Category Archives: Specimen

Charm Tench On Worms

Simon Ashton visits Linear fisheries near Oxford in search of big tench in this week’s Angler’s Mail.


In the article, Simon runs through his approach when targeting gravel pits as well as some tips and tricks to help you catch more tench.

To check out the full article, pick up a copy of Angler’s Mail from your local newsagent or simply download an online version via your Apple or Android device.

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Tench On The Lift Method

Drennan’s Ian Brooker recently had a great session on a local gravel pit, catching six tench to 8lb 2oz during a short morning feeding spell.


All of the fish were caught using the classic lift method in a swim he’d raked a couple of days before. Ian used a 14ft Matchpro Ultralight float rod, centrepin loaded with 6lb line fished straight through to a size 14 Specimen hook with either big bunch of red maggots or a piece of lobworm.

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Drennan Cup Winner 2015–16

A huge congratulations to Dai Gribble who was voted this year’s Drennan Cup winner!


Dai Gribble was presented with the Drennan Cup at Linear Fisheries.

As well as collecting the famous trophy, Dai also received a win­ners’ cheque for £2,000, which helps reward the time and dedication spent chasing the biggest coarse fish in the country.

In the closest-ever finish in the Drennan Cup’s 31-year history, Dai became the envy of the big fish scene when votes cast by previous weekly winners put him just two points ahead of Yorkshire’s Tony Smith.

Dai sent shockwaves through the angling world when he began his campaign with an incredible string of tench hauls. He first banked a huge 13lb 3oz fish that was backed up by no fewer than seven other double-figure specimens during an unforgettable session in May at Medway Valley Fisheries in Kent.

Just a few weeks later he switched to another venue and made tench fishing history when he banked the biggest-ever tench caught by design weighing in at a colossal 14lb 12oz. The specimen later graced his net for a second time, this time, an ounce heavier at 14lb 13oz!

Not only did he land 16 double-figure tench during the spring, but his summer was completed when he struck gold again, this time with another species – a 20lb 10oz bream, along with six other ‘doubles’ that secured his third Drennan Weekly Award of the season.

“By the end of June I’d made five catches that were all once-in-a-lifetime achievements in their own right, and anglers that I hold in the highest regard were saying ‘Dai you’ve got the Drennan in the bag’. I didn’t even dare to dream that this could be the case,” he told Angling Times.

Peter Drennan said: “In any other season Tony Smith with four awards across four different species would have walked away as the overall winner. But a run of giant tench and most of all a truly massive 20lb+ bream drew a tiny majority of the discerning voters in favour of Dai. 

“What a fantastic season both of these dedicated specimen hunters have enjoyed, so serious congratulations to them!”

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The Art of the Lift Method

Still water specimen hunting is predominantly based around bolt rigs and buzzers, which is understandable given its effectiveness. Not only is this true for carp but tench as well.


There is a period, generally, from mid-May onwards, where a more traditional approach will have its day and for once the scream of an alarm won’t indicate success but instead the dip of a float, giving you one of angling’s classic moments with the lift method.

tench-underwaterGeneralising is a dangerous thing but at the start of the tench season with the water still cool they remain within reach of only a feeder. Longer days, higher temperatures and in my experience, damselflies emerging change the tinca’s habits and now the margins become a favoured place suddenly richer in natural food. At such close quarters the bolt rig loses its impact and if you know how to fish the float correctly you will catch far more.

martin-drennan-rod-dragonflyThe perfect scenario for me is to arrive the evening before to utilise another method many would believe belonged in a museum – the rake. In fact, it’s 2 stainless steel rake heads placed back-to-back and wired together. It’s important they are heavy hence the stainless steel so they tear into the bottom and not skip over it. Once tied on the end of a length of rope it can be thrown to the base of the marginal shelf.

I will do this regardless of whether there is weed or not because just the action of turning over the bottom is highly attractive. Is this due to the fact that natural food is released? Yes, but I believe, crucially, the shine from a freshly turned bottom is also very attractive as it looks as if other tench have been feeding there and makes it worth investigating. This is boosted further by a little pre-bait and if small fish aren’t an issue maggots or caster and hemp combo would be my first choices, only if necessary to avoid small silverfish pellet or corn would be added. Whatever is selected it wouldn’t be much and certainly no more than half a pint. Once prepared the night would be a relaxing affair as I wouldn’t be fishing.

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Posted in Articles, Martin Bowler, Specialist, Specimen, Techniques | Comments Off on The Art of the Lift Method

Scotthorne’s Feeder Secrets In New-Look Weekly

Alan Scotthorne’s ultimate feeder rig is revealed in the all-new Angling Times.scotthorne-new-ATThe five times World Champion tackles a local reservoir and explains everything you need to know as he puts together a mixed catch of tench, bream and roach.

Martin Bowler’s Angling Adventures weekly column is also inside, with the big-fish specialist focusing on his hunt for springtime monsters.

