Paul Hardy 11lb 2oz Tench

I remember barely being able to lift it out of the water it so was heavy..

Sometimes anglers are fortunate enough to discover a new venue which not many others may know about, well that was certainly the case for Paul Hardly when he landed this lovely 11lb 2oz tench!

Paul told us “around 18 months ago whilst taking my dog for a walk I stumbled across an old lake in a relatively secluded and somewhat pleasant area so I decided this was going to be my new route. As an angler, I love being beside the water and naturally I look for signs of fish during my walks but on this venue I never really saw anything until more recently.

One evening whilst walking the dog I spotted a number of large fish roll, I knew they had to be tench or bream so I decided to investigate a little further. I spoke to a number of local match anglers to see if they had any knowledge on the venue and one thing that I kept being told was bream used to be caught from there years ago to anglers using bread. I didn’t need much more convincing as this was enough for me to warrant giving it a go. That weekend I headed down and settled into one of the 4 fishable swims but due to the large amount of weed present it did take me a while to find a clear patch or 2, eventually I found a gravel bar at around 65-70 meters out so with a big feeder I introduced 20 payloads of ground mixed with casters, corn, chopped worm and dead red maggot. Over this I decided to fish a free running cage feeder, a 0.14mm hooklength with 2 dendrobaena worm hair rigged on a size 12 hook. It didn’t take long for the bream to switch on and they were of a decent stamp, averaging around the 7lb size. During the next half an hour I got cut off 3 times by fish which clearly wasn’t bream so I stepped up to a 0.17mm hooklength, despite catching several more bream those bigger fish be it tench or carp didn’t show.

After mulling it over when I got home I planned another trip but this time with a mate, I went for the same swim and to the exact same spot and between us we enjoyed a superb session with loads of bream and finally some tench which averaged 6-7lb a piece. Whilst the fishing was great I just knew I was only scratching the surface so I planned yet another session.

I’m a fond believer of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ so I headed back to the same swim but as I had somewhere to be later that afternoon it was only going to be a quick session. I kept casting fairly regular to ensure a steady stream of bait was being put in but after 2 hours I hadn’t even had a knock. Just before 11am my tip finally slammed round and a 5lb tench was the culprit. I then followed this with 4 further tench of a similar size but as my session was coming to a close I received 5 or 6 liners before the tip went round again. This time I struck but straight away the fish took line and was heading for a nearby weed bed. I gave it a bit of stick and managed to turn its head just in time and managed to gain some line on it. It was now in open water and I could feel it was heavy, but it didn’t feel too dissimilar to the tench id caught previous. It briefly snagged itself on a weed bed but with some side strain I managed to lure it out and it then showed itself and I was in shock by the size of it. Thankfully it made its way into my net without any hassle but once it was inside it went mental for about 20 seconds.

I remember barely being able to lift it out of the water it so was heavy and I couldn’t get my hands round it as it was so fat!

I managed to lift her out of the water and as I walked over to the unhooking mat and scales I knew it was a special fish but never in a million years did I think it would go over 11lb. I’m just so glad I spotted those rolling fish whilst out walking the dog as id never of known about the lake nor the size of its stock if they hadn’t.