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Planning a Specimen Tench Campaign (Part 1/4)

How Big Is A Specimen Tench?

By general opinion a female fish of 8lb is considered a specimen and any male over 6lb. If you define this by geography an 8lb Yorkshire fish would be as worthy as a Southern 10lb specimen. So you must set your sights according to where you live in the UK, unless you are prepared to travel. A double figure fish is a specimen of a lifetime for most anglers. These are generally best sought during April through to July. A female fish carrying spawn can be 20% lighter after spawning. So a clean fish of 8lb 4oz could be a Spring double in spawn. These huge fish are not common and unless you are hugely committed then a broader approach to your tench fishing is in order! Think 8lb and be delighted with a 10!! The fishing weeklies regularly feature fish of this size but be aware you are seeing the best results reported from a select few, representing a micro % of those individuals fishing for tench in any period. So be inspired yes, but do keep a sense of perspective! Remember too to consider your results in relation to the venue and gear your aspirations accordingly.

Your Available Time - Calculate This First!

How much time will you have to dedicate to catching that specimen? You have to get that calculation dead right, otherwise your water selection could well be inappropriate. For example, I would not select the 100 acre CEMEX Wraysbury 1 or 2 venues if I only had a few weekends in the year. Why? Well first of all as a general rule of thumb, the more acres, the more spade work that has to be done. These waters are generally only populated by a few dedicated anglers and bankside intelligence is minimal to say the least. No problem however if you have every weekend in the summer, well less of a problem anyway!! Conversely a twenty acre pit which is a mixed fishery, sees a few tench and bream men among the "carp army" sounds a bit more sensible for the "part timer." So I might head for waters of this type that have produced some "eights". Up to 20 acres is fairly manageable, think about that time factor if you opt for bigger. This is the critical first step to success!!

Venue Selection

My first bit of advice is join The Tenchfishers, for just 30 in your first year we can help! Plug over, the second bit of advice is to take a look at our Top Waters page. It's pretty obvious to say, but be sure the water you seek contains fish of the target weight you seek to catch! Sure, Blenheim Palace is listed on some websites as producing tench to 8lb, but I've fished it for twenty years and have known of only one fish of that size! If you want a 6lb'er go there! Your choice is to try and gain access to waters with fairly heavy pressure and history, do your own research and find a less pressured venue, or take the big gamble of a big deserted venue that has seen carp anglers land some "monsters".

Heavy pressure/syndicate/"history" venues

This is illustrated by well known syndicates (often waiting lists will apply), and club waters that have had a long term reputation for producing big fish. You can expect these to be very busy in Spring and early Summer. These waters are often named in the weekly angling press.

Research Your Own Venue = Legwork and Internet

Apart from the well known pressured club waters, if you look through a club permit book you are bound to see other stillwaters that hardly get a mention at all. These are also likely to be mature pits but because they do not have a "history", are somewhat neglected. All of these should be evaluated. The internet fishing forums are a great help here, often you can search the forum database for specific venue names!

Big Acre Carp Venues

These venues hold mega tench and bream. These are the 100 to 200 acre venues that hold a small stock of big carp. There are many in the Thames/Colne valley. Many have waiting lists but CEMEX Wraysbury 1 is generally available for example. Tough, time consuming but largely under exploited.

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