I think most anglers appreciate that just about any bait will capture tench as they have a pretty catholic taste when it comes to their diets. Classically these fish were often captured on lobworm, brandling or breadpaste (often flavoured with aniseed or custard powder).
Then the boilie era arrived thanks to the pioneering efforts of Fred Wilton and many tench anglers made the switch to homemade HNV's. The maggot was the original particle bait but the early successes of Rod Hutchinson and his seed particles got many tench anglers thinking about mass baiting too. The next trend was pellets/seeds in their various forms and more recently the arrival of artificials.