With my barbel season kicking off in style on opening day, this week I have turned my attention to the other species that I intend to target over the summer. As I did at the same time last year, I aim to make the most of the long summer days, and do some tench fishing. The next couple of months or so will see taking advantage of as many free evenings as I can, in order to visit a local lake to pursue the quality tench that reside there.
The advantage of the water in question is that it is relatively close, not exactly on the doorstep, but certainly ideal for evening sessions. It has a good head of tench in the 4-5 lb bracket, and there is always the chance of a ‘six’ or maybe higher.
I know we can look in the angling press and see photographs of double figure tench, but in my mind a 6lb fish is still a very good one. Actually, I think a ‘four’ or a ‘five’ is not to be pushed aside either.
Having fished this water before made it much easier to plan my campaign, as in many ways I know what to expect. Bait-wise, I shall be fishing with sweetcorn, although I will also be taking fruit flavoured boilies with me on each session. Last time I fished there, there were times when small shoals of roach kept sucking the bait off the hair. This made fishing very frustrating, hence if this happens again, I shall counteract that problem by switching to a boilie.
Arriving at the lake for the first session, I baited up and then began to get the rods set up. It was quite a windy day so I wasn’t able to observe the surface of the lake. As an angler, there is nothing more exciting than tench bubbles – particularly when they are in your swim!
But although I couldn’t see any feeding fish, they were there, as within twenty minutes of casting out I had a good pull-round. Unfortunately, I missed the fish, along with a number of others on the session.
Eventually though, I did land a couple of tench. They were under the 4lb mark, but like most fish in this lake, they were either high 2’s or good 3’s. It was to be 7.45 p.m. when I caught the best fish of the session at 6-12-8.
Caught on four grains of hair rigged corn, it put up a good fight, but eventually it succumbed to the landing net. Last season my best fish from the water was just a shade over 6lb, so it was a great start.
During the rest of the session I added a further five fish, the best going 5-0-0 and 4-10-0. Traditionally a slow starter, I was more than happy to get off the mark with a few decent fish, particularly the one just short of 7lb. My final session of the week was the very next evening. Just a week into the season and my car was the only one on the car park.
Still, I’m not complaining at all, it’s always nice to have the pick of the swims. However, one of the great things about this lake is that there is not just the one ‘hot-spot’. I am happy to fish any number of pegs, and indeed have done so in the past – and caught decent fish too.
On settling in to my chosen swim, I baited up with corn and dead maggots, using brown crumb as the carrier. The wind had dropped since my first visit, but with showers forecast, I set up the umbrella, which is an indispensable item of tackle for those of us that fish in the British Isles.
I had both rods cast out by 5.00 p.m., thus ensuring that I would get a good five hours fishing before darkness set in. There is a strict no-night rule on the venue, and there is no flexibility on that regulation.
The session proved to be non-stop action all the way, the first thirty minutes being the only slow period. Once the tench moved in over the bait, it seemed that every few minutes I was getting a line-bite, hook-pull or even an actual fish!
By the end of the evening I had landed thirteen fish. I am not a superstitious person in any way, shape or form, and I saw the significance of thirteen fish as nothing other than one more than twelve and one less than fourteen!
The best of the bunch was 5-12-8; in fact I caught two fish of that particular weight. A fish of that size should be a good one in anyone’s book, particularly when the water is a local one, and doesn’t involve too much travelling. But the real benchmark that we should apply to our angling is the enjoyment factor.
It’s no good fishing if we are not enjoying it. And sitting there, in the beautiful countryside, catching some hard fighting tench, I could say that my pleasure level is well and truly topped up!
As well as the two aforementioned tench, I also had another two over 5lb (5-6-8 and 5-2-8). In addition, a further four were all high 4’s, which left five fish below 4lb, but even then, most of them were 3’s. They were all caught on hair rigged sweetcorn, either two or four grains, depending on the size of the hook.
I fished with sizes 10 and 8 to start with, but after I switched to size 6, I noticed a dramatic reduction in the numbers of hook pulls. Leaving the lake I was looking forward to my next visit. I always like to end my sessions like that – wanting more!
6 lb + ………………1 (Best 6-12-8)
5lb + ……………….5
4lb + ……………….5
Up to 4lb………… 10
(Originally published June 2004)