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Long trotting big baits for chub

After a return to angling following a long lay off I'm looking for advice/opinions on line choice, for long trotting flake for chub. The intention being to fish as heavy as I can get away with.

Having purchased a 15" match rod I loaded a reel with 6lbs Drennan double strength. On the first session I hooked 7 fish and bounced one on the strike. Of the 7 fish hooked, I landed 5 (to 4.5lbs). This was mid Nov and the two fish I lost did the common chub trick of allowing me to play them back upstream level with my position and then kitted nose down into a strand of weed and the line parted just above the hook. On the next session I tried thicker 6lbs Diawa sensor. This time I hooked 6 fish (to 5lbs) but bounced 4 and had one shake the hook shortly after contact. To complete the set up I'm fishing Drennan loafer floats and Drennan Crystal hooks. Because of the range at which I'm hooking some of the fish, I feel the stretch in the line is not allowing me to set the hook properly.

So I'm really looking for advice on lines and hook patterns other anglers have used for long trotting big baits for winter chub.

Any advice is welcome.


The late Keith Speer always used to fish with braid main line, I'm sure there must be some of his informative articles in the archives but I can't find them!
Speersy didn't use braid, he used Reflo powerline, about 7 or 8lb B.S., with finer hooklinks. I was trying to convert him before his unfortunate demise.
I've been using braid for years and it's perfect for the job, zero stretch, floats like a Cork and very strong for its diameter. Say goodbye to losing floats and leads.
Some braids are worse than useless though, notably Berkeley fireline, it roughs up badly and beds in badly in thinner diameters.
Presently using Fox Jigsilk in 0.13mm rating, next time I'd try the slightly thinner one, the 0.13mm is very good though.
Centerpin of course. Use a small swivel to attach hooklinks below the float, palomar knot gives 70% line strength to the swivel and Reflo powerline for hooklinks.
Jigsilk is said to be sinking braid, it isn't.

Jon Frisby

Senior Member
6 or 8lbs matchteam line straight through. Tried braid but not good on larger rivers or if the prevailing wind is always wrong.
Silstar Matchteam in either 6.6 or 7.9lb.

If I am trotting for chub with flake I will use a thin longshank hook pattern in size 8 or 10 to enable decent sized flake on the shank abd the point exposed. Keeps on longer being firm on the shank and soft on the bend.
I would think that the Drennan crystal hooks would be a little too thin in the wire in the larger sizes, maybe opening out under strain. My first choice is the Specimen Drennan hooks, with the super specialist if I need something heavier /stronger.
''you can hang a bucket on a size 14 super specialist''.

Mark Swaby

Senior Member
How do you hook your flake? and what size hook do you use.When trotting big pieces of flake i pull a piece out,fold it,put the line through the fold and pull the hook a size 6 or 8 wide gape up so the point comes out of the fold and is clear of the bread.The bread hangs out the back of the hook,you then squeeze the big piece leaving the hook only held into the bait by a soft fold.I do not like dark coloured lines like sensor, i much prefer clear lines. I also like to walk down onto fish if possible to get control quicker to stop kiting but if its difficult try to put your rod downstream and the chub should run to the far bank.After Christmas the weed will die down and make fishing easier and you can go lighter, line wise.It may not be the range that is causing you to bump fish, it may be that your line is not tight to the float.Silicone spray your line and grease/vaseline the 6ft above your float and always make sure your line is straight behind the float,keep lifting and straightening it,with a big float its easy.If the wind is downstream the bow in your line will make an efficient strike difficult.If you are struggling with a top and bottom float, fish a big stubby 6ssg+ waggler instead and again keep correcting the bow in the line.Always use bulk shot down the line, on a 6ssg loafer float i will have all 6ssg down about 2ft from the hook you can usually then put a no4 (or bigger) dropper shot just below half way to the hook.(drennan loafers usually take more than they say).When long trotting always make sure your rod is held downstream of you then you get a massive strike arc. Sorry some of this may seem obvious but i have tried to cover as much as possible.
Thank you all for your responses. I Have a few questions and comments.

1. (Terry/Paul/Steve) If you fish braid as main line at what point do you go over to mono hook length? I ask because if you fish braid to far below the float, surely this is highly visible to chub?

2. (Jon/Graham) you both mention Silstar Matchteam line. Is this just a good reliable float fishing line, or is it pre stretched?

