Tench (Tinca tinca)
15lb 3oz 6dr (6.900kg), Darren Ward, Surrey lake, 2001
10lb (4.540kg), P Crookhall, Castle Loch, Lochmaben, 2003
Tench are an absolutely stunning fish and are definitely one of my favourites to catch.
They are widespread throughout the UK and are commonly found in canals, stillwaters and on slow moving rivers or in bays and backwaters.
Populations of Tench up to 7lb are found in many canals across the country but really big Tench tend to be found in large stillwaters where they can reach double figures. In Scotland
Tench can be caught in waters across the south and Central belt and up as far as Loch Lomond. Further north they are less common, except where they have stocked into commercial fisheries.
Fishing for Tench
Tench are margin feeders, but also like clear areas of bottom amongst dense weed and will often forage into very shallow water during the warmer summer months. You will often see tell-tale sign of Tench activity in your peg before you catch one as small clusters of tiny bubbles come fizzing to the surface as the root about over your baited area.
Although mainly bottom feeders, tench will come up in the water to compete for regularly introduced loosefeed and have been known to take floating baits off the surface.
Float fishing, ledgering and feeder tactics all work well on their day with worm, casters, sweetcorn and maggots (red seem to be the Tench’s preference) covering most eventualities.
Tench are definitely more active in the summer months and can be caught in large numbers especially when they shoal up before spawning in late spring and early summer.
In the colder winter months you will still catch the odd fish but they are much less reliable.
Best fishing times for Tench are very early in the morning (as soon after dawn the better) and late evening just before dusk.
For those with the time and patience to prepare and pre-bait a swim, a few hours raking a clear area amongst weed then pre-baiting with particles such as a couple of pints of hemp with a scattering of sweetcorn, some casters and a few dead maggots the evening before fishing can produce excellent results when you return to fish.