Species of UK
Description, baits and methods for fishing and catching Tench
Latin name: Tinca Tinca
UK Rod Caught Coarse Fish Record
TENCH (Tinca tinca) 15lb 3oz 6dr - 2001 - D Ward
Description and habitat of Tench:
Tench are easily identified by their thick set, well rounded, dark
olive green coloured body. The scales are very tiny which give them
the appearance of actually being scale-less. The fins are rounded and the
caudal fin is large almost unforked. The sexes can be distinguish by
the shape of the pelvic fins on the underside of the body. Male tench
have very large round shaped fins and those of the female are more
triangular in shape and longer. An average fish will be 12 - 16ins.
Grows to 15+lb and a fish over 5lb considered a good fish. There are
also golden, yellow and orange tench but these are mainly found in
ornamental ponds. The tench used to be called the 'doctor fish'
because other fish would deliberately rub against them and be cured of
their ailments with the slime from the tench which was thought to have
healing properties. Found in lakes, ponds, slow running rivers and
canals but more often found in still waters.
Fishing for Tench:
The first thing to consider when going tench fishing is where you are
going to fish. Most lakes, ponds and canals have tench in them but
choosing a water known to hold a good head of tench puts the odds of
you catching one in your favour. Make enquiries about venues in your
local tackle shop or with local anglers. When you have chosen a venue
ask the fishery owner or the bailiff which is the favoured peg, best method
and baits for catching tench from your chosen water. If you haven't
got any information for whatever reason have a walk round and look for
signs of tench or a likely place to fish for them, Tench are known to
feed in the margins, among reeds, lily beds and other features.
The best time to catch tench is either early dawn or at
dusk and through the night. Tench feed almost exclusively on the
bottom and like to root about in the mud and weeds looking for snails,
grubs and anything else they can eat. You can spot tench feeding by
the stream of tiny bubbles that can be seen bubbling on the waters
surface and / or the muddy area of water discoloured by the tench
rooting in the mud for food.
A tench rake can be purchased from tackle stores or made by tying two
garden rake heads back to back and attaching a strong rope.
Ask the fishery owner first if you are allowed to use a
Before you set up your rods or do anything else rake
around the bottom of your swim. This will stir the bottom of the pond
which will expose invertebrates and other natural foods. Tench are
attracted to this and they love searching the murky water of a freshly
raked swim for unearthed snails, worms and other food.
Some anglers say it is better to rake the night before
and others say an hour before fishing. I prefer to rake just prior to
my fishing. The water is still cloudy and insects and unearthed worms
etc have not had time to re-bury themselves.
Tip: While raking your
swim have you ever got your rake stuck in the reeds or worse still
lost a rake?
Here is a tip that may help avoid this.
Don't tie the main rope to the centre of the rake as is usual, tie it
to the rake head between the last two tines as shown in the diagram.
Using a strong rope but of a slightly lesser strength than the main rope, tie the main
rope to the outside of the ring as shown in the diagram.
This setup will still let you use the rake as normal but if it does get stuck,
instead of the main rope snapping and you losing the rake the weaker rope will
break; this will have
the effect of pulling on the end of the rake, thus turning it
and pulling it out sideways.
methods for catching Tench:
very well to groundbaiting so if you can, pre-baiting the area you are going
to fish beforehand could give you a better chance of catching. Start by laying
down a bed of groundbait using brown crumb or continental
groundbait with sweetcorn, casters, chopped up worms and some of
your hook bait mixed in. Other combinations can also be used for
groundbait; hemp, particles and small pellets are a good choice. Tench seem to
prefer a sweet bait and some anglers add molasses, a sweet syrup, to
their groundbait or other sweet tasting additives. This is not a hard
and fast rule though; if you want to try savoury or spicy baits there
is nothing stopping you.
If using maggots mixed in with your groundbait try adding some
dead ones as well. These will not bury themselves in the mud.
Once I have laid a bed of groundbait, adding more feed
into the water depends if I am float fishing or feeder fishing. If
I am float fishing I prefer to loose feed little and often depending
how often I am getting bites and if bites are few I slow down or hold
back on loose feeding. If I am using a feeder I rarely add loose feed
but sometimes at the beginning of a session I may throw or catapult some loose sweetcorn
into the area I will be fishing and after that introduce feed via the feeder.
Tench can be caught using any method of fishing. Some anglers
prefer using a maggot feeder or method feeder and sit waiting for that
slow pull round of the rod tip to say there is a fish on. Other
anglers prefer to float fish with either a rod or pole.
Tench love patrolling the margins and around lily beds and reeds so float
fishing with a waggler, set slightly over depth, close to reeds is a
good proven tactic.
Tench bites are usually a couple of knocks or small lifts on the float
then it slides away slowly under the water. Don't strike too soon,
wait for the bite to develop properly. Wait for the float to disappear
completely before striking. Tench are hard-fighting fish and strong
tackle is advised.
Baits for catching Tench:
The list of baits is endless but ones known to catch tench are worms,
lob worms, redworms sweetcorn, bread (large piece of flake seems best
but can be caught on either punch, flake or paste), maggots (Red seems
best), casters, pinkies, mini-boilies, pellets, prawns, cockles and
mussels (not pickled in vinegar).
As with all fishing, if you are not catching using one method or bait
try another. Do not be afraid to try something different.
Note: When you have caught a tench, as with all fish, handle it
carefully. DO NOT use a towel, cloth or anything similar to hold it
in. Doing this will remove the protective mucus from the fishes body
and can seriously harm it. Also I have seen pictures on the
internet, especially facebook, of tench laid on hard and stony ground
where they can be harmed; DO NOT do this. Doing either of the
above can SERIOUSLY harm the fish and will get you a lifetime ban from most fisheries.