Old Burg - In Search of the Tench (bottom fishing)
This guide was written with the intent to show players how to catch Tench on Old Burg. The decision was made to focus on bottom fishing only. While not everything was fully explored, it became apparent early on that fishing without a leader resulted in more tench than with a leader. And that both braided and fluoro lines yielded less fish than fishing with a monofilament line. A total of 17 hours were spent on fishing, another six hours were spent on collecting data, sorting through it and gathering the results that are displayed in this guide. This guide covers basic information about the species, a review of the data collection techniques and results, discussion of techniques and rigs, a talk of the locations, some comments on hook and bait selection, and finally some points that I haven't covered, but could prove to be starting points for those anglers that want to dive further into the world of the Tench.
The Tench is a fish of the cyprinid family. It is widespread in Europe (except the basins of the Norwegian Sea, the White Sea and the Barents Sea). In Siberia, it occurs in the middle course of the Ob and the Yenisey. Tench is rather undemanding towards the quality of water and may be artificially bred in ponds. It likes still water overgrown with reed and is rather warmth-loving. Usually it prefers quiet river backwaters, silted lakes and ponds. The tench is a slow and sluggish fish. It leads a sedentary lifestyle. It stays in the bottom water and avoids sunlight. The tench feeds on bottom water invertebrates (insect larvae, worms, mollusks), extracting them from silt at 7-9 cm depth. Full-grown fish, beside living creatures, it feeds on underwater plants and detritus. The mouth of tench is very small, on each side of it there is one short barbel. Its pharyngeal teeth form one row, they are elongated and hook-shaped. The fins are rounded in shape and gray in color. The coloration of tench depends on water color, the back is normally dark green, sometimes almost black, the flanks are olive with gold shimmering. In rivers and clean lakes, tench is always lighter and yellower. Its average body length ranges from 20 to 40 cm. A large tench may reach a length of 70 cm and a weight exceeding 7 kg.
From the information gathered above plus what I could find on Wikipedia and other fishing websites, I learned that Tench are primarily bottom feeders. Due to that, I decided to go with bottom fishing. Habitat wise they seemed to like vegetation the most. Finally I went with medium sized hooks, given that the fish is bigger than the common roached I've covered previously, but rarely exceeds the 6kg mark. At first I had trouble finding the right spots. The spots that used to work (see map below in this guide) didn't yield much tench. I tried a lot of spots with liliepads, duckweed and reeds. Eventually I learned tench prefer liliepads the most but there have to be a few open spots of water around it, where the water is a little deeper than close to the shore. Fishing too close to the shore and there would hardly be any fish. Fish in too open water and the yield of tench would significantly reduce. When I finally had found a spot with a few decent tench, I still seemed to stay behind in comparison to other players that were slamming them left and right. I decided to change my line from fluoro and braided to mono. This gave an increase in tench. Removing the leader helped a little too. Finally I switched rigs and found out through trial and error that the inline rig worked very well.
Data Collection and Results
The first three fishing sessions where held at 47:20. This spot was hot and well known among the players. Standing on the bridge, facing the small pond behind it, casting out at roughly 15% in the middle of the liliepads, worked like a charm. If you casted out to the right, you'd find yourself snagged on occassion. It was here that I caught my first trophy tench on Honey Dough.
The second three fishing sessions where held at 17:68. Similar to the first spot, but adding a little bit more dead trees in the water, this spot produced a lot of tench, in particular on the sunny days. Fishing with worms would result in an abundance of perch and the occasional gras carp. Casting out between the liliepads infront of you and the patch of liliepads behind it, at roughly 15-25% out, worked like a charm. Mind the dead trees and the rocks to your left though, they can cause snags.
The final three fishing sessions were held at 8:50. This was a spot where hardly anyone fished and where I landed another trophy tench. For casting out you shouldn't go further than 20%, or you hit the open water. But you don't want to cast out too closeby either. I found in between these three patches of liliepads was the best spot.
Rig Setup and Techniques Used
After trial and errors, I used the following setup for bottom fishing Tench:
My prefered setup for bottom fishing tench.
Initially I used braided line with a fluoro leader, but after tweaking I noticed that removing the leader and fishing with monofilament line worked best in attracting the tench. With rigs I noticed a significant increase of fish the moment I switched from the basic bottom rig, to the paternoster rig, to eventually the inline rig. I haven't tried the loop rig, though I have heard from other players it works great on tench as well. This is something for the tench enthusiast to dive into further.
Hooks I started out with Happy Hook CL13 size #14, but I ended up using the Silk Series CL16 size #6. Anywhere between #10 and #6 is good, though with #6 I caught bigger fish in general. Using hooks bigger than #6 resulted in a loss of fish, either small ones or simply lack of action.
I went with the Westhill Masked Mesh feederkorf, since this one is practically invisible in silt bottoms. Given that Old Burg has a lot of silty bottoms and no current, I thought this one was best. The Gold 80 reel was purely to be able to fight carp in the case I would hook into one. It isn't necessarry for Tench, as they will give up pretty easily after an initial burst from the bigger tench.
Baits and Groundbaits
During the 15 hours of fishing I used one bait (casters) that I knew would work. The other baits I switched. Diced Cheese and Nightcrawlers would work from time, but then also had huge periods where they didn't work at all and only attracted other fish. Corn seeds worked pretty steady, though here too there were a lot of side catches, such as common carp and gras carp. Honey dough proved to be a true surprise, and while I didn't fish much with Mountain Honey Size 15 Boilies, I was quite surprised when I hooked into two fat tenches, just a few grams away of being a trophy.
