Posts Tagged ‘Tench’

Coarse Fishing in Ireland: Exploring New Waters

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

Exploring new waters besides enabling one to progress as an angler can also be good fun. Yes for sure a lot of time, effort and money will be invested in an exercise which at first glance may not deliver much in return, however in the medium to long term the picture can become much more clear as all knowledge gained, either positive or negative, is good knowledge. On that basis one should get into the moment and appreciate that for all the planning which goes into a reconnaissance fishing session it could still be hit or miss, therefore by lowering ones expectations and just enjoying the time spent casting a line if fish materialise they become a bonus, either way you win.

The River Barrow, Co. Carlow, Ireland.

To date 2015 has been a year of exploration, generating much aesthetic satisfaction, networking opportunities and fishery information with little in the way of decent fish. That said, we only learn from adversity and to that end a lot of positive information has been gleaned which will be put to productive use in the months to come. Also, there have been some interesting encounters and observations along the way, in particular a couple of close encounters with pike, of which more later.

Coarse fishing in Ireland: Perch.

This season tench have been hard to come by, conversations with a number of experienced coarse anglers putting their scarcity down to a very cold spring epitomised by frosty mornings into late May. A session on a new water last weekend after old “tinca” resulted in another blank apart from small rudd and perch to float fished maggot/sweetcorn combinations. Tench were definitely present as both David and I observed our swim fizzing like crazy and our floats being bumped rather than pulled, however they were not taking. Conversation with a local angler confirmed that our approach was fine, it was just that the tench had not started playing ball this season for whatever reason.

Coarse fishing in Ireland: Rudd.

Were there positives from the trip, absolutely, it was a nice day out on an obviously productive water, David and I gained very useful advice from a couple of welcoming people and we know for certain that the fishery delivers specimen tench to eight pound. As Arnie would say, “I’ll be back”.

Coarse fishing in Ireland: Tackle and bait requirements.

Turning towards the River Barrow, a life span is too short a time period within which to learn all its secrets. To confuse things further this writer both coarse and game fishes so to maximise ones knowledge of the river involves a lot of disciplined thinking. Season 2015 so far has been about assessing the Barrow’s coarse fishing potential, utilising Google maps, asking questions and trialing different stretches. Returns have been predominantly small dace but that is not a bad thing, a pattern is emerging, the Barrow is a fine coarse fishery along its length but this quality is confined to certain stretches. To expand, based on my experience and observations the Barrow has untold “latent” potential as a mixed fishery, it just needs a visionary to unlock it.

Coarse fishing in Ireland: River Barrow, waiting for that bite.

With that aim in mind within the last month while coarse fishing the Barrow I’ve connected with two big pike in the process losing both due to lack of wire. The first encounter lasted about four minutes whence old esox ran up, down and across my swim before escaping, the second heaved my feeder rod over into a hoop while engulfing a hooked dace. While sitting on my seat box I’ve observed salmon jumping and tempted a few nice trout on the couple of occasions that I fly fished the streamy waters. Fishing is not just about catching big fish, it is also about putting oneself in the frame to catch big fish. One has to speculate to accumulate, the fruits of my efforts will be rewarded of that I am certain……….


Preparing a Tench Swim

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Air temperatures are warming after a late cold snap and my thoughts turn to tench. A visit to a known water reveals banks of Canadian Pondweed (Elodea canadensis) growing in the shallow areas and around the perimeter, all told at least half the pond is unfishable. Arranging to meet Thomas at the venue we begin the job of clearing a swim. Putting in about four hours over two days we open up an area of 15 x 10 meters which is more than enough space for the two of us.

Clearing Canadian pondweed from a swim.

Using a garden rake head attached to a suitable length of rope the task is both simple and tiring, chuck the rake head out, let it sink, drag it back through the weed and remove what is gathered. Initially big clumps come away releasing gases from the mud which fizz on the surface. Space appears quickly but this is deceptive as one now has to go through a process of gathering the broken off pieces which litter the area, some but not all floating on the surface. Eventually though, even allowing for the chest waders, damp and muddy the job was completed, now for Mr. Tench.

Casting the feeder for tench.

Setting up 25 gram feeder rigs we cast towards likely spots along the invasive weed edge as this signifies where the water deepens, a likely area where tench may feed. Employing a combination of red maggot and sweetcorn bites are scarce, only small perch and rudd showing an interest. It is possible the cold snap of recent weeks may have put the tench back a fortnight, if so with temperatures now rising our hard work will shortly be rewarded, of that I am certain…….


Tinca Time

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

The tench is a lusty fighter”, so wrote Geoffrey Bucknall in his 1966 published volume of fishing reminiscences FISHING DAYS. One of the first angling books that I possessed and still a favourite today, Bucknall’s narrative is quirky, full of historical anecdotes, and really brings to life his anglingĀ  journey from fishing roach ponds in the Weald of Kent during the summer of 1940 while Messerschmidt 109′s and Spitfires fought dogfights overhead, to casting a fly line on the great reservoirs of Chew and Blagdon.

