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Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer


05/06/2016 - Rod Review

A good winter chub using the Kingfisher rod


I’ve been catching chub for over 70 years, in that time I’ve spent thousands hours or more observing the fish in their natural environment, feeling I’ve got to know the species very well. Unlike other fish which swirl and create a disturbance when spooked the chub fades away ghost like. Many anglers wouldn’t see the chub fade away as they walked up or down stream. My two favourite coarse fish species are roach and chub, both can be extremely difficult to catch at times and need a careful approach. Watch both chub and roach move towards a bait then note how careful and suspicious they are. Flake is a bait that chub and roach are attracted to. Both fish will pick the bait up in their lips, while the chub will back off slowly an inch or so, the roach often stays in the same spot dropping then picking up the flake two three or more times it will then either take the food item or move away. Should either species feel resistance they will drop the bait immediately.


How can we overcome this behaviour? We must use tackle offering the least resistance, at the same time we need some indication a fish has picked up the bait, this can be done by a bow in the line, watching the rod tip or float, weight on the line is often needed but we need to keep resistance to the barest minimum, forget using a heavy weight, use shots spaced apart. Of course many roach and chub are caught by anglers fishing with stiff rods, thick lines, heavy weights or very buoyant floats, but how many fish are missed by these crude ways of angling? I want to take advantage of using tackle that will allow me to connect with more fish. I’ve used cane rods where we spent lots of time rubbing down the bamboo top joint to make less resistant to a taking fish, remember this was long before the word quiver tip had been heard of, I suppose our rubbed down cane tops were the first quiver tips though we called it rod top legering and when possible I still use a dough bobbin sixty years later I still do.


From fine bamboo top joints, we eventually got a quality fibre glass blank from Germany, the Sportex honey glass Avon blank, made an ideal rod chub fishing, it’s Avon action allowing the chub to pick up a bait without too much resistance, though on the first indication of a bite we immediately gave slack line. It worked enough to help catch chub fairly consistently. Though when possible I still used a dough bobbin. I was never happy with carbon fibre and feel we never took glass fibre to its full potential. Eventually I got the chance of working with a retired rod builder / designer who really did know the business of rod building, he was also an angler. After a lot of trial and error I got the blank I felt was as near perfect as possible, it was a soft Avon action 11 foot 6 inches, I’m often asked why its 11’ 6”? to get the action we needed to cut up a few blanks arriving at this length. It’s quite soft in the top joint with a build-up of power in the middle and bottom joints. Having got my dream the blank I taped on a set of guides with a reel on the butt joint then took the rod to the river Aire, I was impressed at the bite indication also the fish didn’t dash off having picked up the bait which I presumed was a confident fish. Over the next few weeks I caught good chub from the Aire Ribble Kennet Loddon Avon, there were only three occasion when I used a dough bobbin. We now had to research paint companies that could give us a nice shade of green paint that would adhere to the blank, this took quite some time but eventually I was presented with a green coloured chub rod, the blank would have made a perfect rod for sea trout with an eight weight line. Over the years the rod has accounted for many chub to 7-10-0 many double figure barbel to 13-6-0 roach 2-7-0 perch 3-11-0, its probably been my most used rod over the past 20 years, though sadly no longer available.


The Kingfisher Chub Specialist


Some two years ago Mick Holgate turned up with a rod for chub fishing, I was impressed with the finish, it wasn’t quite as soft in the tip as I would have liked, I reckon it was the best available for chub fishing. from the current rods I’ve tried in the past few years. The Kingfisher Chub Specialist spec is : 11ft 6in 3 piece Harrison rod blank finished in gloss green. The handle is 22 inches long and is made from super grade cork. It incorporates a reel seat that is a Fuji DPS 18 mm finished in black. The guides are all Kigans and start at 8mm on the tip and increase to 20mm on the butt section. They are whipped with Gudebrod trimar green and gold thread. An added advantage is the 3mm hook keeper is fitted just above the handle. The handle is finished off with a black button at the butt and a black winding check in front of the cork. The action of the rod is best described as an "Avon action" and is best used with lines from 4-7lbs breaking strain.


Having used the rod for several months catching good chub, barbel, carp, roach and perch, I feel the rod could be called the “All-rounder” at home on rivers and still waters, if I was limited to one rod this model would be my choice, it’s ideal for bream, tench, perch, roach, rudd, chub, also barbel when fishing with light weights and not close to snags. Further details e-mail [email protected]

Another winter caught barbel on bread crust again using the Kingfisher rod

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Martin James Fishing
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