Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service
Kenny's Angling Guiding Service

Four 6lb plus chub so a marathon read Nov

Each year I spend a week’s holiday in the New Forest close to the river H.Avon and the D.Stour around the autumn. Well the truth is that I’ve been doing this since 1978. Barbel were the quarry in the first place and many were caught to 13lbs 4oz. I used to fish with the Barbel Catchers from London way, one of them was called Tony Heart and I was with him when he had a huge catch of double figure barbel in a week. Those were the days.

This year the river had been low and clear during the summer months however over the last few days the rain had fallen and the rivers rising and colouring up. The Avon colours up less than the Stour and it would be this river that would suit my preferred method of trotting a float on a long line. Not many use this method on the Avon or most other rivers as it means much work.

If the weather had been warmer then the barbel might have just been feeding and perhaps one or two might have come along.


So a few pints of reds maggots were bought at Avon Angling in Ringwood. I had in mind a great little swim on the Somerley Estate where I’ve had some huge chub and a few over 7lbs have come out to other anglers but not me. The largest for me has been 6lbs 13oz which has been very close to the magic 7lber that I’ve worked for.

The swim though had changed this year with a tree falling across the river and redirecting the flow and making the chub previous lair almost impossible to fish. Worst still was the fact that the flow half way down the trotting line pushed the float out from the far side tree line into mid river which was not where I wanted it or the chub would lay up.

Not the best sight

Not the best sight

So I looked at a swim further upstream where again there was plenty of cover for the chub in the form of overhanging willow bushes with their branches draping in the river. It’s almost the perfect swim.

I began feeding maggots in via a catapult ensuring that the feed would end up just where I thought the chub would lie. After about 20 minutes I let my float drift down in the current on the line with the edge of the branches. I couldn’t believe it when the float disappeared right where I expected it to. The strike meet with a solid resistance however it soon became apparent that it was a something small. Sure enough it turned out to be a 7inch chub full of my maggots. I carried on feeding and trotting down. About 20 maggots each trot. I wasn’t sure how many chub would be there but it looked too good for just the one.

The float was a 5AAA Drennan crystal Avon float 5lb main line and size 18 and 3lb hooklink. Pretty much as I’ve always used.

Sure enough as it approached the magical time of the last hour of daylight the float shot under and the rod put on a very impressive bend. The chub did the very first thing that I expected it to do and that was to try and rush off under the branches. So I pulled and got the chub out from under the branches, then I heard footsteps behind me and turned to see a fellow walking towards me, and at that moment the chub pulled really hard again whilst my concentration was away from it. The movement on the tip suggested it was moving towards the branches again so I put plenty of side strain on the rod and bingo the hooklink broke and after a few expletives I turned to see John Levell standing there saying that the chub would have gone on his blog if I had landed it. It was the first time I had met John. I had of course followed his Avon Valley blog for years and would encourage anyone who has an appreciation of nature to follow it.

I said that I really enjoyed his blog and eagerly looked forward to the updates. He was down to take some photo’s of the starlings murmerations in the evening prior to their roosts. Tonight though like me and the big chub the murmerations just didn’t materialise. That was it for the first days fishing.

So that was about it for the evening, I had only fished for a couple of hours.


The next day John McGough had agreed to show me a couple of swims where I might catch some good chub when the river is up and flooded like it had been for the entire winter last year. I met him at 1pm on the Avon where he had already caught some good chub to just over 6lbs on maggots too but this time on a feeder rig.

We had a good look around and a chat. We had met about 6 weeks previous on another stretch quite by accident. He knows I’m not much interested in the large barbel but more in the large chub. His knowledge is very good on this stretch of the river ( plus many other rivers). We chatted and talked about all things fishy. As we walked back to his swim I returned to the car grabbed the gear and walked to my swim. I had fished it during the summer together with Andy. Andy had caught a few chub from there plus a barbel of about 8lbs.

With the extra flow and colour the swim looked good. Rain had fallen during the night again which meant that the river was still coloured and looked spot on. If it gets too much colour then bread is the preferred bait.

