Big Bleak - Attempt No 1 (River Wye)

Now, I've never caught a Bleak and as one of only three major species in the UK that I am yet to bag. The plan was therefore to go drive back to Chester from sea trout fishing in West Wales via the River Wye and sort out this major shortcoming in my angling career.

For the uninformed among readers, the bleak is a majestic beast with many similarities to the saltwater Tarpon in appearance and fighting capabilities, though with the slightly restricting factor of a really good one being about 4 inches long...

I've brought no coarse tackle so a trip into Ross on Wye to buy a 3m whip, 1lb mono, some pole flats/weights and size 20-24 hooks is made.  I'm going all out bread punch and sloppy cloud ground bait to quickly work the shoals of river margin bleak into a shark like feeding frenzy.

It's hot today though, really really hot....

On arrival at the target stretch the first sight I see is another angler lying sun burnt in the back of his estate car to hide from the sun clutching a water bottle against his forehead.  There are fish all over the surface of the river and so making the daft decision to try to achieve my aim using a fly rod, 2 hours are spent nurdling tiny flies through shoals of probably Dace and Roach rather than Bleak before the 40th follow again fails to produce and the loaf of bread and pole comes out of the car. 

I've picked a concrete croy which extends about 15 feet into the river to sit on and work my magic from.  After feeding 5-6 golf balls of crumb into the swim over 5 minutes, the first put in produces a bite and a nice roach of about 4 ounces.  These keep coming with the odd dace for the next hour.  Perhaps this is not going to be so easy after all.

Each time a ball of groundbait goes in the bites stop for a few minutes, presumably as the shoals follow the particles downstream but I've noticed a few smaller fish topping inside the line of the croy.  First flick of the whip in that direction and the job's done, Barry the Bleak is in the bag and as you can see from the picture below, he's a fine specimen.

10-20 quickly follow before it's back in the car with "Only" the two easy targets of a Zander and Wels Catfish left to go to get the UK full house of species...

Mr Fish    

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