Common name: Tench
Latin name: Tinca Tinca
Current UK Rod Caught Coarse Fish Record TENCH (Tinca tinca) 15lb 3oz 6dr - 2001 - D Ward
Description and habitat of Tench:
Varieties include Green Golden Yellow Orange. Tench are easily identified by their thick set, well rounded, dark olive green coloured body. The scales are very tiny which give them the appearance of actually being scale-less. The fins are rounded and the caudal fin is large almost unforked. The sexes can be distinguish by the shape of the pelvic fins on the underside of the body. Male tench have very large round shaped fins and those of the female are more triangular in shape and longer. An average fish will be 12 - 16ins. Grows to 15+lb and a fish over 5lb considered a good fish.
There are also golden, yellow and orange tench but these are mainly found in ornamental ponds. The tench used to be called the 'doctor fish' because other fish would deliberately rub against them and be cured of their ailments with the slime from the tench which was thought to have healing properties. Found in lakes, ponds, slow running rivers and canals but more often found in still waters.
Fishing for Tench:
If you haven't got any information for whatever reason have a walk round and look for signs of tench or a likely place to fish for them, Tench are known to feed in the margins, among reeds, lily beds and other features. The best time to catch tench is either early dawn or at dusk and through the night. Tench feed almost exclusively on the bottom and like to root about in the mud and weeds looking for snails, grubs and anything else they can eat. You can spot tench feeding by the stream of tiny bubbles that can be seen bubbling on the waters surface and / or the muddy area of water discoloured by the tench rooting in the mud for food.
Tip: Raking. ask the fishery owner first and if you are allowed to; Take a rake with you and before you set up you rods or do anything else rake around the bottom of your swim. Tench are attracted to this and they love searching the murky water of a freshly raked swim for unearth snails, worms and other food items.
Fishing methods for catching Tench:
Tench respond very well to groundbaiting so if you can pre-bait the area you are going to fish beforehand you will have a better chance of catching. Start by laying down a bed of groundbait using brown crumb or continental groundbait with sweetcorn, casters, chopped up worms and some of your hook bait mixed in. Other combinations can also be used for groundbait and hemp and particles are a good choice. Tench seem to prefer a sweet bait and some anglers add molasses, a sweet syrup, to their groundbait or other sweet tasting additives. This is not a hard and fast rule though; if you want to try savoury or spicy baits there is nothing stopping you.
Tip: If using maggots mixed in with your groundbait try adding some dead ones as well. These will not bury themselves in the mud.
Once I have laid a bed of groundbait, adding more feed into the water depends on if I am float fishing or feeder fishing. If I am float fishing I prefer to loose feed little and often depending how often I am getting bites. If bites are few I slow down or hold back on loose feeding. If I am using a feeder I rarely add loose feed. Tench can be caught using any method of fishing. Some anglers prefer using a maggot feeder or method feeder and sit waiting for that slow pull round of the rod tip to say there is a fish in. Other anglers prefer to float fish with either a rod or pole.
As mentioned, Tench love patrolling the margins and around lily beds and reeds so float fishing with a waggler, set slightly over depth, close to reeds is a good proven tactic. Tench bites are usually a couple of knocks or small lifts on the float then it slides away slowly under the water. Don't strike too soon, wait for the bite to develop properly. Wait for the float to disappear completely before striking. Tench are hard-fighting fish and strong tackle is advised.
Baits for catching Tench:
Worms, lob worms, redworms sweetcorn, bread (either punch, flake or paste), maggots (Red seems best), pinkies, casters, mini-boilies, pellets, prawns, cockles and mussels, fresh not frozen or pickled in vinegar). Note: When you have caught a tench, as with all fish, handle it carefully. DO NOT use a towel, cloth or anything similar to hold it in. Doing this will remove the protective mucus from the fishes body and can seriously harm it. DO NOT lay tench on hard and stony ground where they can be harmed.