Part Three - Specimen tench (Tinca tinca)

Sun 01 April 12


UKMA: What type of venue would you choose and at what time of year and what do you look for when choosing a swim when targeting specimen tench, giving details of preferred habitat in all venues (rivers lakes etc)

Alan Stagg: I have targeted tench in a wide range of different venues, although my favourite are large gravel pits. These venues offer tench a rich environment and the fish often flourish meaning double figure fish can be on the cards. When fishing gravel pits the first thing I look for is weed and tench will never be far away. They also love the margins, particularly in the spring when the water temperatures begin to rise. Carp anglers on these venues can be a great source of information and taking the time to speak to them can be worthwhile.

I have also fished some large sand pits and the tench fishing on these venues can be very productive. The fish often swim around in large shoals and when they arrive in your swim the action can be hectic to say the least. Lots of bait can be the key on these venues and it can be common to get through several kilos in a short session.

UKMA: What tackle and tactics would you use and why, giving details of rods, reels, rigs and any seasonal variations when targeting specimen tench.

Alan Stagg:When fishing gravel pits I tend to favour a maggot approach using a mag-aligner rig. Tench adore maggots and the efficient hooking mechanism of the mag-aligner rig can prove deadly. My tackle when fishing this way is as follows:

Korum Precision rods 2lb test curve
6010 Shimano Bait runner reels
10lb – 12lb Gardner Hydro Tuff Mainline
15lb Gardner Trickster hooklengths
2oz Gardner inline Bolt Bomb
2 feet of Gardner Plummet leadcore
Size 12 Gardner Mugga hook

When fishing sand pits I favour a ground bait approach using a method feeder. When using tactic many tackle is as follows:
Korum Precision rods 2lb test curve

5010 Shimano Bait runner reels
10lb Gardner Hydro Tuff Mainline
15lb Gardner Trickster hook lengths, around 4 inches in length
1.5oz-2oz Drennan inline method feeder
2 Feet of Plummet leadcore
Size 10 Talon tip

UKMA: What baits would you use and at what times of year would you use these baits when targeting specimen tench

Alan Stagg:When using the mag-aligner rig I tend to use quantities of maggots. I prefer white maggots and riddle off the maize when I buy them and replace this with Sonubaits Super Crush Green Groundbait. This helps give the maggots a fishmeal taste. When using this tactic I will often rely on regular casting every hour to help build up the swim and bring the tench into the area.

When using the method approach I favour groundbait. My favourite is Sonubaits F1 and Super Crush Green. Both these mixes have worked very well for me. I favour a particle approach when using the method and like to add lots of hemp and small pellets into the mix to keep the fish in the swim. When using a method feeder I am looking to catch numbers of fish and I like to kick start the swim with at least a dozen big balls of groundbait.

UKMA: Give an in depth guide to preparation of your baits, the techniques and additives you would use and how you would feed the swim at different times of the year when targeting specimen tench

Alan Stagg: If at all possible I like to mix my groundbait the night before the session. This is something that I have learnt from the match boys and helps to create a better mix. When fishing for bags of fish I like to regularly spod over the top of my hook baits. When the swim goes quiet the first thing I reach for is the spod rod. The sound of this crashing into the water will often bring the fish back into the swim and it is common to get bites as the spod is emptying the feed over the top of the hook baits.

UKMA: Do you have any personal tricks or tips that have been past on to you by other anglers or that you have discovered yourself, that would help improve an anglers chances of catching a specimen tench

Alan Stagg: If the venue you are fishing does not contain many small fish then get on the mag-aligner, it is deadly.


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