The Tench


The tench (tinca tinca) is a carp-like fish (cyprinide) popular with anglers, which can survive in small waters even under very adverse conditions such as oxygen depletion and high temperatures.

Table of ContentsDanger of confusion and characteristicsWorld records and maximum sizeDistribution and originLawning seasonPeace time and minimum sizesBehaviour and natural foodFishing techniques and baits for tenchAnchor for tench fishingThe tench as an edible fish

Danger of confusion and characteristics

There is hardly any danger of confusion with tench. The very small scales and the two short barbels at the corners of the mouth are very distinctive, as are the often reddish eyes. Also the very round fins and the almost straight end of the caudal fin are clear characteristics.

Tench is one of the few fish species where the sex can be determined by external features (sexual dimorphism). Male tench, for example, have longer and larger pelvic fins from the age of about two years, which protrude beyond the anal opening.

World records and maximum size

The world record of a tench is 4.68 kg and was caught on worm in Sweden. The fish was 65 cm long and had a belly circumference of 54 cm.

Distribution and origin

Tench are found in temperate zones almost all over the world and have even been naturalized in Australia, New Zealand and North America. Originally, however, they occur in Asia and Europe, including the British Isles.

Tench are particularly common in muddy, overgrown and clear waters. They are even often found in ditches. On the other hand, tench do not like currents at all, so that they are usually only found in lakes and old water of rivers. Often the fish are also occupied and thus are present in almost all suitable lakes.

Spawning time

When the water temperature reaches 18 °C the spawning game of the tench often begins, which can often be observed in clear waters.

Closed season and minimum dimensions

Please always take into account that often different dimensions and possibly a closed season may apply for individual waters. As a rule, this is noted on the permit for the respective water body.

Behaviour and natural food

The main food of the tench is zoobenthos, i.e. small fish food near the bottom. There, the tench gobble in search of food, often moving as small troops on fixed routes through the water. In winter, tench can even survive in almost frozen waters by burrowing into the mud.

Fishing techniques and bait for tench

Tench can be fished with a variety of fishing techniques, although tench are only caught specifically with

natural bait.      Classic bottom fishing and fishing with wagglers (poses) are particularly successful. Tench can also be successfully pursued with a feed basket or method feeder. Lures for all these fishing techniques can be worms, corn, pellets and mini boilies. A bundle of dung worms has proven to be one of the best tench baits.    This can vary depending on the water and what is generally fed.

It is important that you play with the bait for a while, so don’t set the hook too early, but only when the fish really take off.    In general tench are considered very cautious fish, which can be disturbed by loud noises on the bank. My experience is that this is absolutely dependent on the water and in places where there is a lot of fishing, there can be a lot of disturbance. However, the typical tench water is usually not very much frequented by other people, where this experience of many anglers can come from.

Fishing tackle for trolling

Light to medium ground and feeder rods are suitable for trolling, and pose rods with a light to medium casting weight are also suitable for trolling with tench. Light spinning reels, all-round reels or light free-wheel reels can be used as reels. In general, targeted fishing on tench does not require special fishing gear.      For line fishing, monofilaments in the range of 0.2-0.28 mm are best, if carp are expected, then rather in the upper range.

The tench as a food fish

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