Biggest tench of the season caught using traditional tactics

"The old float rod was bent double"

by Angling Times |

AN ANCIENT match rod, a length of peacock quill and a lump of breadflake were all that Terry Atkinson needed to catch this 13lb 4oz tench, the biggest reported to Angling Times for several years.

Terry, from Epping Forest, was fishing at a Lea Valley pit when he landed the fish – which is less than 2lb off the British record – using tactics that the late John Wilson would have been proud of. Although he was carp fishing at the time, Terry saw a huge tench near an overhanging tree in the margins, so flicked in a few pellets and soon saw an oil slick on the surface which told him something was feasting on the freebies.

“I always bring my old 13ft float rod along to mess about with while I’m waiting for the carp, so I decided to rig it up,” Terry told us. “I’ve had this rod since I was a kid, and it’s paired with an old Mitchell reel. I attached a bit of peacock quill to my 5lb mainline using a single float rubber, and placed a swan shot about 5ins from my size 12 hook so I could fish the ‘lift method’. It was proper old-school stuff, just how I used to fish as a kid!”

With around 10ft of depth, Terry fished breadflake right off the rod tip. “I figured I could catch anything on a bit of bread, so I cast it out and waited. A little while later, the float rose slightly then flew out of sight. I struck and connected with what I was certain was a carp. The old rod was bent double, but it’s built like a stick of rhubarb, and I could really lean into the fish.”

Only once the tench hit the net did Terry realise what he’d hooked. “I just thought, ‘my god – look at that thing!’ It was a marvellous fish - not only fat, but broad, and a beautiful colour. It tops any 40lb carp!”

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