A comprehensive document published by the Angling Trust ‘Code of Conduct for Coarse Anglers’ can be found here and on The Tenchfishers website. It covers all the basics and is worth reading by all members.
This document aims to highlight specific areas for consideration by Tenchfishers. Do not assume that because an angler is a member that they possess all the knowledge and skills that you may have. Many join to learn. Improving standards for all our members is one of our key objectives and is best achieved through education and empathy NOT ranting, exposure and humiliation.
A wealth of knowledge is available on Tenchtalk and the Tenchfishers Facebook Group. If in doubt, ask! Remember that many of our tench waters also hold large carp. We expect carp anglers to show respect to tench, we should do the same for the carp and use appropriate kit to deal with large specimens often caught by tench anglers.
Always try to consider ‘what if’ X, Y or Z happened and the impact on a fish attached to the rig.
Fish Landing, Handling and Retention
Always have your landing net positioned ready before casting out. Many members use 2 landing nets (one carp size) when using multiple rods in the event of multiple hook ups or hooking large carp.
Always have a suitable mat in place before commencing fishing. Note that many fisheries have their own specific rules on types and sizes of mats. Make sure you are aware of these rules prior to fishing.
Arrange your unhooking and weighing equipment in readiness for a fish.
Retaining fish: Again many fisheries have specific rules on this. Make sure you are aware before fishing. Many anglers like to unhook and retain their fish in the landing net while preparing the mat and photography equipment. If so make sure the margins are suitable to retain a fish this way AND secure the landing net with a rod rest or something similar.
Multiple catches of tench retained in keepnets is both outdated and irresponsible. Don’t do it.
Always wet the mat before placing the fish. It is also good practice to have a water receptacle to hand.
Always wet the weigh sling and zero scales before removing the fish from the water.
Try to minimise the time fish is kept out of the water especially in hot sun.
Photography and Returning Fish
Always prepare your camera and associated kit before taking the fish from the water.
Think about where you want to photograph the fish and do you really need to photograph it ? If so keep near to the waters edge to minimise distance of moving the fish.
When photographing where ever possible keep the fish close to the mat or surface of the water to minimise damage should the fish escape your grasp.
Once photography is completed transfer the fish safely back to the water in a suitable manner e.g. weigh sling, mat, net.
Some fisheries require the use of treatment kits for hook holds, sores etc.
Ensure the fish can right itself and swim away unheeded. On waters with very shallow/extensive margins this may involve taking the fish into deeper water. If you are not wearing suitable footwear then a wet foot is not the end of the world.
Most of the above is common sense, if possible ask a fellow angler to help or seek advice if you are not sure. We are privileged to fish for our chosen quarry so let us all look after them as many could be the fish of a lifetime for another angler another day.