How to tame Fen tin­cas on the pole

Angling Times (UK) - - TIPS & TACTICS -

DRAIN sys­tems, canals and slug­gish rivers – there’s one big fish which thrives in th­ese venues and can often be re­lied upon to cap a day’s sport or boost a match weight sig­nif­i­cantly.

It’s the tench, and with spec­i­mens run­ning to sev­eral pounds in th­ese tow­ing venues they are well worth catch­ing.

Liv­ing in the Fens, MAP’s Rob Lin­coln is in an ideal lo­ca­tion to tar­get the species as the Twenty Foot and Forty Foot Drains and the Old River Nene around him are full of them.

“Th­ese wa­ter­ways are full of nat­u­ral food, and the tench love to sit in them,” he said. “The only prob­lem is, they tend to get weedy at this time of year, so you need to con­sider a few things. First, where you fish – you must find a clear spot where you can feed and present your bait. Spend time care­fully plumb­ing up on the pole with a heavy plum­met to try and lo­cate a weed-free area or chan­nel. You could even rake the swim the night be­fore, or when you first get to the bank, if need be.

“Sec­ond, you can’t af­ford to com­pro­mise on gear. Tench are very fit, pow­er­ful, dogged fight­ers and can be in the weed in a mat­ter of sec­onds. You’ll need a strong pole, a fairly heavy hollow 14-16 rated elas­tic and good strength lines and hooks.

“It’s not pretty fish­ing but it’s needed to stand a chance of get­ting the fish in,” he added.

On a stan­dard swim that is fairly clear he’ll go for a 0.16mm (5lb) MAP Op­tex line to­gether with a 0.15mm (4lb) hook­length. How­ever, this can quite eas­ily be stepped up to 0.20mm or 0.18mm main­lines, to­gether with 0.18mm or 0.16mm hook­lengths re­spec­tively, in weed sit­u­a­tions.

Hooks are on the big side for tench, typ­i­cally a size 12 or 14 Ka­masan B611, or a B560 if the swim is re­ally snaggy.

If he has small-fish swims on the go, Rob likes to fish a tench swim at an an­gle down the peg away from them, usu­ally in the di­rec­tion of the tow or flow. On a drain this is usu­ally smack in the mid­dle, down the cen­tral chan­nel, but on canals and rivers the fish

will often sit near any reed beds or patches of weed, just down the shelf in the mar­gins of ei­ther side.

“Use a thick float bris­tle and leave half of it show­ing. You’ll get the odd knock and bob when the tench ar­rive but don’t strike un­til you get a pos­i­tive bite.

“Lots of bites will see the en­tire bris­tle lift to the body as the fish picks up the bait and the drop­per shot. At other times it will just slide straight un­der at some pace. Wait a sec­ond and then strike hard and up­wards,” ad­vised Rob.

“So you’ve hooked your tench, but that’s only half the bat­tle. Now you must get it in past any weeds. Keep the pole high if the weeds are on the bot­tom to per­suade it up and keep the pres­sure on.

“Don’t rush things, and when you get a de­cent tench near the net, be alert to a few last-minute bids for free­dom in the snags in the mar­gins. Stand up if you have to,” he warned.

Nat­u­ral-type venues de­mand nat­u­ral baits and for Rob there’s noth­ing finer than a worm and caster ap­proach. One or two full worms on the hook nor­mally sit there long enough for a big fish to find them, and you might get a perch or a bream too.

Un­less the venue is shal­low and still, all feed­ing is done with a bait drop­per. This goes straight to the bot­tom, only re­leas­ing the bait when it hits the deck, mak­ing for 100 per cent ac­cu­racy.

“Be alert to a few last-minute bids for free­dom in the snags”

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