Tench, take two (Entry 42)

Two weeks has passed since my first tench session of the year. I was excited to get back to the venue, full of anticipation of what was to come. Whether that involved catching some tench or not, I felt a lot better about the choices I had made in both rigs and bait. Here I was back again and with fresh eyes, renewed anticipation and some natural bait, I set about finding a swim.

IMG_1791It was around midday and for the first 30 minutes I just watched the water. I was looking for any signs of fish, and though not the best time of day for this, a little time dedicated to it can often throw up some clues. It had been a chilly night with temperatures hovering around freezing and with no fishing giving their presence away I settled into a swim that was on the back of the chilly wind. With rain forecast later in the day I went about making sure I would be staying dry when it started to fall. Next up a quick lead around and I found a reasonably clear patch on a little plateau in around ten feet of water. To one side of it there was a patch of light weed. Perfect. So what rigs would I be using today? I wanted a set up that would give me option to fish on both clear and slightly weedy areas, so instead of the inline feeder rig that has accounted for thousands of tench, I went for a helicopter set up. This way I could vary the distance from feeder to hooklength depending on what I was fishing on.


This is how I set up the rig for fishing over a small bed of particles and maggots presented on a clearer area of the lake bed. The anti tangle properties of the helicopter rig gave me peace of mind and the ability to use a short fluorocarbon hooklength would give me good hooking qualities. Its worth pointing out that I can also vary the distance from the feeder to the hooklength, very useful for gauging how confident the tench themselves are feeding. For fishing to the side of my main feed area I set up a rig I would normally use when fishing rivers. A simple semi fixed setup created by Jan Porter I believe. It involves a tail rubber being push over a swivel or similar and the bomb being pushed over the tail rubber. Not by much, just enough to withstand the cast. If set up correctly you will usually find that the bomb comes free when the fish bolts and becomes free running. If the weed was very thick then I would use a whole different set up anyway.

2As already said this rig was cast to the side of my main feed area and the feed, in this case casters, would be introduced via small PVA bags. The hooklength was a little longer on this rig to allow the bait to rest on top of any weed should the bomb itself rest in the weed. The choice of casters over maggot in this situation simply so they don’t crawl away into the weed. I have a feeling this rig will pick up the bigger specimens but only time will tell. After two small Spomb loads of maggots, a scattering of hemp and some pellets had been fed, I picked up my feeder rig and duly made the first cast of the day. Was there any tench out there, any big tench out there? I knew the water was capable of producing them but in all honesty I would be happy just to make contact with a few red eyed fighters.

IMG_1801Five hours passed. In that time the weather had turned for the worse. As the rain hammered down and the wind grew, I plodded on, casting both rods every hour to make sure there was some feed going in. The water was fishing hard. It had the previous day too. I really wanted to catch at least one fish just to give myself some confidence. The size wasn’t an issue it was more a case of breaking my duck on the water. Around 6 o’clock out of the corner of my eye, I saw a fish roll in the margins. I couldn’t honestly tell if it was a tench or a carp. No sooner had my eyes registered the movement, the fish was gone, leaving only concentric circles. I couldn’t ignore it though so as quietly as possible, I introduced a little bait in the area I’d seen the fish. I carefully flicked out a rig, the bomb rig as it happens, with a dead red maggot and a fake grub as hookbait. The landing felt cleanish, and I hoped the hookbait wasn’t hidden from view. I was casting blind after all. The minutes ticked by, and with every one I felt my chance of a fish dwindled. Until an hour later, the rod tore off at a terrifying rate, and I was playing a very angry fish. It turned out to be a tench of course, and I was over the moon with it.

IMG_1825A male fish weighing 4lb 14oz. A pretty average fish really but with it being my first ‘proper’ fish from the venue and after the poor run I’ve had the last few weeks this fish means more to me than I ever thought it would. This is why I love fishing. Who would have thought a near 5lb tench could bring such enjoyment. Well it did and it renewed my confidence no end. At least for now I know my bait and rig works so its just a case of waiting for some consistency in weather, both in the temperature and wind direction. Then its up to me to find where the fish are and go about catching them. I can’t wait and I can’t think of a better place to be spending my time.

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Until next time,



14 thoughts on “Tench, take two (Entry 42)”

    1. Thanks for letting me know. Don’t know what happened there. I have restored an older version now and re wrote a section or two, and added the pictures. One again, thanks for the heads up Cliff!