A plump Irish tench tempted by maggot and sweetcorn.

Bucknall observes that the tench is a lover of shallow margins, muddy bottoms and weed beds where they grub around fanning the silt with their fins in search of food items, and that the fish hibernates for a large part of the year because it does not like the cold. That good tench swims catch the sun early so warming up the water which gets old tinca tinca on the feed and most importantly on being hooked they make a beeline for sanctuary amongst the nearest lily pads. Having hooked my first tench only a week ago, I can vouch that over a span of some 47 years G.B’s observations still hold true today.

Groundbait mix and red maggots for the feeder.

Setting up a feeder rig to six pound main line with a meter long tail to a size 12 hook, I baited with double maggot and sweetcorn then built up a swim close to a bed of lily pads. Within an hour line bites commenced before a more determined take resulted in a hook up and initial tench like run which at first made Mr. Bucknall a liar by heading for open water. However Mr tench quickly reverted to type cutting right before swimming at full belt into the weeds close to my pitch. Landing net extended the fish was unceremoniously lifted ashore.

A welcome perch.

On recasting bites became more frequent, not from tench however but perch. Small though they were the little predators hinted at possible larger fish and an extended season on this new water. Tench, perch, rudd, what awaits next a bloody great pike maybe, time will tell………..

See also: Tench from a New Water.

Tench from a New Water

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Gary’s quiver tip jumped ever so slightly, a single knock, could this be the moment. A minute passed, two pairs of eyes glued to the tension induced curve of the rod, mainline taught between tip and feeder. A double knock spurs Gary into action, rod in hand he leans back reeling hard to connect with the in swimming fish. Veering left his rod heels over hard, “that’s a tench Gary”. “Certainly feels like it Ash”, and so it proved to be. Three and a half hours into our exploratory session on a new water we hit pay dirt, a plump tench running close to four pound.

A four pound Irish tench for Gary Robinson.

Homework to include web research, Google maps, visiting a few potential sites, plus asking locals the right questions resulted in Gary and I preparing coarse fishing tackle for an 03.30am wake up call. Struggling out of bed, half an hour later car packed and fortified by strong coffee we set off. At 05.30am just as the sun was rising, mist wafting off the water, our first casts broke the surface thirty meters out. Utilising a 15 gram feeder every 60 seconds a bed of particle mix was laid down. After fifteen minutes the frequency was lengthened. Combining red maggot and sweetcorn on a size twelve hook to a one meter tail, perseverence and belief eventually paid off, a great moment.

Landing a fat Irish tench.

Affectionately called “tinca” the tench has a reputation for being a hard fighting fish, a lover of still waters and weed beds. They supposedly feed best at first and last light during summer time especially if it is warm and muggy, hence our early start. Although dry and bright a brisk west wind added a chill to proceedings. An hour after Gary’s success my rod gave a double knock, lifting, a thump thump transferred through the rod as tinca number two swam up through the gears, these fish are powerful scrapping all the way to the net.

A first tench for Ashley Hayden.

My first tench, becoming two an hour later, mission accomplished. Not a red letter session but highly successful nonetheless. Gary and I had set out to fish a strange water with a view to catching a tench and netted three. Part one of my planned June bank holiday double is in the bag, now for that beach caught tope………

See also: Royal Tench.

Coarse Fishing in Ireland, Royal Tench.

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

One of the first fishing books that I possessed was titled “Fishing Days” by Geoffrey Bucknall, a great read profiling the authors early angling exploits. In one chapter he fishes for tench and describes a fish that likes shallow marginal water, is a doughty fighter, and is best targeted before the sun gets too high in the sky. Gary Robinson recently fished a secret location for tench on the Royal Canal and had a spectacular session along with two friends Mark Handsley and John Herrieven.

Gary Robinson with a cracking Royal Canal tench.

Fishing the waggler and using three red maggot on a size 14 hook the trio bagged up over a weekends fishing. Sunday was the best day with fish surprisingly coming on the feed around 10.30am and continuing sporadically until 19.30pm. On arriving the lads had cleared a swim of weed a prerequisite for this hard fighting species, who like their cover and will head for sanctuary with a powerful run on the first instance of being hooked.

Playing a tench on the Royal Canal, Ireland.

At sessions end Gary and the lads had accumulated over sixty pounds of tench which is some haul for the first few days in May. The best tench fell to Gary’s rod at 4.lbs 2.ozs with the average size nudging 3.lbs. If the mild weather continues tench fishing can only improve.

A royal catch of canal tench, Royal Canal, Ireland.

I would like to thank Gary for the report and images, an all round angler with a particular passion for coarse fishing Gary writes articles for “The Irish Anglers Digest”, and delivers introductory courses in fly fishing.