Monster tench go on the munch!

Incredible spell for ‘Britain’s favourite fish’, with a raft of doubles and a remarkable brace landed


by Angling Times |

THE NATION’S tench fanatics hit top gear at the end of last month as they took advantage of the warm weather to put a glut of big fish on the bank.

A host of heavyweights were reported, including two 12-pounders, one of which was part of a phenomenal brace weighing 23lb 9oz to fall to the rods of last season’s Drennan Cup runner-up, Dan Woolcott. Targeting a southern lake, the Kent-based angler caught specimens of 12lb 6oz and 11lb 3oz within just a few minutes of each other. The quick-fire nature of the bites provided Dan with a nervous few moments when it came to netting the fish.

“The first bite turned out to be the 12-pounder, which was so powerful that I thought it was a carp to begin with,” he told us. “That was until I saw a twist of green 9ft down in the crystal-clear water, and at that point I went to bits and played it like a fairy! It took a good 10 minutes to land and gave an incredible fight, even for a tench.”

After weighing the fish, Dan rested it in the net and started to compose himself, ready to photograph his hard-earned prize, when he heard another bite alarm going off.

“I didn’t quite realise what was happening and looked around to see who was having the bite, then I looked down to see my left-hand rod absolutely melting off!” he added.

“This fish fought like mad as well, but as it neared the net, I realised I had a problem – the ‘twelve’ was still in there! I didn’t want to net this second one and risk releasing the first tench unphotographed, so I asked a carper who’d been watching to help. Thankfully, he did a great job, and I had this incredible brace of tench on the mat.”

Both of Dan’s fish fell to maggot feeder tactics, fished helicopter-style, with a few live red grubs impaled on his size 14 Drennan Specimen Plus hooks.

“There was no need for hair-rigs because there aren’t any small silvers in here,” added Dan, who fished his rigs over a bed of Dynamite Baits Grubby groundbait, hemp, plus dead and live maggots to get the fish rooting through the silt.

Dan wasn’t the only angler to enjoy a great week with the big tincas, with London angler Simon Baker also getting in on the action by banking a superb 12lb 2oz fish.

Targeting a southern gravel pit, Simon had made an early start to his tench campaign this year, but had racked up plenty of blanks. Last weekend, however, the forecast indicated a spell of low pressure was on the way, and with rising night time temperatures, he felt hopeful his luck was about to change. After finding a small gravel patch at 60yds, Simon fed a hemp and liquidised particles. Over the top, he cast large maggot feeders. Just before first light, Simon recast and was watching the water when his alarm sounded a few bleeps before screaming off.

“Initially, I thought it was a carp, due to the fish’s sheer power,” Simon said. “An explosive battle under the tip followed, before she was safely in the net. I was greeted with an enormous framed tench, weighing 12lb 2oz – a new PB.”

Norfolk’s Bawburgh Fisheries has produced some huge tench over recent years, and Sean Flynn connected with
one of the venue’s larger residents while carp fishing – in the shape of a 10lb 12oz specimen. He had the fish on a 10mm pop-up over a bed of boilies after receiving a screaming bite early on the second morning of his session.

“I picked up the rod and started playing what I was certain was a carp,” he stated. “The fish wouldn’t come off the bottom, but when it finally surfaced, the last thing I expected to see was this olive beast floating towards the net!”

The tench of the Lea Valley have been piling on the pounds this spring, as Herts angler Domenic Turner found with his 10lb 6oz fish from one of the lakes on the Fishers Green Complex.

After spending a few weeks turning up at dawn and looking for signs of fish, Dom found a spot fairly close in, not too weedy or silty, and managed three quick fish, the best being the 10-pounder.

“I fed plenty of groundbait but with little food content that kept the fish in the area, rooting around,” he said. “A fake caster hookbait with a small PVA bag of real ones was the winning combo. The only regret I have is forgetting my camera equipment! I had to take a video and take a still from there.”

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