I have had more than my fair share of bream over the last few weeks, and decided on a change in tactics. I had heard rumours – some solid and some not so – of some decent Tench being caught from Alton. At best, the information was sketchy, although I had heard enough to focus some attention. Having previously fished so often in deep open water for the Bream, my chance of seeing much in the way of Tench had been limited. I was starting from scratch, something I prefer, not being a fan of preconceived ideas.
There was another reason for wanting to have a go at the tench, and that was to try out my new Kodex Specialist rods haha. I had already switched over to their amazingly sharp hooks, and hook-length material a few weeks back. I have been more than happy with both products, to the point where I am now actually recommending their gear in the shop. Those of you, who know me, know I only ever recommend something I have used successfully.
Armed with a few ideas of where to target the tench, my choice was always going to be in one of the many bays. Some of these bays are like a lake in their own right with over hanging trees, reed beds, deep and shallow areas. With around 40 bays, finding the right one in itself was always going to be a mission.
The obvious things I was on the lookout for were areas with lots of cover, not a great amount of wind, plenty of sun, signs of weed growth – Tench love a bit of weed – and most importantly between 5 and 8 foot of water, ideally 6 feet. Yeah, I know many Tench are captured in deep water. My opinion over the years is they are more often in shallower areas. Importantly, they are a whole lot easier to spot with their tell-tale pin bubbles, which would be lost in the vast open expanses of Alton, with its river like tow and mad depths.
So, I picked a bay and the next thing was finding the right spot within that bay that would give me options. I left my tackle in the car, and set off with just my marker rod. After trying a few swims, I settled for one that had a consistent 6 to 7 foot of water within 20 yards of the bank. I have found that Tench are no so keen on open expanses. I eventually started setting up around 8am in readiness for a 24-hour-session.
Next thing to sort out was my feeding approach. With reports of Tench sketchy, I reckoned at best, there would be a handful in front of me at any given time, and that’s being optimistic. So with this in mind, I was going to bait sparingly by comparison to my previous trip where my target was Bream. Tench like to graze on particles such as hemp, but I am a fan of mixing this with some ground bait to create a cloud in the water.
I actually think big Tench are the hardest fish to catch, and any help you can gain through feeding correctly will pay off. My mix for this venue was 10% brown crumb, 20% Hemp, and 20% 4mm trout pellet. Added to this were 15% cut maize (pre-soaked), 15% of bloodworm and scopex pellet mixed. The remainder was made up from a few maggots, some 8mm halibut pellet, and a couple of tins of sweet-corn (one of which was liquidized). In total for a 24-hour-session was around 2 kilos.
I had a spot to my right by an over-hanging willow, one to the left by a dead fallen willow, and the last one being a 50 yard chuck to some tantalising looking over hanging trees that lined the far bank. I put 4 spods on each swim.
My first fish came at 10am, a mint female a tad over 7lb. Aside from half a dozen Roach around the 1lb mark, I also managed another four Tench, the best being a superb conditioned male fish of just under 9lb. By my reckoning, this was a brilliant session, especially as it was my first time targeting the Tench on this venue.
The rods, incidentally, were absolutely brilliant. At 11’ 8” with cork handles, these rods are well balanced, even with my medium pit reels. They have a unique 2.25lb test curve butt that tapers seamlessly to 1.75lb at the tip. They are fun on small fish, but have the guts to handle anything that swims. Two of my tench came fishing tight against the dead fallen tree, and these rods were man enough to keep them well clear. Cheers Kodex
As always, just trying to stimulate the need to Go-Catch — SteveD