Terry Lampard got his spring tench campaign off to a flying start this week with the capture of a fish of 11lb 5oz from a Surrey gravel pit.
The huge specimen, which is the largest example of the species landed anywhere in the country this season, was taken by the 63-year-old along with two smaller tench and a bream weighing 11lb 8oz during a 48-hour session. It marked a change in luck for Dorset-based Terry, who struggled at the 100-acre venue last season.
“The bream are normally quite easy to catch there, and while this is not a straightforward tench water, you can normally get a few if you stick at it. Last year I barely had a bite from either though – it was certainly a hard spring. This year is a lot better and the venue seems to have switched on – some of the carp lads have been having quite a few tench as well.
“I caught the big one an hour after dark and it was a long and deep fish that I would expect to weigh more than 12lb if it gets caught later in the spring,” said Terry, who targeted an area close to a band of heavy weed in 12ft of water.
The fish, which is 7oz shy of Terry’s pb, fell to a 10mm CC Moores Odyssey XXX boilie tipped with a small piece of rubber sweetcorn and presented over a bed of hemp, corn, caster, maggots and a few hookbait samples. His other tench and bream took artificial caster rigs fished in conjunction with an inline feeder.
Elsewhere, Norfolk-based specialist Darryn Stolworthy also got in on the action with a fine trio of spring tench weighing 10lb 13oz, 9lb 8oz and 7lb from Colney Lake on the Bawburgh complex near Norwich.
The 41-year-old fished a short overnight session at the 28-acre pit, which is owned by the Norfolk Anglers Conservation Association (NACA), and put his faith in rubber casters and light inline leads.
“I took the two biggest within about 10 minutes of each other, not long after casting out early in the morning,” he said. “Then the action dried up and I only had one more bite between then and the next morning.
“The biggest fish had a really wide frame and fought really well,” added Darryn, who presented his baits over a lightly spodded area of hemp, caster and dead maggots on the silty edge of a gravel bar in 12ft of water just 20yds from the bank.
Finally, further south, Steve Burke took eight tench during a 45-hour session at his own Wingham Coarse Lake in Kent, the two best fish pulling the scales round to 9lb 2oz and 10lb 4oz.
All of his haul came from a solid gravel spot at the base of a bar in 7ft of water that he’d found while out in a boat on the venue.
“It fought that well, I thought I’d hooked a carp at first! The fish had a huge frame and was empty – the tench in here tend to spawn at the beginning of July. Hopefully I’ll catch it again in a few months!” said a delighted Steve, whose all-important bait was a fruit-flavoured Active Baits Solutions 14mm dumbell fishmeal boilie tipped with plastic sweetcorn on a size 10 Korum S3 hook and 8lb line.