“With time in short supply, I have to make the most of every fishing opportunity, and by taking a leaf out of the carp anglers’ armoury I managed to catch this 10lb 2oz tench.
“I recently started a new job at the Angling Trust, as Angling Development Officer for the East of England. I’m loving it, but it’s full-on. I cover North Lincolnshire down to Essex and everywhere in between, which leaves little time for my own fishing.
“I had a gap in meetings recently, so decided to spend a bit of time targeting the tench in a lovely looking estate lake where I’d baited a spot two weeks earlier.
“In big-carp fishing, there’s been a recent boom in people using baiting poles. These are a bit like the poles match anglers use, although they’re much slimmer, can go out much further, and have a big spoon on the end, into which you place your hookbait and feed. You ship them out to your desired spot and tip the spoon, enabling pinpoint accuracy.
“Generally, these are used for getting into tight spots like under overhanging trees, but they also enable you to drop a bait right among your feed on any spot, regardless of where it is on the lake.
“I think that being accurate in your fishing really increases your chances, particularly when you only have limited time. So, on my recent session I used a Bushwhacker baiting pole made by Nash to drop my hookbait right over the area that I’d been baiting. This was approximately 30 metres from the bank, over a reasonably soft area of silt in around 6ft of water.
“With it being so early in the season, it’s difficult to assess how hungry the tench are. We’d just had a cold snap, and the water temperature was right down, so I decided to bait lightly, using boilie crumb left over from the end of the river season, along with some stinking old hemp, sweetcorn and maggots.
“My end tackle also took a bit of a leaf out the carp anglers’ textbook – a simple blowback rig, featuring stiff coated braid, a size 10 hook, and a maggot clip packed with fake casters and a few real red maggots. The fake casters were buoyant, which gently lifted the hookbait off the silt.
“My better half came along for the session, and she turned out to be a bit of a good luck charm!
“After a few runs from bootlace eels, the rod roared off with something more substantial on the end. A good scrap ensued, and I managed to slip the net under this cracking tench.
“It weighed 10lb 2oz, and I was a bit jammy to have caught such a cracker as my first tench of the year – although, judging by the number of parasites on its fins, it was clear that its metabolism had slowed right down, and I was glad that my prebaiting and accurate presentation had paid off.
“If you’ve got your sights set on a big tench this year, why not invest in a baiting pole of some sort? Being accurate can make all the difference, and these bits of kit allow you to drop your hookbait right on the money, every time.”