Bailey Payne Coarse

Chigboro Fisheries – Tench Fishing

This was a bit of a special session, not really for any of the Fish caught, however, myself, Joe and Tom, the first people I brought into Essex Anglers, went down to Chigboro, a venue which has big carp, bream and tench, so something for everyone, to celebrate a year since Essex Anglers was started! (24th June) – Before we get into the nitty gritty of the fishing, a huge thank you to all of our loyal readers, it’s great to know a few people are enjoying these, and heres to another year!

Tom and Joe arrived at the venue about an hour or two before myself. And initially say on Heybridge Mere, a lake rumoured to have a few more Tench in. When I arrived nothing had been caught yet, so looked like a hard day. I setup with worm krill groundbait in a hybrid feeder and corn/small boilles on the hook. I was hoping for the Tench or Bream.

After a few chucks on the first lake, and the amount of weed being pulled back, we soon all realised feeder fishing here was probably going to be to no avail.

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We soon just took the pegs behind us on the main lake, where there was a hell of lot less weed. And started working on the swims.

We were behind a big island, which had a slight cove into it, I was in the middle of the cove and just cast into the middle of the cove, my hope was with constant accurate casting, I may be able to draw a few fish in.

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I was recasting with a full small hybrid feeder ever 5-10 minutes, and done a fairly good job at hitting the same area. The slight worry was, the lack of notifications I was getting.

Eventually, without warning, the tip bent round, fairly slowly, looked like a classic bream bite, and pulling into the fish, it came back fairly docile, fully creating the picture of a big bream on the end. However, it clearly woke up as it close in, seeing the margin snacks, and turned into a Tench!

He really put up a big fight when he got into the margin, and I had to be smart to keep him out the snags, quickly getting his head up, the net was straight under him.

Not a huge Tench, however a good few pound, it was nice to be off the mark.

I got back to my casting, and kept the same rate as it brought the first bite. and the next hour went by fairly quickly with no more signs of live, apart from a few fish topping.

I took the quiet time, to have a look on my phone, and some social media, and of course, as fishermen, we all know, thats when you get a bite!

The tip ripped round, with the rod heading lake bound! I grabbed the rod and struck, and the Fish steamed off, at first, I was worried I had hooked into a big carp, and was prepared for a long fight, however, I got the fish turned and really got the line back and got him up, to see a nice sizable Tench!

He still had a bit of fight left, but he was soon in my net! And what a beautiful male Tench he was, certinaly looked bigger than his size weighing in at 4lb!

Unfortunately, this was most of the action for all of us on our anniversary fish! With Tom managed a small Rudd, and Joe losing a good mirror by the net!

However, I do feel a good reason why it was so hard, is on a thursday, the lake was packed, and had a lot of Carpers spodding a lot of bait in. I can’t imagine that amount of pressure on a lake would mean for good fishing.

You do get a lot of the typical day ticket carpers on there too, as in the swim next to me, I had a bit of a drifting cast, and through the day his casting and spodding got gradually closer to me. Which of course, is fairly annoying, as I feel it ruined the careful casting I had been doing throughout the day. However, it is a common occourance on big carp day ticket venues.

I will definetly be back at Chigboro in the future, as I certinaly want a few more Tench, and hopefully some of the big bream which live there!

Tight Lines all, and thanks again for your committed reading!

Bob Dellar Coarse

Two PB’s In One Day! I must be dreaming…

There I was, on a windy old day in May, next to a gravel pit called “Ivo” staring at an old, scarred, mahogany-skinned male, and no I wasn’t enjoying a day’s fishing with Morgan Freeman, but admiring the biggest tench I’d ever seen. 

It was my third outing to St Ives Fishery in Cambridgeshire, a complex of truly wild gravel pits containing some exceptional fish, including tench, bream, pike, perch and, of course, the ubiquitous carp. 

Carp take centre stage as far as the bulk of the anglers with a ticket are concerned, but there are also many fisherman who are there for the others, and by others I mean the tench and bream. Thankfully, the management actively encourage this quirky trait, and seem au fait with the gradual, but very perceptible, waning of all things carp, exemplified by the minor exodus away from fish-stuffed commercials towards the exciting challenge that gravel pit and river fishing can provide.

The prospect of a lovely big tench or bream, and the opportunity to hone my non-existent  gravel pit fishing skills, was the excuse I needed to buy a day-only season ticket. Night fishing, if my limited knowledge of pit fishing is concerned, isn’t a prerequisite when it comes to catching big tench, get your approach right and you can bank them at all times of day, so I saved myself the double discomfort of bivvy-back and sleep deprivation.

