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 Fishing Tackle and Bait
• 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 Fishing Tackle and Bait
• 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...
Korum's 11ft and 12ft Allrounder rods are so keenly priced that you can have more than one set up
- Parabolic action to cushion any lunges.
- Great rod for a variety of disciplines.
- Recovery on the rod could be better.
The Drennan Specialist X-Tension is a big fish all-rounder with a semi-through fish playing
- Fantastic lightweight build.
- An ideal rod to float fish for tench.
- The retractable butt section might not suit everyone.
The lightest actioned of Guru’s new collection of highly versatile 12ft twin tip speci rods, the
- A very versatile tench rod.
- Powerful action to tame even the biggest fish.
- Might be a little stiff for some anglers.
The Daiwa Twin Tip Powermesh 1.5lb is a stunning example of a twin-tipped rod. Be it in hollow
- Performs incredibly well regardless of method.
- Incredibly lightweight.
- Not the biggest casting performance.
The Drennan Specialist Twin-Tip Duo 1.25lb has a pleasing action from a well balanced blank along
- 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.
Built on specific request from top tench anglers, the Free Spirit Tench Seeker is a 12ft two-piece
- Incredible build quality.
- Unrivalled sensitivity.
- Substantially more expensive than rival models.
The recently launched Korum Omega specialist rod series has the versatility for both rivers and
- A rod in the range for every situation.
- They look and feel brilliant.
- A twin tip rod would complete the range nicely.
The Advanta Discovery RVS Twin Tip offers tactical flexibility. The Avon-style top section is
- Great starter rod for tench.
- Ideal if you want to buy multiple rods on a budget.
- Not the best float rod.
The Shakespeare SKP Solitude rod range features three specialist designed rods in LS 1lb, MS
- The perfect rod for more traditional tench fishing.
- The light build makes every tench you hook enjoyable.
- Not really a rod for large waters.
The Middy 5G Trinity Feeder is a three-piece 12ft 80g quivertip rod that is the very definition of
- 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.