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Winter Croc Hunt 2016/17

 
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:10 pm    Post subject: Winter Croc Hunt 2016/17 Reply with quote

Due to difficulties renewing my membership I was late getting off the mark this winter but I finally got away for my first winter croc hunt today. I was a little concerned that the water might still have a lid on it after the cold spell we have just been through but as it turned out my fears were unfounded. In fact the weather was mild and overcast with little or no wind and no sign of ice, which was just what the doctor ordered! Very Happy

The clarity was about as good as it gets on this venue and as something flashy usually gets the Jacks excited, I started with a 2/0 flashy roach pattern on my usual #8 rod and intermediate line. With a rising air temperature throughout the day, I was expecting some action but by the time I had fished about a mile or so up the bank I had nothing to show apart from a tiny swirl at the end of one cast which I suspect was from a small Perch. Sad

Normally when the flashy patterns fail to work I turn to my Perch imitations and shortly after changing over my retrieve was brought to an abrupt halt by a fish! It put up a very decent show taking line a couple of times before coming to the net which led me to believe it was bit larger than it turned out to be ....


I hoped that was the beginning of a feeding spree but despite fishing my way back to the car that was all I had to show. Still, one fish is always better than a blank. Laughing

Until next time ...

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 24, 2017 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I decided it was time to break out my pike fly gear again and after dispensing with a few chores I arrived at my chosen spot by early afternoon. The weather, despite an early frost, was as good as can be expected in late January with little wind and a warm sun (although some cloud cover would have been welcome) so things were looking good when I set out along the bank.

Today I was trying out a new stretch that was wider and more featureless than I am used to but it had the one advantage of being over a mile from the nearest car park. This meant a long walk but fortunately as the car park receded into the distance the evidence of fishing activity also reduced which of course was the plan. Wink


I started with the usual #8 weight fan casting a Perch fly as I moved up the bank but after couple of hours I hadn't had a follow or a pull so my spirits were starting to flag. Then out of nowhere I had a Jack lunge at the fly just as I was rolling it off the water! I'm not sure if I pulled my fly out of its mouth or if it rejected my fly (there was no contact) but a couple of quick roll casts resulted in no further excitement so obviously it was spooked. Not long after I met a solid resistance half way through the cast and for a second my heart was in my mouth but unfortunately it was too solid and I lost my Perch Fly in a snag. Rolling Eyes That told me it was time for cup of tea! Rolling Eyes

The lost fly was my only Perch pattern so I decided to try a 2/0 white baitfish that I tied over Christmas which turned out to have an amazing action in the water. Luckily I wasn't the only one who thought that way because a few casts later my fly came to an abrupt halt halfway across when a croc pounced on it with attitude! It wasn't a big fish as pike go but it took line off me a couple of times and I was more than relieved when I slid it over my net.... Very Happy

My first pike of 2017 ...


...and my first dose of 'raker rash'! Laughing


I was hoping for more action but as seems to be the case now, it's just one or two pulls all session or nothing at all so as a consolation I dropped into a local Wetherspoons on the way home.


There's nothing like a nice steak to warm you up after difficult day on the water. Very Happy

Until next time...

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice report Alan. Good result for an unfamiliar stretch.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2017 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done Alan Cool.Hoping to fly fish more for the trout and pike this year,all being well in the next month or so.Tight lines.Steve Smile
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

With the weather starting to warm up at last I decided to take the fly rod for a run out on the Levels again today. It was a bit breezy when I arrived around noon but the water level and clarity were fine so I had high hopes when I started the long walk towards the same area as I fished last time.

I met a couple of guys plugging on the way who told me one of them had caught a 12-4 pike so I decided to start about 50 yards or so above them. I had tied up some 2/0 Flashtail Whistlers to see how the pike liked them but after an hour or so with nothing to show I lost it on a snag so took this as a hint to change to my White Baitfish pattern. This fly has a killer action when you get the retrieve right so I wasn't too surprised when something stopped my fly in its tracks and my rod pulled over. However I like to play them off the reel and the croc came adrift when I gave it slack line while faffing around and I lost it. Not long after I had another good pull further up the bank which didn't stick either and then everything went quiet for an hour or two.

