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Guest Steve Burke

Tench Feeding Times?

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Guest Steve Burke

It's generally accepted that sunshine puts tench off and that they feed early and late on most waters. The one exception is gravel pits when the complete opposite usually applies! On most pits that friends and I have fished, mid to late morning seems to be the peak time - even on scorching hot days.

 

Of course, there are exceptions. For instance, at Wingham the tench feed early and late, almost as if the water wasn't a gravel pit. However, about one third of the Wingham tench came from an estate lake. I wonder if this has anything to do with it?

 

This year and last year first light to breakfast has been the peak feeding time, whereas evenings, which were previously so productive, are now not nearly so good. Odd tench, and funnilly enough often big ones, come at odd times. Additionally, there often seems to be a short, sharp feeding spell mid afternoon. I can well remember Elton winning a match during the first Wingham Open Day as tench after tench fed in his swim in the afternoon.

 

Three questions for you:

 

1) Why are gravel pit tench so different?

 

2) Why do feeding times change from year to year?

 

3) When do the tench feed on your local waters?

 

------------------

Wingham Fisheries

http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/fisheries/wingham.htm

 

[This message has been edited by Steve Burke (edited 17 June 2001).]

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Guest lofc

Steve

 

I will give you my theories on Tench feeding times, iv`e no idea if they have any basis in truth, but here goes.

 

I think that Tench are generally put off by bright sunshine hence the fact that in shallow estate lakes and ponds they tend to feed in the cooler periods and then go dormant during the heat of the day seeking what shade they can.

In gravel pits they can remain in much deeper water which is also the cooler, but with far less natural food present, the result being that the natural desire to feed becomes stronger than the urge to stay in the cool and therefore the feed period is opposite to other shallower waters. I know it follows that they would learn to feed early then retreat to the depths, but my feeling is that they retreat to deeper water at night as they don`t seem to feed much or get caught then anyway and it takes them a while for the food cycle clock alarm bells to start ringing again.

 

Regards the yearly changes I think it has to do with the severity of the winter and the time they get use to spending in different areas as then the opposite would be true and the depths would be warmer and perhaps come spring they take longer to venture into the warmer shallow water to feed after a hard winter, but a milder winter would seem them in the shallows more. So after a mild winter they feed mid morning, but after a hard one they do adopt the afternoon period as their body clock has got use to remaining in the deep longer until the shallows have warmed up later, all this is assuming that fish are indeed slow learners and it takes a long period of change to affect their habits.

 

If there beahaviour is geneticaaly based it could explain your fishes patterns, if this is true it will be interesting to see which way your stock develop

 

The large deep gravel pits that I fish do indeed fish better from about 9.00 to midday, but I have`nt noticed any afternoon feed period and it is pretty hopeless late afternoon and evening

 

Thanks for reading it anyway and feel free to find as many holes in it as you wish, I would be interested what others think as i`m sure we all can explain it differently.

Regards

lofc

 

 

[This message has been edited by lofc (edited 17 June 2001).]

 

[This message has been edited by lofc (edited 17 June 2001).]

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Guest Alan Pearce

Steve, this may take some thinking about but after 30 years of fishing for big tench in pits, these are my thoughts (the short version).

 

Pit tench are feeding at all times of the day and the methods and locations depend on the waters natural food sources. Early summer many of these are bugs and insects that move from the bottom to the surface before hatching off. Tench hunt down these variouse bugs where they are most vulnerable and visible, high up in the water. And where is your bait? on the bottom. So on many pits early and late in the day tench can be seen topping and rolling on the surface yet seldom caught.

 

Following a good early scoff (hatching time)the fish rest from feeding for a while only to commence again latter in the morning and into the afternoon, only this time on the bottom bugs and insects. There then follows a further rest period before the evening hatch when tench can again be observed on or near the surface. Nightime then follows which more often than not is very quiet, then the whole sequence begins again.

 

Pits can vary a lot, so too the bugs and insects they contain. Fishing and the introduction of bait (food) has a great impact on a tench's feeding habits. Some waters I have fished over the years have changed in line with the increased ammount of fishing taking place.

 

The pit I am currently fishing is almost a virgin water having seen hardly any anglers in four decades. Here the tench average over 8lbs and out of the last 21 fish I have caught only two weighed under 7lbs and the biggest two over nine. A friend of mine also caught two nines all diffrent fish, and recently hit into a group of males weighing from four to nearly 7lbs.

 

Now the interesting bit all the fish we have caught have fallen to small maggot baits fished off the bottom. I only know of two fish caught by another angler on the bottom, once again maggot being the bait.

 

My local Bures Lake a small old very silty gravel pit has changed over the time I have fished it since the early 70's. Then it was a typical small gravel pit, gin clear, hard clean gravel and weedy (hornwort). Tench then were hard to catch but larger than the countries average. Feeding could be expected at any time, mid morning being the most productive (most anglers left around lunch so little afternoon fishing). Early evening good for a fish but latter a waste of time.

 

Bures has changed and become very silty the hornwort given way a lotto Canadian pond weed and lillies. There is a larger head of tench and still the odd good un. Very rarely do we see a good insect hatch if at all and the tench can be caught at any time, early and late proving best. The lake has in fact become like a typical estate lake and at first appearance you would think it was. In fact in recent years stories of ghosts old houses and stuff have sprung up about the place as it has taken on the 'olde worlde' look. In fact its gravel was dug in the 50's for use to build runways at an airfield and the nearest it got to a house is the fishery keepers shed.

 

Anyway that's my thoughts on the subject, the short version. In a nutshell its mainly down to the bugs and insects which are of course attracted by the pits habitat. Hopefully soon if I can gain permission, I will be able to establish more on ths with the aid of a trusty fly rod. eek.gif

 

Alan.

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Guest Alan Pearce

Elton, Bures isn't too far for you, but the other water quite a treck.

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