Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Canal Tench — Bream #14

With the first feature of a new Total Coarse Fishing series hitting the shelves tomorrow morning, I thought I'd better get out there, do my job and promote sales by catching one of the little tincas the piece is all about. 

Of course magazines don't magically appear in a puff of smoke overnight. The pictures were taken two months ago and the copy written a week later. That makes for difficulties all round when the piece has to be topical at high season for whichever species it's about and for tench, or at least pleasure fishing for tench, that's right now. 

I was after a canal specimen back in May, and that's double difficult. It's not a pit where tench can be almost guaranteed to behave in a certain fashion as the water warms through spring, it's an out and out summer venue where tench are concerned, however, despite cool water and blanking outright for nigh on six hours I did actually hook one at the last but then a snag got itself into the argument and won! 

Tough titty for me... 

Not strictly necessary for the feature though which is more dreaming of catching than actually catching — anticipating exactly the short balmy nights we're enjoying at this very moment when from experience I know tench exit the safety of their weedy daytime abode in the marina and go on patrol in the canal proper. 

I thought I'd give the hours around dawn my best shot so got there by three in the morning intending to fish till six or seven. 

First thing I put out a heavy duty sleeper rod fishing bolt rigged corn well down the far bank shelf hoping to arrest the attention of the more adventurous tench and perhaps even carp, then readied a beefy (but not to the point of overkill...) float rod intending to fish bread well up the shelf in shallow water near cover at first light.

Bream #1
First cast I couldn't actually see the float, but could see where it wasn't. The bread was taken within minutes and the culprit bream. It was taken again ten minutes later, again by a bream. They were really snotty ones too and loused up the terminal tackle something rotten!

The sleeper rod continued hitting the snooze button for the next two hours but suddenly it sprang to life, sank back down again, and went back to sleep for the rest of the session. 

A liner.

In the meantime the float rod was making busy cooking up bream breakfast fit for a canal king, catching one after the other. 

The reeds began to quiver and part trembling as large fish I really hoped were tench made their way along the far bank. 

But could I catch them? Could I heck as like... 

Bream #13
More bream, and then there were seven, and ten bream, soon twelve, and then unlucky for some, thirteeen... 

It was totting up to the kind of catch a matchman would gladly die for. All around the pound to two-pound mark it would have amounted to an impressive bag if I'd brought a keep net, but hadn't. 

I came for tench, and tench alone.

Earlier I'd dropped my last slice of bread in the cut, fished it out, but got there too late and it became a sodden mush. 

No choice but fish on with it I then found to my relief that even very wet bread can still be cast and used to catch fish with. 

You learn something new every day when fishing, don't you?

Soggy mush

Snotty buggers!
Down to the last few discs I thought of packing in because the bream were becoming irksome now but I thought a last cast or two worthwhile because those fish — whatever they were — they were still knocking the vegetables about over there.

Tight to the reeds — a bite, a strike, a feeble flutter and Bream #14 coming home to daddy... and then, by a miracle, Bream #14 woke up and started being like a tench! 

Off it went here and there, and though canal bream can do this when they have a mind to, there's a difference. When they get feisty they occupy the surface and you see them gliding about but when tench start getting angry they run deep, stay down and you don't see them till they're beat. 

This had to be a tench...

At last! 

Sure enough, after a minute or three up came a mean green submarine, 'splash!' and into the net with her.

Phew, I thought they'd vanished but at the last a lovely fish made all the more lovely by the situation.

Lucky too, because if it had been Bream #14 instead of Tench #1 then I think I might well have denied the king of the canal his morning feast and eaten her for breakfast myself, there and then, snot and all.

Handy passerby pressed into service for photo does very good job —
angler reads instruction manual, 'On Tench, and How to Hold Them ...'

Total Coarse Fishing Magazine - August 2013 Issue - in the shops tomorrow morning, Wednesday 10th July.


  1. Replies
    1. Cheers Andy, fancy a Saxon Mill trip soon?

  2. Well in Jeff, you finally caught one of the green blighters!, love the article too, but i cant read the text.....lol, but yes that 6lb Tench has got to be there, you caught one, there is more to be caught.


  3. They've proven really tough this year James. I heard the pits were really out of whack too, though I never fished one this year to find out myself.

    I don't think my best at 5;8 is the best there is to have but there's a lot of smaller tench of course, it's a healthy population. I've heard of a nine pounder from nearby. Can that report be trusted? Probably not but no one lies about a fish that big even if it wasn't weighed properly.

  4. Great blog, can see I've got a lot of reading to do here. It's actually nice to read something slightly more intellectual that involves fishing, rather than the standard, "I cast out, I caught a carp, it was HUGE".

    Anyway, keep up the great writing.

    1. Thanks Paul. I try to avoid all that stuff as much as possible. Fishing is way too interesting to get bogged down in bragging rights. Not that I won't brag every now and then when I do actually catch something worth crowing about!