My very first trip to St Ives was in mid-April, but it felt more like February as the winter refused to give way to spring. By far the best-looking pit in that section of the complex is “Anderson’s”, a gorgeous reed-lined water of around three or four acres, reminiscent of an Irish lough, festooned with weed beds, bars, islands, spits and deep margins. It looked bloody tench-tastic and it had to be my first port of call.

I chose the only peg at the end of short, narrow spit that gave access to a fairly extensive area of the pit that included a large, emerging lily bed and a gravel bar at about twenty yards. I had a little rake around, chucked out a bit of spod mix, not much as in reality the pit was still in late winter mode, and followed that with in-line rigs, bagged-up, with red maggots on one and a worm kebab on the other; one against the lilies the other on the bar. Then proceeded to stare at motionless bite indicators and gradually freeze to death all day. So first visit was a blank. I wasn’t surprised, the place felt a bit dead, or not so much dead as asleep.

I wasn’t disheartened as I knew it often takes effort and a blank or two to crack a new pit. So a few days later I was back in the same peg, with more or less the same approach. This time, however, I felt I had a shout. The weather was much warmer and Anderson’s had begun to emerge from its winter snooze. Fish were moving about and topping over the bar I’d baited up. But when the bite came it was off the rig by the lily pads, and was a rip-roarer. I was dozing off when the alarm wailed, bringing me back to my senses in the blink of an eye and causing the old ticker to race. 

The fish fought like a demon and made numerous attempts to find snags but I held on and at last there she was, a beautiful female tench languishing in the net, still bristling and angry. I let her calm down a bit before I weighed her, 6.9lb of pristine tinca, an absolute beauty.

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A lovely female tench of 6.9lb

It was 10.30 am when I caught her, and I was hopeful for another run of two, but that was it for the rest of the day, despite fish showing themselves, the cheeky blighters.

I didn’t mind that much though, I was pleased I’d cracked Anderson’s and I was content to sit and watch the terns scything through the air above, calling out their harsh shout as they ploughed the water, sending up a perfect V of sparkling droplets. Sharing the air with the terns were swifts, still fit despite their long, arduous journey from Africa. 

I once knocked out a swift, as I cast a Driftbeater float out into a lake somewhere in Surrey. Poor little sod chose the very moment I cast to fly just above me and caught the rod full in the face. Naturally, I thought I’d killed it and was mortified. I laid his little body on the grass under a nearby hawthorn and began to pack up, the fishing was hopeless and frankly I’d lost interest. Then I heard a faint cheep, and a feathery shuffling sound. The swift had come back from the dead, tough little bugger! I picked him up gently and cradled him for a minute or two as his senses returned and suddenly, with an indignant cheep, he shot off, apparently none the worse for his bash on the bonce.

Anyway, back at St Ives, the day wore on and the fish failed to show, so it was time to go home. As I loaded the car, another angler stopped for a chat, and as is the norm for this fishery was extremely friendly and informative, despite looking like a vagrant! “Bloody hell, I said, how long you been bivvied up! Too long, I stink!” he laughed. And then went on to inform me that Anderson’s wasn’t fishing well and hadn’t since a flooding event a few months earlier. My best bet for consistent fishing was the pit called Ivo, a rectangular-shaped water of about four acres adjacent to Anderson’s.

So, without further ado, I dragged my marker rod from the car and had a little cast around before I went home. 

A few days later…yes, I was back again but this time I walked straight past Anderson’s and headed straight for Ivo. I’d found a tucked away peg with deep margins and a gravel bar at about fifteen yards, which was perfect as I prefer not to have to cast too far, and it’s much easier to bait up.

So, out went a few balls of groundbait and a couple of in-line maggot feeders…and, well, I refer you to the very first paragraph. 

I caught three bream in quick succession, all well over 6lb with a personal best of 7.9lb

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My biggest bream so far at 7.9lb. Would have been heavier with a full tail!

Then the old warrior came, and by God he fought. He wasn’t pretty but I was very, very pleased to meet him, my biggest tench ever at 7.4lb, not a monster by modern-day tenching standards but a monster to me and a promising start to my St Ives campaign; although that endeavour may have to take a back seat for a while because the rivers are beckoning and the barbel rods need a polish!

Best fishes,


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And here’s the old warrior, bashed up and wounded but still impressive. 7.4lb
Bailey Payne Coarse

Sunshine Tench

Well, we have finally had weather with some resemblance of Summer! It’s been a long time coming and from cold it’s seemed to have gone straight to hot! And clearly the fish have noticed this change to, with mass spawning taking place.