I started off by putting out maggots via the catapult to the swim that again contained willows that the chub just love to seek sanctuary and cover. It was about 5-6ft deep and it was important to keep the float tight against the branch line in the river, as anything far from this area the chub just wouldn’t venture out to. The swim contains plenty of chub to just over 6lbs so it’s a banker swim really.

The rig was much the same is the previous day. The float was a 5AAA Drennan crystal Avon float 5lb main line and size 18 and 3lb hooklink. The sun was out in very much clear sky’s so I didn’t expect too much straight away so I was surprised when the float shot under and sure enough I was playing a large chub that tried it’s best to get under the branches and into the snags. This was a disaster as even as I walked backwards trying to get the best angle to extract the fish from the snag it didn’t work and ping the hook came out. So I need to move downstream right opposite the willow branches so should I hook another then I would be in the best possible position to put maximum pressure on the fish stopping them from getting into the snag.

This worked 5 times as in just over an hour I landed 5 chub up to just about 4lbs. Again the float had to be tight to the branches otherwise I just couldn’t buy a bite. The hook pulled out of one other fish which does happen on the fast flowing rivers and tiny hooks. You could use larger hooks but then chub are very wary of tackle and anything that looks suspicious is ignored.

After landing 5 chub and losing 2 others it was time for a move. There was another swim that I fancied it was a slacker area on the far bank with a deeper hole on the near bank where the barbel can be found. I was to fish just on the line where the slack water met the flow of the river. It just screamed chub.

Out went the maggots again via the catapult and it was slightly less than the normal 20 minutes before I cast out as time and more importantly light was running out.

So after a few trots down topping up with maggots each run through saw the float tip bury under the surface. Bingo chub on and the fish run towards the reeds on the other side however with the slacker water over that side of the river I soon had it under control on my side.

Unfortunately it wasn’t that large and turned out to be just about 3lbs.

4lbs of hard fighting chub

3lbs of hard fighting chub

So with the photo taken more maggots and more trots through were soon put into practice. Things looked good as the chub started to swirl in the slacker water meaning that they were on the feed. The only negative was the light was fading fast.

The next trot down saw the float bury under the surface again and the rod take on a very meaning full curve. The fish shot across to the other side of the river trying it’s best to get inside the dense vegetation. The fight was on and I pulled into midstream where it fought the current and the line and rod. I thought it looked a good fish as it rose to the surface and slapped it’s tail as they normally do. All too soon the fight came to the end so did my expectations of landing a huge chub. It looked big but only about 5lbs. On the scales it went 4lbs 12oz.

4lbs 12oz

4lbs 12oz

The light was now fading fast and two more smaller chub to about 3lbs came to the net before it was time to pack up.

The sunset was something special.

Avon sunset

Avon sunset

I made  my way up to where John was fishing and he had caught 9 to just over 6lbs so he was very pleased. I stopped and talked for a while nothing really happened. It just wouldn’t turn into 10 chub for him. So we both finished on 9 chub his though were much larger than mine. He did say I was very unlucky not to catch a good fish with the numbers I had, but that’s life. So it was wonderful to meet John and spend some time with him.


The next day I was back on the river again a little later than normal. I only had about 1.5hrs of fishing time left. I returned to fish a different swim. I always like to fish new places to understand more of the river and swims. This swim was on a straight of pretty even depth water.  Slacker water on the far bank was just what I was looking for a crease where I had hoped the chub might sit.

So again another 20 minutes the maggots were catapulted into the swim before the first cast was made…to be fair I needed to put the tackle together. So the first cast produced nothing much other than to indicate that the river was about 4-5 ft in depth on the line of the trot.

So after a few more trots through the float disappeared and the rod bent really well. There was little cover for the chub to find and the fight was very much one sided but still very tough. The fish looked to be large when it surfaced. This is the time when you loosen the clutch and since there were few snags the last thing to do is pull out of the fish. The fight lasted for quite a while as I didn’t want the hook to slip out.

