Big tench become increasingly harder to catch as the year goes on, but that was no problem for Rob Spinks who landed this 12lb 7oz spawned-out giant.
He told Angling Times how he did it:
“Normally when I fish for tench I’ll Spomb out a big bed of loosefeed before I start, but on a recent session I decided to do things a little differently – and it certainly paid off.
“Targeting Kent’s Medway Valley Fisheries, I arrived for a day session to find just one carp angler on the lake. He wasn’t baiting up heavily and making a commotion, so I decided to follow suit and keep my approach as quiet as possible. As it turned out, baiting up lightly certainly proved key to catching this huge fish.
“From previous sessions I knew where a gravel bar was located in my chosen swim so, rather than lead around and crash a Spomb on to the surface, I cast a maggot feeder rig out with a double pop-up boilie hookbait, a bit like carp anglers do with their ‘single hookbait’ approach. I know my chosen combo isn’t your typical big-tench approach, but knowing that the fish have seen it all by this stage of the year, I fancied doing something different. Artificial baits are banned at Medway Valley, and with a fair bit of weed and silt around, pop-ups are your best bet for good presentation. I used two 10mm Tincaberry pop-ups, a flavour that my fellow members of the Tenchfishers have great faith in.
“It wasn’t long before the rod tore off, but due to all the weed it was hard to tell just how big the fish was. It had weed over its eyes, which took the fight out of it, but as it came to the net my son, Kieron – who had joined me for the day – said it looked a seriously good fish.
“Forty years ago, when I was 15, I landed tench of 7lb 11oz and 8lb 2oz, which were great fish back then, but nothing had since topped that. However, when this fish pulled the scales round to 12lb 7oz it set a new bar for me, and by some way! As you can see from the photo, the fish was totally spawned out, so who knows how big it would have been a few months ago?
“Some anglers stop targeting tench this late into summer, but they’re such a beautiful fish I’m happy to catch them at any size. Where I am, the fish were set back about a month by the cold spring, so they’re still feeding well.
“I’d urge anyone to get out and have another go for tench. After all the pressure they’ve been under, scaling back your approach, cutting back on the bait and minimising disturbance could get you a result to remember.”