Thursday, 14 March 2013

Chub bolt rigs and other ramblings

Well I am now well behind with the blog for several reasons. After that amazing piking trip to Chew I was in limbo angling wise to some extent due to a few commitements and the fact that we were shortly off on holiday to Gambia. A brief opportunity came to fit in a session just before the holiday and I decided to have a crack at the Derwent chub.

For several years I have been considering the bolt rigging for chub situation. I've read plenty that tells me that it is viable though I've never really been completely happy with the method and when I have tried it on a few occaisions I have sat back and watched the rod tops knocking, shortly after each knock I can't help but think that if I was holding a quiver tip rod then I would have been playing a chub by now. Discussions with other anglers that have spent more time using the method that myself seemed to confirm my thoughts, it is an inefficient method but under some circumstances it becomes the best route to go down due to the prevailing circumstances. By prevailing conditions what I really mean is difficult fishing, low populations of chub which require longer sessions and possibly multiple rod use, it is accepted that some bites will not result in a fish being hooked but in the long run it is thought to offer better odds. It is still a difficult concept for me to take in but I do find it very interesting and it is something I wanted to investigate further so this session was going to be all out bolt rig style. I had bought a packet of circle hooks for just this purpose some time ago on the reccomendation of Bob Hornegold and so they were dug out of the tackle room along with some boilies and a bit of method mix and I was ready to go.

I didn't get to the Derwent till half an hour or so before dark but that wasn't a problem particularly as I fully expected after dark to be the prime time for a bite or two. The stretch does throw up a fair few 6lb plus chub but I've never really felt that I've cracked the place. I've had a number of chub over the last three or four years but only a couple over 5lb's and one of those was while perch fishing. I can't honestly say that I can walk on to the fishery and guarantee catching a fish, it certainly isn't heavily populated with chub. I knew where I wanted to try and so was soon in position. One rod was to be placed a rod length or so from the near margin in deep water for the river, possibly eight feet at a guess, the other rod would be swung out towards mid river in a bit more flow. Both rods had a gripper lead attached to a leadclip and a short braided hooklink with the strange looking circle hooks fitted hanging below. A 16mm boilie whittled down a bit was to be the hookbait and a wad of method mix with some pellet of various sizes added was moulded around the lead. I had no doubts that any fish present would know that the bait was there but the question was would they feed, and more to the point if they did would the rig do the business?

Despite fishing self hooking rigs I had fitted istotopes to the rod tops to show and interference with the rigs that didn't result in a hooked fish. Of course with a fixed lead the only way that an indication would be seen was if the lead was actually moved and so it was more than likely that I still wouldn't see the full picture but it might give some idea of aborted pick ups and was the best that I could do in that respect without using a running lead which I didn't want to do. Light rain soon started to fall prompting me to dig the brolly out and make myself cosy, the plan was to stop as late as possible aided by a couple of cans of caffeine loaded potion and to stay put in the one swim so I may as well be comfortable.

I lounged back, transfixed on the fireflies on the end of the carbons as the evening went on, there were no signs of knocks or twitches which I took to be  good thing though a more substantial indication would have been more than welcome and eventually it arrived. The close in rod just walloped straight over without warning and the alarm indicated a short run, that was what I wanted to see and gave some confidence in the method at least though one fish does not of course make a season.

4lb 13

That was my only fish, and indeed the only indication that I was aware of, all evening. I did have another visitor to the swim a bit later on though in the shape of an otter, the first absolutely definite sighting that I have made. To be honest even though I know full well that I have been amongst the creatuires for some years it still came as a bit of a shock to actually have one in front of me. It travelled downstream through my swim before making its way into a snag tree on the far bank where it seemed to stay for a few minutes, all of the time making a strange kind of rasping call before disappearing. Well I didn't really know what to do with myself after that, my confidence suddenly plunged and I felt a bit lost with all sorts of thoughts going through my mind. Within half an hour I'd decided to go home and by 11pm I was sitting on the sofa with beer in hand contemplating the effect that these otters will have on our future angling.

So a few days later we left Birmingham airport to it's -3 degrees of frost and flew off to the Gambia. This was a new destination to us, my favourite winter holiday destination is Goa but when the Indian government decided to virtually double the visa fee just as we were about to book I looked elsewhere. The six hours of flight time to Gambia versus ten odd to India plus the fact that there was no time difference from the UK was a great tempter. And then I remembered seeing John Wilson visiting the country on one of his shows. In the end and despite Lewis Baldwin giving me some great information on the fishing opportunities out there I decided to make it a fish free week and spend the holiday with 'er indoors, after all I do get away with quite a bit at home so I thought I should be fair for once. Besides, the sea was rough as hell...!

We did have a great week though and I was glad that I made the decision to take my decent camera with me as the bird life out there is incredible, for anyone interested in that kind of thing I would highly reccomend a visit.

I got home to find this cracking mug waiting for me, I won it in a competition on Facebook and it is now my new favourite, stunning artwork by Chris Turnbull.

A company called Printbiz supplies them along with some other species designs which I can see ending up in the cupboard soon


  1. Great wildlife shots mucker, and so much better than the weather here.

    Chub eventually wise up to bolt rigs Rob, instead of those sail away bites so similar to the barbel, here on the Wye the chub give little pecks and knocks and the best way to outwit them is with running gear and slack lines. I even incorporate a bobbin where possible.

    Those circle hooks are highly effective at hooking fish but I have found the Sakuma ones to be brittle and have lost barbel as a result.

    1. The pics surprised me Dave, the places is crawling with amazing looking birds it was no great effort to snap those.

      My experience of rubber dubs on the bolt agrees with yours but I'm willing to try a bit of tinkering and see what I can come up with. The method is used a lot on the proper tricky venues like Fishers green and they get the reults, we'll see, but not for a good few months now! As for the Sakuma's yeah I agree that they are thin in the wire, I've been told of another brand the name of which escapes me but I'll pick some of those up when the time comes.

    2. Rob the hook you need are Owner Mutu Light Circle hooks in size 6. :)

      Pete H.

    3. Cheers Pete, yeah I reckon they might be the ones Bob H mentioned

    4. Personally I found the Mutu's too big even in their smallest size 8. Also, they tend to curl themselves deep into the lip and if a barbel is caught they are very difficult to 'unwind' from the rubbery lip. I abandoned using them very quickly.

      I recently bought some of these and am experimenting with them. they do seem a much better option than either of the two makes mentioned above.

    5. Cheers Dave I'll have a gander at those, truth be told I may never spend much time using the method but I'd like to explore it just in case I feel the need to get stuck in one day. I do love my quiver tipping and I'd prefer that any day of the week if possible, my eyes, isotopes and long winter nights aren't a great combination though

    6. I agree about the 'curling in' problem. With thick lipped species if you don't crush the barb down hard you'll probably never get the damn hook out they're padlock tightly. You won't lose any though! The answer is a bigger hooks and far bigger than you'd normally use because its the gap between the in-turned point and the shank that determines things with circles, not the actual size.

      Don't go small though Rob — you'll never hook a big thick-lipped fish with a circle hook too small for the thickness of the lip and just have a succession of two pounders when there's sixes or sevens in the swim!

    7. No fear of me going small on the hooks Jeff I rarely use anything smaller than a six for rubber dubs. As for 6's and 7's, I wish.....

  2. better off in gambia this time of year its been far too cold for march... great birding pics ... nice mug .. BSC

    1. Cheers Andy

      Unfortunately we've been back for a couple of weeks now, I'm just behind in my blogging, I can assure that I have felt the full force of this delightful weather!