In this blog Steve Innes takes a look at tench kit and selects his favourites. We hope you find it informative and helpful.

Tench painting by kind permission of David Miller.


Rods For Lakes and Pits (Ledger Tactics)

The most popular choice would be for you to select a 12 foot 2 piece with a test curve    between 1.5lb and 1.75lb.  The test curve you require is determined by a couple of factors. The weight you wish to cast and hence the ultimate range you need to fish at to target your tench. Weed conditions also play a key part too. Longer range fishing demands heavier feeders 2.5/3oz and hence a more powerful rod. Similarly if the lake is really weedy and even fishing at short range you may need to go to 2lb test curve. Personally I would not use anything heavier than this for tench and my  “go to” rods are 1.75lb Harrison Chimeras. Obviously you can go lighter if fishing the margin drop off with little weed to worry about and a 1.25lb test  would be fine. You will find a suitable rod in any of the following manufacturers catalogues. Harrison, Drennan, Daiwa, Fox, Tackle Box Darenth and Free Spirit.  Expect to pay around 50% more for custom builds but they do the same job!


My Pick:

Harrison 12 foot Torrix  or Chimera 1.75lb.  


Float Rods

The choice is legion but you will probably looking at a more powerful model for pits which are often described as  suitable for carp fishing too.  Again the weed conditions will also have a bearing on your final choice. Ideally you want a rod that can handle 6lb test for pits. Goods examples of these are the Drennan Acolyte Plus range or Free Spirit Hi S float rod.  For estate lakes, ponds and canals often standard match rod is fine. Mark Tunley is a rod builder that produces some excellent rods on Harrison blanks too. 

Rod length is a personal choice, I am happy with a 13/14 foot rods when on big pits. I prefer 2 piece rods for ease of set up.


My Pick: 

Drennan Acolyte Plus Compact 13 foot (if weed conditions are ok).

Free Spirit Hi S 13 foot 2 piece (weedy pits)

Drennan Mk1 Tench Float 12 foot 9”   classic rod, second hand only


himano and Daiwa reels are adorning a lot of tench rods these days. For the lighter rods a 4000 size is popular, moving up to 6000 on the heavier ledger  rods. Distance fishing might demand a mini big pit reel too. For float fishing a 2500 is fine and will hold adequate 6lb line. For centrepins a 4 to 4.5 inch model would be great to cover your margin work and there are numerous brands on the market. I favour Youngs and some vintage models like the Rapidex are good value second hand.


My Pick :  

Youngs John Wilson Heritage  Centrepin (Green finish)

Vintage Rapidex  (ebay around £60 for a good one)

Daiwa Castizm Feeder 19’s  (25 spooled)  for medium to long range  (QuickDrag)

Shimano Ultegra CI4 XTC for the longer range chucks (QuickDrag)

Shimano Aero 4000  baitrunners  ( now scarce) margin fishing

Shimano Aero 2500 ( front drag)  second hand only now . ( float rod)

Shimano Vanford 4000 – super light    ( float rod)


Rod supports

Pods certainly have their place but a flexible stick and bar set up is always useful.

I highly recommend the Chris Brown range of bars and sticks and  stage stands. Superbly engineered this set up is just what you want for pit swims which are often difficult to get a placement. 

See our sponsors page for more information on the range. Note: I buy this kit!

In terms of pods I have always used a Fox model from the early Xpod onwards.

Cygnet tripods can be handy too on level ground for a quick set up on rock hard banks.


My Pick:

Chris Brown Sticks and Bars

Cygnet Tripod (Pair) + sticks (2) 

Fox Pods (Various)  £70 to £250.00 

X Pod Plus ( if you can find one)  Fox classic!


Bite alarms - it’s quite alarming!

Well some electronics are needed to wake the dozing piscator!  A perfectly acceptable wireless set up of 3 alarms/receiver can be bought for around a £100 these days. If you want to explore the Fox/Nash/Delkim ranges then you can pay a lot more! A lot more! (£550). My pick is Delkim Txi D – albeit at the top end price wise but if you seek to upgrade at some stage, they hold a decent proportion of your initial outlay ( however £550 new for 3 heads/Receiver).

But if you go to Fox you are assured of great quality and a more palatable price in their mid range. I use the old Microns for years and they do have great build quality and reliability. Nash are a cult brand for the carp fraternity but I have never owned them. But certainly worth a look at the premium end of the carp market.


My Pick:  Delkim TxiD’s  + Receiver 

Getting organised

To my mind Fox and Korda have everything you need!  I am a big fan of the Fox X Box medium boxes and the Korda Tackle Safe. The smaller Fox boxes store feeders, and the  Korda all the mainstream terminal kit.

The Korda RigSafe I use for hook storage and there two part folding TackleSafe for all the regularly used items for tenching. This way you can just pick up the appropriate boxes to save weight.

Looking after your tench

A decent size landing net of at least 32”,  unhooking mat or preferably a crib and a weigh sling are all pre-requisites these days. Add a collapsible water bucket to wet down and cool this kit before using. This is an area not to be overlooked or scrimped upon. Remember you are also going to encounter carp too and we have a responsibility to care for all the species we hook. So do go “large” and get some decent kit. I detail what I use but choice is legion


Drennan Specimen 32 inch net  ( now discontinued)  30” currently

Chris Brown 36” net with 6 foot pole ( for carp)  Super tough!  30lb+ carp capacity

Gardner 90cm spoon net/metal frame  ( for carp also)

Drennan Twistlock handles in 6 and 9 foot versions

Trakker Sanctuary Crib  ( smallest available)

Trakker  Sanctuary Floating Sling  – Sanctuary, smallest size

RidgeMonkey collapsible bucket

Wychwood 32” weigh sling ( fabric, packable) .

Your Terminal Gear - Is it Safe?

Every brand replicates each others ranges, so you have a multiplicity of identical items to select!  I guess it comes down to angler confidence and to some extent price. Some of the unbranded kit is from the same factory but offered by online retailers at a very cost effective price. So shop around.  Please do visit our rig feature here to make sure any new rig you are devising meets the safety criteria in the case of a break or crack off.

I use quite a bit of Fox and Korda items in safe rig construction and am a big fan of Gardner Talon Tip hooks which have never let me down in a decade. I am not a fan of the plastic packaging all this arrives in and hope we might see some change here. I use to buy my hook to nylons in a cardboard and rice paper packet!  Now when I re-stock my tackle box I end up with a huge pile of  useless plastic I cannot recycle locally. Time For Change!



We hope this guide is useful and should get you set up with some quality kit. Every angler has his own view on tackle favourites and it is a regular area of debate amongst Tenchfishers members. To participate in that debate, why not join us? An annual subscription for a new member is just 10p a day!