Plans were drawn in the autumn of 2006 for an assault on Lymm Vales colossal chub. The proposal was to fish the venue from mid March to Mid June. That gave me some 14 weeks to better my personal best and attempt to crack the 7lb mark. Now, I view Stillwater chub in a different light to their running water cousins; but, a 7lb fish is a monster wherever it is caught – except maybe Mercers Park (a story for another time).This would be my 6th and final season on Lymm Vale. The best year, chub wise, was the first. I managed to catch a 6lb 3oz fish on my first session, following this up with numerous other chub, including 2 whoppers of 6lb 6.5oz and 6lb 12oz (I had a 9lb 6oz tench on the same day). I caught numerous 6lb plus chub over the following years, up to a best of 6lb 14oz – unfortunately I lost a chub that same day which appeared to be slightly larger.
Most of the large chub are caught on the float at lymm, fishing on the drop or in mid water. A continual stream of falling maggots is employed, at about 3-5 rod lengths out; with a 20 or 22 hook to 1lb to 3lb bottom. This method is hardly selective – but no one method is, when trying to catch the chub.
In contrast My preferred line of attack was to fish a feeder set up, either maggot or groundbait. The Chub are not fussy, but neither are the vast number of tench and carp; not to mention the golden orfe. It can make interesting times, when you hook into a high double figure carp on fine lines.
My standard approach, from a terminal tackle perspective; revolved around a couple of light quivertip rods; fishing 5 lb Maxima main line to a fixed paternoster set up. This evoked a bit of a caphufull amongst the local fraternity, who perceived that my set up jeopardised the safety of the fish. I have never experienced the 5lb Maxima giving way before the 3lb hi tech hook length and don’t expect I ever would, however I revised my setup to satisfy the locals and generally preserve the status quo. Hopefully you are reading this Mike and John.
This took a leap of faith. the reason I catch the chub and other fish on a consistent basis relates to my set up..The new semi fixed rig was trialled on Newmiller Dam’s skimmer population, these being the most finicky of fish.. The method worked a dream; no tangles, no missed bites just skimmer after skimmer – job done:
The following few sessions were very hit and miss affairs. One decent day does stand out; that being on 17th March. I setting into peg 13 – unlucky for some but not for me. The day was both windy and cold; the wind was westerly with a temperature of 8 degrees, a full moon and a falling atmospheric pressure of 1015. I fished a maggot feeder at 55 meters in about 15 foot of water. I kept the casting incredibly tight by clipping up – fishing 2 rods with the respective feeders about 3 meters apart. The hook was only a size 20 to 3.6 lb bottom.
The fish were feeding from the start. They were mainly tench:- 2 at 4lb+; 8 between 5-6lb and the six biggest weighing in at 6lb; 6lb 1oz; 6lb 14oz; 6lb 15oz; 7lb 1oz and a cracker of 8lb on the nose (what would that weigh in Spring I wonder?). I also had a couple of golden orfe of 4lb 14oz and 4lb 15oz. Total weight approximately 101lb.
Time was ticking by with no chub caught. This changed on 24th March. I fished a groundbait feeder on the sand bank initially at 35 meters with no action, so I changed to a maggot feeder and cast 65-70 meters. I had a small tench and two chub. A little one at 3lb 15oz and a beauty at 6lb 10oz which put up a terrific scrap – my third best ever at the time.
Plenty of tench were caught in the preceding weeks until I hit gold on 21st April. I started in peg 13 on a day when the temperature rose from 9 degrees to 19 degrees by mid afternoon. I moved onto the sandbank swim and caught a pot full of tench, but more importantly I bagged 3 chub. They weighed 4lb 3oz; 6lb 15.5oz and 7lb! – the slightly smaller one was in superb condition. The biggest was a bit weathered but was incredibly long – if it had been the same body shape as the other it would have weighed 8lb+ – possibly 9 (it was almost 28 inches long!!).I didn’t think it could be bettered until I fished another session on 6th May. I fished peg 13 and again caught a load of big tench. I had 2 chub, the smallest was 4lb 2oz but the biggest was a monster. Hooked at 12:30pm on double maggot. Looking at the photo now, her dimensions are so massive the scales could have been misread. The fish weighed 7lb 1oz but has the frame of an 8 pounder – I think she had probably just released her spawn as she looks a bit thin from the caudial to anal fin.
I had 2-3 further 100+lb bags of tench with individual fish in the 8lb range, but my time on the vale was done. I had managed to catch 3 of its jewels and 2 of which looked to be at reduced weights. The water was a fantastic fishery with an incredible atmosphere at times. It had delivered some monstrous fish of various species but it was time to move on.