Thursday, 26 May 2011

Tench Heaven?

Over the past five years or so I've been trying to catch a double figure tench from the Northwest of England. It's a tall order, tench in most of my local waters struggle to reach half that size and even in the very best waters it's really only possible to achieve when the fish are in heavily spawn in May and June. I was in no doubt when I selected my new water that it held fish of such size so that's one big piece of the jigsaw but there's another piece that I can't legislate for and that's luck.

This week I managed three short sessions after the tench - with thoughts of bream also as an added bonus. The first session I spent on my own, it was still, cold morning when very few fish were showing and the bobbins were motionless for most of the time. The bream were certainly not in residence as was evidenced by the total lack of line bites. Eventually however a bobbin did twitch its way up to the butt and the strike met a solid resistence. It was a lively little tench of five pounds or so which fought hard until it reach the dense marginal weed where it buried itself deeply. A few moments of tugging and pulling eventually saw the feeder fly out of the water as the hook pulled free.

A short while later I had a repeat performance when a second tench was lost in the weed. I didn't actually see this one but it felt a similar size to the first and so I wasn't desperately unhappy at losing it. These two incidents forced me to reexamine my tackle. I had already stepped up my hooklengths after losing a bream last week and this time I decided that the size fourteen hooks I was using were too small and so changed them for size twelves.

The next day I was joined by Denis and on arrival at the swim I gave him the option to choose which side to fish, the left or the right. He chose the right, as I knew he would and we both set about the business of setting up our rods and baiting the swim. I baited up with a pint of white maggots using a spod, cast in two feeder rigs and sat back to await the action. It was slow again but we did get the occasional twitchy line bite before at around 6.30 my nearest bobbin twitched its way up to the butt. I struck and at once I knew I was into a heavy fish. The fight was unspectacular and dogged, mainly because the fish had quickly collected a lot of weed on the line around its head and soon it was within netting range.

"Looks a good 'un." I said, "It certainly does." said Denis as he slid the net under it. We hauled it onto the bank and I could see this was a very good tench. At 9lbs 7oz on the scales it was my biggest ever tench from the Northwest and that bit closer to my long term target. It wasn't a spawny fish this one either, just a very big framed female.

After the obligatory photographs we slipped it back and got back to the fishing. We caught nothing else that morning but two more incidents did take place. Denis saw a monstrous tench roll as he was spodding in his maggots. He described it as "at least" as big as the one I had caught earlier. Then a little while after he hooked a big tench which unfortunately shed the hook. He's decided to go with softer rods after that coming down from 2lb test curve rods to 1.25lb. Would it work for him next day?

Day three was a tough one. A strong wind was blowing right into our faces making it difficult to feed and to cast and making bite indication tricky too. We went through the routine of spodding out some maggots, set up the gear and waited. Before long I had a steady run up and struck into what felt like a big bream. Denis grabbed the net but within a few seconds the rod sprung back - another lost fish. I rebaited and cast again.

Long hours passed before anything else and then I started to get line bites. These became more and more frequent and I was sure some bream had moved into the swim. Eventually I struck at a more positive indication and hooked a heavy fish that started to kite to the right. It felt like a bream with no kicking or head shaking, just a dead weight and constant kiting to the side. I pulled it slowly in and expected to see a big bronze flank come into view but no, it was a big green flank instead. It was another tench and a good one. Once under the rod tip it remembered it was a tench and started to scrap quite hard. This was a dangerous time with a fresh fish and all that weed to contend with and I breathed a huge sigh of relief when Denis lifted the net under my prize.

This fish was quite a different shape to the nine, quite spawny and shorter in length it weighed 8lb 6oz - not to be sniffed at.

We had no more action and week two at the new pit ended with just those two big tench. Is this where I'll catch my Northwest double? Is this water going to turn out to be our tench heaven? I guess only time will tell!

1 comment:

Paddy Pike said...

Hi Eric,
Those are a couple of cracking tench in the pictures, And a great read from start to finish, I think you may have found the right place for a big double, As they used to say that there was a female double the the size of any male,
Good luck on you quest,