The two-bait tench mix you need to try – Paul Elt

Al­though many tench have grown big on carp baits, top spec­i­men hunter Paul Elt proves that all you re­ally need is a cou­ple of tra­di­tional of­fer­ings…

Improve Your Coarse Fishing (UK) - - Contents - Words James Fur­ness Pho­tog­ra­phy Mark Parker

SPRING sig­nals many things – in­creas­ing day­light hours, warm­ing tem­per­a­tures and the ap­pear­ance of fresh veg­e­ta­tion. It also sig­nals the re­turn of one the most popular coarse species to the angling menu. We are, of course, talk­ing about tench. You’ll find them in all venues from small farm ponds to large tidal rivers, but it is in large gravel pits where you will find the big­gest spec­i­mens. And it was on the banks of Lin­ear Fisheries’ Manor Farm Lake that we found top spec­i­men an­gler Paul Elt tar­get­ing the 14-acre pit’s stock of big tench. One of the coun­try’s most popular carp day-ticket wa­ters, Manor Farm Lake’s tench have thrived on the vast amount of qual­ity bait in­tended for the carp, and spec­i­mens to over 12lb have been caught in re­cent years.

A clas­sic bait combo

With the tench in Manor en­joy­ing this diet of boilies and pel­lets it would be fair to as­sume that these would form at least a part of Paul’s bait­ing strat­egy. But peer­ing into his bait bucket there ap­pears to be noth­ing more than hemp and cast­ers in it. “There’s no need for any­thing more com­pli­cated,” as­serted the 48-year-old St Neots an­gler. “The car­pet of hemp at­tracts them in and cast­ers are quite sim­ply one of the great­est tench baits. “I’m fish­ing a 50/50 mix of hemp and cast­ers to­day but if you want to keep your bait bill down you can in­crease the ra­tio of hemp. I wouldn’t go any higher than 60/40, though, as the tench will be­come pre­oc­cu­pied on the hemp. “For a 24-hour ses­sion you won’t need more than a cou­ple of pints of cast­ers at this time of year. The bulk of this will go in the spod mix and you just need to keep a few sep­a­rate to be used in PVA bags. “The only other in­gre­di­ents that go into my mix are Dy­na­mite Baits CSL Liq­uid Carp Food and Hemp Oil. It’s im­pos­si­ble to put too much CSL in and it’s a known tench at­trac­tor. The Hemp Oil also re­ally helps to pull in the fish from sur­round­ing ar­eas.” When the tem­per­a­tures start to in­crease it can be tempt­ing to reach for the spod rod and ‘fill

the swim in’ with bait. This, how­ever, could be an er­ror. “I haven’t gone mad with the loose­feed,” says Paul. “I’d heard that sev­eral an­glers had been fish­ing over big beds of bait and blanked. On busy wa­ters like Lin­ear there’s ev­ery chance some­one fished your swim the day be­fore, so you never know how much bait has al­ready been put in. It’s there­fore bet­ter to err on the side of cau­tion and bait spar­ingly to start with. “I only started off with eight small Spombs around the area to get the fish mooching around. I then play it by ear – if I start get­ting a few fish I’ll put a few more Spombs out. “All three rods are spread over a 6ft-8ft area so eight Spombs of small par­ti­cles spread over this re­ally isn’t a lot of bait at all.”

