Tench fishing on gravel pits

Joe C

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Following on from my post a couple of days ago (thank you for the help.) I have decided that my best approach to catching a specimen tench is to target a gravel pit. I only live an hour from linear fisheries so will probably give it a crack when all this is over. I have never fished a pit before, having been brought up pleasure fishing on commercials.

I was hoping I could approach it using beefed up quiver tip rod, probably a carp feeder, pick my spot with a helicopter rig, fish accurately and build up a bed of bait. I will also avoid doing overnighters. I don't really want to get into marker float fishing, spodding etc..... But that leaves the problem of knowing what you're fishing on I guess, gravel, silt or weed? Is it absolutely essential that I do need to employ the use of a marker float and spotting? If this is the case then I am open to changing my approach.

Is it possible successfully target a pit fishing this way if you're not targeting carp?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!
 

mickthechippy

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good tip for fishing deep pits is to find the bars etc

best thing I can tell you for that is to look to get a hummingbird or a deeper pro, will save you untold effort plumbing and searching,
 

Silverfisher

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Pits are not really my area of expertise as have only really fished one but if you just want decent sized tench rather than specimens there are a couple smaller sized lakes at linear where you can target then on the waggler. Tbh you could well do the same on the bigger ones as well for all I know but I’ve seen plenty of videos on those small lakes of people catching 4-6lb tench quite easily on the waggler. Having never caught one over 6.5lb I can’t really help with the big uns lol
 

Deejay8

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From what I can gather, it's the hard work on waters like this that lead to the big specimens coming to the bank. Of course you could get lucky, but on a big expanse of water, you really need to identify areas that will hold fish and that means building up a knowledge of the water.
 

Dusty

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I think from looking at no end of Tench videos on YouTube your best bet is to do a bit of marker work or speak to someone local who can give you some pointers on underwater features etc.

There certainly is nothing wrong with targetting them on beefed up feeder/scaled down carp rigs but You would be better off knowing what sort of bottom you are fishing on as this will make a huge difference.
 

squimp

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If you fish blind on this sort of water you will struggle. You only real option is to fish the near margin.

one of, if not the most important thing is knowing where to cast. That means understanding what is going on with the bottom contours and make up.

to get that info, you either need somebody to tell you; or you plumb the area yourself. That means having a decent marker set up or at the very least a heavy lead and learning how to tell the water depth by counting it down. IMO a proper marker with braid is really helpful, and it’s visual which helps understand what is going on. We draw maps of waters and then mark on depths/bottom make up in key areas.

rigs are easy - checkout somebody like Paul Garner or Dai Gribble on YouTube. Basically the std tactic is a helicopter feeder rig with a short hooklink and a hook to match the size of the bait you choose. My std setup is a 50g black cap feeder and a strong size 12 hook. My first baits would be flavoured maggots, or plastic casters.

if you want really good knowledge buy either Chris Turnbull’s most recent Tench book (time for tench I think) or the Tenchfishers book. Both are really good.

it sounds as if you live close to me; so if you like when the lockdown ends, come to my fishery and I’ll show you how we plumb swims and I will show you some rigs etc etc.....I’m in the Cotswold Water Park, south of Cirencester. Send me a PM if you think that would help.
 

smiffy

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I’m a firm believer that the vast majority of Tench live right under your feet. So, on gravel pits have a look for rushes,lilypads and overhanging trees first off. One of the things to watch for are blows. Early doors Tench fizz like crazy and are very easy to locate.
You can learn about your water as you fish it and still have a good chance of snaring a few. Get there early,fish a likely margin and do your plumbing after the fish have switched off as the sun rises.
I fish a couple of gravel pits for Bream which means I have to pick my days. I’ll only go if it’s going to be cloudy and windy, and because gravel pits are normally gin clear I have to give myself the best chance. I have had a lot of Tench just feeder fishing out into open water on these days so it isn’t necessarily an early morning thing.
 

Joe C

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If you fish blind on this sort of water you will struggle. You only real option is to fish the near margin.

one of, if not the most important thing is knowing where to cast. That means understanding what is going on with the bottom contours and make up.

to get that info, you either need somebody to tell you; or you plumb the area yourself. That means having a decent marker set up or at the very least a heavy lead and learning how to tell the water depth by counting it down. IMO a proper marker with braid is really helpful, and it’s visual which helps understand what is going on. We draw maps of waters and then mark on depths/bottom make up in key areas.

rigs are easy - checkout somebody like Paul Garner or Dai Gribble on YouTube. Basically the std tactic is a helicopter feeder rig with a short hooklink and a hook to match the size of the bait you choose. My std setup is a 50g black cap feeder and a strong size 12 hook. My first baits would be flavoured maggots, or plastic casters.

if you want really good knowledge buy either Chris Turnbull’s most recent Tench book (time for tench I think) or the Tenchfishers book. Both are really good.

it sounds as if you live close to me; so if you like when the lockdown ends, come to my fishery and I’ll show you how we plumb swims and I will show you some rigs etc etc.....I’m in the Cotswold Water Park, south of Cirencester. Send me a PM if you think that would help.


