During the last 7-8 seasons I’ve fell in love with a brilliant method, trotting for chub. Each winter my dad and I head down to the banks of the Dorset stour in search of its specimen chub. This river is by far my favourite for the species and I really couldn’t think of a better place to target a huge chub.

The art of trotting is something that can really take a lot of time to master as it requires plenty of concentration, perseverance and thought. It also requires the perfect conditions. I tend to favour the river more so in low and clear conditions, however that being said, a tinge of colour can also turn the chub on! Trotting for chub is something that many people get wrong in and something as simple as getting the feeding wrong can see even an experienced angler leave a good swim on a blank especially on highly pressured venues!


In my opinion one of the most common errors is the tackle used by those targeting chub. Typically it’s thought that pressured chub will shy away from heavy tackle. As a result a large amount of anglers will opt to fish hooklinks of 0.09 to 0.12 in diameter. To an extent I do see the thought process behind using such light tackle but over the last 5-6 years and plenty of hiccups along the way I really believe I have de-bunked this theory. Although I will admit that in some cases on a tricky day perhaps scaling tackle down may gain you a slightly earlier bite, I will also admit that with some patience and the correct adjustments that very bite can be achieved without scaling down! I have absolutely no doubt that in the scheme of things scaling down to extremely light tackle costs many many landed chub, especially when targeting larger specimens on rivers such as the Dorset Stour. I believe that with more stout tackle, simply focusing on other aspects of the fishing and adopting some slightly different tactics can somewhat counteract the use of heavier lines and heavier hooks. Some aspects as simple as using only a single maggot and others as in-depth as resting the swim regularly between bites. Other effective adaptations I have used include using exclusively barbless hooks. This, coupled with a very long hooklink and the absence of a dropper shot has almost entirely eradicated hook pulls even on hooks as tiny as a size 20.

My float rig almost always consists of an olivette below my chosen float, often a 6-8g loafer. The olivette is secured between a large sinker and a size 20 Target Rig Swivel. The use of a sinker means I have no worries of any shot damaging the line and the swivel aids the presentation of my rig as it eradicates any twists in my hooklink. I fish my maggot hookbait a good distance away from my olivette as I think it can often be spotted by the chub and either spook them or put them on edge. I believe that this allows me to get away with hooklinks of 0.14-0.18 even in highly pressured swims, in extremely clear conditions.

It’s also worth mentioning that I don’t even take a packet of fine wire hooks with me when making the 90 mile journey to the Stour! By using slightly sturdier tackle I can fish confidently knowing that I have the best of both worlds, finesse and strength. I can confidently fish even the most snaggiest of swims knowing that I run little to no risk of loosing a chub even if I do happen to encounter one of its 7lb+ monsters! I am very fussy with the end tackle that I use and very few lines and hooks tick all the boxes for me, but luckily I’ve found a few that do.

This season in particular has been my best to date. So far, Ive managed 66 chub with 26 of those being over 6lb and 6 of those have gone over the 7lb barrier! I can count on my hands the amount of chub I’ve lost this winter! This has been across 15 days fishing on extremely pressured venues. Both me and my dad have had plenty of great days with him landing no fewer than 34 chub and 15 6s and again not once did he use an ultra light approach!

In particular, one recent trip to the Dorset stour stands out, as it’s by far my most memorable days fishing I’m ever likely to have! I arrived at the river to find it slightly up with a fair amount of colour, so not ideal for trotting conditions! I decided I had to adapt my feeding approach slightly and I went down the route of feeding liquidised bread as the main base of my feed, which allowed me to add plenty of pungent liquids into my swim. I fed the slower part of my swim at around two thirds of the way across the river generously with balls of smelly bread, hemp and maggot. With the aid of waders I fed regularly throughout the day and it certainly kept the bites coming!

What happened next is something I never ever expected in my wildest dreams, a real once in a lifetime day! I landed thirteen chub out of fourteen hooked, which included nine chub over 6lb and unbelievably, before 1pm I had netted no fewer than five 7lbers! The biggest was a genuine fish of a lifetime weighing 7lb12oz. In total I managed over 81lb of chub for an average weight of 6lb 3oz! All fish fell to my usual rig of a 6g loafer float, a nice long hook link of 0.16 and a barbless size 20 hook which had a single red maggot nicked onto it. All the fish that day made a brutal attempt to reach some nearby snags and despite the dead weed stems and thick bull rushes all fish were steered safely away and coaxed into the waiting net. The one loss that day being a hook pull immediately after striking.

I believe the key to my success was resting the swim for a few minutes while steadily feeding maggots between each bite. I’m sure this ensured the chub were more than happy to remain in the swim despite the shoal being picked off one by one. I believe this is the greatest haul of chub in history and it’s almost definitely not going to be a day I’ll top. I will have plenty of fun trying though! All winter I have been using the trusty Hydro Flo main line. This line really is tough and breaks well above the stated breaking strain! It’s also nice and light in weight which is crucial for controlling the float and keeping in good contact with the rig which makes hitting those lightning fast bites much easier. I’ve really put this line to the test this winter and it hasn’t missed a beat! It’s even helped me land a barbel of 13lb 6oz! I am extremely fussy with my terminal tackle when it comes to trotting as there’s a fine line between success and failure when fishing with trotting tackle, and I can definitely recommend this line to anyone.