Justin Grapes - The Final Push For Tench

Over the last couple of months, with my job being very busy, my fishing has been limited from what I’m used to, but overall it’s been a productive spring for the tench and as we are heavily into a hot summer it’s been difficult to find something to go for with the time off.

The first of the sessions after my last blog was an overnighter again on the Saturday, and after finishing work I made my way to the lakes to see what was going on. I had called Darryn who was down the lakes to see how he was getting on and, as per usual, he was hauling tench out for fun. So, on arrival at the lakes I went to see Darryn for a catch up, and to see what swims were free. There were a few swims free, but with Darryn having about a dozen tench in the morning, he was then packing up, so it would be an easy swap.

After a couple of cups of tea with Darryn, I kicked him out of the swim and got sorted out . As I have normally done in every session so far this spring ,I mixed up a match pack of worms ( chopped), a pint of casters, about the same in maggots and some Advanta mixed particle and sent it out onto the spot I was fishing. With fishing worms again, I didn’t need to change the rigs but I did change the hooklinks.

What was left of the evening went without any action, but I was mainly waiting for the next morning . I did stick a couple of rods out overnight with a couple of 10mm Advanta tutti fruitti and tiger nut boillies on just in case there were any greedy tench about.

I had set the alarm for 3.30am to cast the rigs out and I only had to wait a hour for my first bite. After a long fight a good sized tench was in the net and at 9lb 3oz I was well chuffed. I hoped it would carry on in that vain for the remainder of the session. After the recast things took a turn for the worse; after 30minutes I had another take and I struck into what felt like another big tench. The longer the fight went on, the bigger the fish felt, but after about its fourth powerful run that sinking feeling happened when the hook pulled out. To say I was gutted was an understatement. After that I had a couple of aborted takes which didn’t help my mood, then I had another take and straight away the hook pulled again. To say I was a little grumpy would be an understatement. After checking and changing all my rigs I cast out again and hoped for another chance, which I got, finally landing a tench which looked another good fish - at 9lb, it was. After recasting I had another bite but this time it was a gate crashing eel, but a good one at 2lb 8oz. Then disaster again with another run turning into another hook pull. After that I packed up, disappointed with losing fish and being done over with a few bites, but I suppose you can’t be unhappy with a brace of 9lb tench.

My next session was again the following Saturday and a similar thing happened from the week before with Darryn already being at the lakes and catching, so I moved into his swim after him . With things going the way they had the week before, there were a few changes on the rig front, with different hooks and a longer hooklink . After I had marked the rods up and got the bait out I settled down for the evening and watched the lake to see what was going on and where the tench were rolling. There were a few fish rolling all over the place, but there were enough in the area to keep my confidence levels up. I changed the rigs over again for the night to the 10mm tutti & tiger nut boillies, but the night went without any incident. I had set my alarm for 3.30am again but I woke up at 3am, so reeled the rods in and changed them back over to the new worm rigs, sat back, and waited to see what happened.
Things started off slowly, but as there were a few fish in the area, I kept re casting with fresh baits, convinced there would be the odd bait robber about.
Finally at around 5.30am I had a bite, and safely landed a 7lb 10oz male. I was hoping things would kick off from here but it took another couple of hours for the next bite. This fish looked big, and after a hard fight which saw the tench dive for the cover of the tree to my left, she was safely in the net. After the scales locked onto 9lb 7oz I put her in the landing net for a minute and got the camera ready; after a couple of pictures she was released to fight another day. Just as it had after the first fish, it went dead for a couple of hours, then out of the blue I had another run and lifted into what again felt like a good fish, and after safely landing her she went 8lb 8oz.


After a re cast on all three rods it wasn’t too long before I had another bite and yet again it felt like a good fish.

This fish looked bigger than the second fish so I was looking forward to seeing what she weighed, but to my surprise she went 9lb 3oz. But even after a slow start, it was another brace of 9lb+ tench and what was more satisfying was that the rig changes had worked and no more hook pulls.


