Chub - (Leuciscus cephalus)

Chub are easily identified by their large blunt head and thick white lips. Their flanks are adorned with large black edged scales, with a hint of red and orange to their pelvic and anal fins.

Juvenile chub are silver in appearance and our often miss identified as dace, the easiest way to check what you have caught, is by looking at the anal fin, chub have a convex anal fin (rounded) where as dace have a concave anal fin.


Chub reach sexual maturity within 3-6 years and tend to spawn in late spring/early summer depending on local weather conditions. When the time to spawn arrives, females seek shallow water in the early morning and are pursued by boisterous males. The females lay their eggs on shallow areas of gravel which are then fertilised by the males in a dramatic water splashing affair.

The fry hatch from the eggs around 10-14 days after being fertilised and will inhabit areas with a gentle current. Once the fry have grown to a larger size, they will then enter the deeper flowing parts of the river in search of food.

Natural Diet & Common Baits

Chub will quite literally eat anything, that's why its always a good idea to take a range of change baits with you if you intend to target chub.

Their natural diet is extremely varied, and this due to them eating pretty much everything they come across, which includes, berries, insects, slugs, worms and other small fish.

Although they do not have teeth, chub use their powerful pharyngeal teeth situated at the back of their throat to crush just about any food item, including one of their favourites, crayfish.

Some of the best baits to use whilst chub fishing are, bread, cheese paste, luncheon meat, maggots, pellets, slugs & worms.


Finding chub on a river can be made easier by being on the lookout for any areas that may offer this shy and wary fish some sanctuary. Overhanging trees, under cut banks and any debris which has collected together to form a raft are good places to look, as are moored boats and areas of river which look overgrown.

On very bright summer days, chub can be found basking in the sunshine in mid-river, and to benefit from this it pays to be mobile and cover as much river as possible in order to locate the fish. This task can be made easier with the use of polarised sun glasses.  If you intend to stalk chub, it‘s always best to be as quiet as possible, as any disturbance can clear the swim in seconds.

Tackle & Tips

  • A decent float or quiver rod with the ability to handle 5lb or 6lb line is a good idea when fishing for chub, as this will help you steer them away from snags without the fear of them snapping the line.

  • Hook size choice is very much dependent on the fish you expect to catch - good sizes to use for smaller chub are sizes 16/18 hooks for smaller baits, and sizes of 12/14 for larger baits. When bread flake fishing it can sometimes be easier to mount the flake on a larger hook (size 8 or 10) and still feel confident the chub will get it into its large mouth.

  • Chub can be caught in various ways, from trotting a float through the current with maggot & caster, to legering a bait hard onto the bottom with baits such as pellets & luncheon meat.

  • One great way of catching chub in the summer is to freeline bread flake, this involves stalking chub and running a bread flake in the current downstream until you can see the chub engulf your bait. This may take a little practice as stalking chub is pretty difficult, yet highly rewarding. Just remember, the faintest of movements can cause a scattering of fish. A good set of polarised glasses and subdued coloured clothing is a must for this type of fishing.

  • A river running down from a flood is considered a good time for Chub fishing. Chub do not feed well during coloured water conditions such as a flood, as a result they scale back their feeding until the water begins to clear and lower. So being on the river at the right time can certainly be worth it, especially if you can be on the end of a chub feeding frenzy!