Tench fishing

It’s time to catch your first Spring tench

Kelvin Tallett shows you a simple and effective method to help you get your first tench of the year on the bank

Words: Kelvin Tallett Pictures: Lloyd Rogers

As the river season comes to an end I start to think of that first tench and how I’m going to catch one. The dream of a tench came early in my angling career as we then had a full closed season from March to June. It was during this time that me and some friends would look for a tench pool for the first day and come up with all sorts of plans to catch one. Two weeks before we would go and rake the swims and start pre baiting and the madness of waiting to fish at that time would drive us crazy.  We would always catch a few on that first day and that special feeling never leaves you no matter how old you get. 

It was with this in mind I planned my first trip to my favourite tench pool at Leamington Anglings Jubilee Pools and especially Horseshoe Pool. Catching tench is never easy in March with the weather and water temps are always up and down and the tench just waking up after their winter slumber. Tactics to catch these early fish for me revolve around natural baits such as maggots caster and worms sweetcorn too can pick out some of the better fish. 

I like to use some Groundbait but in moderation 3 or 4 balls maximum at the start as you can always top up but you can’t take it out once it’s in the swim. This lake is deep and so is slow to warm up but this doesn’t deter to tench they always put in an appearance early in the year. The day I picked for my session was not the best as we had a cold night before and a frost also a full moon the night before and very high air pressure. The full moon is something that’s open to debate but I’ve found fishing is always harder around this time for what ever reason. I decided on a peg in a corner of a bay which had good depth and tench do come from here this time of year. 

I set up just one rig a 1.5g DH22 to fish at 9 metres into 12ft of water with an ollivette and two number 8 droppers. Plumbing up is essential here and trying to find differences in the bottom that’s clear of rubbish and as flat as possible. This helps you to keep your bait in the right place and not roll away down the slope away from your rig. The Groundbait for today would be Silver Fish X Skimmer mix and Frenzied Hemp Match Black mixed 50/50 together they made a nice fluffy mix I could put plenty of loose feed in and get to the bottom. To add to this mix I chopped a few worms and dead maggots while feeding a few casters over the top to further draw some fish into the peg. 

Well, my plan didn’t really work out as despite trying everything for 2 and a half hours it was clear there were no fish in this area so a move was in order. I moved my gear round to a peg I had caught well in before and then repeated the process of putting in 3 balls of Groundbait onto my spot at 11 metres this time and within 10 minutes I had a bite only a small perch but it was clear there were more fish here and with steady feeding I caught perch roach and skimmers over the next hour.

It then went quiet before I managed to hook one of the lakes large carp which lead me a merry dance for 5 minutes before the 0.10 hook link parted. If it goes quiet there’s usually a reason for it and that carp clearly was it so I re-fed a ball of my Groundbait as carp are greedy and usually eat everything you’ve fed… 

It wasn’t long before I got my prize my first tench of the year a lovely fish a male tench of around 3lb not the biggest tench in the lake but beautiful just the same. This shows the difference between areas where there are no fish and those that have fish in and shows how important location is in finding fish and having a good day or not catching a thing. 

If you want that first tench remember to use suitable gear as they still fight hard even in the cold water temps. Today I had my rigs made up on 0.14 line and an 0.10 hook link which is as light as I would dare go. Hooks need to be strong too and I had a barbless guru LWG on today in a 16 these are great for strong fish like tench and carp and don’t bend. Elastic I used white Daiwa Hydro but maybe should have gone to the grey Hydro as it felt a little under gunned in truth.