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Tench & Bream 

From the dip of the crow-quill float to bolt rigging boilies on method feeders down t'pit. 

Tench & Bream: As a pair, one of my favourite species, and one of my least favourite. I've always had a soft spot for Tench since I caught my first ever at about age 8 down the local river on a tiny piece of bread-paste. I guess it was only about half a pound in weight, but the bright yellow belly and red eye, along with the smoothness of the tiny scales and paddle-like fins really made a lasting impression, and when, a couple of years later I landed a monster of 3lbs or so on the first day of the season... well that was it; the die was cast. I spent several summers trying to catch 6 pounders from waters they never even existed (although every old boy on his bike had caught five, six and even seven (I know... 7!!) pounders). After spending ages wondering what I was doing wrong, eventually I went to try and catch them from gravel pits (having an old banger of a car now helped cos the nearest were 10 or 15 miles from home), and I was soon catching six pounders regularly... and then one day, the unbelievable happened and I landed a real lump of 7lb 5oz! A Tench I was not to better in terms of size for a few years even though a load of them crawled up the rods on everything from floatfished breadflake to feeder fished maggot to bolt rigged boilies. Of course, the angling press was always having pictures of 8, 9 and even 10 pounders displayed on the pages... so where the hell were they?

Eventually I twigged: not where I was fishing- that's where! So off to Wilstone Reservoir I trailed after having a closed season snoop about the place... and what a change of scenery that proved to be! Instead of nice intimate swims on compact gravel pits, or overgrown fenland drains and rivers; there in front of me was acre after acre of windswept reservoir. Now where do you start? Luckily as I had a wander about before setting up in a pitch, I noticed a large Tench roll on the surface some 30 metres out on a piece of bank where no-one else was fishing. A quick glance about to make sure none of the other anglers lined up elsewhere had noticed it... and an hour later I was in the spot! By dawn the next morning all my previous Tench fishing had been blown right into the sky, because a male Tinca of 6lb 7oz and two females of 7lb 5oz and 8lb 9oz had seen the inside of may landing net!!! I couldn't believe it, because I had never seen Tench of this size in my life before- and all caught on the same rigs and baits I had used back closer to home. After that I fished Wilstone a few more times, and after refining my tackle and techniques somewhat, had some really lovely fish- including a couple of ten pounders- fish that only a couple of years before were a mere figment of my imagination.

These days, I haven't fished Wilstone for a while now due to having limited time, so maybe one day I'll have another go, but in the meantime me and my friends have been messing about on the local pits again... and catching 6 and 7 pounders- just like before. One of my favourite fish, the Tench.

Whereas Bream... well, again, I had caught a few by setting my stall out for them on the local waters, and I had caught several 8 pounders... but no 'big' ones, as you might say. Then I got a ticket with my mate Steve on a Norfolk estate which had produced lots of doubles in the past- so I figured I'd best have a go for them. After a handful of blanks, eventually it all slotted into place and a few doubles were banked... but fishing for such large fish with 3lb b.s. hooklengths and still just winding them in from 60 yards without barely a flap of the tail ain't much fun (it was even a problem to keep a tight line on them at the net at times as they came in like a big, flat surfboard!). And then they are covered in that poxy, thick, clingy mucus too. I'm not saying that they don't fight elsewhere- but my experience of them wasn't much fun, so I haven't bothered since on the basis that there are nicer looking fish about that fight a lot harder! (I'm really sorry if you are reading this and are a Bream fanatic- it's just me!).

Dickie and one of his Tench successes.

A lovely catch taken on the float and pin during early morning for Dick.

Dick Sears with an early morning catch of Tench and a Bream, just before he went off to his day job selling lucky heather.

Slipping back my first seven pounder at 7lb 5oz. Chuffed to bits with it, and it took a year or two to beat!

Double figure estate lake Bream.

A really nice brace of double figure Bream...

And back goes an 11 pounder.

Slipping back a snotball.

Perfect big gravel pit Tench for Mark.

Great triple of 8 and 9 pounders down t'pit.

And at last a personal best of 10lb 9oz. Good work.

Part of my first ever catch at Wilstone- at 6lb 7oz for the male and 8lb 9oz for the female, it really was kinda freaky!

A fairly scarce evening capture of 7lb 13oz on maggot feeder.

Releasing one back from the dam wall.

Dickie slips one back in t'pit.

A tench from the first ever trip down to the reservoir. The average size of the fish just blew me away.

"And here's some we caught earlier...". A morning's catch of big ones from Wilstone shared with Richard Long.

The famous Pier Swim at Wilstone as the sun goes down.

Wild & windswept at Wilstone- but the Tench fed all day.

Calmer times and an 8lb Wilstone Tinca.

Returning a big Wilstone Tench.

My first really big girl at 9lb 8oz. The only bite of the session... but hey, I can live with that!

The markers are out and the rigs are in place... lets just hope the Tench come out to play ball.

And sometimes they do. A personal best 10lb 4oz. And not a mark on it. Floating for days after catching  that one.

And another scraper double taken on a day-ticket session at the reservoir. Jammy b*****d.



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