This is a picture of what is believed to be the North of England’s biggest tench ever – all 11lb 6oz of it.
The stunning fish was taken by Highfield, North Yorks-based rod Syd Marston, and marks the culmination of several seasons spent unlocking the specimen secrets at Wintersett Reservoir, a venue owned by Leeds DAA that has the reputation of being a tough nut to crack.
Syd (62) began his latest assault on the day-ticket lake near Wakefield by introducing a heady groundbait mix comprising a kilo of bloodworm, two of hemp, one of casters and a few handfuls of pellets to a clear patch amid weed at 40yds.
Offering feederfished rubber casters on a size 10 Fox hook and Korda fluorocarbon hooklink over the top, Syd first took several small male tench before deciding on a move of swim when he had a feeling that the big females might be in another, deeper area of the lake. His instinct paid off, and early the following morning the new pb specimen graced his net, prompting bankside celebrations.
“It’s a very hard venue that’s known to hold some big carp, but it’s only produced two carp so far this year to my knowledge. I had a hunch that the smaller male tench were in theshallows waiting for the bigger females to move in from the deeper water,” he explained. “So I moved my rods from fishing in three feet of water to a 6ft-deep area, and that’s where she came from, at 6am after a blank night,” said Syd, who was first alerted to the venue’s tench potential three seasons ago when he took a surprise 7lb tinca on his first visit.
Since that first visit Syd, who is retired, has taken numerous tench from the lake to a top weight of 7lb 12oz, but never in his wildest dreams did he imagine something of this size would be gracing his net.
“I had to weigh her four times to keep checking that the scales were telling me the truth. I couldn’t stop myself dancing a jig of delight on the bank. It’s just awesome,” he added.
Official regional tench records don’t exist, but this one has to be a strong contender for the northern title.