Tench – To feed or not to feed!

Now that I’m back from a very enjoyable two weeks in Tenerife, it’s time to start some serious fishing. I first started deliberately targeting big fish on June 16th 1959, so I’m now entering my 50th year of specimen hunting. God willing, there’ll be a lot more years yet! I’ve made a plan to fish for as many different species as possible over the next twelve months, and increase as many personal bests as I can. It won’t be easy as there are some awesome fish on my present list, but whatever the outcome it will be fun trying.

My first target species is the tench, present bests 11lb 11ozs female and 7lb 13oz male and if I beat those it will be like winning the lottery. Having said that, the pit where I started operations produced a 12lb+ fish three years ago so you never know.

This trip, my fishing was from dawn on the 7th until dusk on the 8th, and I was able to enjoy nice calm, sunny days, although the night of the 7th was cold and I needed my fleece jacket. Characteristic of this spring, the wind was in the east, although very gentle.

When I arrived, I bumped into an old friend, Tenchfishers member Matt Dooley, who has some very big tench to his credit. Matt had been on the pit since late March and been taking lots of fish. Interestingly, he told me that beds of bait had not been working and he’d taken all his fish just using feeders. As I always value local knowledge I decided to hedge my bets on the baiting. I put my normal; few baiting cones of casters, hemp and mini pellets over the right hand rod, but the left hand rod would be baited with feeders only.

The fishing was fairly slow for us all that week, but, as well as assorted small rudd and a couple of 4lb bream, I did manage three nice tench to 6-14. End rig was my normal short hook link fished above a Kamasan Black Cap 50gm feeder. The link consisted of a size 12 Pallatrax hook to 8lb Fluorocarbon. This is secured by two sliding beads each side of the hooklink swivel on anti tangle tubing, thereby allowing the distance between hook bait and feeder to be varied easily if there are weed problems. Hook bait was an Enterprise buoyant rubber red maggot together with three normal red maggots, giving a neutral buoyancy offering.

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Tony Miles

About Tony Miles

Tony Miles, now sadly deceased, hailed from Coventry, and first rose to prominence as a respected specimen hunter in the 1970s. He was a prolific writer for the angling press, and authored a wealth of books including The Complete Specimen Hunter, Elite Barbel, Quest for Barbel, My Way With Chub, and The Carp Years, to name but a few. Famous for his barbel fishing exploits, he also caught huge carp, chub, perch, pike, and bream, in a fishing career spanning many years. Sadly missed by the fishing community, Tony was a true gent and a wonderful angler.

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