hold and the river is changing. The weeds have started to die back and there are fewer insects trying to bite me. The local farmer has opened gates near the river ready for the inevitable floods. I may get one or two more trips before the floods, so with luck I may still get to catch a ‘summer chub’ this year….. I will let you know.