The best rods for tench fishing

The best rods for tench fishing

by Mark Sawyer |
Updated on

The pursuit of tench is still considered one of the ultimate British angling idylls. The mere thought of tench fishing creates visions of a dawn morning on a quiet estate lake, lowering a small float next to some bubbles on the end of a bed of lily pads. With so many methods to fish for tench, the best rods to use do vary.

If you're after tench these days, it is likely you will be targeting the gravel pits around the UK that have not only become famous for their large numbers of tench but their British record challenging sizes. The tactics to catch tench have evolved in the modern era and whilst a float fishing rod is still a great way of catching them, a lot of venues require a more agricultural approach with bolt rigs, boilies and heavy feeder rods all scoring really well.

Best tench fishing rods at a glance

Best All-Round Tench Rod - Guru N-Gauge Specimen Twin Tip Duo 1.25lb - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best Float Rod - Drennan Specialist X-tension 13ft Float - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best Budget Tench Rod - Korum All Rounder Rods - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Best In Class Tench Rod - Daiwa Twin-Tip Powermesh 1.5lb - View offer on Total Fishing Tackle

Depending on the water you're targeting and the methods you'll need to employ to catch tench, the rods that are needed vary somewhat. A good specialist rod is a great all-round option, with many coming with twin tips to allow you to fish on the bottom and on the float. Here is a guide to some of the best rods available for targeting tench, there will be a rod to cover any situation, so have a look below...

Best budget tench rod

Korum's 11ft and 12ft Allrounder rods are so keenly priced that you can have more than one set up to deal with different situations.

As good for legering as they are for float fishing for tench and specimen-sized fish, key features include a slim, full cork handle with compact reel seat.

Korum’s latest K-Flex carbon technology delivers a dynamic parabolic action, free of any flat spots. Not just great for tench, these can be used all-year-round on loads of different venues.


  • Parabolic action to cushion any lunges.
  • Great rod for a variety of disciplines.


  • Recovery on the rod could be better.

Best float rod for tench

The Drennan Specialist X-Tension is a big fish all-rounder with a semi-through fish playing action. Said to be superb for anything from summer float fishing for hard-fighting tench and bream on lakes, through to trotting maggots down a river in winter, the 13ft model has a clever retracting telescopic butt section, which allows it to break down into two equal lengths and makes it easy to carry to the bank all ready to fish with.

Hugely popular with the specialist angler, it has been specifically designed to handle heavier reel lines and cope with bigger fish when using float tackle.


  • Fantastic lightweight build.
  • An ideal rod to float fish for tench.


  • The retractable butt section might not suit everyone.

Best all-round tench rod

The lightest actioned of Guru’s new collection of highly versatile 12ft twin tip speci rods, the Guru N-Gauge Specimen Twin Tip Duo 1.25lb test curve model is suited to float fishing for specimen roach, bream, tench or smaller carp with the dedicated tubular top section, or feeder fishing with the quiver top, which comes with a choice of two carbon quivers.

A mix of 30 and 40 ton carbon gives a soft top end that progressively powers into a formidable lower end – perfect for playing big fish. Comes with a screw-down reel seat with cork handle and EVA lower grip.

A new contender that is already causing a stir. Highly adaptable and functional rods at a great price, the 1.25lb model is, in our opinion, the ultimate ‘go anywhere, fish any method’ tench rod.


  • A very versatile tench rod.
  • Powerful action to tame even the biggest fish.


  • Might be a little stiff for some anglers.

Best in class tench rod

The Daiwa Twin Tip Powermesh 1.5lb is a stunning example of a twin-tipped rod. Be it in hollow tipped speci mode or quivertipped feeder composition, you get a gorgeous thin and responsive blank with ultra-lightweight skeletal Seaguides and a fantastic forgiving action.

Suitable for legering work with either top, the Avon-style tip lends itself beautifully to powerful floatfishing on clear and weedy venues, where strong fish need rapid subduing and guiding to the net. Fitted with a Carbon Pipe reel seat with Fuji Hoods and a full cork handle with Armlock for comfort and a touch of class. 

As good as they get, you’ll struggle to find a better all-round tench rod.


  • Performs incredibly well regardless of method.
  • Incredibly lightweight.


  • Not the biggest casting performance.

Best mid-range tench rod

The Drennan Specialist Twin-Tip Duo 1.25lb has a pleasing action from a well balanced blank along with two dedicated top sections – the first being Avon style, making it ideal for float and specialist work, while the second quiver section comes with a 2oz glass and a 3oz carbon tip, perfect for both stillwater and running water situations. SiC guides, secure DPS reel seat and cork handle with Duplon casting grip are fitted out on the stylish matt green blank.

A hugely versatile rod from Drennan, designed to tackle a multitude of venues and species, but it’s where tench are concerned that we think this rod really shines! It’s powerful enough to take control of the fight, but light enough for balanced gear and the fight to be enjoyed.


  • The original tench rod, trusted by many top angler over the years.
  • Reliable and strong.


  • Does lack a bit of power for really long-range fishing.

Best build tench fishing rod

Built on specific request from top tench anglers, the Free Spirit Tench Seeker is a 12ft two-piece rod with a 1lb 6oz test curve. Its semi-progressive action is suited to casting feeders and leads while handling big tench in weedy swims. The sensitive tip means that it can also be used for float fishing. The ‘Perdurable’ finish means the precision ground blank will last for years. Finished with a full cork handle, Clone 3K reel seat, stainless steel collars and ‘S’ Lite guides.

If you want the very best and can justify the spend, then why not? Not just spectacular performer, but a beautifully crafted and exquisite looking rod.


