Tench – Basic Knowledge

The tench has got to be one of the most satisfying fish to catch in fresh water. It offers everything, from a really hard scrap to beautiful colours, and even comes in gold! The tench is a really muscular fish, very sturdily built, and has really tiny scales which are embedded in its skin to give the fish a smooth finish. The colour of a tench is a lovely olive green colour along the back, which fades to a golden flank with a yellow and sometimes orange belly. The fins of the tench are purely for power, and consist of large rounded paddles that are very dark in colour. Either side of the thick lipped mouth is a single barbel which is used to root around for food with. A key feature of a tench is the eyes, which are tiny perfectly rounded and orange/red in colour. Tench which live is clear weedy waters appear very dark in colour, almost black, whereas those in coloured weed less water are much paler.

The tench also has a separate colour altogether, seen as a separate ornamental species, and appears in a golden colour, arrange, sometimes with black spots along the back and head. This species are commonly kept in ornamental ponds, although waters do hold them.

The tench is distributed throughout Europe, with the exception of the north tips of Scotland, Scandinavia and Denmark. The tench can grow to large sizes, into double figures, but the average size around the UK is between 1lb and 4lb. Tench are one of the only fish that can clearly be sexed out of breeding. The male fish have distinctly larger and thicker ventral and pectoral fins, and its anal muscles appear much larger and almost stick out.

A lovely TenchThe tench can be caught in virtually every kind of water in the UK. They can be caught in small village ponds, to commercial fisheries, canals, and even in the countries large rivers. Naturally, the tench tolerates thick, dense weed-beds, and can survive in thick algey and almost stagnant water! The natural diet consists of any bottom dwelling organisms, bloodworms, daphnia etc. Tench have very similar taste to carp however, and will hoover up just about anything, especially in the summer months. Bread flake, sweet corn and worms are old classics, but pellets and boilies have taken over, and many of the specimens are being taken on these baits.

Spawning takes place in May and June, similar to carp, in thick week and shallow water, but the tench eggs need a warm climate to develop and hatch. In some eastern European countries the tench is kept for eating, especially places such as Germany and Serbia!!!

In terms of match fishing, tench are usually good bonus fish, especially on natural venues. They have also formed a large part of many commercial catches, and are now high-up on a fisheries stocking lists. Although they feed more vigorously in the warmer months, they still get caught all year round. As mentioned before, these are really powerful fish, so don’t be scared to use heavy gear to get them out. Tactics wise, a pellet approach can be effective, using expanders or even paste on the hook, and loose feeding smaller free offerings, and a chopped worm and caster approach is also renowned for catching tench on all venues. In large natural venues, the larger tench tend to feed at dawn and dusk, and a stalking approach, with a small dumpy waggler on the bottom (John Wilson Peacock float lift style) should work. Don’t miss out on catching the tench, get on the banks and have a go for some!!!


  1. Ryan Roberts

    Apr 21, 2008

    I`ve only ever netted 2 tench, one was only a baby so it was a fairly easy catch but the other one (caught the day after) was a beast and put up a hell of a fight. but when I eventually got him it was so satisfying. Nice size and colour. and gave me a great edition to my photo collection.

  2. paul singleton

    Jul 02, 2008

    i was fishing yesterday in a local lake in liverpool and i caught a nice 5 pound tench followed by a 4 pounder,so today am after a 7 or 8 pounder fingers crossed!!!!!

  3. wayne

    Jul 05, 2008

    what a fish i am only 16 and i had a nice tench from me local lake it was 5 6 onz what a fish took me for a right mission when i hoocked it wantend go straght for the reeds thanks 4 reading plz do reply what ur biggest fish

  4. pip mccann

    Jul 06, 2008

    I only started fishing in march and I LOVE it…the best evening’s fishing I ever had so far was on Vulcan Reservoir in Newton Le Willows where I finished the session off with 5 Tench in a row within 30 minutes…I have now installed MUCH stronger elastic in all my pole ends

  5. jack rothwell

    Jul 08, 2008

    this will be my 5th week of fishing tom midweek knockup at carterhall
    and have realy started to want to get into match fishng

  6. dean stanley

    Jul 21, 2008

    hi my name is Dean Stanley. i fish on a warter near my house it called carr mill dam. i have nealy caught every fish on the dam but i realy want to catch a tench . have u got any tip on catching tench. please right back!

  7. Jason

    Jul 25, 2008

    Absolutely love tench fishing. I prefer it to anything else. Must have caught literally hundreds of 2lb, 3lb and even 4lb fish. Only ever broke 5lb once though. It was 5lb 3oz from Newsham Park in Liverpool.

