Hi. Today I want to talk a bit about catching tench using the Method Feeder technique. It’s fairly simple and incredibly effective for catching fish from the cyprinid family in still and slow-moving waters.
A bit about the tackle and the technique:
Similarly to other bottom fishing methods accuracy is a crucial factor in method feeder fishing.You need to place all your final rigs in the same spot so you can bait the fish in one place and not have the scatter over a larger area. It’s one of the things that can make or break you. There are a few ways of making sure you’re letting out the same amount of line every cast. Most people usually use a clip, which is the easiest and most effective method of keeping to the same spot. There are some downsides, though. If the carp pulls especially hard and fast the sheer force can become too much for a thin line and it can frey where it’s hooked on the clip. Another popular method to mark your distance is a marker that you use to mark the right place on your line.
For tench fishing I tend to use the 3,30m Mikado Black Stone Big Fish Method Feeder rod with a casting weight of 80g and the most sensitive tip. I pair it with a size 4000 reel with a wide, shallow spool for far casts. I use a dark Mikado Method Feeder line, 0,20 mm in diameter.
A well-constructed, comfortable station is another crucial element on any fishing trip. Everything should be easily accessible.
There are several types of leaders you can use for tench fishing - some can get pretty complicated but the simpler ones are often the most effective. I choose the leader depending on the color and structure of the bottom as well as the type of lure I want to use.
When it comes to length my leader are usually between 8 and 15cm. It can vary, though - for example if the fish aren’t feeding and I get no bites with a short leader I can make it longer, up to 30cm. If the leader is this long I usually change up my method feeder as well and instead of putting the lure in the middle of the feeder I let it loose, like in a regular feeder rig with a spring.
This season I tested out two hook models to see which one would be better for tench fishing. The first hook is Sensual Chinta W/Ring, which has a small ring and a thin wire. Perfect for catching tench in the Polish Angling Associations waters. The thin wire makes it less likely to spook the fish and it holds them perfectly so it can make up for some mistakes. The second model is the Tench W/Ring hook. It’s similarly constructed but the wire is slightly thicker, which is important in commercial fisheries where you can accidentally stumble upon grass or regular garp. I used this hook during the Polish Angling Association competition this year and it held up well in weedy waters where you can get a lot of snags.
There are hundreds of tench lures… starting with good old manure worms, pink worms, corn and star-shaped pasta etc. Some use pieces of Spam and others prefer pellet, boilies, dumbbells…
The type of lure I put on my hook depends on many factors, most importantly the specific conditions of the fishery and what the fish are used to. I try to stay creative in my fishing to avoid losing sight of out-of-the-box solutions. On Polish Angling Association waters I use worms and grains but I also try out different pellet and dumbbells. It’s pretty much the same on commercial fisheries. I’ve often seen fish in commercial waters be unresponsive to protein after a competition but start attacking the moment I got out the worms.
I use many different types of groundbait when I’m method feeder fishing for tench. I make every mix individually, taking into account the type of fishery and the conditions on the day. During spring and summer tench can usually be found in muddy reservoirs with a lot of vegetation, such as oxbow lakes, shallow bays, clay pits, ponds etc.
On these fisheries I use specific groundbait in shades of green, sometimes even slightly grey, depending on the time of year and the bottom of the fishery. The general rule is simple - it has to fade into the colors of the vegetation on the bottom.
Method feeder fishing is a colors game but the consistency of the groundbait is also crucial. You can regulate it by adjusting the moisture level and adding sticky substances like mineral and food-grade glue. If the water is shallow and has more weeds the groundbait should be less sticky so the dome gets to the bottom intact and starts working immediately. This should bring fish to your spot pretty quickly. In the summer, when the water is warm and blooming, the groundbait work is important. You can spice up your bases with some attractors or booster so the fish can smell your groundbait over other smells in the water.
Some ‘meat’ - worms - is crucial for baiting tench in the summer, it absolutely has to be part of our bait. Tench like cut up manure worms, scalded mealworms (preferably red) and casters. In early spring, when the water is cold and the fish aren’t feeding that much, you might not want to go all out with the groundbait. You can just add some jokers or a bit of scalded mealworm to some sweet marzipan groundbait.
When it comes to catching tench in commercial fisheries there is no one right way to choose where to go. Typically, they have many carp, which have a very specific, aggressive bite. So you might get some even if you’re looking for tench. My trick for commercial tench is just some greyish-green marzipan groundbait with 40% low-protein 2mm feed-type pellet and a bit of 4mm bloodworm pellet. And some scalded mealworm, of course.
Bream can often become unwanted by-catch when you’re looking for tench, as many of them live in oxbow lakes and marshes of small rivers, for example Rządza.
Mikado Fishing Team