Tench Time

Another hectic month with a total of fourteen sessions put in, yet this would have been more if it wasn’t for my chosen tench venue closing for two weeks due to the carp spawning. These sessions were split between guiding, which took up five days, and fishing for myself, which totalled the remaining nine. No features were produced, mainly because I had banged in a few extra in the previous months which put me ahead of schedule. Six sessions were overnight sessions targeting tench and rudd, so it came as no surprise that the average time spent per session totalled eleven hours.

The month started on a positive note and, with the weather warming up, things looked good for a result on the tench lake. Our hard work during the previous months had started to pay off, with tench falling on every visit, although they were mostly males. We were sure that a big female would soon show, yet this wasn’t to be as the lake was closed for two weeks due to the carp going into spawning. Without going into too much detail, I was really fed up as these two weeks were probably the best two weeks of the season to catch a big tench and this decision put me somewhat at a loose end. The annoying thing was this decision was based purely on fishing for carp, without any thought on anglers targeting other species. Was the lake closed when the bream spawned? No. And will the club close the lake when the tench spawn? No. My feelings on this matter are, if you close a lake for one species, then you have to do it for others and if this isn’t the case, then don’t close it at all. What’s even more amazing is that we all know that carp, or other species, don’t feed when they are spawning, so fishing a lake during this period has little, if any, detrimental effect on the fish.

Duncan Charman - Tench

Anyway, being at a loose end did allow me to do a few other things and an invitation to trout fish Avington Trout Fishery with one of my customers couldn’t be refused.

TroutArriving early, we bought our three fish limit and headed to the lakes. After a little guidance from my good friend Adrian, I was soon casting a line well enough to catch and a slow retrieve soon had a six pound plus rainbow heading down the lake. Thinking it was a fluke, I recast, only to have a repeat performance.

After lunch we tried stalking one of the big fish, yet it wasn’t long before another six pounder hit the fly. It was a really enjoyable day, somewhat easier than I would have liked, but it was catching a grayling on the side stream that was the icing on the cake.

Thoughts of tench were running through my mind and, with the opening of the traditional close season and with it Frensham Great Pond ,the decision was made to try this out. Normally it’s very busy for the first two weeks, yet a stroll around the venue on the 16th revealed it was somewhat empty. In brief, I fished the venue six times in the first two weeks, a couple of times guiding customers, and in these sessions no fewer than seventy-four tench graced the landing net, the best 8lb 1oz plus numerous rudd to 2lb 9oz plus a few perch to around 2lb 4oz, but it was the capture of a tench weighing exactly eight-pounds that stands out as well as Dad catching one of 7lb 5oz on my rods whilst I was away feeding my cats.

The guiding has also been a great success with most customers catching personal best tench; the most noticeable was young Jake, who took numerous tench to 7lb 1oz. Not bad for a sixteen year old. I did make the rivers, but again this was with a customer who wanted to learn a difficult stretch of the river Loddon that I have fished since childhood. Now I consider one bite per session good here, and I don’t mean from a barbel...from anything! The stretch contains some truly monstrous barbel, record shakers in fact, so with Chris landing a 10lb 11oz barbel as well as a 4lb 12oz chub, my return to running water proved a real success!


June has fished far better than in previous years, probably due to the cold spring and venues being somewhat a few weeks behind. As much as I would love to continue fishing my favourite still water, I have to move on and although I will visit it on the odd occasion, tench won’t be my target species. The river Thames beckons and a few months ago I made a promise that I would fish at least one session for every week the river was fishable. I’m already two sessions behind, so its now time to play catch up.

Duncan Charman
Duncan’s book, ‘Evolution of an Angler’, documents the fishing at Frensham over nearly three decades. It’s a must read for anyone who fishes or wants to fish such a fantastic venue. Available from www.calmproductions.com

Evolution of an Angler

Duncan Charman