  8. dean stanley

    Jul 25, 2008

    yer but have u got eney tips on catching them

  9. Scott Stacey

    Jul 29, 2008

    I have caught some nice Tench on Lobworm with a size 12 hook on the Waggler at my local water Spade Oak, near Marlow, Bucks. Tench love the margins and seem also to like red. Try different baits such as red maggot, caster, sweet corn, and put down a bed of hemp which is a good attractor for Tench. The last one I caught was 8lb 2oz.

  10. iain

    Jul 30, 2008

    i went fishing today and caught 2 tench on sweet corn (first time a went tench fishing)

  11. martyn elliott

    Aug 13, 2008

    I go fishing on our local park pond its not very big as ponds go but its got maybe 30-40 pegs at a push I keep getting very good results fishing out the tench there . I normaly get from 3-8 tench in a session I have taken some good pictures of these catches from time to time. If anyone wants to see some pictures email me on m1dnvmartyn@aol.co.uk.
    I will gladly post you a few back to you I live in Leeds but don’t drive at all. If anyone wants to go fishing at this pond contact me its free to fish (local council maintain it)

  12. lamby

    Jan 05, 2009

    i have caught sizable tench using cockles on the lift method , if this is any help to anyone ? if you have used this method or can add to it let me know pls .

  13. tim roberts

    Feb 01, 2009

    in my local pond in Hull i caught 3.5 tench at the end of october that was a buzz. the biggest tench in pond is only 4, its also been known for someone to a catch 3.5 black tench never seen or heard of one before but there is photo proof of it as anybody else ever seen or caught one?

  14. callum bickle

    Apr 01, 2009

    i have only been fishing for a month and all i have been catching is rudd and skimmers but the otherday i had 3 tench bites i only landed 1 because i forgot my landing net i didnt land a 4lb beauty my hook riped out and i nearly cryed and the other 1 snaped my 10lb line. But the fight was amazing and i am going back to catch them again. E-mail me if you want to know what bait i was using.

  15. martyn elliott

    Apr 23, 2009

    I find catching Tench to be among the most satisfying fish to catch May I suggest that you take your time with bringing them in tire them out somewhat before you bully them at all. Of course its has to be done at times to avoid them from getting into all the snags but in general do try Patience as with all the larger fish, I have not been out at all yet this year unfortuneately but hope to remedy this when my health improves
    hope you all keep getting tight lines and good results. I now live in the village of Kingsbury thats 5 miles South of Tamworth if anyone wants to get out for a fish together sometime email me

  16. dave

    Apr 28, 2009

    i live in hull where is your local pond dave

  17. Callum Bickle (Tench pirate)

    May 04, 2009

    another day another 3.8 0z tench ha does any one know where i can buy seperate pole sections because i only have two top sections and i need some more please e-mail me with answers thanx

  18. Tom

    May 28, 2009

    try ebay 4 top sections,some1 might have spares

  19. Tom

    May 28, 2009

    only ever caught 1 tench ,about 5 pound.was on double maggot while targeting big roach with waggler.anyone got any tips as i know my local lake holds tench to 12 lb.cheers………p.s good luck

  20. mike king

    May 30, 2009

    you on about noddle hill pond if so i had 51/2 pond last year (black),and this year i have had a 5

  21. tom

    Jun 04, 2009

    yes mike noddle hill pond. i have been pulling out 4.5 tench just of late on scopex mussel.

  22. dane appleby

    Jul 16, 2009

    i have never caught a tench and have been fishing for about 6 months, any tips?

  23. TenchMan

    Jul 18, 2009

    Well i am 15 and i have caught alot of tench. i only fish for tench and bream and on the odd occasion catch carp. my biggest tench is 11lb 13oz. you should use a feeder set up with pop-up corn on the hair. i have had most of my tench on this set-up. hope that helps

  24. dane appleby

    Jul 20, 2009

    thanks alot for the advice, i will try it out the next time i fish =D

  25. Centerpin

    Jul 29, 2009

    Re – Photo on article ,DO NOT lay Tench/Fish on grass to unhook /photo etc unhooking mats are cheap

  26. karl devlin

    Aug 03, 2009

    that iz one big tench ive cought hundreds of them but my biggest is 3 nd a half pound tho but not many gud fisheries in newcastle this is wy im going to the woodlands and i hope t beet some personal bests this season

  27. geoff dunwell

    Aug 08, 2009

    you should try mussels and king prawns i have caught several big tench 8lb plus on both baits , lots of ponds that i have fished dont produce anything on sweetcorn/worms/maggots/bread/meat boillies, but as soon as you put mussele/king prawns on get ready for a fight they love them and sometimes you get the unexpected carp when they find your bait lots of luck to all who trys the baits.

