Coarse Fishing

Bleak

Our brief, plain speaking guide to delicate bleak. Handle with care!



A fresh-water member of the cyprinid family, bleak are slender with pointed heads, large eyes, and a small upturned mouth. Rarely more than 25cm long, the body is covered with large thin scales – but these are very easily dislodged so handle with care. Bleak are shiny silver, with blue-green back and belly, and greyish translucent fins. It’s often mistaken during coarse fishing for bream and silver bream, but keep an eye out for that upturned mouth – that’s the giveaway.
 
Finding them
It’s not uncommon to find them in streams, lakes, slow rivers, but in truth bleak much prefer open waters and shorelines. A shoal fish, it is often found living and feeding in the upper boundaries and surface line of water, which makes it quite tolerant of muddy water low in oxygen.
 
Food and bait
Bleak have a soft spot for aquatic invertebrates and insect larvae such as midge, caddis-fly, bloodworm, may-fly larvae, and small crustaceans, molluscs, and it is well equipped to feed by popping up at the surface of the water to snaffle its dinner – that upturned mouth makes sense now! Good baits are maggots, caster, red and brandling worms or worm pieces, and small bits of bread or bread punchings. Wise hands rave about using floats with shot underneath to drizzle the feed slowly into the water, or two or three maggots on a medium hook (14 to 16). Get that into a shoal, and wait for your quarry!
 
Breeding
Bleak spawn May to June in shallows over stones or weed beds. 
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