Chub Fishing on the River Lea can be quite varied depending on where you decide to wet a line. I’ve written before about it being a ‘river of two parts’ – that being the ‘Upper Lea’ and the ‘Lower Lea’. The chub fishing on the Upper Lea can be hectic and they can be found there in numbers. In contrast, generally speaking, the ‘Lower Lea’ is much more patchy but does have a habit of throwing up the much bigger (record breaking) chub!
My chub fishing has generally been for pleasure and I’ve not really targeted big chub (yet!) This article covers a few areas and tactics I’ve used.
Above: A nice early summer 4lb chub
I tend to like to fish for chub early in the river season (I mean the first few weeks) but then also often have a dabble right in the depths of winter. The chub is quite an accommodating, greedy fish and will sometimes provide sport when everything else has shut up shop!
Above: Another stunning typical 4lb 8oz River Lea chub.
My early season Chub Fishing on the River Lea happens around Hertford and specifically around Hartham Common. I often drop into lots of different swims on short sessions, quite often fishing large chunks of bread which they struggle to resist if placed in the flow to pass them by.
Above: A typical specimen when Chub Fishing on the River Lea
As I move into summer I will venture to the Upper Lea to have some fun for the Chub and Barbel. Anywhere between Wheathamstead and Luton will provide you with a few bites. The water is shallow and gin clear. It’s great fun and good sport as you’ll often stalk the fish and they fight like crazy in the shallow water.
Above: Another hard fighting chub from the River Lea.
I change my approach on the Upper and mainly feed and fish with pellets. This opens up the chance of a few barbel, it’s explosive stuff – they go like the clappers! I use pre-drilled pellets from Dynamite but make sure you get the right stops needed to secure these onto a hair rig.
Above: Pre-drilled pellets and hair stops
Above: No messing when it comes to tackle.
The barbel (even the small ones) will snap thin line and straighten light hooks. I use 12lb line and fairly thick gauge size 8 hooks. A bit of shrink tube or a kicker and you’re in business.
Above: These things are like rockets!
Whilst they are not huge these fish are in incredible condition. You’ve just got to admire them. They can really be quite impressive.
Above: A very clean chub from the river lea.
Above: Scale perfect – Chub Fishing on the River Lea
Above: A nice barbel taken whilst fishing the Upper Lea in 2017.
It’s without doubt that the big chub reside in the Lower Lea. Fishers Green and Kings Weir throw up monster chub every year. I feel that a 5lb chub is a specimen. Well the Lower Lea will frequently produce 8lb chub and sometimes the odd chub over 9lb. Dobbs Weir is another location that’s produced some very big chub. In fact, on Tuesday 11th March 2003, a new British Freshwater Fish record was broken at Dobbs Weir when a massive 8 lb 13 oz chub was caught from the weir pool.
Above: River Lea legend Bob Hornegold with an 8lb 9oz monster chub.
If I was to try big chub fishing on the River Lea I would probably head for Kings Weir. I’ve done a few short sessions on there and whilst I’ve not got amongst the fish myself I’ve seen a few very impressive barbel and chub banked there. It’s a waiting game and you’ve got to put in the time and effort but the rewards are there.
Above: Another 8lb chub. This time from Kings Weir.
Another area I fish is the Old Lea Loop at Tumbling Bay. This is only fishable through a season ticket from Ware Angling Club. It’s a nice little stretch of the Lea and it doesn’t get busy. The trout can often gatecrash the party but if you get past them there are some really nice chub to be caught. Again I simply fish either bread or pellets in a whole range of swims by staying mobile.
Above: A nice bronze chub from the Old River Lea Loop
You can even bait a few spots with pellets and then fish them in rotation. The water is low and clear and so you can easily see when there are fish on the spots and then just drop in on them.
Above: A nice chub from tumbling bay weir at the head of the loop.
Probably my most favourite time to fish for chub is in the depths of winter. My main quarry in winter is definitely the perch however when things get really tough I’ll have a go at the chub. They will feed whatever the conditions and provide year round sport if you know where to look. In winter I will use bread or cheese paste. You’re not feeding as much so you want a really visual, strong smelling bait to attract the fish.
Above: A cold water chub from the River Lea.
Above: Very, very cold but the chub will feed in most conditions.
And so that completes my little article on my chub fishing on the River Lea. It’s simple stuff really and you need the minimum amount of gear. In fact the less gear you take the better. Cover lots of water (ideal if it’s cold), stay active and catch yourself some chub 🙂