Greedy buggers will take a whole variety of baits, I’m influenced by the other species and how best to avoid them. In my local Stour eels are a menace certain times of the year, they’ll take cheese, maggots and meat, at these times bread is often the safest bet. I’ve had most success with cheese paste, big lumps too! A freelined inflated lobworm floatiing downstream can be devasting and an exciting way to catch them too.
Over the years most of my small stream chub have been taken on bread in all forms, mainly because that what I used most of the time. The rest taken on lure, live bait, worm and cheese.
I see you have started the Essex forum.
Most of my better days after Chub have been on bread flake using either a float or a link leger, or a smallish piece of bread crust on a light link leger; together with small squeezed bread pieces as loose feed.
Ive also had some good days on the bottom using bread paste mixed with raw onion juice (no lumps) and I’ve also caught quite a few lunkers on peeled prawn on a small link leger over the years.
Bread for me. Either linked legered or float fished.
Casting out into the current with a very small lead then letting the bait / lead swing back under near bank features such as overhanging trees where it comes to rest in the slacker water can be very effective. Bites can come in seconds sometimes.
I fish a lot of chub here in Sweden and for me prawn with the head taken off is my favourite. Doesn't seem very popular in UK. Really strange cause its a cracking bait. Keeps roach and most other fish away as a bonus.
I often fish it on a size 4 and a feeder filled with krill groundbait.
When I was able to walk as anyone, then hold a rod for 3 hours, I would always fish for chub using nymphs. Not using a fly fishing rod but a 'toc' rod.
A beaded nymph, a series of 2 or 3 nb 4 to 8 soft shots on a 0.14 hooklink. On the 0.16 mainline, a bite indicator which could be a piece of colored line or a rigoleto (no.float!).
It works best in summer and catches most species. In colder days I would.replace the nymph by a lobworm or a small boilie.
It's delicate fishing, relying on a lot of observation, which results in fantastic fights on these thin rods.
A rod specially made for free lining or trotting a bait on a thin line. Never seen a proper translation for 'toc', probably because it's hardly used in the UK.
They call it 'free-lining' here although I'm not sure it fits with the different type of rod and reel
Normally a natural bait (worm etc) is used, but some rods are specifically designed for casting very light weights so you can cast a nymph by choosing a shotting pattern using very small shots (nº8 to 4 generally)
Example of such a rod: here (just one example there are hundreds of them..)
Some reels go well with those rods such as the Ritma 72 or Vivarelli. I have the Ritma and love it.
The sort of chub I used to catch with this:
A good rod lets you present a dry fly, or a small nymph in summer, or a juicy lobworm in winter. No float. A bite indicator is needed.
Having done fly, czech nymphing and 'toc' (or whatever name we should call it!), the last by far is (was) my favourite.