Blog 005 | Spring Tench With @anglehr

Blog 005 | Spring Tench With @anglehr

With spring temperatures on the rise and the days extending - many turn their attention to the tincas which inhabit our waters. Synonymous with springtime angling, this is the time of year when tench fishing can be at its most prolific, sourcing the best tackle and tactics should be at the forefront of the specimen angler’s mind. Depending on the nature and stock of the water can greatly affect the tactics used, weed growth, nuisance species and lakebed substrate are to name but a few. I personally prefer to fish large open waters for tench due to the nature of their larger standard size, in these situations the quintessentially romantic float style of fishing isn’t usually an option, I opt for a feeder of some kind.

Largely, I use a helicopter style approach for the majority of my tench feeder fishing, with red maggots, casters, groundbait and hemp being my bait of choice in most situations. Dependant on fish size and bait preference, this bait could be switched out to incorporate a worm kebab, single, double or triple fake corn (the latter to pick out a larger specimen when nuisance fish are a problem). However, the best baits aren’t always the same on all waters and thus trial and error is often the best way to determine the best tinca trapper. When not using a cage or maggot feeder the flat-bed method feeder, with a very short 2 ½ inch 4lb hook length, is also a superb weapon in my arsenal. This is due to the presentation and confined feeding area making it a deadly means of tench fishing. Depending on the stock levels, time of day and levels of nuisance species, I will often recast my feeder around every 20 mins or so in order to maintain a steady supply of groundbait. I have found the best hookbait of choice for flatbed method feeder fishing to be fake corn, the natural buoyancy and eye-catching colour contrast against the groundbait enables the tench to home in on the bright plastic and hook the red eyed beasts nicely. The buoyancy of the fake corn counterbalances the weight of the hook, meaning that with the faintest of inhalation from a tench, the bait will be drawn with ease into the mouth and a small size 16 hook will drive into their lip upon them closing. Accuracy is key with this technique in order to build up a good concentration of bait to keep tench feeding over a spot for a prolonged period.

DA - Spring Tench (1)

An angry 9lb on the nose male bull for me last season.

The equipment needed can be made as simple as one prefers, firstly there is of course the float set up option with; a float rod, light 6lb float fishing mainline matched with an appropriate and balanced reel set up. It should be noted that the float will not always sail away underwater to indicate a bite, often small knocks and taps of the float are the signal of a tench bite, therefore provided you are confident it isn’t a liner or an aborted take-strike! Next there is also quiver tip fishing where all that is needed is a sensitive glass fibre or carbon quiver tip rod- yet with enough backbone to land a large specimen or deal with carp which can quite often be caught on tench tactics. Paired with such a rod must be an appropriately sized reel loaded with 6-8lb sinking monofilament mainline. This is a fantastic method to begin your tench fishing journey as watching the tip constantly alerts you of small liners and fish activity in the area. These taps and knocks on the tip enable you to dictate your level of recasts with bait introduction but more importantly for the beginner- if there are fish there but you’re not getting bites then your techniques should be evaluated to learn and gain bites in the future. Anglers must be careful not to strike liners as these small knocks aren’t always the indication of a bite however. Alternatively, to quiver tip bite indication, anglers often use bite alarms to detect bites with a baitrunner style reel or loosened off clutch to allow a fish its initial run. A sensitive bite alarm and a light bobbin gives adequate indication of a tench bite, but care must be taken in not allowing a tench to reach a potential hazard such as a lily pad where it could be ‘lost to the jungle’ on the initial run. Due to the nature of the larger venues and multiple rods being fished, the bite alarm set up is my usual go-to. One edge I have always found to be particularly helpful with bite indication is to still use a quiver tip section but not have your rod rips directly in line with your rigs. The reason for this is that it can assist with bite indication which bite alarms don’t always pick up on, therefore watching the tips knock can alert you of a bite before bite alarms pick up on a bite, allowing less time for a tench to spit the hook and get away. Not only will this alert you of bites but also fish activity in the area with minute liners not being picked up by a bite alarm. It goes without saying that an appropriately sized mat and net are required in correspondence to average size of fish at the venue.

DA - Spring Tench (2)

A lovely 6lb 10oz female for my father and co-director Gordon last season.

Once a fish has been landed, let it rest in the net in the water whilst you gather your weighing and photography equipment before the handling of the fish starts- therefore reducing the amount of time the fish spends out of the water. Safe handling of your quarry should always be paramount, much like other freshwater fish, tench have a layer of slime/ mucus surrounding their flesh like façades. This layer of mucus is there in order to protect the fish against bacteria, parasites and assist in the healing of wounds- therefore anglers must do their utmost to maintain this layer and not damage the fish. The first and quite often most overlooked step is to wet/ wash your hands (without soap) in the lake water. In an age where hand sanitised and sun creamed hands are a norm, this layer of chemicals must be removed before the handling of any fish. The best way I have found is to first use water from the lake and pour over my hands, try and scrub all the chemicals off of your hands and allow the water to drain away from the front of your swim, follow this by wetting your hands in the water after. Once your hands are chemical free and wet, ensure that your unhooking mat (which is at an appropriate thickness) is wet before lifting the tench out in the net with care so that its fins are not damaged in the process. With a wet weighing sling which has been zero'd prior to lifting the fish out of the water, the safe weighing of the fish can take place, along with the obligatory trophy shots too. Resume in returning the tench as quickly as possible to the water and not as many seem to do, by dumping it out! Lift it out and hold it until it swims off strong. 

You cannot beat morning fishing for tench in the spring on most waters, this is where they will show and feed quite often an hour later. Being awake and ready to move in the morning onto where they show is a vital piece of the tench catching puzzle. Many will use a marker float or fish finder in order to locate a shoal yet there is no better indication of where you think they may be than where they actually are! As the weather warms, the red eyed tench come out to feed hard in the spring, it is when they’re at their least wary stage, combining this with their pre-spawning munch, they can be a delight to land at good weights.

@anglehr / Team DA

Follow @anglehr:

About Decoy Angling

Decoy Angling is an online fishing tackle retailer focussed on supporting all disciplines of coarse and predator fishing from the specimen hunter to the pleasure angler looking to catch the species within our waters. 

Shop Decoy Angling's range of artificial baits here

Related News
Submit comment