Dace: The Prince of the Stream
Neil Maidment reviews the latest literary offering from the pen of Dr. Mark Everard.
Dace are one of my favourite species and I have really enjoyed trotting for them and have occasionally amassed some big nets, but that was a long time ago and generally over the last few years I’ve found them harder to locate. I guess most all-round anglers will have similar experiences and certainly those of us of a certain age have a fondness for the species. But let’s face it the dace doesn’t often, if at all, figure in the angling headlines. So does it warrant a book in its own right? Dr Mark Everard certainly thinks so - and I tend to agree with him.
Dace: The Prince of the Stream is Mark’s latest publication and runs to nigh on 250 pages. Most of us will be aware of ‘The Doc’s’ exploits with roach but he also has an excellent pedigree where dace are concerned and has netted several 1lb+ fish including long-standing river records for the Hampshire Avon and Bristol Avon. The book is divided into three distinct parts covering the ecology, angling techniques and the impact the species has had on the world around us.
Part One: The Ecology of the Dace
Not surprisingly, the first section gets a bit technical but Mark is a scientist after all. He describes in detail the inner world of the dace, its environs, particularly its senses and the challenges it faces. Mark also describes the preferred habitat, which is wider and more varied than most might assume. The proven migration habits of the dace are also described in detail including comment on the impact that predation may have on those travels.
Part Two: Angling for Dace
Quite rightly, Mark links the study and knowledge acquired from observation directly to the angling techniques required to consistently catch dace. However, he prefaces the section with a question and statement: Dace fishing? What a terrible idea! The typical best times and conditions are found at the back end of the river season, probably in the worst of the weather and, even if successful, a national record can be held in one hand! Well yes, but I guess the target audience for this book do not need telling how special such angling can be.
Mark details location, baits and the presentation required for successful dace fishing. He covers all aspects including free lining, float and leger techniques as well as lure and fly fishing.
He concludes the section with thoughts on the management of a dace fishery and some eye watering facts on some of the historic “giant bags and whopping great dace”.
Part Three: Dace and People
Perhaps this section is for the die-hards? The Doc covers a wide range of topics including dace as a food fish as well as a few paragraphs on the links to science and technology and even social wellbeing. There is also a short section on how the dace got its name and even a couple of pages headed up “dace on the menu”. Mark also includes some quality images in “The art of the dace” and an impressive list of dace literature.
He finishes off the book with a little self-indulgent, but very welcome, piece of fiction entitled “In the pursuit of the prince”. Excellent!
I wasn’t sure if such a book could work. But it does and it is a good read, if in parts somewhat technical with a fair bit of scientific data. It is an in-depth reference point for any angler wishing to plan a campaign in search of the prince or indeed for anyone wishing to increase their knowledge of the species.
I did find the numerous quotes from other authors and sources throughout the book a little distracting and occasionally interrupted the flow but overall a good read and another great addition to the anglers’ library.
Dace: The Prince of the Stream is published by Mpress and is available from Calm Productions at a price of £20 with signed editions available while stocks last. 25 leather bound editions have been produced. Presented in a slip case, this edition comes complete with a signed certificate of authenticity at £150.00 including p&p.
With the kind permission of the author FishingMagic will be publishing an extract from the book Dace: The Prince of the Stream in the very near future – don’t miss it!