This blog follows me on my travels to try and catch specimen freshwater fish of all species including carp, tench, pike, barbel, perch, roach, rudd and chub. This blog also looks into the various tactics, baits and rigs sucessfully used to catch specimen coarse fish. I have also included a venue guide giving information on open access waters accross England. This is located on the menu to the right of this page under Choppedworm venue guide.
20/05/16 - A big Tinca has been on my hit list for the last couple of years and with my current PB standing stagnant at 8lb 2oz I felt it was about time for a new adventure to try and bag the ultimate prize, a double figure beast. I purchased a ticket for some local pits that are well know on the circuit and have a track record of producing big tench to over 13lb. After talks with fellow anglers, some research on the net and a visit to the complex I decided to fish one of the more popular lakes as the number of big tench far exceeds the other lakes on the complex however they all contain massive fish.
I managed to get some time of work to finish my MSc dissertation and took the laptop to ensure all my work was complete for the upcoming week. Combining fishing, work and education was killing two birds with one stone, well three to be more precise and it allowed me to get some more time on the bank. On arrival I was informed that a huge tench was taken only days before and with it being late May I was sure they would be nice and plump at really good weights.
I opted for simple PVA bag mesh tactics combined with standard hair rigs. Nylon thread through the maggots and then tied onto the hair created a ball of irresistible goodness that surely no fish could resist. I loaded the bags with hemp, a few live maggots and some dead red maggots. Each bag was no larger then a golf ball and this helped me get out to the area of interest with ease. I then scattered bait with a small spomb covering a small area that would encourage the fish to route about for their dinner.
Having a long session planned ahead I was not to concerned about being on the fish immediately and was sure the area that I was baiting would be visited by the tench at some stage. Once they were to arrive I could then feed generously keeping them in the swim. The key was going to be light baiting, little and often until they turned up.
The lake is a mature gravel pit of approximately 15 acres and it contains all the features a tench angler could possible wish for. Savage bars, shallow bays, reeds and plateaux's. Its full of weed, gin clear and holds some magnificent fish. The tench are not the only species that has put this lake on the map and it holds some stunning carp to over 40lb that are difficult critters to catch at the best of times. I was happy to have my ticket and was ready for a proper session. Bring it on.
I settled in swim that had a bar at approximately 50 yards range and choose to fish two rods at the back of the drop of and one on the downward slope. As mentioned above I decided to use hair rigged red maggots in conjunction with a PVA bags I also had some ground bait and lobworms with me just in case things became a struggle. You can always count on a trusty lob worm when the fishing is slow.
The fist night passed uneventful and it wasn't until the second night at 3am that my left hand rod came to life. The reel was smoking by the time I had clambered out of bed and realised where I was. Picking it up I could tell it was a good fish but for some reason it never crossed my mind that it might not be a tench. After five arm aching minutes I finally had the fish in the shallows wallowing and showing signs of being defeated but the battle was far from over. As I tried repeatedly to net the fish it kept on refusing to surrender until eventually I had enough and jumped in. I knew that the water was extremely shallow and I went no further then the margins but this gave me enough leverage to actually get under the fish and bring her home. I must have looked like a right twat trying to get this fish into the net but hey it was 3am, no anglers about to witness the noddy act and a fish was in the net so I didn't give a monkeys. Looking into the mesh I suddenly realised I had a bagged a nice common carp and not a tench on steroids. The fish was known as the small headed common and weighed 26lb 9oz (pictured top). It wasn't a tench but it was a fish and a good one at that. My trousers were soaked and I ended up walking around the bank in my boxers until I remembered I had brought my trust sallopettes. Result.
Rods went back out and at 11am the next morning I finally caught a tench but to be fair it was probably the smallest one in the lake and spun the flyweights around to 6lb 10oz (pictures left). The target species was now present and I was looking forward to bagging up some big tincas. Hopefully I could get amongst the large females.
The next morning resulted in another carp in the form of a scared common that weighed around 24lb although I didn't weigh her so it was an estimation. Again the take came at 3am and the fish put up a great fight but It seemed that the carp had moved back into the swim and pused the tench out. So much for bagging up on tincas. The rods were cast back to the "hot spots" and the fishing resumed. A couple of days passed without a fish and I was tempted to move swims but fish were definitely in this area of the lake and every morning at 4am the tench rolled in full view as if to wind me up. I considered rig changes but then received some news from around the lake that it was not looking good on the tench front. Everyone was blanking and I think the tench just switched of feeding heavily but they could switch on any minute so I persevered.
6am Thursday morning my mate Sweed came to my swim to say goodbye after doing a session for the carp on a lake adjacent to the one I was fishing. I stood up to greet him when my middle rod had a one toner and I was in to what felt like a really decent sized fish. After a long arm aching battle the fish was near the margins and we all looked in anticipation to see what I had actually caught. Finally it broke the surface and the debating amongst us begun. I was confident it was a huge tench but the other two weren't so convinced and they were proved to be right when I slipped the net under a sort after fish called the Mill Street Fully. Its not the biggest carp in the world but its close to being the best looking and I was made. Not a tench but at least a fish and a good one to. Apparently this fish is really old and rarely caught so something was working. I didn't weigh her but she was around the15lb mark (pictured right). Another perfect common followed the fully scaled at 11am and then all went quiet.
I ended up blanking on the last day but I had caught some cracking fish so I left the lake a happy man. The only part missing from the session was a large tench but maybe she will come another day. I am now looking to change lakes on the complex as the pressure is becoming a bit too much and I feel I would have a better chance at catching when I have more swims to choose from. I will keep you posted. Tight Lines.