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On the Thames, and doubtless elsewhere where there are a lot of bleak, there is a phenomenon where, when you chuck in bread crumb or maggot, including when casting a feeder, there are a lot of little swirls while the bleak have a feast and then woosh they leap out of the water doubtless trying to escape a predator. I have tended to assume the predators are perch, but I've never managed to catch one, not that I've tried very hard. I started a thread on this a couple of years ago and I think it was Vagabond who said he'd had a similar experience and had managed to catch some of the preds, which were indeed perch, though not enormous ones.

So I haven't doubted the predators are perch until now. I've been reading Peter Stone's book 'Old Father Thames' and in a chapter going right back to the late 40s he tells of encountering a similar phenomenon, but discovering, surprisingly, that the predators were bream! Part of it was that the bream were feeding on the groundbait near the surface, and when the bleak came the bream made it a mixed feast. One bream regurgitated several bleak. Peter Stone says 'Some may say perch or pike were responsible for the bleak "showering", but they are wrong. If a pike is the culprit it invariably shows itself, and perch chase their prey having singled out a specific fish.' He experimented with pike in lock cuts, throwing in soaked crumb to attract fry. If pike were present they jumped clear of the water or at least swirled. If this didn't happen he assumed it was bream, and caught some to prove it!

I'm only half convinced regarding the 'showering' I have seen. Bream are not as frequent as they were in the Thames, whereas perch are ubiquitous. But I take his point about perch pursuing a particular fish.

Any views?

john clarke

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I don’t doubt that Bream chase fry as I’ve watched Bream chase a tiny Mepps spinner and seen them doing the same with a small polystickle lure; and bleak aren’t that big anyway; however I have seen a hunting group of perch round up fry into a corner of a pond and then rush in to the fry picking them off, and some of the fry jumped onto the bank trying to blindly get out of the way of the Perch rushing in; so I’m not wholly convinced that it isn’t Perch that are causing your Bleak to jump out of the water.


Edited by BoldBear

Happiness is Fish shaped (it used to be woman shaped but the wife is getting on a bit now)

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Many years ago I arrived at a club lake just in time to see a pike angler land an 8lb bream on a spinner - chatting about his unusual catch he told me he'd had an even bigger one around an hour earlier! (and no interst at all from the perch that he was targetting!)



Edited by Chris Plumb
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Like the rudd, the bleak primarily feeds at the surface.  The following article compare rudd and bleak as river prey.

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.  https://www.jstor.org/stable/3565330?seq=1  JOURNAL ARTICLE Predatory Efficiency and Prey Selection: Interactions between Pike Esox lucius, Perch Perca fluviatilis and Rudd Scardinus erythrophthalmus

It may be of some interest


OBVIOUSLY CUT AND PASTE  - doubt I've ever caught any one of these fish

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  • 2 weeks later...

Reckon where ever there may be a food shortage - Nature will take over, ie Big un's will eat the little un's!!

Glad I'm "Self Isolating" 

Fishin' - "Best Fun Ya' can 'ave wi' Ya' Clothes On"!!

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I've had bream, roach, rudd, dace and even gudgeon on lures.

Almost all fish are predatory to some extent, but it's more opportunist behaviour for these species and I wouldn't assume that it's bream attacking the bleak in this instance.

As I said on another thread though, a shall bleak livebait fished shallow on a single hook can be surprisingly effective in coloured water - and it's reasonably active fishing, which makes for a nice change in the winter.

Species caught in 2020: Barbel. European Eel. Bleak. Perch. Pike.

Species caught in 2019: Pike. Bream. Tench. Chub. Common Carp. European Eel. Barbel. Bleak. Dace.

Species caught in 2018: Perch. Bream. Rainbow Trout. Brown Trout. Chub. Roach. Carp. European Eel.

Species caught in 2017: Siamese carp. Striped catfish. Rohu. Mekong catfish. Amazon red tail catfish. Arapaima. Black Minnow Shark. Perch. Chub. Brown Trout. Pike. Bream. Roach. Rudd. Bleak. Common Carp.

Species caught in 2016: Siamese carp. Jullien's golden carp. Striped catfish. Mekong catfish. Amazon red tail catfish. Arapaima. Alligator gar. Rohu. Black Minnow Shark. Roach, Bream, Perch, Ballan Wrasse. Rudd. Common Carp. Pike. Zander. Chub. Bleak.

Species caught in 2015: Brown Trout. Roach. Bream. Terrapin. Eel. Barbel. Pike. Chub.

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