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Picking out the tench

Steve Lewis

Senior Member
Intending to fish a local clay pit in the next couple of months when we're firmly into spring, specifically targeting tench. The lake in question has a number of large specimens well into double figures, which are largely ignored due to the lake being mostly popular with carp anglers (most of the big tench are caught by the carp lads) and match types - it has a large head of carp (averaging low doubles) and LOADS of silvers, with an enormous head of rudd.

I see the most popular baits for big tench these days are the hair-rigged worm kebab and artificial pop-up red maggots. Which, of course, are both also very popular with the smaller fish.

I'm loathe to use boilies or pellets given the number of carp in the lake, so does anyone have any tips for limiting things as best as possible so that only tench take an interest?

Mike Thompson

Senior Member
I have a similar situation on a lake near me. I tend to go for a helicopter rig with fake corn or fake casters, popped up a couple of inches off bottom. A feeder of fishmeal groundbait laced with casters, corn and hemp.
Not saying I am terribly successful, but don't get bothered much by small stuff and do manage the odd tench😁.

Stephen Crowhurst

Senior Member
If you use the fake maggot on a slightly bigger hook as a kind of aligner it makes the hook too large for the majority of silvers to swallow. Then add a pair of red maggot to the hook itself. You should with a little play end up with a neutral buoyancy presentation that won’t be swallowed by tackers and will stand up to being pecked at.
Also means you can step up a notch on the terminal gear and if a rouge carp does come knocking you’ve got the strength to not get cracked off.

Joe Winstanley

Senior Member
I wouldn’t be concerned about using smaller fruit boilies (tutti fruit or strawberry) - tench love them, especially on waters where they are used to boilies. Two 10mm or midis hair-rigged on a size 10, with a 35g method feeder, fished either helicopter style or off the bottom of the method feeder works consistently well for me. You will inevitably pick up the occasional carp - but you won’t be bothered by the silvers.

Fake corn also very effective as Mike says. Try fishing one rod with corn and another fruity boilies, tench are such contrary fish that if often pays to have 2-3 different baits with you on a given day.
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Richard Booty

Senior Member
Hello - fake casters on a short hooklink with a feeder can work well if theres lots of nuisance silvers - do a normal hair and put three fake casters on before pushing the hair back through the eye of the hook (something like a 14) before blobbing it with a lighter. It's too big for the small fish to hook themselves but great for hooking the tench. I've tried doing the same with fake corn but never had the same success. Also big lobworms on a long drop can also work if it's really small nuisance fish but don't use an alarm as the constant bleeps would drive you crazy!