If you want to have an amazing fishing experience, you should definitely try tench fishing at night. If you do, you could easily end up having one of the most rewarding and intense fishing sessions of your life.
To many people, night fishing for tench is one of their absolute favourite activities, because tench can be extremely active and hungry during nighttime. The feeling of fighting and then landing a really big tench in complete darkness is something really special.
If you want to learn about the best tactics and baits for night tench, keep reading this article. Then, do some night fishing for tench, you will most certainly not regret it!
Do Tench Feed at Night?
Tench most certainly do feed at night. In fact, in many venues, the dark hours of the night are the absolute best time to fish for tench. Tench can be extremely night active and if you get them feeding in your swim, you might actually be catching them throughout the entire night.
That is if you are staying the whole night. I definitely recommend you to, because you can really use that time, from dusk till dawn, to your advantage, when it comes to catching tench.
During the night, their appetite seems to come and go in waves, and so there is really no telling when exactly the bites are coming. This is exactly why you should maximize your fishing trip and plan for a good old overnighter!
Otherwise, you might risk missing those notorious nighttime feeding frenzies that the tench can get in to. Or, you are maybe experiencing one that lasts for an hour or two and then, quite literally, call it a night. But there might be more than one that night, which simply kick in after a “dead period.
Those night sessions are typical for tench fishing; short biting periods, which are extremely intense, followed by absolutely nothing at all. And after that, all hell breaks loose once again.
Insider tip: Keep your swim well baited throughout the night!
Don’t make the mistake of baiting up your swim, with groundbait or particles, getting into the first hot biting period, and then not refilling with more free bait!
That’s literally the worst thing you could do. Many fishermen do however exactly that. And that is not all that surprising; you simply don’t want to overfeed the tench, right? Well, the thing is that tench often come and feed in small packs, and when they are hungry, they eat anything they can find, and more!
It’s also very much possible for you to get different tench into your swim, and those are just as hungry as the first-rounders. So, make sure that there is always enough food out there. Otherwise, you might just never reach that state of a feeding frenzy, when the tench find your swim.
What Are the Best Methods for Fishing Tench at Night?
There are really only 2 methods that you should go for when night fishing for tench, both when it comes to efficiency and actual compatibility with the darkness:
Fishing with a feeder is the more active method of the two for night tench. Of course, it required you to stay awake the entire night and keep your focus on the feeder tip, which can be rather challenging, as you will get quite tired, after a while of staring at that tip.
Then again, it’s hard to find another fishing technique that is as exciting and fun as feeder fishing, especially when it comes to tench at night.
So, if you manage to stay awake, feeder fishing for tench at night will most certainly bring you a most exquisite fishing experience.
As tench are such hard fighters, they are a lot of fun on a lighter feeder rod. And in the dark, you feel those movements, runs and shakes in the rod more intensely. In other words, you have a more direct connection to the fish, when fighting it, which can be very rewarding and exciting.
Tench can also be rather picky and careful when picking up a hookbait. With a sensitive feeder rod tip, you will not miss any of those nibbles (I call them micro bites).
If you are vigilant enough, striking on all those tiny nibbles can definitely land you more fish. A pair of well visible bite indicators on your rod tip will make this a lot easier. I use small isotopes, which are perfect for feeder fishing in the dark. You can find a pair of isotopes on Amazon here.
And finally, when you are in the middle of one of those feeding frenzies, using a cage feeder ensures that you constantly put out new food into that swim of yours.
The Bolt Rig
If the tench are feeding more wildly and confidently, you can instead resort to bolt fishing. This method has several really great advantages when night fishing.
Firstly, you can actually sleep in between bites. Yes, this way of fishing is slightly more passive, but as a father of two small children who isn’t 20-something anymore, let me tell you that, sometimes, you actually prefer a little sleep on the bank.
Secondly, the adrenaline rush you are getting from a run and your bite alarm is hard to beat. Imagine dozing on your chair or being fast asleep in your tent, and suddenly, a high pitched tone brings you back into full consciousness, from one second to the next.
There is no greater feeling than waking up to a screaming take, that is a fact!
And thirdly, bolt fishing actually allows you to use two, or three rods simultaneously. If you have a bigger swim and spread your groundbait or particles more freely, then using multiple rods significantly increases your chance of getting bites, as you are covering the entire area of your fishing spot.
It also allows you to test out different baits and see which ones work the best that night. Then, you can easily and efficiently switch your other hookbaits to the one that produces most bites, and voilá; you have optimised your night fishing for tench even more!
What Are the Best Baits For Tench Fishing at Night?
Depending on if you’re fishing the feeder or the bolt rod, there are several really good baits you can use to catch your tench at night:
This is my number one go-to bait for tench on the bolt rod. Not only can you have it in the water for a long period of time without it getting nibbled off by small fish, but it’s also a highly efficient bait for tench at night.
Fake corn is usually buoyant, which gives it that little extra visibility effect at night, so does its often bright yellow or neon green colour.
Fake corn can also be flavoured with all sorts of bait dips, which can boost its efficiency even more. You can find really good fake corn for a very decent price on Amazon here.
