The inaugural Tenchfishers National Tench Championships took place at Linear complex near Oxford on the Oxlease lake from Friday 12th May through to Sunday 14th. The event started with a blast from an airhorn at 12 noon on the Friday. The championships were generously supported by sponsors: Linear Fisheries, The Tackle Box (Kent), Invicta Angling, Harrisons Rods and Darenn McCann’s Hookbait Company. 

The draw was carried out by giving each competitor a “goodie bag” that among other items contained a kilo of Hookbait Company 10mm Tincaberry boilies and their randomly distributed  Watercaft Draw number. Draw number 1 had first choice of swims, draw number 2 had second choice and so on. Notably the eventual winner had the second to last choice of swims. Numerous competitors made very positive comments about how well organised the whole competition was and especially the draw with one commenting “It was a lot better than picking a screwed up piece of paper out of a hat!”

Dean Bradshaw wrapped-up well as he tries to tempt tench on the float

Graham Perry 3-15

Twelve experienced members of the Tenchfishers group provided event support including near 24 hour availability for weighing Tench. The scales used were all calibrated pre-event with a set of standardised weights owned by the Tenchfishers so that Tench weights recorded on different sets of scales were comparable. Steve Innes, Event Coordinator, received well deserved praise from competitors and stewards alike for how well organised and resourced the event was.

The competition started with high expectations of catches of Tench due to a mid-week capture of 18 Tench to 9lb+ in the high 30s swims on the East bank. Unfortunately a north wind developed and it seemed that more carp were caught than Tench with all but two Tench being caught on the West Bank. The numbers of carp caught were not recorded because this was a this Tench competition and carp didn’t count. Phil Hatton had the first Tench, one of two 8lb 10oz female Tench that were the biggest individual fish caught, Adam Bojar having the other 8lb 10oz fish. Chris Reynolds also had an early 8lb Tench on Friday but the competition was effectively over by Saturday morning when Bruce Ruscoe weighed in three Tench caught between 9pm on Friday and 5am on Saturday to go with a 5lb 15oz caught Friday afternoon. Bruce went on to add another four tench over the rest of the competition becoming the Tenchfishers 2023 Tench Champion. All Bruce’s fish came at fairly close range to the deadly Dai Gribble Worm Kebab on a helicopter rig. He topped up his feed after each fish with a medium sized spomb of hemp and mini pellets.

Twelve experienced members of the Tenchfishers group provided event support including near 24 hour availability for weighing Tench. These twelve were nicknamed ‘The Black Caps’.

Competitors travelled from all corners of the UK, for example Adam Bojar came from Cornwall and Nick Tuckey put in an 11 hour 600 mile round trip from Northumberland. There was a strong contingent from the North West including eventual winner Bruce Ruscoe, “carp master” Stuart Winder and joint 4th placed Phil Hatton. Stuart Winder had a near 44lb (personal best) carp along with another at 36lb 3oz.

Adam Bojar and Phil Hatton sportingly embraced the spirit of the competition by taking part in an accuracy cast-off to determine the winner of the Specimen Tench Trophy, both having caught an 8lb10oz Tench. Adam Bojar won with a cast just under a meter off the target despite being handicapped by using mono line (Adam is a braid mainline user). Tenchfisher Steward Pat Dower acted authoritatively and effectively as Competition Casting Master for the cast-off.

Frank Segrave Daly - Swim 3 Tidiest Bivvie

Natalie Slater and Stuart Winder - Swim 22 Messiest Bivvie!

The friendly camaraderie of the competition was captured in an incident towards the end when Bruce Ruscoe gave a steward a large handful of his own Dendrabena bait to be passed to another competitor who had run out of worms.

The Tenchfishers Committee have already stated that they would like to stage the event again in 2024 – so keep watching this space for more details!  Meanwhile, check out the event video on YouTube at Tenchfishers TV here:


2023 National Tench Championships – Results

1st place. Bruce Ruscoe eight tench to 8.5

2nd place. Malcolm Morris. Two tench to 8.6

3rd place. Graham Parry. Two tench to 4.15

Specimen Award Adam Bojar/Phil Hatton. Tie. 8.10

A cast off ( accuracy competition) saw the award go to Adam.

Runner Up Prizes Awarded To 7th place ( T shirt)

4=Adam Bojar

4= Phil Hatton

6. Chris Reynolds

7. Nick Tuckey

Report and Photos courtesy of Nigel Bray 

Overall winner Bruce Ruscoe 8-5 7-7 5-15

Runner-up Malcolm Morris 8-6 male

Adam Bojar 8-10 winner of the specimen award after a ‘cast-off’ with Phil Hatton

Bruce Ruscoe 5-4

Bruce Ruscoe Overall Winner Trophy Presentation

Phil Hatton 8-10

Nick Tuckey 7-3

Sponsor Darren McCann (right) and Steward Chris Netto (left)

Adam Bojar Biggest Tench Trophy Presentation