Baits used and the percentage of Tench caught on them. Algae, peas, wheat seeds and strawberry boilies didn't yield any tench, though I have caught them on those baits in the past.
Average weight of Tench per bait used.
For groundbait I used the standard Tench mix, as provided by the game. All my groundbait was of 10/10 quality and lasted up to 17 hours. At the start of each session I would throw 10 balls of groundbait around my rods. I did not add any further during the remaining of the day, so as to see the difference between usage of groundbait and without the usage of groundbait. The areas that were less favorable for tench, would attract some tench, but their activity would drop to almost zero when the groundbait was gone. The areas that already had a big population of tench, were not much affected by the use of groundbait. Having that said, past experience has lead me to believe that crafting your own tench groundbait - by adding melted cheese or Kuori cheese to the mix - can result in a massive increase in (big) tench. However, due to lack of time I couldn't pursue this path and test it out on my own.
I picked my three spots based on earlier gathered knowledge of tench prefering vegetation for food and covering, with silty bottoms. The first spot I chose for it's liliepads and because it was a very well known tench spot within the community. The second spot I chose for the liliepads in combination with rocks and dead trees. The last spot I chose for it's triangle of liliepads with open water behind it. There were a whole bunch of other spots that I used to fish and which I tested prior to starting the report. However, those spots didn't pan out. I have marked them on the map in orange (for some tench this time) and red (for no tench this time) though, so as for future reference.
47:20 - a well known tench spot among the players. This spot yielded a decent amount of tench, including the first trophy.
17:68 - a lesser known tench spot. During sunny days this place was crowded with tench. Also has perch and other predatory fish. Would do well for a player to both bottom fish and spin fish.
8:50 - an unknown tench spot. With no other players around me, I could farm the tench to my hearts content. The only negative point: if you hook into a grascarp and your gear is not up to par, prepare for the fish to drag you all across the lake, and if unlucky, to break your gear.
Weather and Time of Day
Weather and Time of Day (TOD) proved to have a big impact on the tench. Wind in particular proved to be a disaster for the tench. As soon as it would pick up, the activity would drop. Clear and cold nights would send the tench to inactivity as well. Light rain with hardly any wind produced a lot of tench, but as soon as the rain would turn into pooring rain or the wind would pick up, the tench once again would be gone. Cloudy days and sunny days proved to be the best.
Tench caught by weather type. Clear stands for clear nights.
Time of day played a major factor into the activity of the tench as well. Late evenings with sunny, cloudy or overcasted skies would be their preference and you could catch them well into the dark, with a slight drop in between 2am and roughly 3am. Then it would pick up again - if the weather was correct - until late in the morning. During afternoons and early evenings there would be a significant drop in activity, only to be picked up again during later evening hours.
Tench caught by TOD.
During my final 4 hour fishing session I used all knowledge I had gathered during the previous sessions. I started fishing at 8:50 with casters, honey dough and coconut & cream boilies, where I switched the last after 24 ingame hours to diced cheese, another 24 ingame hours later to corn and the final 24 ingame hours to mountain honey boilies. During this session I caught a total of 92 fish of which 24 were tench, including the three trophies you'll see below. I ended up on the weekly leaderboards for a second - I forgot to take a screenshot - but was knocked off an hour later and didn't manage to land a bigger trophy that day. Two trophies were caught between 9pm and 10:30pm. The other trophy was caught around 6am.
The tench can be an easy fish to target, but it is very sensitive to change in weather and time of day. When it comes to bait, it will have one or two baits that are constantly solid. However, the widely used corn and diced cheese sometimes do work and then suddenly won't work for a long period of a time. Surprisingly honey seems to attract tench the most, whether it's in the form of boilies or dough. Other baits that will work are all types of worms - from maggots to nightcrawlers, and casters included - to several other types of doughs and boilies. The tench isn't picky about hooks, thought it prefers size 10-6. Smaller hooks will result in a lot more smaller fish (both tench and side catches), whereas big hooks will result in less fish and in big carp that could wreck your setup if not careful. This in particular goes for those fishing with size #4 and up hooks with diced cheese and corn, who will inevitably find themselves battling fierce gras carp, black carp or common carp.
The data that I've collected has yielded much useful information. Nevertheless, there are still things to explore. I couldn't cover all the baits, and I've left most of the boilies out due to lack of time. Groundbait is another venue to look at, since I only used standard groundbait. Given how the fish reacted to honey in their baits, I would suggest the enthusiastic tench angler to start pursuing from there, and to not forget cheese as well. Old Burg has a variety of spots that I didn't touch, but look very promising. Also, there seems to be a relation between weather and bait, in particular with cheese and corn, but I noticed it too with other baits. One moment they are 'hot', the next moment not a single fish will touch it. Given that tench are sensitive to weather, I wonder if weather change affects their taste buds as well. And last but not least: I've left the whole usage of float fishing unexplored as well as the use of certain higher percentage bottom rigs. I encourage the motivated anglers to pick up where I've left of. Show me how you caught your trophy tench and share me rigs and (ground-)baits that you've used that I didn't. I encourage and challenge you to go out there and to come back with your findings. And if you learn something new, please share it with the rest of us!
Until next time - Tight Lines!