Spring is slowly emerging out of the freezing temperatures and very chilly winds, and the days are nice and long, getting warmer every day. One of the first fish to show signs of waking up on natural still waters, canals and commercials are tench. By fishing smaller particles such as casters, maggots and maybe chopped worms you will soon find a few if they are feeding close by. If small nuisance fish are a problem, then don’t hesitate to feed some corn too and maybe some hemp and or micros if allowed. Tench love to sit over small particles and they will keep them occupied for a long time without overfeeding them. This will maximize your chances of hooking them. Tench love features such as reed beds, lilies or weed beds, but especially tree lines hanging over deeper water down the ledge. Tench will be on the move as soon as the water temperatures reach 9-10 degrees and will then be on the feed. Before you realise it you can put a big weight of these fish together when many anglers are still trying to catch carp that are not there or not feeding. Pound for pound they are one of the UK's hardest fighting freshwater fish, and certainly stunning creatures. Be sensible with the feed and you will catch them well. You can always put a little more feed in if necessary, but too much feed will make things worse at this time of year.
One great tip when targeting tench is to feed two separate lines. They are extremely active when feeding and will move around a lot to try and find more food. By feeding two lines at least 5m apart you will keep the fish in your swim and can flip from one swim to the other by feeding one line and then fishing the other. Get into this routine and you can catch for hours without spooking them.
The pole is a great way to catch them too, as you can get very close to where they love to feed, yet still be in control of your rigs, and be 'geared up' ready for when the float buries! Relatively small hooks for tench are better, as normally they tend to mouth the bait a lot before taking it properly. If you are fishing a feeder or bomb you can hair rig your baits, but on the pole it is generally better to put the bait straight onto the hook. Two casters, one grain of corn, or a chunk of worm on a size 14 or 16 hook usually gives a better strike rate than a big bait and a big hook, especially on commercials or in clear water where they can be a little wary.
But be mindful that tench are very powerful fish. If you are using small hooks such as 14’s - 18’s they still need to be strong. The Garbolino POWER BEND CARP BARBLESS in sizes 14 and 16 are perfect for the job, especially when tied to 0.16mm minimum GARBOLINE SUPER G POWER. When fishing the pole you need to ensure that your elastic is up to the job too. A minimum diameter of 2.1mm Garbolino ELASTIC - FIGHTER HOLLOW in open water is best. But If you are fishing anywhere near snags, then make sure you beef up your elastic to 2.5mm as they will quickly bury their heads in the snags and it will be all over in seconds. You just need enough initial power in the elastic to stop those lunges and guide them away from the danger zone, then they are a lot easier to control in open water.
Get you pole tackle balanced, feed the correct amount of loosefeed to keep them in your swim, and you can have a really enjoyable days fishing. If you are fishing matches then dont ignore them either, they can be a huge boost to your weight at the end of the match, especially when other species are less inclined to feed.