Treowen, Tench Lake.
If a lake deserves being called “The Carp Lake” then Treowen’s large lake should be known as “The Tench Lake”.
Each year the tench fishing gets better but it’s never simple or predictable.
This lake always seems to be a bit of a late starter but once it gets going, it goes on producing tench into well into the autumn.
There seems to be no certain way of catching them from here. One day they can be caught on a boilly, but not any old boilly. Next day on bread flake and then on corn or maggot. They have even been caught on a king prawn intended to lure a large perch. But the most consistent baits seem to be maggot or corn in three to four feet of water on the drop off, if you can get past the rudd and perch that is. Some days they are fizzing bubbles all over the lake but cannot be caught on anything. Other times a bait dropped into the centre of the bubbles brings an immediate response from the bubble blower. More often than not, when I catch a Treowen tench, there are is no bubble activity at all. A recent discovery is C C Mores Live System 10×12 mm dumbell boilies. These are proving to be the most successful boily and just too big to be taken by rudd although they try.
Most times, when hooked, my fish’s behaviour will panic all the others and you will wait ages for your next bite, then sometimes they will fall one after another in complete oblivion as to what is going on top-side. One day the tench will fed during the day, then another day they will only feed late in the evening. Sometimes not at all, specially in bright sunny weather. There is no rhyme or reason why their gastronomic behaviour should be like this. Except of course, they are tench.
The main thing is don’t fish too far out. Tench will mostly fed in the margins and on the drop off and sometimes in very shallow water. Fish near to the weed and be ready for a hooked fish to run for safety in the densest weed. For this reason it is a mistake to fish too light. There is no pride to be gained by fishing light and losing a fish with a hook and line attached, and it is just plain unsporting. I fish with a 7 lb main line and a 6 lb hook length and it is inevitable that I will still lose some. Fortunately, with this strength, they are usually from hook pulls or the hook becoming detached when the fish gains some slack in the weeds.
Unless you are fishing from the dam end at Treowen it will be necessary to drag out some weed from your chosen swims. I do this myself 4 or 5 times per season to keep several area reasonably clear. Then there is always the dilemma of how much weed to remove. A nice wide space will give more room to play a fish but after the first fish is caught the others will retreat into the weed and only venture out a little way until all goes quiet at the end of the day. It might be possible to contact the odd fish throughout the day in the middle of a large clear patch, so fish close to the edge of the weed. Specially if it is sunny. If a swim only has a small weed free area, then one is likely to get more bites, but one will have far greater difficulty in stopping a tench before it buries itself in the weeds, and inevitably this means you will lose more fish.
Faced with this problem some anglers will fish with ‘barbel’ gear and 10 or 12 lb lines. To me this is unsporting and just removes some of the skill required to land big fish.
As ever, legering is popular when tench fishing, particularly because it allows one to fish with 2 rods and monitor both at the same using bite alarms. I like to float fish and it is nigh on impossible to effectively watch 2 floats at once so I usually only fish with one rod. Sometimes I leger with a boily and a float fish with corn with second rod. It is desirable to fish at the exact depth and to have the minimum amount of line on the bottom. I am certain that if done correctly, a bait presented under a float is picked up more readily without the fish feeling the minimal amount of drag on the line.
When float fishing bites are usually a casual lift of the float or the float slowly glides away, almost as it the tench is unaware that it has my bait in its mouth. And after all, that is the whole idea.
When I leger the first indication of bites is usually a run which tells me that the fish has already felt the resistance and taken off. The length of line between the lead and the hook means that a tench can have some room to move about before the line goes tight and it is this that spooks the fish into flight and this can be the first indication to the angler.
So which is the most productive? I don’t know but from my experience the single float fished rod produces more fish per rod. Anglers fishing with 2 rods might catch more fish but probably less per rod. Take your pick.