  • Incredible build quality.
  • Unrivalled sensitivity.


  • Substantially more expensive than rival models.

Best overall range of tench rods

The recently launched Korum Omega specialist rod series has the versatility for both rivers and stillwaters, offering crisp performance in a breathtakingly beautiful finish. Fast taper actions suit modern specimen methods perfectly, offering powerful butt sections with lunge-absorbing tips.

Truly stunning fishing rods, made as fishing rods should be. Carbon weave finish, SiC lightweight guides, slim hard cork handles and aluminium fittings.

A beautiful set of rods with stunning actions. Although available in 2ft 1.5lb, 12ft 2.25lb and a 13ft float version, we highly rate the 11ft 6ins 1.25lb for a specialist tench session on most waters, or the 12ft 1.5lb for particularly weedy venues.


  • A rod in the range for every situation.
  • They look and feel brilliant.


  • A twin tip rod would complete the range nicely.

Best tench rod for beginners

The Advanta Discovery RVS Twin Tip offers tactical flexibility. The Avon-style top section is ideal for weedy venues or swims, while the quivertip carrier section comes with 1oz, 2oz and 3oz push-in quivers for more normal feeder and straight lead work.

Power feeds progressively through the carbon blank, and it comes with lightweight LTS guides and a super-secure reel seat with an eye-catching 3k carbon barrel insert.

Multi-rod versatility at a simply stunning price – you get loads of rod options in a single package.


  • Great starter rod for tench.
  • Ideal if you want to buy multiple rods on a budget.


  • Not the best float rod.

Best small water tench rods

The Shakespeare SKP Solitude rod range features three specialist designed rods in LS 1lb, MS 1.25lb and HS 1.5lb test curves. Perfect for smaller and more intimate waters where they can be used for float or leger work, and will remain light enough in action for every part of the fight to be enjoyed.

The 20/30T carbons have been expertly mixed to give a traditional feel that is further emphasised by the full cork handles.  

A traditional rod for a traditional approach. We’d love to hit into a lift bite or cast out a link leger with one of these!


  • The perfect rod for more traditional tench fishing.
  • The light build makes every tench you hook enjoyable.


  • Not really a rod for large waters.

Best tench feeder rod

The Middy 5G Trinity Feeder is a three-piece 12ft 80g quivertip rod that is the very definition of ‘medium’ in terms of action and casting range, aided by Liquid Carbon technology. Ideal for rivers or gravel pits, where it happily handles feeders in the 30g to 60g range and casts around 30m to 50m.

A tippy action makes it perfectly suited to natural water work, while retaining enough grunt lower down to handle hard-fighting fish. Supplied with three tips and fitted out with quality K-style guides and a state-of-the art A-Nomic handle grip.

A pure bred feeder rod that does its job exceptionally well, not just for tackling hard-fighting tench, but good-sized bream too.


  • Great for feeder fishing.
  • Ideal for smaller waters.


  • Will struggle to put a feeder a really long way out.

What to look for in a tench fishing rod

There are so many methods to catch tench due to the varying natures of the waters they are found. From smaller commercial pools to large, expansive gravel pits, catching tench really does rely on you, as an angler, being versatile and being able to change tactics, and your tackle to suit where you're fishing.

If you enjoy fishing on gravel pits, generally the best way to go is using scaled down carp tactics, with small boilies and bolt rigs, or using method feeders, which have transformed tench fishing in recent years. These tactics will normally require a fairly decent cast into the lake, so a rod with a decent blank of around 1lb-2lb test curve will ensure you can get to the fish and land them, in what are generally weedy lakes.

Float fishing is a very rewarding way to catch tench, a float next to some lily pads with the telltale bubbles popping up on a summer dawn morning has something quintessentially British about it. Due to the fact tench do like to inhabit snags and lily pads, plus put up a very spirited fight when they are hooked, its best to choose a float rod that's slightly stronger than a normal match rod, to allow you to coax the fish out without taking away the enjoyment of the fight.


Blank: The hollow carbon fibre tube that the rod is made from, attached to which are the guides and handle.

Test curve: Usually measured in pounds, it's the weight that needs to be applied to the end of the rod to make it bend over 90 degrees. The greater the test curve, the more powerful the rod.

Quiver tip: The very top (often brightly coloured) section of a feeder rod, used to identify bites, which bends and 'quivers' when a fish moves off with the bait. Like the test curve of a rod, quiver tips are often rated in test curves measured in ounces.

Fish playing action: A way of describing how good a rod performs when reeling in a fish. A rod with a good fish-playing action will provide plenty of cushion to a thrashing fish, preventing hook pulls (lost fish) and line breakages.

Frequently asked questions on tench fishing rods

Will a rod with a bigger casting weight or test curve rating cast further?

Yes, when combined with extra length, you will be able to achieve greater distances with the correct technique and a weight that matches the rod. Be aware that the more powerful your rod, the stronger the line and hooks you will need to use to prevent fish losses, which could, in turn, mean you fooling less fish into taking your bait to start off with.

How strong does my tench fishing rod need to be?

Despite not reaching massive sizes, tench are spirited fighters, and they often like to live in overgrown jungle swims. For this reason you need slightly stepped-up tackle to target them. Power float rods and beefy Avon specialist rods, which could be used for barbel on rivers are ideal. There should be a rod in the above guide to suit every situation and price range.

Can I use the same rod for both float and feeder fishing?

Not normally with float or feeder rods, but you can with more lighter test curved Specimen style rods. Some of these will come with both quiver tips for legering and a separate hollow tops for float fishing.

Author Mark Sawyer holds the position of Tackle Editor at Angling Times, boasting more than thirty years of experience working within different fields of the angling industry.

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