  28. Richard Moore

    Aug 15, 2009

    i love fishing for tench, to me they symbolise everything good about summer fishing. i am off to fish a lovely little estete pond near to me here in dorset. i will post the news of my catch on my blog http://ukcoarsefishingreviews.blogspot.com if anyones interested

  29. Peter

    Aug 26, 2009

    At 62 I have taken up fishing for the first time in more than 30 years. At Suffolk Water near Ipswich I caught my first ever Tench around 1 – 1.5 pounds. I was delighted. One week later at the same venue but different lake I caught one which weighed just over 8 pounds. That one really gave me the shakes, it took 10 minutes before coming to the net. Yesterday (25th August) I got my first ever Mirror Carp weighing 13 pounds. Excuse the pun but I am now “hooked” again after all these years.

  30. aidan facer

    Oct 12, 2009

    i was fishing at mi local pond the othe day when i hooked my favourite fish a tench after a huge fight i landed it, it was 7lb i was very happy because im only 14

  31. Tom Lyddon

    Oct 27, 2009

    i caught a nice 3lb golden tench at a pool that didnt even know theyhad tench i was only their looking for roach while teaching a friend 🙂


  32. matty m

    Dec 27, 2009

    I have caught some very nice tench at noddle hill pond this year to 5 1/2 pound on method feeder with 6mm halibut pellets. Also ghost carp to 10 pound and lots of mirror carp to 17 pound all using the same method.
    most coming from peg 2 fishing to the island.

  33. gaz

    May 26, 2010

    best way to catch tench is princess tinned ham.And sweetcorn to bring them into your swim pva elastic keeps the ham on the hook good! Try it and let me no how many use catch best time to fish for tench late at nite or early early morning 😀

  34. jerry robins

    Jun 12, 2010

    there is no joy like catching a good size tench or any other species coming to think of it

    • mightyred

      Jul 20, 2011

      No,just Tench.

  35. owen

    Jul 21, 2010

    i’ve just come back from a caravaning holiday at emberton county park where they have 3 or 4 fishing lakes, the lake that i stuck with is the largest lake,not sure of its name now, but the bream fishing was great, also the tench are the best quality i’ve ever seen and not landing one less than 6 pound to 7 and a half pound,the bream are reported to go up to 9 and a half pounds,with carp to 30 and pike to 25. If anyone else has had a go on this lake could they let me know, plus what month would be the best to fish this lake as i’ve only got one weeks holiday left from work. Thanks owen.

  36. djp

    Jul 21, 2010

    bin fishing at lucky hollow caught biggest fish in there tench 8lb 4 ounce then the same day went to penni flash pond and caught 12lb 7 ounce u,d think it took me hours to bring it in but it actually came in like a paper bag the 8 lb 4 ounce 1 put up more of a fight 🙂

  37. kieran

    Aug 09, 2010

    hi, my biggest fish is a 20lb carp and a 4 – 5 lb tench im only 14

    • Frouboc

      Jul 20, 2011

      oooow get her !

    • Clarkey_7

      Nov 19, 2011

      i just caught a 5.6 lb tench and im 13

  38. dave

    Sep 01, 2010

    hi mate i caught a massive tench today on a local pond type system i fish and i only catch tench on either luncheon meat or fresh mussels not the pickled type nick the mussel through the hard iner foot perfect i caught a 7/8 lb tench that way. try it

  39. Liam G

    Sep 16, 2010

    I caught a nice tench today at a local pond. It’s a tiny pond but got a good 2lb one out and plenty of bites on expanding pellets.
    The problem that I had was to get them into my swim, once they were there I had plenty of knocks and nibbles. Managed to keep them taking free baits and interested in my hook bait for a good few hours by trickling in the pellets and sweetcorn 2/3 every few minutes.

  40. callum

    Jan 07, 2011

    i have a giant pond in my back garden and we have 8 big tench,with lots of weed for them to hide.

    • Frouboc

      Jul 20, 2011

      Breaking news that !!!!,dear good.

  41. mal mcleod

    Jan 30, 2011

    Hi my name is mal and i live in Ireland. I am a pike fishing guide there but whenever I get a chance in the summer months I go tench fishing.They are my favoutite fish and i cant wait until april to go after them again.The Irish record is only a tad above 8lb which is dwarfed by the british record. I have a few waters to target this season and hopefully I can threaten that record.

  42. Paulbishop

    Mar 05, 2011

    hi my name is paul and would love to know good tench lakes in ireland

  43. Frouboc

    Jul 20, 2011

    Have you got any surplus……you know the weed your smoking………,Damn it must be good.

  44. Dan boi

    Jul 06, 2014

    Caught 5 tench in 2hrs on queens park in Bolton. Ranging from 1-5lb. A lovely fish but very slippery.with my mate Berny,Exactly!!!


Leave a Comment for Tench – Basic Knowledge