3. (Paul/Graham/Mark) I'm using 'Drennan Specimen Crystal' Hooks (size 6, 8 & 10) which I have a stock of from the late 1980's. I always used them for bread and cheese paste when ledgering and trotting in the 'old days'. I've never had one open up under pressure, they are med shank, med wire and forged. The hooks I've recently bought for ledgering are Drennan Specialist Barbel (for barbel) and Drennan Specimen (for chub), these are both much heavier gauge than the crystals.

Mark, thanks for your very comprehensive answer/input. What has really given me food for thought is the attention you place on how you present the flake on the hook. Thinking about what you wrote, I feel that in my desire to present a large, fluffy piece of flake to compensate and balance the heavy tackle I'm currently choosing to use, I may have inadvertently been masking the hook. I've been tearing off a large square of flake, folding it over to double it, then moulding it round the shank leaving the hook point showing. Some times after a long trot and a strike the bulk of the fluffy flake is gone but on the lower shank/bend I've been left with a had round piece of moulded compressed bread. I think this may be compromising hook penetration. Next time I'm out using the technique/style I'm going to hook/present the bread in the way you describe and see if that makes a difference.

Thank and regards
Highly reliable, low diameter and good knot strength. Not fully pre stretched. Used for many years.

I still recommend long shank hooks, for added bread hold allowing soft flake around point and personally don't think for chub you need a heavy hook. In fact one of my Stour very very succesful pals uses red maggot fine wire hooks and loses very few fish.

Hope that helps.
Il go down to an 18 Drennan super specialist for Chub without concern. Had them over 6 on these. I did go through a stage of straightening hooks but this was due to disbalanced tackle. No need for boat anchor hooks.
big bread flake ect. i always tear a nice big piece from a tin loaf, fold it over a good size 2 or 4 hook, i prefer eyed, then around the eye and just above squeeze and roll the bread so its firm and tight, when i say big piece i mean from size of matchbox up to half a slice of sliced bread size, the squeezed bit around the eye helps keep it on hook just that bit better:)
Greg, one thing i forgot to say is when trotting i always use fresh processed thick slice bread,like Tesco Toastie. Its cheap always a constant thickness, consistency and very soft,you do not have to think when baiting up.The crusty Bakers made bread(frozen to soften) is fantastic for rolling pop up crust when light ledgering. When i wind in, the bread on my hook comes off and feeds the next swim down,i never get anything back.Your hooks should not really matter,though the pattern you are using i would stick to 6's (i still have some of that pattern and had a look at them).If you have Roach in your river then change down to your 10's and bait size in that swim only.You can tell if there are Roach about because the float tip will pop/dip positively rather than going under on a large piece of flake.Another thing i do is run a piece of bread through a few times without feeding,its often a way to get the bigger fish.If you introduce mashed bread first you alert all the chub in the swim and often catch a faster shoal fish, the bigger fish then backs off.
Thank's to all for taking the time to contribute. Lots of good advice and food for thought. Mark in the past like you I tended to put the float though 2 to 3 times before feeding any mash. It's amazing how many times you get a decent fish. I'm fishing the Avon and Stour so if I get the tell tale roach bites you describe, I'll drop down to a size 10 and a thumb nail size piece of flake!


Chaps, hopefully this doesn't constitute a hijack as I think the OP is satisfied. I am looking for a 15ft plus rod for trotting the far bank of the Stour and just generally for the wider parts of the Avon (sticks and waggler) as I am struggling a little with the pin and 13fter for the far bank lines, would take both outfits with me. Any recommendations? I will be teaming up with a fixed spool for easier casting and 'feeding the bow' (I am a proficient Wallace caster but life's too short!), would prefer not to spend too much although I am sure the Acolytes are lovely. Thanks in advance.
I use shakespere superteam LXL 12/16 rods,at 16ft when long trotting but they went out of production years ago.What i would do is pop round all the tackle shops in your area and take the reel you will use.Lots of long rods feel poor/tip heavy when you put a reel on them, they feel out of balance.I do not like the thought of adding lead to the handle to bring the balance back.Shakespere do a new red/brown coloured superteam long rod it might be worth looking at them.
Yeah the cadence range get great reviews however for the price I may as well go with a Drennan match pro or IM9 (for 30-40 more could just forget it all and get an acolyte) and then I have the tried and tested brand behind me.

I was thinking about evaluating the sub 100 competition before splurging on a Drennan, such as the Shakespeare mach 3 (if I can find one) or even the JW Youngs 12-15 trotter etc? any ideas as if I'm going expensive I would just go Drennan.