T for tench

At this point Paul gets up and starts to reel one of his rods in. “I re­cast roughly ev­ery hour to keep a small amount of fresh bait go­ing in via the PVA bags,” he says, skip­ping his rig back across the sur­face. “Tench aren’t scared of noise, they’ll of­ten come and in­ves­ti­gate any dis­tur­bance. It’s amaz­ing how many bites come shortly after re­cast­ing.” Hop­ing to prove his point, he dries off a small num­ber of cast­ers with a towel, ready to tie up a fresh PVA mesh bag. “Not only does this leave a small pile of cast­ers around the hook­bait, it also pre­vents my sup­ple hook­link from tan­gling,” he ex­plains, hold­ing up a six inch Drennan Sink Link braided hook­length knot­less-knot­ted to a size 10 hook. “This is quite long com­pared to what a lot of an­glers use for tench fish­ing but I’m con­fi­dent with this length as a start­ing point and have caught a lot of fish on it. “I wouldn’t go any longer, but if I was get­ting aborted takes and miss­ing bites I would shorten it right down,” he ex­plained. On to the hair Paul has threaded two fake cast­ers – one light and one dark coloured. “I know some peo­ple can’t get their head around us­ing plas­tic baits but for hook­baits I think they are bet­ter than the real thing. Real cast­ers can get smashed on the cast if you’re fish­ing at dis­tance and also by smaller nui­sance fish when in the wa­ter. This isn’t a prob­lem when us­ing fake ones. “Rather than thread­ing the cast­ers on side by side I thread them on to the hair so that the two cast­ers form a ‘T’ shape. The fish seem to re­ally strug­gle with this pre­sen­ta­tion and it def­i­nitely leads to more hooked fish.”

Search for fea­tures

With the bag nicked on to the hook the rig was cast back out. “When tar­get­ing gravel pit tench it’s im­por­tant to look for fea­tures. To­day’s swim has a lovely near-side mar­gin down the left­hand side and there’s a gravel bar di­rectly out in front. “All these things are at­trac­tive to tench, and when I ar­rived yes­ter­day af­ter­noon there was also a fresh wind blow­ing di­rectly into the swim which is some­thing else tench love. “I had a cou­ple of casts, and the only thing that is miss­ing to make this a per­fect swim sce­nario is a de­cent amount of weed. Be­ing clear it will aid my pre­sen­ta­tion, but tench will al­ways go to weed beds and lily pads. Still, three out of four re­quire­ments isn’t bad! “I’d done a bit of work at home and could ac­tu­ally see the bar on Google Earth, so I knew roughly where I had to aim for. Us­ing a marker rod will also al­low you to find drop-offs, gul­lies and silty ar­eas,” he added. “On this par­tic­u­lar fea­ture there is 7ft of wa­ter above the bar so I’m happy to fish my rigs

di­rectly on top of it. If it was any­thing less than 4ft, I would fish fur­ther down the bar to stop the birdlife div­ing and pick­ing up my baits.”

Tench ac­tion

Just as Paul had stated ear­lier about tench be­ing at­tracted to dis­tur­bance, it wasn’t long after re­cast­ing that he started to re­ceive a cou­ple of lin­ers. Sev­eral min­utes later the lin­ers de­vel­oped into a proper bite. “Tench are one of my favourite species,” said Paul, as his rod took on a healthy curve. “They’re hard fight­ing and are re­ally like a scaled-down ver­sion of a carp but much pret­tier, in my opin­ion. “It’s just a shame you can’t fish for them for longer. The time spell to tar­get them is only re­ally from spring to early sum­mer and then once they’ve spawed their shoals break up and they be­come much harder to track down.” It’s not long be­fore a de­cent tench is brought through Manor’s crys­tal clear wa­ter into the net. “This is one of the things I love about fish­ing gravel pits – not only are they ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing huge tench, the bites of­ten come through­out the day rather than just at dawn. In fact, I’ve found 10am – 1pm is a great time for tench on these large pits.” By the time we said good­bye to Paul he’d added an­other two tench to his tally, both of a sim­i­lar size to the first – and all he needed was hemp and cast­ers!

Paul starts the ses­sion with eight Spombs of hemp and cast­ers over his rods

Re­cast reg­u­larly as tench will ac­tively in­ves­ti­gate any dis­tur­bance

It’s easy to see why Paul rates tench so highly with spec­i­mens like this

A marker float set-up is cru­cial for lo­cat­ing fea­tures when tar­get­ing gravel pit tench

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.