Picture the perfect tench morning in summer and you will imagine mist swirling above the water as the first rays of sunshine push through the trees and small pin prick bubbles erupting on the water’s surface, well that’s not what I’ve been blessed with this morning! Storm Francis has other ideas with howling winds of over 50mph as well as constant heavy rain, joy, and to make things worse I forgot to put the brolly in the car. Anyway, I rarely fish under a brolly and anyone braving these conditions will usually be rewarded with plenty of action and this venue, Harris Lake controlled by Godalming Angling Society, rarely disappoints as it’s full of tench and crucians. 

Simply devastating

The more commonly used method feeder has been extensively used here, it still produces but the pellet cone, rarely used or mentioned these days, is simply devastating and anglers in the know are quietly ripping this place apart. Rules are rules and on this venue rigs have to be running so with a wind that’s really gusty I have decided to use a small Quick Change bead running on my 6lb Black Magic Gold mainline as this will allow me to change the weight of the lead quickly when the wind gets up allowing me to keep hitting the same spot every cast. I’ve also included a short two-inch twirl section to create a boom which almost eliminates tangles and added to this is a small Feeder Connecter Swivel onto which my hook length is attached. This hook length, which is again two-inches long, is created from Cenex Fluoro Carbon in a 0.15mm diameter and has a size 16 Sphere micro barbed hook attached knotless knot style to leave a short hair onto which a buoyant plastic corn stop is attached. As for my rod, well you will be hard pushed to find one better; it’s the 10’ Sphere Bomb teamed up with a Sphere MgTi 940 reel. 

I’ll take any weather when specimen crucians are gracing my net!

The rig, fiddly but highly effective.

Once in, they stay in. 

Accuracy is key when fishing the pellet cone. 

"the pellet cone, rarely used or mentioned these days, is simply devastating"

Critically balanced bait

As for bait, it really is very simple, 2mm pellets in the cone and plastic corn for hookbait. Many anglers have a fear about using plastic baits but with the cone they are deadly as when the pellets break down around, the bait sits right in the middle of them waiting to be sucked up from a passing fish. The reason for using a buoyant bait here is it removes the weight of the hook, making the bait very light and when a fish sucks up the pellets the hookbait is also engulfed, however when the fish lifts up, or tries to blow the plastic bait out the inevitable happens and the hook, more often than not, takes hold in the bottom lip. It does take time to get a critically balanced bait and its worth spending some time at home to get the perfect combination but get it right and you will see a massive upturn in your catch rate. Small micro pellets and plastic corn rarely fails but on the odd occasion real corn, or plastic maggot/caster seems to produce more as does 4mm pellets so it pays to always have these with you as backup. 

The perfect pellets

Getting the perfect micros pellet consistency for the cone comes with practice, but in short, mix a few up at a time and just sprinkle them with a little water, mix, leave for a few minutes and repeat a couple of times. A little tip is to add some sweet flavoured syrup to the water as this helps stick them together and stay intact when casting. Mounting the cone of pellets is simple, just press the 2mm into the cone firmly, push a baiting needle through these, attach the hook length to the needle and pull through so the hook point embeds into the pellets before pushing the pellets out of the cone and attaching the hook length to the Feeder Connector Swivel. 

Repeat every couple of minutes

Accuracy is key so you will need to use the line clip on the reel and once the rig hits bottom do not move it, just tighten up so that there is a slight bend in the quivertip. Repeat every couple of minutes until the bites start coming. Today it’s taken around an hour to start getting indications that a few fish have arrived, and the first fish to make a mistake is this 4lb tench which is quickly followed by a couple more before the crucians turn up. It might be raining hard and blowing a right hurricane but with fish gracing my net regularly I’ve hardly noticed it.

Andy Blay

2mm pellets and plastic corn rarely fails.

Fluoro Carbon hook lengths, that little edge.

Nailed in the bottom lip.

Andy’s Tackle

Sphere Bomb Rod

Sphere MgTi 940 Reel

Black Magic Gold 0.19mm (6.60lbs) Mainline 

Cenex 0.15mm Fluoro Carbon Hook Line

Sphere Match size 16 Hook

1.1oz Bomb

Small Quick Change Swivel

10mm Feeder Connector Swivel

Xitan Medium Super Stopper Oval


Andy’s Bait

2mm/4mm Pellets

Plastic Buoyant Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Corn Syrup Sweetener

The first tench of the session.