ANGLERS across England, Wales and Northern Ireland have been delighted to catch their first fish for months – and one of the biggest successes came to specimen ace Matthew Fernandez.

As lockdown rules were eased, allowing fishing again, Matt quickly enjoyed his very first session back with his daughter.

Then he started his tench campaign properly in fantastic style… with giants of 11 lb 4 oz and 9 lb 4 oz in a good hit of fish.

The 33-year-old watchmaker from Southampton, Hampshire, explained: “I couldn’t have asked for a better welcome back to my tench water after lockdown.

“Since April I’ve been dreaming of catching tench. I returned to the venue and got a rather large bucket and Spombed out on my chosen spot straight away.

“Within half an hour I’d landed my first small male tench. The rest of the day went by without a bite, but at dusk the line bites began and the tench began to show.

Matt’s other tench included this 9 lb 4 oz fish.

“I then landed four to 9 lb 4 oz, which I was over the moon with. At around 1am I lost a large carp, but there was no more action until first light.

“From first light the action was steady and the tench fed confidently. I landed nine of 4-6 lb before one of my rods churned off, which I thought was a carp. I was dead certain of it.

“The fight from the fish was insane, as were the boils coming up to surface.

“I was still certain it was a carp until the fish got snagged close in on some marginal pads and I saw the fish’s tail. It was a monster tench, and my legs went to jelly.

“I considered jumping in, but the tench broke free and made a mad run for open water again.

“Eventually, luck was on my side and I landed the magnificent specimen, and it went 11 lb 4 oz.

“What a first time tench fishing this spring. Lovely!”

Matt’s successful tench kit

Matt explained the bait and tackle used for his successful tench trip.

He said: “My mix consisted of two jars of Dynamite Frenzied Chilli hemp, two bags of Dynamite 6 mm and 8 mm halibut pellet, a kilo of 14 mm The Source Dumbells and a serious helping of Liquid Worm Extract with some halibut groundbait to bind the mix.

“My rigs were two 60 g Drennan open-end feeders fished helicopter-style on leadcore leaders.

“I tied a 3 in. E-S-P semi-stiff Tungsten Loaded hook links to size 10 hooks, each one baited with 14 mm The Source dumbbell.”

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