When you think of tench, you often think of those summer evenings casting a float next to a few lily pads and watching for bubbles. But you can catch a really good net of tench in the winter too. So not having caught many tench so far in my angling career, I jumped at the chance to have a go when Alan suggested we took a trip to a local lake. I had no idea of the day that was in store for me!
It was the first week in March and so was still fairly chilly with the wind, but the sun was out and things were starting to brighten up a little. I had been told that maggot feeder was the method that had been working there, so armed with two feeder rods and a couple of pints of maggots we headed to the lake.
We chose our swims and were soon casting block-end feeders full of red maggots out into the lake. We decided to use 4-6lb mainline straight through because of the threat of hooking one of the scarce carp in the lake. Later I would be glad of this choice.
The day started off fairly quietly with the odd little bite here and there, until Alan struck into his first tench of around 2 1/2lb. It
was a fin-perfect fish and it put up a good account of itself – so things were looking good.
I decided to cast a feeder in close – just a couple of rod lengths out – and after about an hour or so I started catching tench fairly regularly. By regularly I mean a fish every 20-30 minutes. The bites varied greatly from a tiny little knocking on the quiver tip, drop back and slack line bites and wrap a round bites which almost bounced the rod of the rest. It was great fun and I began to start thinking about the weight at the end of the day. I was glad of the 4-6lb line straight through, and the great thing was we were catching them all on a couple of pounds worth of maggots!
Finally, after plenty of rod bending action, a few lost fish and the sun starting to dip we decided to weigh in and count our fish.
Alan went first and pulled out 4 tench up to 3 1/4lb and a stray rainbow trout – a good winter’s net!
It was now my turn and I was fairly excited to know how many I actually had and how heavy they were. So after a little bit of a struggle lifting the keep net out of the water, we counted 12. They ranged from around 2lb to 3 1/2lb which wasn’t going to break my PB but I was just chuffed to have caught my biggest net of tench in one day. So we took a few pictures and returned the fish to the lake.
But the day wasn’t over quite yet. I had left one rod out as I was packing up, only to look around to see it bending double.
It turned out to be the best tench of the day, weighing in at 4lb 3oz, and was a fitting way to finish off such a great day’s fishing.
We were also treated to a cool winter sunset!