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Just one of those DACE; Five record misses for Dennis.

Imagine your football team losing the Premiership title on goal difference, or picture the agony of a golfer missing a tap-in putt to win the Open.

For those sporting heartaches to happen once would be bad enough, but just think of the torment if they were repeated five times.

But that's what has happened to dace demon Dennis Flack, a 65-year-old retired farmer, who has FIVE times come within a whisker of breaking the long-standing British dace record of 1lb 4oz 4dr.

Dennis, from Lakenheath, Suffolk, landed a dace of 1lb 4oz 2dr earlier this year and that's just one eighth of an ounce - or half a teaspoonful of sugar - away from equalling the British best.

Five times Dennis has caught a specimen of 1lb 4oz or more in a dace fishing career that stretches back a staggering 55 years, but he still believes that one day he will crack the record.

Dennis is, without doubt, the king of Britain's dace anglers as he has now landed 60 specimens of more than 1lb.

And if the determined Dennis does track down that elusive record-breaker in his favourite stretches of the Little Ouse in the Thetford area, then his name will go into the record books as the only angler to hold TWO British records at the same time.

For, in 1988, Dennis caught a 15oz silver bream from one of his own farm ponds and the record still stands.

"The silver bream record was vacant and I just thought I could set a target. I didn't think it would last this long," said Dennis, who now spends much of his life by the water, having just completed a barbel fishing holiday on the River Severn.

But it's the dace record that Dennis wants more than anything else.

He said: "For two weeks a year, breaking the dace record becomes an obsession. That's when the female dace are at their biggest weight and I will keep on trying even though I have just missed out on so many occasions."

It's the first two weeks of March, just before the end of the season, that the dace, preparing to spawn, are at their heaviest.

Dennis said: "I have caught a near-record breaker on the last day of the season and the current record was also caught on the very last day.

"During those two weeks, I will be out walking along 15 miles of the Little Ouse at least ten times, but I might only fish twice. Conditions have to be just right for the big dace to feed.

"Yes, I have fished for dace for more than 50 years and I know that I might never break the record. But I will never give up and really it's all in the lap of the gods.

"I think I have lost bigger dace that are over the record but then fish sometimes seem bigger when they are in the water."

Even though there is a steely-eyed determination to break the record that was set from the same stretch of the Little Ouse 36 years ago, there is also a nagging worry at the back of Dennis's mind.

He said: "What happens if I do break the record? What target will I have to go for then?

"At least this way, I really enjoy those two weeks every year but would that enjoyment disappear if the record was mine? Who knows?"

The one certain thing is that if there is a record dace in the Little Ouse, it will be a female.

Dennis said: "These big female fish are ten years old and I don't reckon there is a male dace in the country that weighs more than 1lb."

After reading these extraordinary exploits that span more than half a decade, you could be excused for thinking that Dennis is only interested in big dace.

Wrong! Dennis has a string of big fish to his credit that would be the envy of millions of other anglers.

He's landed tench to 71b, has a best pike of 281b, has caught bream to 7lb, hooked roach of more than 2lb, netted rudd of 3lb and tempted a barbel of 9lb 4oz.

He said: "I love dace but, first and foremost, I am an angler who will fish for anything at any time. I think perseverance has been my greatest asset"
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Copyright 1996 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 28, 1996
Previous Article:HOT RODS.
Next Article:Dan, crash, wallop - the Yank's here.

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