31 Tench Bug Hit – Simon Ashton

Talk about tough starts to the new season! My plans of a big roach were trashed through work being mega busy and crap weather throughout April. Most of may didn’t go to plan either with a 3-day blank on my first tench trip of 2024.

31 Fish haul to 8lb 12oz!

Following weekend, I met up with good mate and very good angler Richie Martin for a weekends slab hunting for bream up north. The mission was to help him increase his long-standing bream pb of 9lb odd and cruise into double figures which is exactly what he did landing a brace of recently spawned fish of 10lb and 11lb. A great trip but bad timing with the resident population preoccupied in their post spawning slumber and a big hit of bronze humpbacks would have to wait until summer.

Last weekend saw me back on the tench and keen as mustard to get a few tinca’s under the belt. My chosen lake had been closed for a couple of weeks for more ‘hanky panky’, this time from the carp so I knew the tench would be partial to a mouthful of eggs! My plan was to match the hatch and fish over a bed of 2mm micro pellets but colour them to look like spawn. After browsing through the Hinders Baits page I noticed the Tuti rage which included 2.3mm pellets that were light in colour and looked perfect. Also, Tuti boilie crumb that comes in 1kg bags and added the orange colour needed.

Being first at gate with three days on the bank planned my expectations of a decent session were high. A quick ‘lead about’ revealed a clear spot adjacent to a large area of weed. A few casts with the rake just to make sure my rigs would be fishing correctly, the last thing you want is a few unwanted clumps of weed suspending your mainline or rig off the lakebed and totally hindering your overall presentation, so better to be safe than sound as they say.

A couple of bags of 2 millers were left in a bucket (partially covered in lake water) for 2 minutes then drained off and left in the sun for 20 minutes while I mixed up some hemp and halibut groundbait using the excess water from the pellets. Once they’d soaked up most of the moisture, I added a liberal amount of the tuti flavoured boilie crumb and placed the lid to give it a proper good shake. The result was something Willy Wonka would be proud of! The now supercharged pellets looked the part with a sweet smelling aroma no tench could resist. All I had to do was add them to the ground bait and I was ready spomb out.

10 large spods of mixed hemp and halibut groundbait went out in a line and was left fora good hour while I setup camp and sorted the rods. With a 3 rod rule I had the option to fish a couple of rods on maggot feeders with worm and one on method feeder using ESP Artificial Corn. By 9:30am all three were clipped up at the desired range and cast bang on the money🙏

An hour went by before I started getting the odd liner on my left hand method feeder rod . The occasional tench rolled close to my baited spot which was a good indication that they’d be on the munch . Another recast and a pint or so groundbait laced with pellet went in before I got my first bite on the corn. A lovey conditioned female just shy of 6lb was soon having its picture taken and my session was just about to get better. As I was recasting one of the maggot feeder rods burst into action and started stripping line off the baitrunner. I lifted the rod and bent into an angry tench that did its best to do me in the weed but constant pressure on the old Drennan MK1 Tench and Bream rods soon had it moving again. These southern tinca’s don’t half pull, so I opted for 10lb ESP Syncro XT, a mono that’s never let me down and lasts a few seasons. Once in the net I could see she was a cracking female and as fat as butter. A weight of 8lb 9oz definitely put a big smile on my face, even the tench looked happy 😊.

More bait was spodded out and the same happened again , with another stunner of 8lb 1oz gracing the mat. It was starting to be one of those fishing trips where everything goes to plan and by 11pm I was on 14 fish including a brace of 8’s so wound the rods to get some well earned sleep and be up first light .

It was soon dawn and the sun was beaming right at me, also the wind had changed to an easterly. Before I chucked the rods out I sat there admiring the stunning views and watched the tench rolling all over the bank I was fishing, spring is a wonderful time of year and definitely a tench anglers best season for a big hit of fish. Out went the rods and I was soon back in action landing a series of 7 pounders. All these were caught on the maggot feeder setups with maggot / chopped worm (50-50) and 4 small pieces of worm on the hair which were held in place with a large quick stop. By midday the fish kept on coming as long as I recast regularly and spodded a couple out after each bite the sport continued. By the end of a fantastic session I was knackered, dehydrated and tanned to bits but packed up a happy man with 31 beautifully conditioned tench including 6 x over 8lb and the best 8lb 12oz. 😎🎣🙏