A huge 14lb 8oz record-shaking tench and the greatest haul of specimen tench of all time have been caught in a week that will go down in angling history.
Dai Gribble made the tench fishing world stand up and take notice when he took the catch of a lifetime by sliding his net under a 13lb 3oz fish – which incredibly was backed up by no fewer than seven other specimens in double figures.
In what experts have labelled the greatest tench catch ever that also featured fish of 11lb, 10lb 14oz, 10lb 9oz, 10lb 6oz, 10lb 5oz, 10lb 2oz and 10lb 1oz, the Korum-backed specialist chose a venue that is part of Medway Valley Fisheries in Kent.
The Stafford-based member of The Tenchfishers adopted feeder tactics with artificial caster hookbaits that he cast over a bed of 2mm Sonubaits pellets, hempseed, casters and maggots.
It was a winning combination that kept the huge fish coming, with the 13lb 3oz specimen sliding over his net as the historic session drew to a close.
“This is as good as fishing gets. I still can’t believe that I’ve made a catch like this and I still feel like I’m dreaming as it hasn’t truly sunk in yet,” said an ecstatic Dai.
“I hoped one day that I’d beat my personal best, but I never saw a tench like this coming at all. Since the capture I’ve found myself in conversations where both myself and the others involved have referred to the other double-figure tench as ‘the smaller ones’. That’s just ridiculous, but it really puts this catch into perspective.”
Dai’s catch sets a new record for The Tenchfishers which was previously held by Vice Chairman and Press Officer Paul Thompson with a fish weighing 12lb 9oz.
Paul was on hand to witness Dai’s incredible haul as he was with him for the session.
“In my opinion this is not only the single greatest-ever haul of specimen tench, but the catch of the century,” said Paul.
“It took me 16 years after joining The Tenchfishers to catch my first double-figure fish and there are so many anglers out there that have been or are still in the same boat. This just goes to show what an incredible achievement this is.
“I was fishing 20 yards up the bank from Dai, and to be a part of it and see the huge frame of that fish go over the frame of his net truly was an honour and something I’ll never forget. The guy is a tench catching machine.”
Chris Jacob also wrote his name into angling history by banking a record-shaking 14lb 8oz tinca while fishing for carp.
It falls just short of the current British best that stands at 15lb 3oz 6 dr and gave the 25-year-old, from Basingstoke, Hants, a big surprise during a session at a venue known as the Tippings Lane Carp Fishing Syndicate, just outside Reading.
The winning hookbait was a pink 18mm Carp Junkie boilie, and it provided the only bite of his session.
“I was in total shock when I got the fish on the mat because it was like nothing else I’d ever seen or caught before. My biggest tench before this was around the 6lb mark,” said Chris.
“When it came to weighing the tench I just couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the reading, so I had to check three or four times just to make sure I was doing everything correctly.
“This water did a fish of 13lb 6oz last year, so everyone fishing here knows there’s always a chance of catching a huge tench, but I never thought that person would be me.”
Adam Perna realised a dream when his quest for a double-figure tench ended in success as he smashed his personal best with an impressive 11lb 12 oz fish.
After a switch from artificial casters to two grains of corn on a size 10 hook that was nicked through a PVA bag full of pellets his alarm screamed out at 3am.
After a 15-minute fight the 30-year-old specimen hunter from Bicester, Oxon had achieved his goal.
“The fish was enormous, measuring almost 25ins long with a 20ins girth,” he said.
“There was no obvious sign of spawn, so it will get bigger still.
“My target had been a 10-pounder, and I knew I’d smashed that out of sight as soon as I took in the sheer depth of this fish.”