Adam Jones 1lb Dace

Sleep didn’t come easy for Adam Jones after realised he had slipped back a monster Dace without realising the true size of it.

He told us “I grew up in the Cotswolds fishing for grayling, so this winter I decided to re-live my youth and target them in the small rivers surrounding my new home in west of London. My first few sessions were productive, and I caught grayling to 1lb 11oz, but it was the capture of a different species that grabbed my attention. I was roving along a Thames backwater and discovered a sunken moped in the middle of the river that created a break in the flow. The slack water behind it looked perfect for a bite, so I baited up with maggots before running the float through.

My prediction proved right and I caught small grayling right from the off.The float buried again on the next cast and I struck into a fish that felt like a grayling but ended up being a chublet of around a pound…or so I thought. It was far too big to swing in, so I netted it and removed the hook before slipping it back without a second thought. I remember thinking at the time that its mouth looked a little small for a chub, but it was just an afterthought really. Later that night I was flicking through Instagram and spotted a fellow angler’s post about a catch of big dace, and that’s when I got that sinking feeling.

His fish looked exactly like mine, and sleep didn’t come easily to me that night! The only way to atone for my mistake was to return to the swim, where hopefully I’d be lucky enough to catch another one. So, the next evening I headed back with nothing but my rod, net, tackle bag and a bait pouch loaded with white and red maggots. After spending a few minutes baiting both sides of the moped, I made my first cast along the inside crease, the float buried and I netted a cracking dace of 9oz.

I was delighted, but I also knew in the back of my mind that the fish was way smaller than the one I’d had the day before. After slipping it back I rebaited my hook with a single red and white maggot, before flicking the rig into the outside crease. I watched as it sailed past the moped, before sinking from sight just seconds later. I struck and connected with a fish that kited just like a grayling into the near bank slack, where it surfaced… and then my legs turned to jelly!

I had a flashback to the day before as I guided what I now knew was a huge dace into my net. At dead on 1lb, it was a scale perfect example, and redemption for the earlier mistake! It goes to show that it sometimes pays to capitalise on by-catches – you might be surprised at what you’ll discover!