Tench fishing season is upon us so we’ve gone to former Drennan Cup champion Dai Gribble to give us his top tips to help you catch a tench this season.
• REFINE YOUR HOOKLINK MATERIALS
Tench do get caught by carp anglers using thick line and big hooks but a more refined approach is much more productive.
When considering what hooklink material to use, it needs to be strong enough to land big tench. That might mean up to 12lb breaking strain in weedy waters and as low as 6lb in clear waters.
I prefer hooklinks that can be cast regularly with little chance of tangling so in most cases I choose mono over more supple braid.
However, I do use braided hooklinks, normally with smaller baits, as their suppleness helps with bait presentation. Braid will lie flatter over weed and be less obtrusive too. By carrying a range of hooklink materials I can tie up what I think will be the best rig for any situation.
• GO SMALLER WITH YOUR HOOKS
On many occasions during the season, and on some waters, tench show a preference for feeding on small baits. Even specimen-sized fish will ignore larger offerings.
Often I will use just two artificial or real maggots as a hookbait rather than anything bigger.
Small hooks are essential for this because they allow you to present maggots in such a way that tench are likely to pick them up as part of the loosefeed.
I’ve used a lot of hooks over the years and have now settled with Korum’s Specimen hooks. I carry them in sizes from a 12 down to a size 16. Don’t worry about scaling down... I’ve caught plenty of big tench on a size 16!
• CARRY A SELECTION OF FEEDERS
For tench I carry a good range of feeders in different sizes and weights.
I use Korum 2oz Combi-feeders or mesh Combi-feeders combined with a Heli rig for most of my tench fishing, but I’ll opt for a small feeder if I want to feed less.
For distances beyond 60 yards a small feeder can be cast more accurately, too, particularly in a side wind.
When fishing close in, such as at the bottom of a marginal shelf, opt for inline feeders so the reel line can be pinned down easily.
Inline feeders are also better for fishing in heavy weed, as the feeder does not get tangled in it when fished in this manner.
• USE QUICK-CHANGE HELI RIGS
The helicopter rig is undoubtedly my favourite rig for tench, as they have brilliant anti-tangle and hooking properties.
They’re also really easy to set up, particularly as I use the Korum Ready Heli Kits straight from the packet!
Start by threading the kit on to your line and tie a feeder on the end of your mainline – job done!
The best bit about them is the quick-change clip, which means you can change hooklinks in a matter of seconds.
I tie all my hooklinks with a figure-of-eight loop at the end. This goes over the clip and is held in place with a small rig sleeve.
• SPOMBS ARE ESSENTIAL
I’m a big fan of using lots of small particles. Typically I will feed hemp, a mixture of 2mm Sonubaits pellets -Krill, S-pellet, F1 and Robin Red – plus maggots, casters and chopped worm.
The quickest and easiest way of getting this mix into my swim is with a Spomb.
Tench are inquisitive fish, and I have found that a Spomb does not seem to scare them – indeed, I have often had bites while putting bait in over the top of them.
I like to feed little and often to ensure there is always some bait in the swim, and the Spomb is the perfect way to keep a tench swim topped up.
• ALWAYS CHOOSE HEAVY BOBBINS
The right type or, more specifically, weight of bobbin is crucial for bite indication when tench fishing.
I like to use bobbins fitted with 10g weights as they keep my line nice and tight. This improves bite indication and ensures that the wind does not affect them.
If I’m fishing at long range in very windy conditions, which create a big undertow, I’ll add another 10g weight.
I don’t like the current trend for really short chains on bobbins because many bites are drop-backs.
A longer chain allows the bobbin to fall further, which gives you much better indication.