This section is wider with less obvious features than my previous haunts so it is a case of fan casting up the bank to search out the fish, which can be hard work. It took a while before I had any more interest but when it came it underlined why I enjoy fly fishing for pike so much. The first take was a smash and grab job out of nowhere as I was lifting off which didn't stick, next cast I had a follow, the third cast it slashed at the fly but didn''t take it but on the 4th cast it clattered the fly hard as I hung it at the end of the cast. It wasn't a big fish but its shenanigans certainly got my pulse racing! Cool

After that I had a couple of half hearted follows on the White Baitfish but they didn't seem to want to play so I stopped for a cup of tea and to consider my next move. They didnt seem impressed by the Flashtail Whistler and seemed wary of the White Baitfish so I decided to try my other 'go to' pattern - a Perch fly although the only one I had was a bit bigger than I usually use on this venue. However it seemed to wake them up again and after a few casts I had a good follow that was quickly turned into a fish in the net on the next cast. Again the fish was on the small side compared with previous trips but I was just happy to get some action. However time was pushing on so when I had an even smaller fish on the Perch fly just after 4pm I decided to call it a day as I had a fair old walk back to the car.

Here are a couple of pics ...

Fourth time unlucky for my first and largest fish of the day. You can just about see the tail of my fly in its mouth ...


My third and smallest fish. It took a liking to a Perch fly ... Laughing


If you are not sure if you had a pull and your fly comes back looking like this ... it wasn't a snag!! Laughing


Until next time ..... Very Happy

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2017 10:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your interesting report and pics Alan Cool

Your pic of your "fubar ed" fly raised a good memory and a chuckle Laughing

Looking forward to getting amongst the many 30's that apparently inhabit Chew

Cheers Mate ...... Tony Cool
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At this time of year I keep a close eye on the weather and today seemed like the best day this week to fish the Levels. I arrived earlier than usual but didnt start fishing until 11am thanks to the long walk to the same stretch that I fished last week. To cut a long story short, the warmer spell hasn't harmed the fishing and I lost 3 fish on the way to the net and had at least as many pulls that did not stick, including two that churned the margins to foam when they pounced on my fly on the hang. Exciting fishing but I only managed to get one smaller 24 inch fish in the net ...



None of the fish I lost were very big with the largest going around 5lb or so but I would sooner get follows and pulls that fail to stick than nothing at all. Its less than 3 weeks to go until the end of the pike season on the Levels so lets hope the weather plays ball and I can get a few more sessions in before the close. Smile

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great reports and pictures alan enjoy reading the posts on here
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

not sure if your coming this way soon. Lot mackrel in the estuarys at moment never known it like this mate had 80 other week bottom fishing
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2017 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Warren. Very Happy

I wont be down your way until July but good to hear that there are mackerel in the estuaries already. Shock

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't think I would be able to get out this week but I noticed a window of opportunity today between the storms so I took a chance. I arrived at around 11am and was delighted to find that although the water level was around a foot higher than last time following recent rain, the clarity was about the same as before, which was good news. The weather was dull and overcast with light rain on and off all day but surprisingly the light wind dropped to almost nothing in the afternoon to give almost perfect conditions. After I packed up it was blowing a hoolie coming back across the Mendips so I timed it just right! Very Happy

I started with my Perch fly but lost it quite quickly on a snag so I took the opportunity to change to my White Baitfish which really showed up in the water. I didn't have to wait long for as response when a small pike hit the fly half way across the drain then pounced as I hung my fly prior to recasting. That set the pattern for the day and when I finally gave it best at 6pm I had 8 to the net which is easily my best session for the last couple of winters let alone this one. Cool

All my fish were on the small side with none much more than 3- 4lbs but considering that I was fearing for their welfare earlier in season I was delighted to see them. Three of them came to the White Baitfish while the other 5 took the larger 'Roach' pattern and if I live to be 100, I doubt if I will ever grow tired of seeing a pike of any size surge out of the depths to pounce on a 'hung' fly, prior to recasting. Cool

Most of my fish were around this size...


They liked this fly ...


... and that one.


This smaller fish had a gash on its side that had healed. All the others were in perfect nick. Cool


This session was like the 'good old days' of 7 or 8 years ago so I hope I can get another one in before the season finally ends . Cool

Alan Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good sport Al - strange damage to the small pike, heron strike possibly?
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No sure what caused it, Doug. Confused

Apart from Herons, Otters seem to be the main predator down there and I have found the remains of dead Swans on the bank. The local RSPB have 'Otter fenced' their reserve at what must have been great cost due to the number of ground nesting birds they were losing which of course keeps the cute little balls of fluff on our side of the fence . Mad

Alan Wink
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