Spring 2013 - Tench Campaign....(Pictures added)

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Super ted

Jan 14, 2008
Last season was a struggle on the fishing front. We had our second beautiful daughter who obviously took priority over my spare time. I managed a handful of trips over the course of the year but didn't catch much really. So I was looking forward to spring arriving so I could get some early morning sessions in at the local park pond before work. The baby, Maisy, had turned one year old in april and was sleeping through the night now, meaning I didn't feel guilty getting up at 3:00am for dawn as my wife would not have to wake much earlier than usual. It would mean I would have days at work where I was knackered, but if the rewards were there it would be worth it.


Since moving here this local pond has proved a real challenge. In fact other than a 9lb pike on my first trip back in February 2010, I failed to catch anything for two years!! Then a kind maggotdrowner, Len Wade, gave me his pole on the free to collecter thread and that summer I managed a few sessions catching small roach and perch. It was enjoyable fishing but at the same time several other regulars I knew were bagging big tench and bream. Only one or two per session but averaging 4lb. Dave and Peter, the pond Gnomes as I call them have a lot more spare time than most and fish the place most weeks, with varying success. However they catch a lot more than me, partly due to being there more often. They are really open about what they catch and how they catch them so I constantly badger them when I'm walking round with my girls at the weekend. Also, fellow MD, Mark has done well the past couple of seasons fishing bolt rig feeders.

Mark with a fine brace of Tench back in 2011.

So with all the captures coming to scaled down carp tactics, I decided I would join in on the action. The first session was due on a week off from work at the beginning of may. I set up two feeder rods with six pound line. I had feeders on a loop with a 4lb hooklink. One would have big lobworms impaled on a size 10, the other a size 16 baited with 4 maggots. The feeders were filled with maggots and the first cast of the campaign was tossed out at 4:30am. For the first hour I watched as fish rolled around my baited area while the sun slowly crept over the treeline and planes cruised back and forth to Gatwick. After the hour passed I decided a good size ball of groundbait laced with corn chucked over the top of each freshly cast rod may produce some action. Within 5 minutes of the worms hitting the spot, the rod was away and I was into the first tench of 2013. It put up a spirited fight in the warm water, finally coming to rest in my landing net. In fact it filled a good portion of the net and a quick check on the scales gave a pleasing result of 3lb 10oz. An average size I understand although it looked fatter. Maybe they were hollow, I hoped over the next few weeks they would fatten themselves up on my bait, picking up a hookbait too on occasion?

The rest of the morning passed and at 10:30 I was on my way home still with a whole day ahead of me, to play in the garden with my girls... Heaven!

The following week I was back at work, but Wednesday morning saw the alarm wake me at 3:21 allowing 9 minutes to snooze before I finally snuck out of my big warm bed at 3:30. I was ready to cast out again by 4:30. The plan was the same, but this time 4 balls of supercup and corn went in straight away. Again I sat watching the holiday makers to and fro from Gatwick while fish rolled and the sun rose. I had until 6:15 before I needed to pack away to leave at 6:30, get home, shower and be on the bus for 7:00am. The maggots were coming back untouched so a change to corn was offered which provoked a flurry of agonizing twitches on the bobbins and a couple of dropped runs. I thought maybe a change to a hair rig hooklength may work but no more bites were forthcoming until just after 6:00. The worm rod screamed off and an epic battle commenced. This was a good fish no doubt and the jagged lunges told me I had another Tinca attached! A Few minutes later, a fat as fudge slab of olive green lay in the net, Her red eye staring up at me in deep thought of how badly wrong this mornings choice of breakfast had proven. On the scales she went 6lb on the button, a new PB! I slipped her back, said a little prayer of thanks and was on my way home for 6:30 sharp. How very efficient!!

A new 6lb Personal best Tench.

The water on that session was so warm, the lead on the feeder was warm to the touch. It was tempting to go again the following day, but not wanting to upset my family life and wear myself out, I would wait until the following wednesday to go again. Some changes were made to the rigs. The corn rod now had a neat little helicopter rig and both feeders were replaced with open ended ones with 2oz dead cows strapped to them. Hopefully this would eliminate any playing with the bait and nail them firmly in the chops. I gave up on maggots and made a couple of kg of strawberry grounbait to carry plenty of hemp and corn.

Wednesday came and so did rain and cold NW wind. I sat in the cold and wet between 4:00 and 6:30 with no bites, no signs of rolling fish and no rising sun. The cloud had covered the sky and I felt as if I shouldn't be there. Not to be despondent however, the weather would improve and I would be back the following week.

I pondered whether baiting up the night before would give me an advantage, however would walking down the night before and rising so early prove to be too tiring...?

The following Tuesday, I was up at the crack of sparrows. For those more lethargic members of the forum, unfamiliar with this portion of the day, it was 3:00am. However it wasn't my alarm that woke me. From the baby monitor came an almost eerie giggling. It was my 3 year old daughter Rose, who apparently was having the most amusing of dreams. I went in to see her, she was asleep but muttering and giggling away in bed. I rummaged around and located her dummy and blanky, then tucked her back in. I went back in to our bedroom and my wife rolled over, looked at the clock, told me I was mad for getting up at this time, then rolled back over and went back to sleep.

