Saturday 20 February 2021

The Tiny River Alne - Ringworks and Rivulation

Judged purely on a basis of size the dace may appear to be a rather insignificant little fish, and few anglers can boast that they have caught, or even seen, a dace of a pound. 

Its colouring, as well as its size, is modest, lacking the flamboyance of the perch or the richness of a well-coloured roach or rudd, it is just a slim, bright, lively little fish. 


Nevertheless, there are very many anglers who rely on the dace for the bulk of their sport, and there are others who find in the search for the larger dace a fascination which leads them to specialise in hunting for these fish.

I for one love fishing small unforgotten streams and tributaries because these can hold a proper decent stamp of dace that can offer some decent sport when the main river is in flood.

For most anglers, though, the dace is just a shoal fish whose preferences in types of water bring it into competition with roach, and often with chub too, so that often the dace which are caught form part of a mixed bag. 

These fish are very widely distributed in all kinds of rivers and streams, abounding in most of the major rivers, particularly in the higher reaches, but a great deal of the best in dace fishing will be found in quite small waters.

Perhaps the type of river which is ideal both for the welfare of the dace and for the sport of catching them is that which would be thought of as a typical trout water, where there is a good clean flow of varying depth, having a prolific weed growth and a rich crop of fly and larvae. 


There are many such waters where, to put it mildly, dace are regarded as regrettable intruders, but which, if seriously fished, could soon make one-pounders much less notable. Anyone who fishes for roach in any of the normal styles, or even fishes for whatever may chance to come along, will surely catch some dace. 

They will feed on just about any bait whose size is within their capacity, paste, flake, crust, hemp, elderberries, worms, wheat, and, probably the most popular dace baits of all, maggots and chrysalides. 



There are not many occasions when one can confidently anticipate catching dace only; it is likely that there will come to the same baits and methods whatever other species are present and that they will be considerably larger than the dace. One must, therefore, decide beforehand whether to make any concession to this fact in the choice of tackle. 

Dace fishing is a light and delicate sport, and this should be reflected in the float and weight used, bearing in mind that the weight should be chosen first to present the bait properly in what-ever current exists. 


A common error is to use a very small float carrying a shot load so light that the bait streams out in the current instead of being carried at the depth as set on the tackle. A more adequate weight, with a float accurately adjusted, will not only present the bait more effectively but will also give better bite registration. 

But then you have a session like I did this morning where much of the written word goes out the window. You see are rather turbid river a large piece of bread flake no bites ensued but then the switch to half a lobworm on a size 6 the bites came thick and fast on the link ledger.


If I scaled down I would have landed more fish but the fish just kept coming. I tend to retain fish in the landing net when I fish the Alne as returning them bites are definitely not as forthcoming. 

I fished 3 swims only and got bites in each and everyone, one swim in particular was very productive indeed and chub to a nadger over 2lb and dace to 7 ounces all succumbed to the humble worm. A chub session turned in to a dace session almost with some of the dace looking as big as the chub.


Over gunned in the hook department but to be honest the fish didn't seem to mind, they really were on the feed big time. I initially was striking in to nothing because the bites were sharp and fast but the trick was to allow the fish the properly take the bait and sit tight till the light quiver really did do a mad'un.

The fish look bigger in the photo but the landing net is small, the chub not more than a pound and the biggest dace not far off half that. 


Quite a memorable session this because I usually find the Alne tough when it's coloured but this morning couldn't be any more different. I finished up on 14 fish and missed plenty of bites too.

On a light 8ft rod pretty decent sport too, another trout lost on the last cast but other than that it was a very productive session. I'm so lucky to have this small river on my doorstep although it was very mild today, I may well fish for a proper fish in the morning.

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