The best year ever for specimen tench has not only produced another record-shaking specimen weighing 14lb 13oz, but also seen experts reveal why both stillwater and river fish of many species are growing bigger than ever.
Dai Gribble yet again backed up the theory when he banked the biggest tench ever caught by design, along with three other doubles to 10lb 12oz.
The Korum-backed man beat the benchmark he himself set with a tench weighing 14lb 13oz – the same southern stillwater fish he caught at 1oz less a few weeks ago.
“I didn’t go back to catch the same fish, but there are many more big fish to catch and with the current tench form I really wanted to make the most of it,” said Dai.
“I have banked 15 double-figure tench this season, which is nothing short of sensational, but I know of so many others who have had such phenomenal catches at UK venues.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the mild winter that saw fish continue to feed when they would normally shut up shop and also contributed to there being an abundance of natural food are some of the key reasons why 2015 has already produced huge tench, crucians and carp.”
Two other anglers who also broke their tench personal bests were Lincolnshire’s Brian Hankins and Colin Hebb.
Brian’s fish weighed 12lb 11oz and was taken at a Colne Valley gravel pit when he feederfished imitation casters at 40yds range in a gap in the weed.
The catch equalled his personal best of 10lb 5oz just a few weeks ago, but he blew that out of the water with his fish of a lifetime.
“I’ve been tench fishing for around 38 years and I’ve never known a season like this,” said Brian.
Moving up country to a stillwater in Yorkshire, Colin Hebb also continued an incredible run of recent form when he beat his tench personal best with a monster 12lb 5oz specimen.
A sweetcorn hookbait presented underneath an overhanging tree did the trick for the 31-year-old market trader.
But 2015 will not only go down in history for producing more huge tench than ever before.
Following the capture of two new British record crucians, both weighing 4lb 10oz, and a 20lb 15oz bream already banked this year, fisheries management consultant Dr Bruno Broughton believes that a distinct trend is emerging from the fantastic early-season coarse fish catches – a big-fish boom.
“There is mounting evidence from a wide range of fisheries that coarse fish have waxed fat in the last year,” he said. “We have already seen substantial numbers of huge fish of many species in recent months, with stillwaters producing unsurpassed catches of tench, carp, crucians, perch and other species. The trend looks set to extend to rivers, too.
“The mild winter and the relative lack of frosts will certainly have extended the growing period and can be linked to the immense sizes which known fish have attained in recent months.”