Fishing for Tench
The Tench (Doctor fish) is a very stocky fish with a muscular body and large rounded paddle-like fins, Tench have a scaleless head with a distinctive orange teddy bear looking eye. The scales of a Tench will be small and have a very smooth feel to them due to the protective film coating them. Generally Tench are olive green with a lighter underside, however, Tench can be almost black to light Green and don’t be surprised if you even catch a golden Tench. The protective film or slime is the reason the Tench was called the doctor fish, it was believed that other fish used to rub against the Tench to help heal wounds.
General Information When Fishing for Tench
British Record Tench stands at 15LB 3oz Specimen Tench over 7LB with double-figure classed as lifetime achievement Length Tench will be up to 2 ft / 60cm, However most Tench you catch will be around 12-18″ Lifetime Tench are believed to be up to 14 years Location Lowland rivers Canals Estate Lakes Clay and Gravel pits are ideal location to find Tench. You can also find tench in rivers with a slow flowing body of water, while the Tench is a very Powerful fish you never find them in moderate to fast flowing rivers. Habitat Slow moving water dense in margin weed reeds and general cover, Tench Love and will always be found around lily beds. Generally, a bottom-feeding fish most active during the summer months from May – September. Best time to catch the tench is dawn or dusk. Pinprick bubbles. Along with margin reeds moving will be its only give away while feeding. Natural Food Invertebrates, snails, mussels’ Zoo Plankton Baits Maggot, Bread, Sweet corn, Boilies, Worm, Casters Maturity 3-5 years Spawning Prefers dense weed females lay around 400,000 eggs from May to August
Weight: British record Tench stands at 15LB
Specimen: Over 7LB with double-figure classed as a lifetime achievement
Length: Up to 2 ft / 60cm
Lifetime: Believed to be up to 14 years
Location: Lowland rivers Canals Estate Lakes Clay and Gravel-pits.
Habitat: Slow moving water dense in margin weed reeds and general cover, loves and will always be found around lily beds
Feeding: Bottom feeding fish most active during the summer months from May – September. Best time to catch the tench is dawn or dusk. Pinprick bubbles Along with margin reeds moving will be it’s only given away while feeding.
Natural: Invertebrates, snails, mussels’ Zoo Plankton
Baits: Maggot, Bread, Sweet corn, Boilies, Worm, Casters
Maturity: 3-5 years
Male/Female: The difference between male and female Tench, male Tench have a larger more rounded Ventral Fins.
Spawning: Prefers dense weed females lay around 400,000 eggs from May to August
Tench are very widespread throughout the UK and most of Europe, they will occupy almost every body of fresh water apart from medium to fast flowing rivers. Tench are able to withstand very low oxygenated dirty water and thus they can be found in even old forgotten weed-clogged farmers ponds, marshlands and even in some ditches. Below are some of the more familiar places you will have probably fished at one time or another not forgetting, canals and reservoirs.
Fishing Baits For Tench
Tench will take a wide variety of different Fishing baits, Sweetcorn, Boilies, worms, pellets not forgetting paste Baits, there’s nothing like catching a tench on a summers evening using good old Bread Flake. Check out the Quick Bait Tips for fishing bait tips and ideas.
Tench Fishing tips and Tackle
Tench are renowned for their hard fighting and ability to dive for cover or snags time and time again before they finally give up and slid into the landing net. Fishing rods should be around 1.5 LB test curve with a medium action, this will allow you to maintain some control of the hooked Tench while still enjoying the prolonged fight. While most fishing reels will suffice, a reel similar to a Shimano Bait Runner loaded with 6LB fishing line will provide a very good option and will allow you to swap between float fishing and ledgering as you need too. You can use a wide range of Fishing hooks (size 8-18) for your Tench fishing, however much will depend on the type of baits you are going to be using. For the last 10 years for all my Tench fishing has been done with only two sizes of a fishing hook, a size 8 and a size 10, this has been for both Float fishing as well as ledgering.
