Sunday, 20 March 2011

Too early for a Tench? Never say never!

Sunday 20th March

With the rivers finishing last week it had been my intention move onto to a couple of commercial fisheries ive had my eye on for a Perch or two but as ever, my fickle nature came into play and wrecked my plans.  A conversation with a mate last week got my Tench juices going and by the time the weekend came around i had a session planned on a pit at Tamworth where i had a few last year. We had some frosts over the last couple of nights and i had some doubts about whether the Tench would be moving yet, the pit holds some good Bream aswell though so if the Tincas werent on it then hopefully the Bream would be.

I arrived at the lake and the conditions look pretty damn good, calm, mild and overcast with a slight drizzle in the air. The water in the pit is always as clear as tap water and its very shallow so i needed any help the weather could offer. Looking out across the lake there wasnt much sign of anything fishy going on so i opted for a spot which gave me good access to some slightly deeper water off the end of an island which i reasoned could be a good area to pick off any passing fish.

A few exploratory casts told me that there was still a lot of tough old blanket weed about left over from last year but fortunately the clearest area seemed to be exactly where i had intended to fish off the end of the island. I rigged up two rods with the ever faithful maggot bolt-feeders and cast them out.
Once settled the rod-tips banged intermittently as Roach attacked the maggots and after a while one of about 6oz hooked itself. I went on to get several more over the next couple of hours and i got the feeling that i had to do something to ward them off a bit so that the Tench and Bream could get a look-in.

I started by upping the hook size and utilizing a maggot clip on a hair with the intention being that it would look a bit too crude to the Roach and that even if they did pick up the bait then they wouldnt hook up due to the length of the hair. It didnt work, i gave it an hour and they were still chewing on the maggots and i even managed to catch a couple more. I wasnt happy with how the rig looked either, im not a fan of maggot clips and i felt that there was way too much metal on show at the business end for the Tench to pick up the bait.
After a bit of a think i replaced the black-cap maggot feeder with a small open ended feeder packed with groundbait. I dropped the hooksize down to a 14 and instead of a clip i used a micro ring on a long hair and threaded about 7 or 8 maggots onto a length of line which was then tied to the ring. The resulting rig was much more low profile and i was well happy with it.
After a while of fishing the new setup i was still getting the odd twitch from the Roach but nothing like as bad as before. I had a feeling they had been homing in on the maggots coming from the feeder and mopping them up before anything else got a chance to find them. Now i was using maggot-free groundbait, it wasnt AS attractive to the Roach and there was still going to be some food particles around should anything bigger come along.
Time was ticking away uneventfully but as it approached 4oclock i had another Roachy take. I picked up the rod, struck and was pleasantly surprised when it took on a bit of a curve and the fish on the end actually pulled back! I soon netted a rather tatty looking Tench of about 3lb. It could well have been the smallest in the lake but it was concrete proof that there was one or two on the feed!

Pleased at getting one under my belt at last i rebaited and recast both rods for the last hour. I had to clear off by 5 if i was to get home in time for the sunday roast but even so i was well confident of another take beforehand. I had just started to tidy some gear up when the right hander signalled a fast take, the baitrunner was properly hissing as i picked up the rod. This one felt a bit bigger than the last and despite it finding some reeds in the margin i eventually managed to scoop it out and confirm a weight of 5.2.

A passerby did the honors with the camera and after returning it i called time and headed for home. I was quite happy having put my earlier doubts to rest, the pit hasnt got a huge stock of Tench and to get a couple in March was pretty good i thought.
I really should go Perching next week before the Carp get mega active but if the Tench are feeding then i fear it may already be too late!


  1. Leo, tench in March?? You are an angling bandit :)
    Regards, Dave.

  2. Just call me Dick Turpin!!! :-)

  3. Wow! Fantastic tench! I love this fish, but I have never caught one bigger than 2lb... I hope this year will be better :)

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