IFD: When it comes to catching big tench, Dai Gribble knows quite a bit more than a thing or two. He has caught some of the biggest tench ever caught in the UK and with almost fifty years of fishing experience who better to ask to give us some tips.
We are delighted to have his input again so now over to the tench maestro…
Firstly can we talk watercraft and what kind of swim you look for and what features?
If there is a warm wind, especially a new wind, I like to fish at the front of the wind. As for features they generally like any changes of depth and also bars and plateaus. I tend to find they like moving along the bars just down from the top and I like to fish on the far side of them.
The best clue of locating any tench is actually seeing them. When I’m fishing busy waters I often wind in at night to get a goods night kip. You might miss a fish or two but you will be well rested and I will take a look around the lake at first light and I’m ready to go when they are really on the feed. Otherwise It’s getting light and your too tired and cant be bothered to rebait regularly. Also talk to others on the lake and try and build up a picture of what part of the lake the fish are in at what time of the year and certain conditions.
So in summary, sightings, talking to other anglers, past experiences, fishing at the end of a warm wind and a willingness to up and move swims will all play there part.
Next can we talk about distances, when to fish the marginal shelf and how far out will you fish?
Well the marginal shelf should never be overlooked and will account for many fish on a lot of waters. Otherwise it depends on the features in front of you though generally I rarely fish beyond 60 yards. I’m using two ounce feeders and if the wind gets up in your face it’s better to fish accurately than to struggle to hit the distance and risk scattering bait around the place.
Can you give us your views on prebaiting?
I used to do a lot of that, and what I’ve learned with prebaiting for tench is it works if the fish are in the area it will pull them towards your bait but it doesn’t seem to attract them long distances. If you put in a lot of work prebaiting, while it works a treat for bream sometimes for tench you can put the work in but the rewards don’t live up to expectation. With tench they will feed so much on natural baits that they go where they want. If they are in the area and you prebait you can have a very rewarding session though. A lot of the waters I fish are quite far from home so prebaiting is not always an option and I have found fishing the front of a warm wind can be much better.
Best times of day or night?
It depends on the type of water you’re fishing. If it’s a classic tench lake with a very soft silty bottom I’ve found dawn to usually be the best time and the following few hours. You may get a couple of fish throughout the day or night but dawn always seems to be the hot time. If it’s gravel pits I’d say a prime time is often a bit later, around 9.30 or 10.30
And wherever you are fishing the last hour at dusk should not be neglected.
Now can we talk about baits and baiting up?
What I’ve found is early on in the season when the evenings and mornings are still dark, that boilies work well. That’s usually April or early May. Once you pass mid May you don’t seem to get as many fish during the darkness. That is another reason I often wind in at night and rest the swim. If you are on a longer session and you try to fish around the clock you will quickly run out of steam. So I prefer to maximize my chances by fishing the times that are better suited to catching.
In terms of bait, worm red maggot and casters are the best baits and caster make an excellent feed. The baiting up technique is very important, the little and often approach will generally pay dividends.
At the start of fishing a spot I will fire in a few spombs, and they seem no way put off by this. I have often had a rod go off as a spomb was landing so they don’t seem to mind that when they are on the feed. I don’t like putting a huge bed of bait out. I prefer putting a few in by the spomb and then topping it up just with my feeders. I use large Korum combifeeders and by casting accurately just every 45 mins you can be surprised how much bait you can out in.
What would be your go to tackle?
My go to method would be two ounce feeders fished on a heli rig. Some people prefer really short hook lengths but I like mine about six inches of mono. I attach this to the heli rig swivel with a loop and put a small sleeve over the knot. The line will be 8 to 10lbs and for hooks i will use 14 if they are finicky but otherwise a 12 or a ten of the Korum specimen hooks. I use inline feeders only if I’m fishing close in on the marginal shelf.
Well many thanks once again Dai and talk soon mate.
Anytime lads best of luck this season