Still the chub pulled hard in the flow and it didn’t want to give up. Downstream was a slacker area of water where I would net her. So off I ventured with the landing net downstream and luckily the fish tired and came into the slacker water and was netted. It looked a good fish.

Sure enough as I walked upstream back to the swim the first thing I did was to unhook it and let it rest in the landing net in the margins of the river while I got the weighing and camera equipment ready. Then out she came into the sling and onto the weighing scales. These went round to 6lbs 14oz then subtract the 8oz for the wet sling and that turns out to be 6lbs 6oz.

Chub of 6lbs 6oz

Chub of 6lbs 6oz

What a result for 1.5 hours of fishing.

Time was still on my side and a few more trots through saw me hook another chub this time the hook pulled out after a short fight. It must have been hooked lightly.

That was it, I thought about moving downstream however another angler was on the opposite bank a little further downstream so I didn’t want to interfere with them or pull fish upstream from his area.

So I moved much further upstream again to a swim where I fished yesterday. The normal baiting regime which is so important was put into action. After a few trots through the float again buried under the surface of the water near to the willow branches. Over the rod arched and I moved back along the field pulling the chub away from the snags. It must be very comical seeing me walk up into the field pulling the chub from the snags and being so far from the river bank. But as they say “that’s the way to do it”.

The fish was a good one and kept trying for the snags but I managed to keep it under control. Again I moved downstream to land the fish but had forgotten to bring the landing net. So it was a case of handling the chub out of the water. Not easy for a 5lb plus chub but that’s exactly what I did. First time for me!

So here it is 5lbs 8oz of fighting chub. It looks more like a bream! Look at the depth!

5lbs 8oz chub

5lbs 8oz chub

Time was really against me now as I trotted through again. Feeding being the most important part of the trap.

Well I never the same thing happened again a few minutes later. This time I had the net in the hand and downstream I ventured to land the fish. This too seemed a good fish. I followed it and netted it about 30 yds downstream.

The same process of unhooking and resting the fish was put into place. Then the procedure of weighing the fish and photo’s got under way. It went just over 5lbs.

That was it time gone the float became invisible to my poor old eyes!

So that was the first few days and now I was starting again on a couple of new swims. To catch a couple of 5lbers and a 6lbs 6oz chub was good fishing considering that I had only fished for a couple of hours late each evening. However knowing this is the best time to fish it’s worth the effort.


So I was on the river again at 2pm and as I wandered downstream I bumped into none other than Andy Little. We had a good old chat for some time and he told me he had moved down to this neck of the woods and was excited about fishing the rivers. I told him he was a lucky bugger and fill his boots. He was fishing for barbel and the conditions looked spot on too.

The river looked good slight colour and great flow. We said good luck to each other and I started my walk downstream to fish a new swim.

I arrived to feed the swim with a catapults of maggots for about 10 minutes while I tackled up with the Hardy 15ft Marksman rod. This rod has caught me a few chub well over 6lbs on both the Stour and the Avon.

I was fishing a slacker crease on the far bank. The strong flow being about mid river. The wind at about 3pm suddenly increased in velocity and made float control practically impossible so after a few trots down and one solitary roach I didn’t feel though that I was in complete control of the float and the wind had an impact on this.

So I moved upstream to where I had the 6lb 6oz chub the previous day (well you would wouldn’t you). The wind was practically behind me so presentation was much easier. Out went a few more catapult’s  full of maggots for about 10 minutes before I started to trot down. First came a small chub of about 12oz and then another,  then one of 4lbs and another of 3lbs that looked in mint condition and all looks good for the future.

Then a few more small chub came along and it was time for a move again.

So here I was in another swim which has been kind to me in the past. I had about an hour to fish before it started to get dark. The wind was dying down and the sky’s clearing form the north which would mean that a frost would be imminent this evening.

Out went the normal maggots and the routine that goes with that. The trotting was easy however the willow branches causes concern as the chub try and dive for the cover. The thing to do is walk back into the field and pull them out. First fish hooked managed to pull me into the branches which is very rare. Oh bugger! This was because the chub had been taking the bait higher upstream than normal. So I altered the feed so that the feeding area was slightly downstream away from the branch area.

