Bleak (Alburnus alburnus) live in large shoals and skilled anglers can catch several in a minute. Read more about this fish including hints and tips on how to catch one.
"Many canal pounds close to the confluence with a river will contain bleak." Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager
Appearance: these tiny fish have bright silvery sides, a small head and a very large eye compared to its size. Bleak have a forked tail and can be distinctly identified by a keeled belly and an upturned mouth with a protruding lower jaw. Their scales easily detach and care should be taken when handling.
British record: 4oz 9dms (British record committee 2015)
Lateral line scale count: 46-55 (this is the dark row of scales along the central length of the fishes body).
Lifespan: 3 to 5 years
We like bleak because they can occur in shoals so vast that skilled anglers can catch a fish every 15 seconds in a 5 hour competition
How to catch a bleak
Like the rudd, the bleak primarily feeds at the surface. This can make them difficult catch at times and a trial and error feeding approach is usually required to strike a balance between bites and fish hooked. Anglers have adopted an approach of using an overly wetted groundbait with maggots and hemp included. When fed constantly, this sloppy mix creates a fine cloud of suspended particles at the surface of the water which gives the bleak the ability to feed with confidence. A fine line and small hooks are a must. Some anglers have adopted a technique of curling the hook length line so the fish feel less resistance when fishing very shallow.
Where to catch a bleak
They are primarily caught in river fisheries but many canal pounds close to the confluence with a river will contain bleak.
Last date edited: 3 September 2015