Tench Fishing – Species Information and Facts
Exactly what is a Tench? Where do you find Tench? What is the best Tench bait? This section will answer all the general questions you might have on the Tench Fishing.
The Tench (Tinca Tinca)
A stocky, thick set fish with big black fins that is full of character. Catch your first Tench, and its easy to see why anglers develop a soft spot for the fish.
The more common green tench is identified by its silky smooth olive green body and bright red eye. Two small barbules show that the prefer to feed on the bottom. Whilst they appear to be scale-less, they are in fact covered in tiny scales. Their skin is covered in a thick slime which is believed to have healing properties, and this is the reason why the Tench often known as the doctor fish. Its believed other species of fish rub themselves against the Tench to heal wounds (although this has never been scientifically proven).
Male and female Tench are easily identifiable, with males having large rounded pectoral fins and a pronounced pectoral muscle, whereas the female will have a smaller pointed fin.
Predominantly a summer species, Tench almost hibernate in the colder months.
You’ll need to be up early if you want the best chance of catching a tench. They are famous for feeding best at dawn, with dusk being another good time to try your luck.
Average weight 2-5lbs
Average lifespan 15 Years
Where do Tench Live
Favouring stillwaters and very slow moving rivers and canals, Tench can be found all over England and Wales, Europe and beyond into Asia. In the UK, some of the best tench waters are old established gravel pits with a good water quality and silty bottom. That said, Tench are just as happy in a small pond and can tolerate low oxygen levels.
Tench love weed. When fishing for Tench, look for weed beds, clumps of lily pads or margins shaded by overhanging trees and reeds. They use their big lips to root around in the mud and silt foraging for their favorite grubs and snails. Whilst doing this they’ll stir up the bottom and produce a patch of tiny pin bubbles on the waters surface, and looking for these areas of bubbles and cloudy water will definitely give you an edge when it comes to catching.
Tench certainly punch above their weight and are known for putting up a good fight on well balanced tackle. As you’ll be fishing close to weed and bankside cover, you’ll need to step up the tackle a little to give yourself the best change of keeping the fish out of the snags, which they inevitably head for once hooked.
Mainlines should be around 4-6lb, maybe a little stronger if you’re fishing close to particularly thick vegetation. Similarly, hooklinks around the same breaking strain should be used. For fish safety, alway use a hooklink slightly lower than your mainline, incase of breakages or snagged fish.
You’ll need a decent strong hook, anything between size 8-16 would be perfect, matched to the size of bait you are going to use. The bigger the bait, the bigger the hook.
There are tench rods on the market, but any match type rod around the 1.5lb test curve mark would be a sensible choice, giving the perfect mix of enjoyment and pulling power. Match this with a small fixed spool reel and you’ll be all set.
Need some inspiration? Check out our guide to match rods (on the list)
When targeting larger fish, then its worth considering a more specialised set-up, similar to that use in carp fishing. No need for a 3.5lb rod, but something around the 2.5/2.75lb level, with a freespool reel and bite alarm would be ideal.
Unsure what bait alarm to choose. Check out our guide here Raising The Alarm
Best Tench Bait
Tench will eat just about anything.
Their natural food is varied, with small grubs and crustaceans their favorite, so keep the fish interested by using a variety of baits.
A carpet of bait is known to do well. Sweetcorn, maggots, casters and worm are all known to be good baits and you can further enhance this by using groundbaits and small particles such as hemp to encourage them this to root around. This has the added bonus of clouding the water, hiding your end tackle.
The bigger fish are also partial to a boilie. A good fishmeal based bait, around the 12-15mm size would certainly help pick out the bigger fish.
Not be afraid to try something different. Tench will take a fish bait like a prawn or a cockle when others don’t seem to be working.
How to catch a Tench
Its possible to catch Tench on a number of methods, but since they are bottom feeders, you must present the hookbait on the bottom.
One of the most popular, and our favorite method, would be the lift float method. This method is perfect for presenting the bait hard on the bottom, close to the margin or lily pads, exactly were Tench will be feeding. It involves using a still water waggler type float fished over depth, meaning you first need to accurately plumb the depth of you swim then set the bulk of your shot so that the tip of the float is just above the water level. This anchors the float to the bottom, presenting the bait hard on the bottom. Once the fish picks the bait up, the bite in indicated by the float tip raising up out of the water.
Checkout out our top tips for Lift float fishing here
Using a swim feeder is another great way to fish for tench. Again, this enables you to present your bait on the bottom, but also allows you top add a little extra attraction to draw the fish in. You can use a variety of feeders, from the open-ended cage feeder, a small method feeder or a closed maggot feeder.
For more information on feeder fishing for Tench, click here
Top tip : If feeder fishing, go lightly with the loose feed as you’ll be topping the swim up by casting the feeder regularly. Little and often is the approach here. If bites are slow, stick to just using the feeder, but if the fish are ‘having it’, add a bit more loose feed to keep them in the swim.
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External Resources On Tench Species Information
Wikipedia.com has a nice summary article containing many facts on Tench Species. To read this, please click here