Winter chub - Luxembourg fishing

Winter chub fishing - middle Sûre river

I had little time to devote to fishing that weekend, so I had to choose a fishing spot wisely. The season is closed for most species of fish in Luxembourg and the only real option for lure fishing was to look out for chub or perch. Given that perch has recently all but disappeared from the middle sections of the Sure river, I knew that if I caught anything, it would have to be a chub.

The weather on the 1st of February 2014 was horrible: 2°C and rain with wind blowing from the East. The river, however, was still relatively clear (it hadn’t been raining hard for a week or more). That gave me a time slot of 4-5 hours before the water would get murky again. Choosing a right spot is crucial: chub optimises energy and avoids rapids, especially in the winter. No point looking for it in the middle section of the river bed. You need to stick to the river banks, especially in places where soil erosion resulted in the formation of shallow bays. That's where the chub is most likely to stay: on the borderline between the main current and the sheltered water of the bay. Suitable bank formations can be found in some parts of the river Sure, where the water cuts through muddy fields, with scarce vegetation and a few riverside trees.

Chub may be very aggressive in the summer period, when it attacks bait like a pike, occasionally even chasing it for 2 or 3 meters. But in the colder months, the lure should be retrieved slowly and calmly, with frequent stops along the way. For this type of fishing, I prefer floating plugs of 4-7 cm. I often use hand-made plugs from Poland and on this day, I had prepared two of those: a white plug with dark stripes, minnow type and a chunkier one, with aggressive action and natural bluish colours. I cast the lure a little bit above the presumed location of the fish, let it float down the river and then start a slow retrieve against the current, parallel to the bank. Make sure you move silently and don't approach the water too rapidly, so as not to scare the fish away. As expected, the fish snatched the lure close to the bank, in an area with calm or even inexistent current. I actually caught 2 chubs of a very decent size that day: 54 and 57cm. They fought well (for a chub and for this time of year), which means that they were in a good condition. Perhaps the warm winter and frequent rains provide more food and require less energy expenditure?

Ps. On the same day, I had a short fight with a heavy, strong fish which stubbornly stuck to the bottom without letting me see it. Eventually, it spat out the lure. I suppose that might have been a large barbel (they occasionally go after deeper diving plugs) or a carp caught by chance, perhaps by the dorsal fin.

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