Targeting Tench – Deana Ramsey

Although I love catching all species of fish, one of my favourites to fish for are Tench. One of the best places local to my home is the fantastic Suffolk Water Park complex. There are Tench stocked in all of their lakes, but one lake in particular where you can target them is the canal lake, because of the numbers of Tench present. Normally this long narrow canal shaped lake has depths around 5ft down the middle, with the margins and far bank being around 4ft deep, although it can shallow up to 3ft on some pegs.

With the extremely hot weather that we are experiencing at the moment and with the water levels dropping, the lake was shallower than it normally would be. Although there are a lot of tench in this lake, it is still very challenging to get them out because of the very thick weed present, tench and weed are a match made in heaven though so you have to adapt and use stronger elastics and terminal tackle than you normally would do. After looking at the peg I thought the best option would be a couple of lines on the far bank, with plenty of weed cover and reeds.

With the water level being lower than usual and with it being so clear, by fishing to the far bank it would put some distance between myself and the fish, hopefully this would help in not spooking them. It wasn’t easy but I did find two clear spots to present my rigs, one at 11.5m straight out in front, and the other one a little further along to my right at 13m, in 2ft of water. I started off by putting around three or four 6mm Xpand pellets and Super Sweetcorn in to the small pole pot attached to the top kit, as these two baits were going to be used as my hookbaits, plus a small amount of dampened 2mm Carp and Coarse micro pellets, pushed down in to the pot so the bait didn’t spill when I shipped out. When I fish on the far bank like this, I like to feed and then fish over it immediately so I know I’m always fishing over some bait.

Starting on my 11.5m line with a 6mm Xpand pellet on the hook I shipped out, tapped the bait in, and lowered the rig straight in over the top waiting for a bite. After only a ten minute wait the float dipped and I lifted in to my first tench of the day, now the difficult bit, getting it out. After a spirited battle a 4lb tench was laying in the net amongst the vast amounts of weed it had gathered on the way back. I caught another tench here before moving to the 13m line where I caught two more. One problem i came up against was that small roach had now moved in, and fishing with the pellet hook bait had become very frustrating, that’s why I had added sweetcorn from the start. Hopefully by switching to the more positive, and firmer sweetcorn, it would keep the small fish away long enough for the rig to settle and get another tench. All of my Xpanda pellets that I pump these days get a small amount of the new Special G Glug added to the water before I pump them, which gives you a firmer, more robust pellet. But with the best will in the world when small fish become a problem, even with the vastly improved texture of the Xpand pellets, you are going to get very negative bites.

This is why sweetcorn is my go to bait for a more positive option, and tench absolutely love it. There are two things that I find very good about using bait tech sweetcorn, it’s very firm and stays on the hook well, and you have got a good selection of kernel sizes that you can switch between on the hook too. It worked well, I ended up catching four on Xpand pellets, plus four on the more positive sweetcorn. There are tench in this lake to over 8lb, and although I never saw anything of that size, to end up with eight tench to 4lb I was delighted. It was certainly a challenge but it’s very rewarding when you can catch these beautiful fish in amongst this amount of weed. Looking forward to a return visit very soon, happy days.

Deana Ramsey

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