Green Tench are widespread across the UK and most of Europe, they prefer still water such as ponds, Gravel pits, and lowland drains or streams that have a slow movement of water. Like most fish, Tench are drawn to more underwater features such as gullies, margin shelves, but most of all Tench just love lily pads. Along with areas of weed, where Tench can spend much of their time rooting around in search of food items. While it’s possible to catch Tench throughout the day, the best times to locate and catch when Fishing for Tench is in the early hours of the morning or evening. Tench release tiny pinprick bubbles from their gills while chewing food that is very easy to spot on the water surface in small groups, it’s not uncommon to see a wandering trail of these bubbles working their way around the margins in and out of the lily pad beds. Don’t be fooled into thinking you will catch a Tench or two just because everything looks right and the water surface is showing signs of feeding Tench. Tench are no one’s fool at all, many a time they will be so preoccupied routing around for natural food items such as Blood Worms they won’t even give your fishing bait a second glance.
Float Fishing for Tench
There’s really only one method to use if you’re going to float for Tench and that is to use the Lift method. The lift method is both a simple and very effective fishing method not only for Tench but for other types of fish that feed or will take a bait on the bottom. Use a fishing float of around 4BB place a couple of small weights either side of the float to position the float and allow for depth adjustment as needed later. Place the float in the water and you will see the float will just lay flat on the water surface, now add more weight to the rig 4-5 ” up from the hook until the fishing float is pulled underwater. Now simply move the float up the line until it stands at an angle to the water surface. With the fishing rod on the rests or pod, gently wind in your fishing reel until there is around 1″ of the float showing above the water surface. Wind in, add your bait, cast out again and set the float to 1″ as above when a Tench takes your hook bait the float will rise in the water as the lower anchor weights have been lifted of the bottom.
NOTE: Best to keep the rod tip close or just under the water while using the lift method.
Ledgering for Tench
Ledgering is an effective way to catch Tench, while the basics of ledgering are simple the variations or methods for presenting the bait along with lose feed is quite varied.
Swim feeders come in many different sizes and variation but all perform the same job, to allow free food items to be presented in the same tight location to the Hook bait. Closed Swim Feeder is ideal if you’re going to be offering Maggots as your lose feed. Open-ended Swim feeders allow you to present different types of fishing baits, like Ground bait, pellets, hemp or Sweetcorn. Use ground Bait to plug the ends of the cage feeder to stop the contents being released when you cast out.
Feeder Fishing is probably the simplest, quickest and again effective. Using a short hook link of around 4″ from the ledger, squeeze Method mix or Ground bait around the ledger weight to form an oval ball. You can either add you hook bait or leave it hanging free form the bait ball, either way, it will work. One of the benefits of fishing the Feeder Method is it’s simplicity and quickness to rebait allowing you to recast to showing fish if needed, along with being confident to cast for both distances and into weedy areas and maintain a decent bait and lose feed presentation.
PVA Bags are basically a small synthetic bag that will dissolve in water, there a bit fiddly to use, you need to have very dry hands and dry terminal tackle otherwise they will dissolve in your hands. However, they are very effective for being able to deliver all types of loose feed as well as liquid flavors in a very tight area to your hook bait, again they allow you to cast at distance and into weedy areas.
Fishing Baits for Tench
Tench will accept many different types of fishing baits, Bread, Sweetcorn, Maggots, and Boilies being the most commonly used, they can be fussy eaters at times and it’s always a good idea to try different baits or bait combination. Hemp is a Tench favorite as a loose feed and will draw Tench into a fishing swim, unfortunately, it also has the effect of focusing the Tench searching only the hemp and ignoring your hook bait.
Pre Baiting and weed Raking
Pre-baiting is a great way to introduce or keep the feeding attention of Tench and other fish to an area or a specific time of the day, Fish are creatures of habit and will become accustomed to finding free food item in a given place and time. Pre-baiting also has other advantages, it allows you to pick the area you want to fish by attracting the fish to this area over time. It will also allow you to introduce a new bait or flavored bait, such as Boilies and allow the Tench, Carp, and Bream to be found and recognize them as a food source.
Good luck on your adventures when Fishing for tench 🙂