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Winter Croc Hunt 2015/6

 
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 10:06 pm    Post subject: Winter Croc Hunt 2015/6 Reply with quote

Normally I am still in 'back end reservoir trout' mode in October but I thought I'd pay an early visit to one of my pike haunts to assess the weed situation. Normally this venue is almost unfishable until the first proper winter flush through but I was pleasantly surprised to see that despite the lack of rain, the water level was very respectable and the weed, while still present, was not a major problem. Smile By a strange coincidence I had brought my river piking gear with me 'just in case' Rolling Eyes so it wasn't long before I was setting off along along the bank towards some of my favourite spots. Very Happy

Lure fishing with plugs and soft plastics has grown in popularity on this venue and last time I fished I had to share it with half a dozen other anglers and you could see that the swims close to the car park had been given plenty of recent attention. However after half a mile or so I noted that the boot prints in the mud were starting to disappear and soon mine were the only ones on display. Perfect! I was on my own ... well apart from some admirers ... Laughing



The weather was just what I wanted, little or no wind with the temperature around 12 degrees. The water clarity about as good as it gets on this venue so I was confident things would go well. However after carefully fishing a couple of known holding spots I was starting to wonder if the rumours about fish being removed for the table were true. However my fears proved premature when a 'snag' I thought I had hooked came to life and a small but very welcome Jack opened my account for the winter ... Very Happy



I didn't have to wait too long for my second pull which came from another holding spot further along the bank. This turned out to be a slightly larger Jack which gave a good account of itself before charging into some snags under my feet. I though I would lose it for sure but fortunately I managed to dislodge it from its home with my landing net .... Rolling Eyes



I was hoping there would be many more to follow but things went quiet for the next hour or so until I arrived at a stretch of water that I rarely bother to fish. I've never done very well here but towards the end of a retrieve I saw a pike loom out of the depths and engulf my fly. I could see that this was a better fish of around 6lbs or so but after a few head shakes it spat my fly back at me with contempt and slunk back into the depths. Crying or Very sad After that I decided to fish my way back to the car but I didn't have any more action. Sad

So considering that I wasn't expecting to be able to fish, things turned out rather well. Very Happy I am hoping to get a few sessions in this winter so watch this space! Cool

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad you had some sport Alan Cool Nicely written report too. But you must be very careful of those horned admirers - they can sometimes get just a tad too curious. Laughing

Am I right in thinking, from the pics, that it was a flashabou roach pattern that did the deed ? I find that fly particularly effective for jacks.

Cheers Mate ..... Tony Cool
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are correct Tony. Lots of small silverfish on this venue and I have found the slightly more subdued gold/silver blend more effective that 100% silver. I also find it helps to leave to leave a long tail so they pulsate on the retrieve. Very Happy

These are tied on 2/0 hooks and have come straight out of my fly wallet. The top two are still damp from yesterday ...



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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ON BEHALF OF "ALLROUNDER" ALAN - WHO PUT IT IN THE WRONG 'UN!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

Allrounder wrote:
Following a reasonably dry couple of days and a decent forecast before yet more rain arrives, I decided it was time to get the #8 weight out after some pike again. It can be difficult to predict running water and on my arrival I was a little disappointed to find that the visibility was barely more than 12 inches. However I have caught in similar situations on this venue before, and as home was a fair distance away I decided to give it a go anyway. Smile

I decided to start with my usual clear inter and a sparkler fly which was cast into every likely spot but after a couple of hours I had nothing to show. However one of the advantages of this venue is that the pike can be quite territorial and after paying some attention to one known holding spot this little fellow gave me the start I was looking for ....



With the blank out of the way, I continued on up the bank exploring every likely spot but when I reached the end, that was the only fish I had encountered so a change was on the cards. Pike use other senses as well as sight to target their prey so I decided to try a Bunny lure as the highly mobile zonker strips kick out vibrations for the pike to home in on. Unfortunately the ones I had on me were more 'Chew Pike' size but deep in the pocket of my waistcoat I found a smaller example made from red and black zonker strips. It was quite a bulky fly but when it eventually took on water and sunk Rolling Eyes the movement from the tail was just unbelievable - I could have eaten it myself! Laughing

I fished my way back down the bank towards a fallen tree where I planned to take a break for a while as to be honest I was knackered by the intensive 'step and cast' tactics I had deployed but on the very last cast I had another small jack chase the fly in before turning away at the last moment. A few more casts resulted in nothing so I elected to have a cup of tea instead and think about tactics. The 'follow' had left me in a bit of dilemma. Up until then I was thinking of changing my fly back to the Sparkler as I knew they worked today, but obviously the Bunny worked too! I pondered over this during my break but eventually decided to continue with the Bunny so I could compare and contrast the results at the end.