  1. You have very beautiful rigs. In terms of rigs, can you tell me what the difference is between running rig and bolt rig? When or where should I select which at carp fishing? Thanks in advance

    1. In simple terms a running rig has the lead or feeder running freely on the mainline whereas a bolt rig has the lead or feeder fixed in position. The lead is fixed so that it essentially hooks the fish as it tries to eject the hookbait. Its worth pointing out that having a fixed weight on a mainline is a potentially dangerous should you lose your tend tackle. You have to make sure that the lead will be able to come away from the line so that a fish is not tethered to it. There are plenty of companies that sell ‘lead clips’ that allow this to happen but you still need to follow the instructions each manufacturer gives. In my opinion, if in doubt, use a running lead, they still give great bite indication and can be used in a number of situations, on still waters, rivers etc and for a host of species, not just carp/tench. If you have anymore questions please fire away!

  2. Very interesting article. I had never really thought about the importance of fish showing or topping. Do you think the fish that topped was the tench that you caught. Do tench top and if so why? Come to that why do carp do it and are they then catchable on the bottom? I had thought that fish on the surface meant that they were not feeding on the bottom. I often fish a small but very deep pool (20ft) would surface fish spotting help here when fishing on the deck? Any thoughts?
    A great blog, that I have only just found and have devoured the whole in one visit.

    1. Hello and thank you for the kind comment,

      In all honesty I don’t know why tench roll on the surface, but from various books I have read and people I have spoken too (people who are much better tench anglers than I), they regularly roll over an area before feeding. They are famous for doing this at dawn of course. Maybe its a ‘food here’ signal? They can also roll over an area of feed and not feed. So I honestly don’t have any definitive answers but isn’t that why fishing is great?
      Regarding carp, especially in deeper water, I think you have to treat them slightly differently, as they more readily feed at surface level. But I think carp do follow oil/particles down to a main area of feed. They will take advantage of any food source they can, more so at certain times of year. Thus I guess a carp at the surface is then catchable on the bottom. However, if the carp are actively feeding at the surface, then I wouldn’t bother and would fish floating bait. There are no hard and fast rules and a lot of factors to take into account.

      Thanks again.

  3. I enjoy your blog.

    I fished that water quite hard for 5 or 6 years a few years ago, before the gill maggot problem.

    From the peg you were on, look/feel around in the margins for the sandy patches. Leave a scattering of bait and fish a nice disguised rig with a bottom bait. From sunset to dawn you will catch carp and some tench. A very reliable spot, particularly if you can catch it when the wind is pushing that way from the north.

    1. Thanks for the info and the comment. I know those clearer, sandy spots. It’ll take a few sessions more (and a few fish) for me to get massively confident, but the fish are there. It’s only a matter a time.

  4. I’ve found your blog by accident and i say thanks for taking the time to do it…..
    Ive been an avid tench man for year now and mainly but on the float though, 8ve made i the decission to purchase a drennan super7 1.75lb tc so i can reach the tench in other far out areas….
    If all goes well i will purchase a sister rod but like you its confidence….
    I also notice you refer to natural baits etc….
    Can you elborate upon that and how you fish with these baits etc….

    Keep the blogs coming..

    1. Hi Ant, Good luck with the new direction in your angling. When I refer to natural baits (casters, maggots, worms) I do so only because these are the baits I have had most success with on large, natural type venues. It’s the ‘confidence thing’ again. However, these baits can not be guaranteed to work 100% of the time and on every venue. Indeed this approach has left me scratching my head on a venue I have been fishing this spring. Bigger baits seem to be ruling here. These carp type baits becoming more natural to the fish. This is where angling becomes truly interesting as it’s down to us, the anglers, to figure out what the fish want. And where they want it. And when. It certainly isn’t easy but its very satisfying when it all works out.

      1. Hi….where i intend to this year and right through till October are two waters that are boilie free waters….
        so no boilies allowed for as long as i can remember which is a good thing as people tend to just ship them in and hope…
        My baits will be worm.. red mags..caster…..corn…..bread flake….
        I will be using two methods to fish….
        float lift method…
        Feeder method…
        People seem obsessed with meat lately and walk way from bread which i find strange indeed…
        Anyway as i wait for my drennan series 7 to arrive its the lift method for me and it works……
        Happy Days.

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