Back on the river this morning in search of more quality roach, still finding my feet on the Calder I headed to an area I had fished just once before in the depths of winter. It's deeper, almost double than a lot of the water I have fished so far and much slower. This would allow me to get some practise at trotting long range as I expected mainly roach and with the deeper water feeding patterns would come into play as well as presentation as the fish would have far more time to inspect my bait than they would when dashing around grabbing anything that comes near them in the faster swims.
I rigged up an 8 no.4 stick with 3 number 8's near the hook and well strung out no. 6's up the line. As I dropped the rig in and let it on its way it worked perfectly and with no bait on the hook I managed a good 30 yard trot only having to mend the line once and the current just enough to peel line from the reel holding the float back a touch. First run down with a bait on produced a nice roach around 6 oz before two missed bites and a totalled rig saw me re-tackling. Once sorted a steady run of nice roach came for half an hour before I managed to miss the keep net with a 4 oz fish and watched as it darted right back down where it came from and splash on the surface before diving down again.
Who said fish were daft? That roach had clearly done a good job of warning its mates below as the swim went stone dead and all I managed for around an hour were a few perch and two tiny roach! It took me ages to start picking roach up again and they were well down the swim, clearly spooked by the escapee, I swapped to a smaller size 20 hook and 0.08 hook link and added two number 10 droppers, moved the 8's further up and dotted the float right down to make it more sensitive and the bait fall slower through the water. Feeding just 6 maggots twice on each 30 yard trot saw me picking the odd fish up with them also moving closer to me at around 15 yards down stream.
Around 9am I swung a fish to hand that I thought was the first dace of the day, on un-hooking it looked like a bleak but judging by its size I thought it couldn't possibly be and into the net it went. Whilst continuing to not catch much I was pondering over it been some kind of hybrid, chub or dace maybe. An hour or so later I was thinking about packing in for the day when two old boys who have fished the river for years stopped by and we got chatting, I mentioned the fish and they too were intrigued and so I emptied my small catch of roach securing the said fish in the process and we had a good look over it. All three of us came to the conclusion that it was a very large bleak and decided to weigh it. I popped the fish into a small plastic bag and lifted the flyweights only for the needle to more or less sit still, rather unsurprised as they are 30lb rated on a single revolution. I removed the bag and zeroed them once more and this time rather than lifting I dropped the bag on the hook, it read just over 3 oz, we repeated this three times and each one got the same reading, thickness of the needle over 3oz so we agreed on 3.5oz.
Now this may seem small and insignificant to most people but with a record of just 4oz 9drm this is one specimen PB that will take some beating!