After tea, I continued back along the stretch until I came to my last known holding spot. By now it was late afternoon and so I decided to explore this area thoroughly before the long walk back to the car. Sadly my careful casts and thoughtful retrieves came to nothing so on my last cast I 'fished' my line back onto my reel with a steady retrieve. I have found this perfectly smooth retrieve can be deadly for trout and pike but I still jumped when my fly emerged out of the murk followed by a large head and an even longer body! I remember saying 'take it' to which the pike duly obliged and after a short and brutal fight due to the proximity of branches and other snags, I slid this old warrior into my net ... Cool



I tend to measure my pike these days and this one was 32" to where the fork in its tail would have been if it was there! For those that are interested, Mona's scale suggests that the weight might have been just over 10lbs but it was a thin fish so I would give it between 8 and 9lb. The red mark in its mouth is one of the tails of my bunny lure which it bit off!! Still, it was a very nice reward at the end of a long day and it is good to see that there are still some better than average fish around to make the journey worthwhile. Cool

Until the next time... Very Happy

Alan Wink

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 3:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

....AND ON BEHALF OF "BRISTOLFLYER" DAVE - WHO ALSO PUT IT IN THE WRONG 'UN BECAUSE OF ALAN!! Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy

BristolFlyer wrote:
Nice one Alan - that is battle-hardened old warrior!

(I mean the fish of course Wink )


Sorry chaps........best I could manage for you. Switching posts from thread to thread ain't easy! Cool So, you're both down one post each. Come and see me at home time and I'll put a team point in both your homework books! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha ha Laughing Laughing

Next time I'll say 'Don't tell anyone but ....' Very Happy

Thanks Rich. Cool

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 27, 2015 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think anyone noticed.
Wink

Nice report BTW
Very Happy
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At last the almost non stop rain since my last trip has been replaced by a drier interlude so I thought it was about time I revisited one of favourite pike spots again. There had been a sharp frost the night before so I decided on a later start which meant that I didn't arrive until noon. I was a little concerned about the water levels before setting out but in the event I needn't have been - although there was evidence that the water had been very high previously, it had just kept within its banks and was now back to normal winter level. Smile

While the clarity was not all I would have hoped for, it was certainly fishable so I started with my usual #8 set up and a sparkler on the point as this usually gets the Jacks excited on this venue. However I soon realised it was going to be a difficult day due to the thick soft mud left by the recent flood water which made walking along the bank difficult to say the least. Fishing was even more difficult as you would gradually sink as you cast and I nearly got stuck a few times until I learned to stand well back from the waters edge. Embarassed Sad

I walked the length I usually fish, covering all the know holding spots without any interest from the fish so after stopping for a break I decided to try a larger Black Bunny lure. Fished with a series of small pulls, this pattern pulsates in a very enticing way and has proved very effective in the past in coloured water. However on this occasion I had one argument too many with a submerged snag and lost the fly which meant I had to go back to the drawing board again. I was satisfied that I needed to use a bigger pattern to make some 'noise' in the water and I know that this venue holds Perch, so I decided that a Perch imitation was the way to go. I haven't fished this pattern for a while but I soon worked out that a a series of slow 12 inch pulls created a very convincing imitation of a dying Perch going through its death throes and fortunately a tiny Jack agreed! It took as if it really wanted the fly and after a spirited display it was soon it was on the bank. Very Happy

Now I had the fly and the retrieve sorted out I was convinced there would be more to follow and a solid pull a few yards further down the bank suggested I may be right. However it didn't stay attached and no amount of casting and coaxing from me could persuade any more to have a go so as the sun was about to set I decided to give them best. I have found that at this time of year there is a short window of opportunity when the fish switch on and you get pulls from previously dead water. Once the window closes that is usually it. Smile Here are a few pics from the session ...

The flood line can be seen to the right of the pic ...


This sheep looks like it was a casualty of the flood. Spare ribs anyone?


This tiny Pike took with attitude and was well hooked ...


This is the fly ...


...and this is what it looked like after being attacked by a Croc! A sure way of telling that the pull you just had wasn't a snag .... Laughing


Until next time Very Happy

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 1:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the report Alan Cool

It allowed some of us to fish vicariously Laughing

That last shot - as an experianced pike fly fisherman, you should be well aware - its called "fubared" Laughing

Cheers Mate ...... Tony
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice one Alan,

I could be tempted to join you down there with my single handed lure rod and baby multiplier.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll PM you, Bill. Smile

We have more heavy rain forecast over the next few days so I decided to get another session in before the flood waters arrive again. Rolling Eyes However I was surprised to see the clarity was no better this afternoon than on Tuesday, and possibly worse in some areas due to inflow from the surrounding ditches although it was still well worth a go. Smile

This session followed a similar pattern to my previous report and once again there was a 15 -20 minute window of opportunity from around 3pm when I had my only pulls of the afternoon. The first was a small fish that threw the hook on the way in, the second was also small and didn't stick but the third one attacked the fly with bad intentions and gave a good account of itself, complete with a tail-walk and flaring red gills before coming to the net. The successful fly was the same Perch imitation I used on Tuesday. Very Happy

This was the first chance to use my new weigh net and it duly pulled the spring balance down to 6lb. Cool



I carried on for another hour or so but had no more interest, as seems to be the case at this time of year. Rolling Eyes Smile

Until the next time ... Very Happy

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just seen this posted by Jeff Hirst elsewhere... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/252250791392?_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
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