More maggots and more again over 10 minutes or so would get the chub feeding or I hoped so.

Sure enough after a few more trots down the float buried under and the rod arched over and I started my walk about in the field pulling the chub from the snags of the willow branches. It’s obviously hilarious for me because I’m 15 yds or so in the field playing the chub. God knows what people must think.

However I pulled the chub into mid river and me knowing that it was mine now. I had left the landing net 50yds downstream and I was leading the fish like a dog downstream to a suitable area to land. That being done she looked a fair size. On the scales she went 5lbs 5oz.

5lbs 5oz chub

5lbs 5oz chub

So there it was another 5lber in the bag, well not exactly but back in the river. The sunset was just beginning to form and the colours were truly magnificent.

Wow what a sun set!

Wow what a sun set!

I was pouring more maggots into the swim hoping to get a last chance.

After a few more minutes I recast and the float buried again under the watery surface and the hook took hold and  I was on walk about in the field trying to extract the chub from the willow branches, well not exactly trying to stop the thing from entering it. Bloody hell this thing was pulling hard and I was working hard too.

In the distance I saw Andy coming back up the field. I steered the fish downstream and it took me downstream too about 60 yds. I had little choice with the chub making good use of the river’s flow.

The chub didn’t look too big to start with. Andy was walking up towards me and I though great I’ll land it before he gets here. The chub though had other idea’s. Across the river it went then under my bank all the time it used the flow to put as much pressure on the size 18 hook and 3lb line. Often it’s during this time that the hook ping’s out.

Andy soon arrived and stood there watching me play with the chub or it play with me. It used the flow to make it as difficult as possible in landing it. I said to Andy it’s only about 5lbs. The opportunity came to land the chub in slacker water close to my bank a little further downstream and after a couple of attempts it was in the net. I soon had it unhooked and took the landing net back up to where my gear was and allowed the chub to recover in the river in the landing net while I got the camera and weighing stuff together.

We both had a guess of the weight. I thought 5lbs 10oz and Andy thought 5lbs 12-14oz. Well the weight was 6lbs 11oz then take the weight of the sling off it turned out to be 6lbs 3oz what a result. Two 6lbers on the float in two days.

6lbs 3oz H.Avon chub

6lbs 3oz H.Avon chub

What a great shot Andy thanks very much.

The sunset continued to improve as the time moved on and did I cast again well just a few times and captured the image of me fishing into the sunset.

Dusk and setting sun

Dusk and setting sun

Not much happened other than the warm glow of the outcome of the session. So after I packed up I met and chatted to Mike Window whom I talked with for an hour last night. What a nice bloke.

After I got home I said to Mrs. P I have the best office in the world.


This afternoon I had only 1.5hrs of fishing time. I was desperate to try a swim with a swim feeder and short hooklink. So I re-spooled a reel with 6lb line in readiness. So by 2pm I was taking the gear out of the car and heading off to the swim. My heart sank as I saw someone in there. I cursed my luck, however getting there so late in the day means it’s no surprise really , so plan B was put into action. Throw him in!

I swung by the swim just to say hello under gritted teeth (only joking). He was using the swim feeder rig but hadn’t caught anything.

I didn’t stay long as the sun was lowering in the sky and the old trusted float gear would be put into use. I was going to fish the same swim I started off in yesterday but had to give up because of the windy conditions and control or lack of it on the float and line.

Today was different the wind looked to be spot on e.g. very little. I’m not going to bore you with the sequence of events in feeding the swim. Other than to say “That’s the way to do it”.

I couldn’t believe my luck as after the 3rd trot down the float disappeared and the rod hooped over and the fight was on. This felt a really good fish as it almost got me into the reeds on the opposite bank a few times. Once that tail wags then it powered off. I managed to hold it in the flow but not too tight to induce a hook pull. It’s always a fine balance of gaining line and giving line. Believe me I’ve had a good few years of this shenanigans with big chub and it still leaves me tingling with excitement as the fight develops.

This chub fought every inch of the way. Once I glimpsed it I knew it was something special.

