TENCH, (Cyprinus tinco> It has by some been called the physician of the fish; and its slime has been said to be of so healing a nature that the wounded fishes apply it as a styptic. In this country the tench is reckoned wholesome and delicious food; but the Germans are of a different opinion: Gesner pronounces it to be soft, insipid, and difficult of digestion. It does not commonly exceed four or five pounds, though some have been known to weigh ten. Tench are thick in proportion to their length: the colour of the back is dusky; the head, sides, and belly, of a greenish cast, most beautifully mixed with gold, which is in its greatest splendour when the fish is in highest season.
Tench are considered pond-fish, though often found in the river Stour. They shed their spawn in July, and are in season from Septemper to May. They bite freely during the summer months, but must be fished for near the bottom; and they should have time to gorge the bait. Use strong tackle, and a good goose-quill float, without cork. The tench is easily taken, and will bite eagerly at large red worms, as well as at a cad-worm, a lob-worm, a flag-worm, &c. and also at all kinds of pastes. They are also readily caught with nets.
The tench prefers foul waters, and its haunts will be found chiefly among weeds, and in places well shaded with rushes. They thrive the best in standing water, where they lie under weeds, near sluices, and pond heads. They are much more numerous in pools and pits than in rivers; but those taken in the latter are far preferable for the table. Tench are sometimes found in water where the mud is excessively fetid, and the weeds so thick that a hand-net can scarcely be thrust down. In these situations they attain their largest size, and their exterior becomes completely . tinged by the mud. Their flavour from this, if cooked immediately on being taken out, is often very unpleasant ; but if they are transferred to clear water, they soon recover from the obnoxious taint.
Harewood, Harry. A Dictionary of Sports. London: T. Tegg and son, 1835.
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