That is really helpful advice and A very kind offer thank you! I'm in Yate so not a million miles away, I may well take you up on that.
 

Dave Spence

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Tench fishing in a gravel pit is one of the hardest aspects of angling, the amount of planning is daunting, it is no good going along and chuck and chancing it, you need to do your research. Talk to people, read catch reports, walk the venue; preferably with a plummet or, as @mickthechippy suggested, some kind of underwater info gatherer. The more work you put in the greater will be the rewards. Good Luck (y)
 

Sam Vimes

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There's no doubt that scaled down carp tactics, including the entire rigmarole that goes with it, can work very well for gravel pit tench. However, in my experience, including some limited and old experience of Linear, very simple margin fishing can work really well, especially in Spring and early Summer.
It's twenty years since I spent any real time at Linear (Manor and St. John's IIRC). I spent far more time observing than fishing. I lost count of the number of times I saw big tench come up the marginal shelf, often right under carpers rod tips, to feed on spilled and waste bait in the margins. It certainly doesn't have to be all about fishing at range, markers, spodding bait and the like.
 

Silverfisher

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Very true on them often being in close. The one real big tench I’ve seen was one of probably 8lb that my grandad had from no more than a couple rod lengths out on the waggler from states lagoon which is basically just slightly down and across the road from linear.
 

squimp

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I fished Manor at Linear when Len Gurd first had it. It was a fantastic tench water and the small syndicate included people like John Everard and even Peter Stone I think. There were 9lb plus fish to target, even in those days.

it was a lovely place to fish until lots of 30 lb carp mysteriously started appearing. Then it went day ticket and the old timers moved on. We were used to turning up in the morning for short sessions and that didn’t work when there were 20 bivvies insitu. Fair play to the Linear management, their fishing model certainly pulls in the anglers. I’m sure they take more money off Manor in week now, than in a season when it was a small syndicate.

same happened on Oxlease. It was a small syndicate for a year or two with big perch and chub in it. Then hundreds of Simmo’s arrived along with day tickets. The rest is history.
 

ATTICUS FINCH

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As already said ,you gotta put the work in .spend a few visits observing and asking as many people as you see fishing .take a rod and try and find the bars and gulley's ,and when you have found somewhere that feels it has everything required then start a prebait session or two ,and look to start fishing at first light .best time to prebait is just before dark .
It's not an easy thing to catch gravel pit tench on the off chance of just turning up .
You must put the hours in ,do that you will catch .
 

Joe C

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Thank you all for your advice and help, it really is appreciated. Being honest, fishing is just an escape from day to day life for me, the more I think about it I don’t think I would enjoy, or have it in me to map out lakes with marker rods etc etc. I will go and have a go at float fishing the margins I think trying to find a swim around the right depth. If it is really tough I will stick to the rivers and smaller lakes for the time being until I have more time on my hands. Sorry if I’ve wasted anyone’s time!
 

Dusty

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Thank you all for your advice and help, it really is appreciated. Being honest, fishing is just an escape from day to day life for me, the more I think about it I don’t think I would enjoy, or have it in me to map out lakes with marker rods etc etc. I will go and have a go at float fishing the margins I think trying to find a swim around the right depth. If it is really tough I will stick to the rivers and smaller lakes for the time being until I have more time on my hands. Sorry if I’ve wasted anyone’s time!

No need to apologise mate, us taking 30 seconds to reply could have potentially saved you a few days at the bank side blanking ?
 

Tinca Steve

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Put Dai Gribble in the search bar on youtube as he has done a few vids on tench at Linear.
He is a twice holder of the Drennan Cup and a member of the Tenchfishers and he has done a spread this week in the Angling Times.
 

Pompous git

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If I was fishing a gravel pit for the first time for tench then it would be the margins every time. Think of it as one great
big long swim, if the tench are patrolling the edge {and they almost certainly will be} a few handfuls of hemp will bring
them to a halt and bingo.
 
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