I had moved downstream to net it and sure enough it came over the rim and “boom” in she went.

It was a good size chub could it be the 7lber that I crave from the H.Avon?

Again I rested the fish while everything was set.

On the scales it went 6lbs 10oz still a good ways from the magical weight. Never the less still a beauty at 22 inches long.

What a result after just a few minutes.

6lbs 10oz

6lbs 10oz

22 inches

22 inches

So after slipping the chub back downstream so as not to spook any other chub in the swim I set about feeding the swim again.

Life is good, Happy days!

So here I was with the 3rd chub over 6lbs in three days.

So after about 15 minutes and plenty more maggots the float disappeared and once again the rod hooped over and the fight was on. This time the chub wasn’t taking me to the far reeds but downstream and I went as far as possible until a willow stopped me from going any further. So I had to boss it a little in the flow. Boy it was difficult and my heart was in my mouth as I saw the size of the chub on the surface. Luckily as the chub came to the surface a second time and gulped in some air it was then that I thought the battle was won.

The chub slowly came to the net I think we were both exhausted.

The chub was unhooked and rested in the net while everything was readied again.

What a fish heavy and thick set around the shoulders and broad right down to the vent. This time the chub was 21 inches long so one inch less than the other.

21 inches

21 inches

6lbs 9oz

6lbs 9oz

However the weight was 6lbs 9oz and the 2nd 6lber of the day and the 4th in 3 days. Happy days!


So what a result!

So what happened next!

The swim was baited with maggots again and as the evening approached and darkness the float disappeared once more. This time the initial pull was not from a chub. The head was shaking just like a big roach then it came to the surface just like big roach and it looked 3lbs or so. Wow I have hooked one of the rare H.Avon monster roach. The light wasn’t good however I wasn’t going to lose a 3lb roach. I defiantly didn’t want to lose it. The roach’s head kept shaking during the fight as were my knees.

I couldn’t lose this roach could I?

My heart was in my mouth as it surfaced close by, then disappointment as it turned out to be a bream of about 3lbs. I had a good chuckle as I slipped it back. That was it for the evening.

1.5 hrs of fishing for a couple of very nice chub.

It’s funny after being disappointed in not getting into my first choice swim and settling on plan B the chub gods were defiantly on my side. Just call me “golden balls”.

What made me chuckle was that the bloke who was fishing my 1st choice swim caught a 6lb chub but lost plenty of others. Reason was he was using a barbel rod and 3lb hook link. Not a very good balance of terminal rig and rod.


This was it the last session of 3 hrs. The sun had been out however there was a chilly brisk north west wind. I visited a spot downstream in Ringwood to see whether it was possible to float fish. The answer was no! The wind made float control impossible and I could get the bait into the zone where the chub were. I ventured to another few swims but the wind just made float control impossible.

So I visited another section of the river where the wind was at my back that made float and line control easier. So again out went the maggots for 10 minutes ( I was getting impatient ) while I got the tackle together. Well first trot down the float buried under and thump, thump told me it was a chub on the other end.

The fight from the chub had it going from one side of the river to the other. It didn’t seem to be huge as I had it under control fairly quickly. It still looked a nice fish as I drew it over the rim of the landing net.

I unhooked the fish and let it rest in the net while I got the equipment together.

It was a battle warrior of exactly 5lbs, so a great start.

So that was it no blanking!

So the routine of more maggots was put into action. Then over the next hour I had 4 bream between 3lbs to 5lbs 10oz. They did put up a good tussle in the fast flowing river. And as good as they were they were not the species that I wanted.

Bream 5lbs 5oz

Bream 5lbs 5oz


So I decided to move on and take a look at another swim as I still had another hour to fish. I thought this last swim would produce a chub or two. The wind was playing up again making presentation so difficult. Nothing came along at all and as the day and the week ended on the H. Avon I must admit I’ve had a grand time and at times been very lucky.

I’ve caught some lovely chub and met some very good fishermen.

My thanks go to John McGough who has pointed me in a few directions throughout the week. I owe you big time buddy.







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