The 88-page new-look weekly is now a smaller A4 format and in the shops now. Visit to learn more.


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Personal Best Tench For Matthew

All-rounder, Matthew Fernandez ventured out on his first tench session of the year this weekend and was rewarded with this huge early season fish of 9lb 8oz!


“I arrived at the lake for the very first time not knowing much about the water, so I dropped on the end of the cold wind. I began by trying to locate any features, such as gravel bars, weed etc. It took me a short while but I eventually located a clean spot at around 40 yards, just in front of a weed bed. I introduced 10 Spombs of hemp which was mixed with Sticky’s Krill Active Mix, micro pellets, and red maggot.

“Early evening I landed my first tench weighing 4lb 8oz. I was hopeful for another bite but as darkness fell so did the temperature. I woke at first light to recast feeders and to introduce more bait into the area. Within minutes my left-hand rod was away and after a hairy battle, the tench was finally in the net. It swung the needle round to 9lb 8oz, beating my previous personal best by six ounces!”

Matthew used a Bolt Rig Feeder in conjunction with a short 4in hooklink of 8lb Supplex Fluorocarbon and a size 8 Super Specialist Barbel hook with two Buoyant Casters presented on a hair.

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Prebait Pays Off

Drennan’s Ryan Hayden began his bream campaign on a large gravel pit this week and managed to land this lovely dark 9lb 4oz fish on his first trip.


Fishing a quick overnight session in between work, Ryan hoped that the bream had found his prebait from earlier that week.

“Due to the amount of weed in this venue, I opted to fish 56g ESP Mega Method feeders and tuck the hookbait into the feeder to ensure that the it does not get masked by any weed. For my hooklink, I use a short 4″ section of  15lb Gravel Braid to a size 10 Super Specialist Barbel hook tied knotless knot style with a single 10mm boilie tipped with a piece of buoyant corn presented on the hair.

With no sign of fish rolling as dusk fell Ryan hoped they would move into the area later into the night. “At 2:30am, I started to receive a few line bites on my right-hand rod, followed a couple of minutes later by a big drop back on my indicator, fish on!”

Sadly, the rest of the night passed without any more indications for Ryan, but with the first bream in the net, he was certainly pleased to get off the mark.

Posted in Catch Reports, Ryan Hayden, Specimen | Comments Off on Prebait Pays Off

Beat The Wind With A Feederbomb

Top specialist Martin Bowler is a big fan of Drennan Feederbombs as their unique design ensures they cast arrow straight. 


“In windy conditions, like I found myself fishing in yesterday, the Feederbomb is without doubt the best tool for the job, maintaining its accuracy even in a cross wind.”

The Drennan Feederbomb is available in four sizes from 15g right up to 45g.

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Drennan Cup Competition 2015–2016

It is time to decide the ultimate winner of the 2015–2016 Drennan Cup!


Check out pages six to 10 of this week’s Angling Times for an excellent run-down on the competition, with details of all the weekly awards from the past season.

As well as having their name inscribed on the famous trophy, the lucky winner receives a cheque for £2,000! The anglers voted into 2nd, 3rd and 4th places also receive cheques and see their names engraved on this unique piece of specimen angling heritage.

Voting cards are sent out to all weekly award winners from previous years. These anglers are then asked to list their top four anglers based on big fish captures from the 2015–2016 season, with four points going to their top pick, down to one point for their fourth. Votes are then gathered by the Angling Times and the angler with the highest amount of points wins the trophy, which will be revealed in late April.

If you’ve been fortunate to win a Drennan Cup weekly award, you are eligible to vote. Contact Ben Miles at Angling Times on 01733 395102 for a voting form if you haven’t already received one.

Posted in Drennan Cup Award, In The Media, Specimen | Comments Off on Drennan Cup Competition 2015–2016

4lb 5oz Great Ouse Perch

Former Drennan Cup winner, Jamie Cartwright struck gold on the last day of the season, landing his biggest perch of the year from the Great Ouse.


“After a few days of frustration where the river was very high and coloured, it dropped just right for the final day of the season and allowed me to get out and target perch. After a slow start, I built the swim up with a steady stream of chopped worm and maggot. Eventually, the tip sprung into life, taking three good perch in quick succession. They weighed 2lb 14oz, 3lb 1oz and the biggest at 4lb 5oz.”

All three fish fell to quiver-tipped lobworm hookbaits, fished in sections to replicate the free offerings and to release more scent into the coloured water.

jamie-perch-medium-feeder-comboJamie used his trusty MatchPro Medium Feeder Combo, which allows him alter the rod length depending on the choice of swim without breaking down and re-tackling. This is coupled with an FD 4000 reel loaded with 5lb clear mono to a large size 4 Kamasan B983 hook. At the rig end, Jamie likes to keep everything simple, so he opts for a short paternoster link to which he simply pinches the relevant amount of shot onto.

Posted in Catch Reports, Jamie Cartwright, Specimen | Comments Off on 4lb 5oz Great Ouse Perch