I’m lucky to have access to around ten to a dozen exclusive tench lakes.

Many years, my clients land upwards of eight hundred tench between April and June. Average weights are probably between four and six pounds but we catch literally hundreds between seven and ten pounds. What is exciting is the number of eight and nine pounders that we land, generally a hundred or so each season.

Here are three techniques that are out of the box and have delivered for me when conventional rig and baits have not hit the mark.

Laying On

The traditional Crabtree way of catching big tench - particularly later in the season tench can be very finicky. Sometimes a tweak in the float approach can score big time. Set the shot as much as 12 inches from the hook and half cock the float. The tench will feel little or no resistance until they are committed.

Natural baits for tench

Whilst maggots, corn and especially lobworms all work well for tench, throughout the spring and summer of 2017, we found caddis grubs completely revolutionised the numbers of fish that came out way. Even catching the grubs presents some sort of challenge, a thrill in itself. Of course, this has opened the door to all manner of experimentation. An exciting development.

Zig Rigs for tench

It’s well known in the carp world that big fish there can be caught on artificial baits suspended anywhere up or down the water column. It’s exactly the same for tench. Feeding tench don’t always concentrate down on the lake bed but are very used to intercepting insects as they move up to the surface and then down again, perhaps after taking in air. Tentative steps were taken in 2017 to catch tench on modified zig rigs but there is more to come.