A Better Night Session
So with the wind being almost non-existent and the weather gurus predicting an overnight temperature of approximately 18oC, it was a perfect night for another bass session. I hadn’t been fishing for months with Tristan (Enjoyfish1) as we have been unable to get our calendars to align. Fortunately, he was able to venture out and we met up at our launch spot at about twenty to 8.
The journey to the first pool was relatively long and Tristan was amazed at how much the flooding in the earlier part of the year had changed the landscape. We arrived at the first fishable stretch and after a few casts along its foliage draped banks my Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada was slurped off the surface and I netted the first bass of the night which only measured 34cm but was a welcome catch to start the session.
The first half of the pool was relatively quiet and it wasn’t until we had reached the bottom half of the pool that a cast into the middle was met with a cracking explosion of water followed by drag screaming off the line. This would have to be my most explosive hit of the season and after the initial shock and the first few runs the bass quietened down and was eventually brought yakside. Initially I had called this for a cracking fish and Tristan had agreed but when he was finally netted he only measured 44cm. However, unlike the majority of fish in this system which seemed poorly conditioned after a tough wet season this fish was well muscled and over the 1kg mark. It was the first solid fish I had caught here and I could only hope that the winter and early Spring would enable the other bass in the creek to bulk up a little.
Tristan hit the tally board soon after casting along the fringes on the left bank and managed another bass in the thirties. Like me he was using a Tiemco Soft shell which usually makes a subtle “bloop, bloop, bloop, bloop” as it crawls along the surface. However, this night was dead still and the water was mirror flat. Insects sang in the foliage around the creek and the conditions were perfect. The soft shell sounded like a small water dragon running along the surface in the quiet of the night
Five minutes later Tristan was on again to another average bass and seemed to have found some serious mojo as we approached the end of the pool.
We reached the end of the pool which always seemed to hold a few bass cruising the shallows in search of the any mullet that strayed too far from the safety of the shallows and into the deeper water on its edges. Tristan cast down the left bank and what appeared to be a small bass slurped away at his Soft shell and missed the trebles. I then missed a couple of similar strikes on the right bank with a similar result. Tristan’s subsequent cast had a similar effect but after a few misses the bass finally hooked up and the drag began to scream.
Now I’m often criticizing Tristan because he has always got his drag set really light. The slurp off the top had indicated a small fish and so I was into him about his light drag until he netted his bass and I came over to take a photo. He lay it on his measuring stick and it measured a nice 47cm. What a great fish and I can only imagine what it would be like to tussle with if it put on a little girth. The amazing thing was it was caught it only a foot of water and after a season of night trips I am constantly amazed at how water depth seems irrelevant when targeting bass in the dark.
We moved to the next pool and it had some nice running water at its head. Leaving the kayaks away from the edge we had a few casts before we launched. We targeted the eddies, to no avail and then started on the edges a little downstream from the running water. On one of these casts the Tiemco was smacked by a rat bass half way across the creek. This pool was quiet and it wasn’t until the end of the pool that I heard the sound of a bass” boof” my lure. I paused and as I subsequently began the retrieve he hit the lure again and hooked up. He wasn’t huge and unfortunately found some unseen timber as I brought him to the yak and he managed to bump the lure off.
We continued fishing as we moved from pool to pool. The next pool was very quiet and we could find no interested bass. The pool after this also seemed to be very quiet until Tristan moved a little downstream and his lure was hit twice before he hooked up. Unfortunately, this lucky bass managed to pull the hooks before Tristan could net him much to his disappointment. However, soon after Tristan managed another bass casting into similar structure which again measured in the thirties.
I moved downstream to a little cove that I have consistently caught bass in before and began casting. Eventually a bass took pity on the lack of action we had seen for the past hour and obligingly picked my lure off the surface. He wasn’t a monster but was a welcome sight after the fishing had quietened down.
I continued downstream casting at familiar structure until I decided to make my way back to the launch. On the way back I spied Tristan and asked how he was going. He commented that he had just been smoked and when I turned my head lamp on I found him fighting a bass amongst some timber. I could see the bass periodically pulling line into the snag and could see Tristan was in some serious trouble. We tried desperately to free the bass but he had managed to bury Tristan well and truly. Eventually the line locked up tight and after a good ten minutes of trying to salvage the lure the line parted and lure and bass were gone.
I continued casting up the pool as Tristan re tied his line. We both reached the head of the pool and I cast into the eddies on the left bank. I had changed lures to a black Arbogast jointed jitterbug and on one cast the lure was hit multiple times about two metres from the kayak. I allowed the current to take me away from the strike zone and then fired another cast in. It wasn’t until the second follow up cast that the bass returned and hit the lure a couple of times before connecting and I managed to net another bass at about 36cm. As I fought the bass to the kayak another “boof” told me Tristan was on again but his luck had left him and seconds into the fight the bass dropped the lure.
We headed upstream to the first pool and had a few more casts along its length. A solid bass had a cracking strike at my jitterbug within metres of the kayak but apart from this the pool was very quiet. It was a great evening and we didn’t get hole until 1am but it was great catching up with Tristan again and enjoying a night on the water. All I can say is that it is a shame I didn’t give this style of fishing a crack years ago!!