This is my favourite bait for night tench on the feeder rod. Real corn has a naturally sweet and delicious flavour and scent to it, which few fish can resist. Tench are no exception here, and 2 or 3 sweetcorn on a size 6-8 wide gape specimen hook can produce a ton of tench for you!
Of course, small fish can always be a pain, if they find your swim and start stealing the corn off your hook. Most commonly though, smaller fish will leave your swim once its fully dark, as they go and seek cover from hunting predators at night.
Another great tench bait on the bolt rig. Smaller boilies, or popups, of 8-12mm are killer baits for tench.
Insider tip: Combine a small boilie with a topped fake corn and you got yourself an irresistible tench bait on the bolt rig!
Some of my favorite boilie flavors for tench include:
- Mainline High Visual Pineapple Pop-Ups (Check them out on Amazon: here)
- Stickybaits Bloodworm Boilies (Find them on Amazon: here)
- Stickybaits The Krill Boilies (Find them on Amazon: here)
A bunch of red and white maggots on the feeder rod will definitely produce tench for you! Maggots are one of the best hookbaits out there, and they have the ability to produce bites, even when the fish are less active and willing to feed.
The maggots’ biggest advantage is that they are alive and moving on your hook, something they can do for a very long time. A combo-hookbait of sweetcorn and a single maggot on a size 8 or 10 wide gape hook is a super bait for night tench as well!
Finally, the most traditional of live hookbaits, the good old worm. This bait should also be fished on the feeder rod, and tench absolutely adore worms.
Once again, this bait can convince even the most cranky of tench. I have had a lot of bites on the worm, after previously having failed to catch tench on the bolt rod or with sweetcorn on the feeder rod.
Perhaps it’s the worm’s more subtle colour, which often blends in well with the lake or river bottom you are fishing on, and so the tench will shy away from this type of bait less.
By the way, here is an in-depth article on tench boilies that will give you even more insights: Boilies for Tench (Best Flavours and Sizes)
When Should You Start Fishing for Tench at Night?
Regardless if you plan on fishing the whole night, or only a couple of hours, you should always plan to be on the bank before the sun has set!
As tench tend to be active during night time, they will often already get in the mood for feeding during dusk, which is when you can get them going for the first time during your session.
Nothing beats the sight of a bubble cloud on your swim in the evening, with still some light and visibility left, when a tench or two have found your swim and start to feed intensely.
Starting to fish for night tench in the evening also allows you to get your swim and fishing spot in order. It can be rather difficult to set up a swim that you’ve never fished before in complete darkness, even if you have a strong headlamp with you.
Setting up everything with still some daylight makes things easier and you get the chance to familiarize yourself with your swim before the darkness engulfs both it and you.
Baiting up in the dark is even more difficult, as you simply do not get a good picture of the water surface in front of you when it’s too dark. Try hitting the exact same spot with each and every one of your groundbait balls or boilies at night, it’s not easy!
If your swim is already baited up before it gets dark, you have set the framework for a successful fishing session and once it’s dark, you only have to re-bait with smaller amounts of free offerings, which can land a little off your intended spot without a problem.
Your main bait carpet is already out there, so it doesn’t matter if you don’t hit the exact spot every time!
Why You Should Fish for Tench at Night
Now that you have read about when and how to fish for tench at night, and how effective night fishing can be, let me convince you just a little more!
Night fishing for tench, or any other species, can be an extremely rewarding and fulfilling fishing experience. You really connect to your inner self and to nature when you are totally exposed out there in the darkness.
The night sky, the moon, or dark clouds on the horizon are sights that most people are missing, and perhaps never get to see in their lifetime. Night fishing gives you that opportunity, and it’s certainly something you will want to see.
Additionally, the tench is a fish that has a certain mysticism to it; its dark, green body, those fierce red eyes, the raw power when hooked up, all that makes the tench a really mythical and mystical creature to catch. A nighttime environment adds to its mystery and brings it forth even more.
By the way, if you want to read up on tench, and how you can distinguish between male and female tench when having caught one, make sure you read this related article of mine: How Can You Tell if a Tench Is Male or Female?
The moment a big tench breaks the pitch-black water surface, before rushing into the depths once again is indescribable. Sometimes, it’s that dark that you will only hear the fish on the other land of your line. Slowly, it gets closer and closer, until you hear it splash in your landing net.
That’s when you first see that dreamlike night tench, and when it’s a big one, the surprise and happiness is even greater than expected.
How Do You Best Fish at Night?
Of course, fishing in darkness demands a lot of preparation and structure to both be fun and successful. Otherwise, your fishing trip might end up in chaos, you can’t find your gear or tackle, or you may even hurt yourself.
In order to get the most out of your night fishing trip, make sure you always have a head torch with extra batteries on you!
That’s really the most important thing to think of. Without it, you are practically blind and will most certainly fail at night fishing. Check out my go-to head torch for night fishing on Amazon here.
I hope that these articles have convinced you to try out night fishing for tench. If they have, then I want to wish you tight lines and a super special first-night fishing experience!
Featured image courtesy of Christoffer Jansson