HIGHFIELD angler Syd Marston ‘danced a jig of delight’ after banking what’s thought to be the biggest tench ever caught in the north of England at 11lb 6oz – from a day ticket water.
Syd (62) banked the big female from £4-a-day Ryhill Reservoir at Wintersett, West Yorkshire, a venue on the Leeds DAA book with a reputation as being very tough.
And he used an unusual baiting strategy, including a kilo of bloodworm in his pre-bait which was added to two kilos of hemp, a kilo of casters plus pellets to bind it all together.
“There’s a very low stocking density in the water and you can use bloodworm as there aren’t many silver fish at all in the place,” explained Syd. “It’s a very hard venue that’s known to hold some big carp, but it’s only produced two carp so far this year to my knowledge.”
Syd baited up at 40 yards onto a clear patch using a home-made bait dropper. The fish took two artificial casters fished on a size 10 Fox Arma Point hook and Korda IQ Super Soft hooklength, fished in conjunction with a semi-fixed 2oz feeder and 10lb mainline.
He had switched where he was fishing after catching some smaller males in the shallower water.
“I had a hunch that the smaller male tench were in the shallows waiting for the bigger females to move in from the deeper water,” he explained. “So I moved my rods from fishing in three feet of water to a six foot deep area, and that’s where she came from, at 6am after a blank night.”
Syd says he was drawn to the venue after fishing it ‘for the first time in years’ with a friend three seasons ago and catching a surprise 7lb tench.
“After that I thought the venue might be capable of better so I decided to start fishing it properly,” he said. “In my first season I caught 11 tench to 7lb 11oz, plus carp to 25lb 4oz. In my second season I did better with 19. And now this!”
“I had it in my mind that the reservoir was perhaps capable of a nine-pounder, but nothing like this,” continued Syd, who is retired and fishes Ryhill regularly.
“If I’d caught an eight-pounder I would have been chuffed to bits. Although I knew it was a massive fish from the moment I had her over the landing net, I had to weigh her four times to keep checking that the scales were telling me the truth. I couldn’t stop myself dancing a jig of delight on the bank. It’s just awesome.”
The fish actually weighed 11lb 8oz on his own digital scales, but on those of his pal and witness Colin Jones she went 11lb 6oz, and Syd’s taking the lower weight.
Although the Tenchfishers don’t keep regional records, spokesman Phil Jackson said he had never heard of one bigger from the north of England and that it was almost certainly a record for Yorkshire.
“I get just as much as a buzz from my fishing now as I have had all my life, and this is just a dream come true. I’m so bloody chuffed,” added a delighted Syd.

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