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Levels 2019-20

 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2019 10:13 am    Post subject: Levels 2019-20 Reply with quote

My first Croc trip of the season on the Somerset Levels nearly had to be called off when shortly after arriving I realised I had left my reel back at home. Embarassed Evil or Very Mad However the conditions looked so good that I decided the 60 mile round trip to fetch my reel was worth the effort even if it did mean I wouldn't start fishing until early afternoon. Sad

However looks can be deceptive. While the water clarity was good, I soon discovered that the higher water level meant that access to the waters edge to net fish would be challenging in many areas without waders so I had to avoid areas I would normally fish. This meant lots more walking than I planned to do was necessary.

Despite this, I was still expecting to catch my first fish fairly quickly but after a couple of hours with just one half hearted pull, my spirits were beginning to sink especially as I encountered more weed the higher up the stretch I went. But eventually everything locked up and after short pugnacious fight this rather lean fish came to the net ... Very Happy


After that I fished my way back to the car and as the light started to fall, lots of baitfish starting topping but there weren't being harried by anything below and I didnt have any more action. So despite a slow start it was good to get out again, although I think I'll wait until more of the weed dies back before next time. Smile

Alan
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the weather looked promising on Tuesday with little rain over the previous 3 or 4 days, I decided another trip to the levels was in order. I arrived around 10am and was pleased to find that although the water level was up on last time, there was little flow and the clarity wasn't as bad as I feared at around 18 inches. The weather was pleasantly overcast with an almost non existent breeze which later developed in a right to left direction that was no problem at all. Very Happy

I normally fish a clear intermediate pike line I've had for years on the Levels but it has developed memory issues and needs replacing so this time I decided to try a #10 weight sink tip that I have spooled up in my Chew bag instead. I wasn't sure how this line would fish but I had no trouble casting my flies across close to the other bank so I was confident I would get a pull or two.

Sometimes I get a hit fairly quickly but this wasn't one of those days and I got to the point of wondering if it was the presentation or the pike when I felt a hard knock followed by a boil on the surface and a solid pull which told me a fish had locked on! It gave a good account of itself before coming to the net and I 'guestimated' it at around 6lb before returning it to its lair. Very Happy

That fish gave me more confidence in my set up and I didn't have to wait long for my next hit which came from a small jack that would struggle to make 2lb. Rather thoughtfully it threw the hook at the net so saving me the bother of releasing it Another Jack followed which was probably 4lb followed by a missed pull before I reached one of my rest points where I have a brew and take stock. Normally I am prepared to walk another half mile or so on upstream after my break to find fish but instead I decided to retrace my steps back to the car park and fish the clear intermediate instead to see if that line picked up as many hits as the sink tip. To cut a long story short it didn't, and as I couldn't cast the same distance as before I went back to the sink tip and stayed with it for the rest of the session.

I had two more hits before I called it quits. The first was a big single/scraper double that grabbed my fly as I was about to recast but it threw the hook after taking me into some submerged bullrushes and the last one was a short but stocky fish that I weighed out of curiosity and found it came to 6-4 ... a good fun size a fly rod! Very Happy

A few pics from the session. Even when they don't stick they mess up your fly..... Laughing



Good fun on a fly rod. Very Happy


Alan
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That fly is well mangled, did it comb out or get binned?
P
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks bad but I've never had to bin a fly that has been munched by a pike, Peter. They are usually easy to tease back into shape with your fingers. Smile

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its been a frustrating time since Christmas on the Levels due to the various drains and rivers being in flood, but the recent dry spell has brought some of them back into condition for now ... until more rain arrives next week. Mad

I was lucky enough to catch one of my favourite spots on song this afternoon and although I didn't lure any monsters, it was action all the way and I don't think I had 4 consecutive casts all afternoon without a follow or a pull. Very Happy

Most of the takes were high in the water so you could see the Pike loom up from below to either track or attack your fly ... or both! I ended up with 6 and would have had at least double that if they grabbed the bit with the hook in it and not just the tail.

My best two fish weighed 8-14 and 9 -2. This is the larger one ...Very Happy



Alan
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I visited Street on Monday with my wife where I was dismayed to see the River Brue very dirty and pushing through at a fair old pace which suggested the Levels were still out of sorts after the recent rain. However with Storm Ciara threatening to pummel the UK over the weekend with yet more rain I decided to take a chance on an afternoon session on Thursday. I arrived at the car park of my chosen venue at around noon and was dismayed to see the water pushing through more quickly than I would like especially as the wind would restrict how far I could fling my budgies. However the water wasn't dirty and I had caught in worse so I decided to give it an hour or two before deciding whether to move elsewhere.

I started with my #9 intermediate and tried a few large 10inch flies but as suspected a combination of flow and wind got the better of me so I reverted to a smaller 7 inch fly that was more manageable in the conditions. That proved to be a good move and after 15 minutes or so I got my first hit which resulted in a 6-3 Jack in the net. That gave me confidence that they were prepared to feed but things were not as busy as my last session and by the time I reached the spot where I traditionally have a rest and a cuppa I had only added another 5-10 Jack to my total.

During my break I decided to step things up by changing to my #11 intermediate which I hoped would enable me to cast my larger flies and fortunately that coincided with a drop in the wind and a slower flow, probably due to this stretch being affected by the tide in the Bristol Channel. However getting the distance I wanted with the larger flies was still a problem so I went back to the smaller fly that caught me my other fish. That proved to be a good move because after 20 minutes or so the line locked up and then a large fish rolled on the surface leaving a massive wake. Shock Very Happy

I'd like to say the fish fought like a tiger taking me to my backing multiple times but in truth after a few unstoppable runs she came to the net quite placidly ... but what a fish! She was hooked squarely in the scissors and had a massive head with a very long body compared to Chew pike, although she felt empty. A quick weigh in the net confirmed she weighed 15lb 8oz ... a new PB for me from the Levels by some margin. Very Happy Very Happy Cool


After safely releasing her I had to sit on the bank for a while just to compose myself but it wasn't too long before I was back on my feet. My next two hits stuck but both fish then came off as I brought them to the net which normally would have been infuriating but as they were half the size of the biggie I wasn't that worried. The next fish that made it to the net weighed 7-9 and my final fish which would have struggled to make 2lb lunged at the fly as I lifted off, hooking and beaching itself in the process! Shock Laughing

Things were looking very good for the last hour or so but by now my back was starting to ache and I was starting to feel knackered after my previous session at Farmoor with Peter the day before so I decided to give it best at around 4.30pm.

The weather has been a nightmare this winter but if you cherry pick your sessions, the rewards are there. Very Happy

Alan
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow - great fish from anywhere, let alone a drain! Well done!
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally agree with Bristolflyer Cool

I know very well that you wouldn't do it any other way Alan - but nice to see the photographic evidence that She was well looked after on the unhooking mat - a pointer for the less well experienced I think Wink

Congratulations on your new levels PB Mate ......... Tony Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful fish and thank you for the back story. It’s funny, I’ve fished the levels once on a guided trip and had a cracking day and then forgot about them.

Regards

Vince
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you ever tried for the perch on fly at your levels venue?
I would try on the GUC if it was possible to get a back cast in.
P
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I cant remember ever catching or having a follow from a Perch where I tend to fish, although my Perch fanatic mate Jack does catch them elsewhere on the Levels. Smile

Alan
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