The next Saturday after finishing work, a change in lakes was in order, and a visit to a swim which had been fishing well again this spring. As my tactics were working okay, it was on with three new hooklinks and then to put them straight onto the spot with my normal 8/10 spombs of bait over the top.

As with most sessions, I would then have to wait for the next morning to have the best chance. I actually got off the mark just before dusk, in the shape of a small 4lb male tench. I had set the alarm for 3.30am again and was up like a shot. I cast fresh baits out and sat back to see if the tench turned up , which they did within the hour, with two in quick succession. Another two male tench of 6.8 and 4.8 but at least I was catching fish. It then went dead for a couple of hours with only a couple of perch picking up the worms. From 7.30 things picked up again with another four tench, which this time were all females, the biggest three weighing in at 8lb1oz 8lb3oz and 8lb 6oz. I packed up just after lunch time , so all in all a very enjoyable session.

The next session was a social with Darryn, and with him turning up later on, I picked the swim. After getting set up and baited up we got the BBQ on and the good ladies joined us for a burger or two. In the middle of proceedings I had a bite, and after a short fight a small tench was landed. After talking fishing and watching the lake 'til after dark we set the alarms for the morning.

Darryn started catching first but then I chipped in with a few. I managed 5 in the end to 7.13 which was okay for a morning session, but, with time running out and some of the tench having already spawned the chances of a double figure tench were looking unlikely.
The next weekend I had planned another social with good friend Shaun and we were going to give the bass a go on the Norfolk beaches on the lure. With the weather holding up and the high tide being early, the alarm was set for 4am in the hope to get there on first light and fish it two hours up and two hours down.

It was an okay morning weather wise but with a early breeze picking up through the session it made it tricky at times.
There was also a bit of rain in the air but that shouldn’t hamper proceedings, and would maybe even help with it being overcast.
We started walking along the beach, casting as we went but with not much action at all. An hour before high water, Shaun had a good fish hit his lure, but unfortunately the hooks pulled out.

We carried on, and a short time later, as I was at the end of my retrieve I saw a flash of silver, the rod hopped over, and the reel sprung into life. This bass looked a good one, and I started to get nervous as it was taking line and shaking its head as hard as it could. Luckily I had brought a small landing net; Shaun got in position and it went in the net first time.
It looked a cracker and a certain PB for me. After digging the lure out of the net and the fish we weighed the fish at 6lb 2oz, which was a PB, then took a couple of quick pictures and got the fish back to the sea to grow bigger and hopefully produce future big bass. After watching it swim away safely we started walking and casting again. Shortly after that Shaun had two small bass in quick succession, then it all went quiet, and as we walked back we called it a day and went home as pleased as punch.

I hadn’t really planned anything for the next couple of weeks but the second weekend I did go out for an overnighter to see if I could catch a carp for a change. In the week before I had a look around and put a bit of bait in a few swims I thought the carp might be in on the Saturday/ Sunday. With the wind changing on the Saturday I had ear marked a swim that the new wind would be pushing into, but I would still have a look around never the less.
As I arrived after work I could see there were more people on the lake than expected so I had a good look around to see if I could see any carp . There weren't many signs of fish at all on arrival, so I had a look in the area I fancied in the first place and surprisingly it was empty so I went back and got the gear from the van. I had a quick lead about to see what the spots were like and they seemed okay to fish so I put a few boillies out and went back and sorted the rigs out. I was going to try two bottom bait rigs and a naked chod on the other rod and just go from there.
After sticking a couple of PVA bags on the two bottom bait rigs and casting out I was ready for a night under the stars.

The only thing that happened through the night was the bats had found where the lines entered the water and were constantly hitting the lines for most of the night.

As first light came I went out to see if I could spot any carp but with being in a corner I had to wade out to see more of the lake. There wasn't much going on, and the confidence was draining out of me by the minute, so I packed up early before it got too hot.
With the summer in full swing and the nights drawing in I’m hoping to get out to the beach a few more times after the bass and even the mackerel if they come in close enough. I think the barbel fishing will be put on hold until the hot weather breaks and hopefully there'll be a few trips in the autumn to a big pit after some bream.

So for now, tight lines and enjoy your fishing

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