Mad? Maybe, but I had taken the decision at 10.30pm the evening before to walk down to the park and put about a kilo of homemade strawberry groundbait laced with hemp and corn in my chosen area. I wasn't going to waste the opportunity so on went my mad hat, fine Colombian coffee warmed the flask and the loon left the asylum, bound for the park. I arrived just after 3:30 and was surprised to see a dog walker getting out the car. By the time I got into the car park he was halfway round the dam wall. As I got closer, the dogs silhoutte transformed into a seat box on a trolley, and the walker, or angler, as it transpired, stopped just short of my pre-baited swim. Phew! I breathed a sigh of relief, bid him good morning and the reply gave away his identity. It was a russian guy who is often fishing here during the summer. I had not spoke to him much before but for now was just pleased he wasn't in my swim.

We both set up in silence, both quietly cursing the fact the other had invaded his pre-work session. I cast out, poured a coffee and then turned to the audible sound of a fish splashing away. The cheeky Bugga, he's got one first cast! I started walking the 20-30 yds across to where he was playing a sizable fish but almost instantly about turned, then paced back to my rods, coffee flying everywhere, as the corn had been picked up and the reel was now slammed hard against the buzzer. I lifted into the fish and the rod hooped over. It had picked up the other line also but it came in directly, nodding it's head in rhythm. This was not a tench. Moments later it appeared from the murky depths. It was a colossal bream! It's head went into the net followed by it's body which barely managed to squeeze in leaving it's big tail flapping about out the back of the net. I had caught big bream on the Thames before but this seemed huge. Knowing how deceiving the bin lid like appearance can be, I hoped it would beat my 6lb PB. The scales tipped to 10lb 4oz!! Allowing 10oz for the net I now had a new personal best slab....all 9lb 10oz of it. I called over to my russian counterpart, his was also a bream, over 7lbs in weight!! Amazed, it then dawned on me I had not bought the camera with me and it was going to be too dark to get a picture on my mobile. Rather than mess around holding on to the fish in a net which it dwarfed I somewhat reluctantly slipped her straight back. It pained me to watch a capture I had longed for over many seasons, disappear without record, but, it was the right thing to do as the belly was already swelling with eggs.

So, at 4:00am on a spring morning, the sun was attempting to poke over the horizon, me and the sneaky Russian were now brothers in Bream, covered in smelly slime and grinning from ear to ear!

I needed to recast both rods after untangling the two rigs. A fresh coffee was poured and I sat back and enjoyed the sunrise as the fish began to roll. I felt content having had such an early success and was confident more would follow. Nearly an hour passed before the next bite. A tench in the 4lb bracket was the culprit and was swiftly returned after a brief pause to admire him in the now cooler water. 20 minutes or so later, the Russian approached to see what bait I was using. Just as I was telling him how productive the corn had been, the same rod jumped into life again. I bent in and while playing the fish the other bobbin started to dance up and down. I motioned for him to pick it up and we both stood chatting while playing two very spirited tincas. His was a pound heavier than mine at 5lb, but when lay side by side it became apparent he had landed the girl and I, the boy. It made a lovely brace shot as the sun had now rose in the sky.

The Brace my Russian friend helped land.

I thanked my Bream brother for his help and we settled back into our own little worlds. The rest of the session went by without interruption. At 6:10 I started to pack away, happy that I had achieved a goal I had set earlier in the campaign. That was to catch 3 fish in one session. I put the rods against the wall while I packed away the pod. First the worm rod went in the holdall but, when I turned back for the other it was apparent the feeder had moved 30 ft to the right and all the line was slack. Cursing my lack of concentration I wound down the slack to find, amazingly, the barbless hook still in the mouth of a bonus tench.

At 3lb8oz, it was smaller in comparison to the other fish but welcome all the same. He swam off strongly, the rod was holstered in the bag and I bid the Russian good day. Today, work was going to be tiring but it was worth it. Five fish, topped by a near double figure Bream. I may have been mad getting up all these weeks but the plan was coming together. I have another few weeks to keep trying to catch these beautiful spring specimens. Then the river season begins and I have another plan to hatch on opening day. The time is booked off at work and the permission has been granted by my beautiful, suffering wife.

Any more notable sessions on the pond, I will of course update this thread. Thanks for reading. Hope you all have a great season this year, I can feel something special ahead, for myself, on the 16th.

Tight lines, Lewis.
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Regular member
Site Supporter
Mar 22, 2012
Wow, that was a brilliant read! That's what fishing is all about, you conjured up some great images of early morning tench fishing there so thank you


Mar 14, 2005
Great read mate! Lovely tench, definitely my favourite fish.

I'm in the same boat, a 2 year old boy and another on its way, so my fishing time is zero at the moment!
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