Gary Edmonds

Topwater chub fishing is a brilliant way to start the river season!

I can’t think of a more exciting species to target on rivers during the summer months than chub, especially with topwater lures. On most of the rivers Sam and I fish, from around May time, chub start gorging themselves on Mayfly, and although the Mayfly hatch is normally ending by June 16th, they will still be looking up for an easy meal off the surface.

One of the more recent additions in the Lil' Bug Rage, in "May Fly" pattern. 

The Lil' Bug is a must have for anyone looking for exciting topwater chub action. 

I’ve tried plenty of great topwater lures over the years but find it hard to beat the Salmo Lil’ Bug when fishing for chub - it creates a wiggle and a wake that they find hard to resist. What also makes it a great lure is that it’s so simple to fish. If you spot a chub or two, just cast it across the river and swim it a foot or so in front of their noses - I’ve had chub swim 10 feet or more chasing down the Lil’ Bug.

A good cast downstream and a steady wind will bring out the chub from their hiding places. 

A nice one for Sam! Always be prepared even if you don't spot the fish, as they can quickly come out of nowhere to engulf your lure. 

Takes can be anything from a smash and grab to a gentle pick off the surface. Whatever kind of take, it’s awesome to watch!

The May Fly pattern is proving to be a big hit with the chub and is one of our favourite. 

My favourite way to fish for Chub is to spot and stalk them before casting, but if I’m not seeing fish, I also blind cast the lure to any likely looking spot where I think chub will be holding - for example, along reedbeds and under overhanging trees and bushes.

Chub love cover and cast as accurately as possible under overhanging trees and bushes to give yourself the best chance. 

Another great feature about the Lil’ Bug is that they cast accurately because of their shape and weight. They’re available in two different sizes: 2cm and 3cm. The smaller size is great for tiny streams or if you need to make a delicate cast to a fish in a tight spot, and not spook it. I like the 3cm model for making longer casts on larger rivers, or if it’s windy with a chop on the surface. They are available in some brilliant colours, including a couple of new ones for this season - Clear Ayu and Hinomaru.

With new colours constantly being added to the range, there's never been a better time to start your topwater chub adventure. 

Most of the time I fish the Lil’ Bug on a steady, straight retrieve, sometimes speeding it up at the end to induce a take. If you run out of line to retrieve, don’t lift the lure out of the water straight away as they will often take it as it stops.

Always be prepared for a take, as fish can home in to the sound of the lure hitting the surface from a good distance. 

The set up I use for fishing the Lil’ Bug is a rod of around 8ft (244cm). I like the 240cm Fox Rage Ti Pro Spin Finesse, which casts 5-21g - the extra length helps when fishing over bankside vegetation. My reel will be something of around a 2500 size, spooled with braid of around 20lb (0.10mm-0.12mm) breaking strain. You could go lighter, but I like the extra strength to give me a chance of bullying out a big chub from a snaggy swim. 

Although chub don’t have teeth (not in the mouth area anyway), I still like to use a light trace - something of around 10-15lb breaking strain, as I’ve caught quite a few pike that have beaten the chub to the Lil’ Bug. I don’t find the trace puts the fish off, as they’re more focused on the action of the lure.

From gentle plucks to hard takes, the Lil' Bug brings in big action! 

One piece of kit I wouldn’t be without is a long handled landing net. Sam and I use the Fox Rage Street Fighter 3.7 metre rubberised mesh net, although there is a longer version that extends to 5.5 metres. It’s allowed us to land fish safely in spots I wouldn’t have normally been able to fish.

A good setup and a long reach landing net like the Fox Rage Street Fighter is essential. 

If you have a river near you that holds a few chub, try giving the Lil’ Bug a swim - I’m sure you’ll have a blast!