Fishing for Tench

Tackle selection

Choice of tackle depends on local conditions and the ability of the angler. For freelining and ledgering a fairly powerful hollow-glass rod is suggested. For float fishing, a similar rod with an extra few inches may well be desirable. Most tench waters have a fair share of weed for at least part of the summer, which, particularly if there are other submerged snags like trees, means that you cannot afford to fish too fine.

In snaggy conditions you will need line of at least 5lb b.s., or even 7 or 8lb in really difficult spots. If you are fortunate enough to locate your tench in snag and weed-free reservoir-type waters, you can drop to 3lb providing you have experience of handling bigger fish. For hooks, the choice is wide, depending on the rest of your tackle and bait – anything from a single maggot or grain of sweetcorn on a No 16 up to a juicy mussel ‘foot’ on a No 2.

Finally, having mentioned weedbeds, one must consider whether to leave weed alone or drag it out. There is no simple answer. In some lakes there are natural gaps and channels in the weedbeds, and if these areas have a clear bottom, leave well alone or take advantage of the situation without disturbing them. Tench have regular patrolling routes in such environments, and can often be encouraged to concentrate in these areas by regular groundbaiting. In lakes that are packed solid with weed it is essential to clear a swim with a double-sided rake or similar tool.

A dual-purpose tool The drag is a dual-purpose tool for the tench fisher; it can be used for swim-clearing or it can on occasion be used to induce non-feeding tench to accept a bait. The essential thing before hurling out the drag is to think, for it can do a lot of damage.

For example, given a shallow lake with a thick layer of mud and rot-ting vegetation, heaving in a drag is hardly likely to stimulate the fish to feed. All it will do is to unleash a stench and evil-smelling methane gas. On this type of water one should be cautious about using a drag, and even weed clearing should be done well in advance of fishing.

On lakes with harder bottoms, such as sand or gravel pits, the drag can on occasions be used to stimulate or liven-up the tench. This clouding of the water can keep the tench active when they are other-wise sluggish in the middle part of the day.

Another way of colouring the water to encourage tench to feed-sometimes with spectacular results – is to use a groundbait slosh of blood, hookbaits (maggots and chopped worms are ideal), silt or bottom mud from the water you are fishing,

There are no ‘best’ times for ten-ching as tench feed at all hours. There is a definite trend for more activity in the first hour or two of daylight and just before and after sunset, but these are not hard and fast rules, particularly in midsummer.

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