Richard Wilby 1lb 1oz dace

“I was about pack away when I bent into one final fish..”

“I’ve spent the last three months in pursuit of a big dace and despite catching around a thousand in 30 short afternoon sessions across six Norfolk rivers, not one had been over the 1lb barrier.

I could have headed south to the Avon or Kennet where they’re more common but I just really wanted to catch a local one. So, after pinning my hopes on a section of the Little Ouse I was pleased to find a shoal of dace fairly quickly but it was embarrassing how many bites I was missing with the set-up I had!

That night I had nightmares about those missed bites and was up thinking: ‘that could’ve been the one’, so I had to do something about it quick.

The next day I called a mate who’s an old Thames match angler and he recommended scaling down my glass quiver tip and switching my 4lb sinking monofilament mainline for a light braid. Straight away, I ordered a 0.5oz glass tip from Ebay which replaced my 1oz version, and I managed to find an old dropshot reel in the garage which already had 6lb braid on it.

A few days later I was back in one of my favourite swims on the Little Ouse equipped with my new braid and tip set up, which also included a simple 2BB link leger rig with an 18ins 2lb hooklength and a size 18 hook.From the off It was clear the dace were in the mood so I fed maggots heavily and caught from the first cast!

I had around 20 during a mad hour between 3.30pm and 4.30pm – the braid and lighter tip were working perfectly! What was even better was that I never lost a dace and I was connecting with every bite. I’d finally cracked it!

I was about pack away when I bent into one final fish. I thought a big roach was going to pop-up as it felt heavy so I was astonished to see it was a giant dace, which went 1lb 1oz on the scales and measured 28cm in length.

I’ve caught a lot of big fish this season but this dace was the hardest by far and I don’t think I’d ever have caught it if I hadn’t made those two simple tackle changes.

I reckon I walked over 100-miles over the last three months in pursuit of a giant dace and even dropped my IPhone in the river on one occasion, but it was all worth it as I’d caught the biggu’n I’d been searching for”