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Winter Croc Hunt 2017 /18

 
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 12:58 pm    Post subject: Winter Croc Hunt 2017 /18 Reply with quote

Once fly piking at Chew has to all intents and purposes comes to an end I usually turn my attention to other venues including the Somerset Levels although I have to say it seems to be getting harder every year to renew my Bridgwater AA subs. This year I had to complete a 60 mile round trip to renew after 2 authorised dealers didn't have any in stock!!! Mad OK - rant over. Smile

After a couple of early morning frosts it turned out to be quite mild yesterday so I thought I would visit one of my favourite haunts on the Levels. I arrived shortly before noon to find the water level up but the clarity was not bad for this venue so things looked quite promising. Over the past couple of years this area has had a hammering from pot hunters, cormorants and otters so now I walk about a mile before fishing which is a shame but that's how it is. I set up my usual #8 weight and intermediate combination with a white fly to start with but after having no joy I changed to a gold and silver flashabou style pattern than usually gets the Jacks excited when the going is tough. However even this fly looked like it would fail to come up with the goods until something stopped it in its tracks a couple of rod lengths from the bank and after a short scrap a small Jack was in my net ...


A few casts later further up the bank I had another boil after the fly but further quick successive casts failed to interest it further including a change to a Perch pattern. After that I carried on 'step and cast' style up the bank as there are few obvious fish holding features on this stretch ...


I had nothing to show for the next couple of hours until I changed to a silver flashabou fly and tried a swim I fished earlier while on my way back to the car. This involved a tricky cast beneath some overhanging branches but fortunately a small Jack appreciated my efforts by pouncing on the fly seconds after it landed. It gave a short tussle in mid water then made a bee line for my bank and managed to get stuck in undergrowth under my feet while I was frantically reeling in my line! Fortunately I managed to free it with the help of my net without joining it ... Rolling Eyes


By now the light was starting to fail so I called it a day. So mission accomplished - blank avoided!! Laughing

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one Al, thanks for sharing as usual.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks great, I fished the levels for pike once and vowed to go back again. Somehow grayling fishing has got in the way the last few years.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sadly, the Somerset Levels are carrying a lot of water at the moment so I can't see another visit coming up anytime soon. Crying or Very sad

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 3:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Kennet and Avon is only about a mile away, I go there when I get the jitters. Everything is boggy around here as well.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allrounder wrote:
Sadly, the Somerset Levels are carrying a lot of water at the moment so I can't see another visit coming up anytime soon. Crying or Very sad


I've been caught in two minds this winter because although I wanted lots of rain to fill Chew to overflowing it doesn't half mess up my winter pike fly fishing on the Levels! Thankfully the lake is now overflowing and the rain has finally stopped for a few days so I took a chance and visited the Levels again. Rolling Eyes

I arrived earlier than usual at 9.00am and found the weather was as much as I could have wished for at this time of year with an overcast sky and an air temperature of around 10 degrees. Less welcome was the right to left wind as I set off but I have fished in worse which also goes for the water clarity. At little more than 6 inches it was poor but as this is a relatively shallow venue it doesn't present the same issues as fishing in poor visibility in deeper water. Normally I set off for one of the better stretches around a mile downstream but someone from the Pike Fly Fishing Association posted a report of a good fish closer not as far away so as I had an earlier start I decided to fish my way down instead. This looked like it was a good idea as on only my second cast the water boiled behind my fly before the line stopped in its tracks. I was hoping it was a better fish but it turned out to be small at around 3lb and after a short fight it was on its way. Smile



I thought this might be the start of a day to remember but after a couple of hours I had nothing else to show except a solitary hit that failed to respond again. However the good news was that I was now in my favourite area and after a while the progress of my fly across the drain was rudely interrupted again by a slightly larger fish weighting perhaps 4lb or maybe slightly more. Still not big, but very welcome! Very Happy


I carried on down for another hour or so before turning back with just one other hit which I couldn't tempt again and a pikelet on the hang that wasnt much bigger than the fly but it didn't stay attached.

By now the wind had picked up and putting a 15 -20 metre cast across the drain was becoming a challenge so I only concentrated on a few previously known holding areas on my way back to the car. This resulted in my last hit of the day when I cast downstream close to some submerged debris and then watched helplessly as the best pike of my session loomed out of the depths to engulf my fly, before spitting it back out again. Sad

And that was it. I packed in at 3.30pm having had a total of 6 hits resulting in 2 lost fish and two on the bank which was 6 hits, 2 lost fish and two on the bank more than I had on my last two (unreported) visits which were both blanks. Rolling Eyes Laughing
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report Alan, bit of exersize and a few fish in some mild conditions.

Beats my yomp over sand point in the rain on Sunday night for a 2oz whiting!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2018 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Met Office is forecasting some really cold weather next week so I thought I had better get down to the Levels again before it arrives! I decided to try another area this time despite my last 3 sessions there being blanks because there are always a few pikers around and I assume that means there must be some better pike too! Laughing

I arrived just before 9.00am to find a bright and mild day with very little wind and what wind there was, was blowing from behind or from left to right. It also looked like the clarity had improved since Monday with clarity now around a foot which although more colour than I would like, is still OK on this venue. So apart from the clarity the conditions could not have been any better! Cool

I started near an inlet and was pleased to get a solid pull after only few casts but it threw the hook when I gave it slack line while I was faffing with my net. It was only around 4lb so I wasn't too disappointed - in fact it was a result! My first ever pull on this venue! Laughing Smile

Once past the inlet this venue is a straight drain with little or no obvious features so it was a case of taking a few steps and fan casting my way along the bank. To be honest I find this can be a tedious approach if the fish aren't playing but the weather was so promising I felt I would get another fish soon and I didn't have to wait long. Something stopped my fly about 15 metres across the drain and when I tightened into it I knew instantly this wasn't a 4lb Jack! The fish stuck stubbornly to the middle kiting first left and then right but soon the constant pressure told and it was ready for the net. I usually find Levels pike to be long and thin but this was a chunky beast that certainly felt like a low double to me. I had my action camera going but I have found that it works better in a boat where you are sat fairly still than when moving around on the bank so I was relieved when two Polish anglers came along to watch the fun. They agreed to take a couple of shots on my Pentax camera for me before my fish was carefully returned ...



After catching and losing a fish in the first 30 minutes or so I thought I was on a roll but the next couple of hours were hard work. The Polish lads had a small Jack of around 3lbs or so on a soft plastic which they carefully returned but I didn't have a touch so I decided not to walk up any further and to fish my way back to the car. By now the sun was bright overhead on what was a lovely early Spring day and normally I would think this was the kiss of death, but with the colour in the water I thought it might actually be an advantage and that seemed to be the case when I had my my last hit which resulted in a nice fish of around 7lb or so. No pics unfortunately. Sad

I carried on back to the car but to be honest I was knackered with all the casting and was more than ready to call it a day, even though it was only 2.30pm. I must be getting old or perhaps my best fish from the Levels for years if not ever meant I had already achieved what I set out to do. Smile

Until next time. Very Happy

Alan Wink
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