I headed back to Parsonage Farm Fishery, in hopes for maybe a few Tench. Same method as usual, a little hybrid feeder on my trusty quiver and Tincaberry groundbait, a good mix, and hopefully with the heat the Tench would fancy some berry flavoured goods!

Within 30 minutes of baiting up and fishing, the tip had smashed round, and a very un climaxing fight began, with the Tench almost giving up with barely any fight. However great to get off the mark!

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A Lovely Tench!

This beauty weighed in at around 3lb. With sadly a bit of damage to its upper lip, it was swiftly returned.

Unfortunately, the next few hours just provided constant line bites, never developing into anything. It’s always frustrating to see the rod tip moving so much but to no avail.

I opted for a change of tactic, others on the lake seemed to be catching well on float. So I quickly put the only float I had on! And hoped for some more Tench.

Using just corn on the hook, and casting just past the first ledge a few metres out. Similar to where other Tench where being caught, I was hopeful. Although I saw what seemed to be millions of Rudd buzzing around in my swim!

Providing a challenge to get past them, however catching these beautiful small fish really made time go by quickly, and it’s not long before you lose count!

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I possibly forgot about Tench fishing while catching these scale perfect little fish one a chuck, and really just forgot about taking photos. Sometimes it can be such a joy just to constantly catch like this. no matter the size of the fish. Especially sitting in the sun, catching one a chuck proved to be a great way to spend a day.

Before I knew it, my alarm went off and it was time to head home!

Tight Lines all…

Bailey Payne Coarse

Essex Tenching

Back to BDAC’s Parsonage Farm Fishery, a lovely lake, with no carp, and a lot of Tench stocked, other species such as Perch, Roach, Bream and I’ve heard good size Crucians are also resident to this venue. However I am mainly targetting for Tench.

My first session resulted in landing one, and losing one, along with a small Roach. So I was eager to improve on this. This time, although still cold and not ideal, at least it wasn’t raining! The brolly happily stayed down for…most…of the session. I opted for the same approach as last time, fishing my light quiver tip with a hybrid feeder with a Tincaberry groundbait/micro mix with either a berry boille or grain of sweet corn on the hook. I did decide to feed slightly more aggressively and hand fed the area I was casting too just past the reeds.

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I also had a Berry glug I poured over the feeder for some extra scent!

First cast provided a quick bite, although it was no Tench, as the tip quickly jolted, the Tench usually drag the rod in. This eager fish happened to be a decent Roach, and this venue is really proving to have some chunky size silvers.

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I quickly re-baited and went in again, and it wasn’t long this time before the rod was being dragged in! The fish charged to the reed bed I was fishing by, as did every fish I hooked here, proving a challenge to keep the fish under control. I managed to steer this fish clear, and slowly waited and tired the Tench in the open, free of any snags. The net was swiftly under the Fish, and time for photos.

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A Lovely Tench of just shy of 3lb

This was a great Fish to start with. Sadly, after this quick two bites and fish, the swim went quiet. And hours went by with only a few touches on the tip, but never developing. I had been feeding quite reserved, with only my initial few balls and then what was in the feeder. I still saw a few Tench coming out, and was getting notifications fish were in the area. I decided to try and up the feeding after this hour or so of quietness. And it wasn’t long before it paid off with another wrap round of the tip.

The perk of using a 1oz tip with these Tench, is they are so much more of a joy to play, however I do feel I should probably go to a 1.5oz tip, just to have a bit more beef while playing them away from the reeds, however the 1oz tip has done me well. This fish yet again, was persuaded away from the snags, and had a lot more energy than the last. When the fish got close, it looked a good Tench. And upon weighing, it was infact a new personal best!

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5lb Tench, kindly photographed by a nearby angler

5lb Tench! Not a monster by any stretch of the imagination, however a PB of any size, is a good fish for anyone. So I was chuffed with this! The fish was soon slide back into the Lake.

And on a new high with a new PB, and doubling the amount of Tench I caught last time. I was eager to get back in! And again a cast, another ball or two hand fed over, and the tip wrapped round again! This fish got me while I was hand feeding, so a slower reaction to strike, however I connected quickly to the fish, although it seemed to little to late as the Tench made it’s way to the reeds, and dislodged the hook leaving it in the snag. This is the risk of fishing towards a snag, however the previous Fish shows the benefit.

I quickly re-rigged, and recast, and after another 30 minutes, the tip went round again, however, I was not going to make the same mistake, and brought the fish away from the reeds before the powerful Tench got a sniff of the snag.

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Another fine Tench

Another lovely Tench landed, and with this fish, the heavens decided to open a bit. I was satisfied with my session, and was happy to leave it and head home while still fairly dry and warm!

Tight Lines all…

My Rod: