A Good Day!
So after a protracted period off the water due to wind, rain and floods I finally got the opportunity to head out for another big trip on one of my more remote locations. Sunday saw me team up with Rod (RocketV) who was surprisingly keen after our last epic adventure chasing bass in January. This time I had planned an adventure that was no less daunting with a minimum of 15km of river, rock and rapids to traverse in an attempt to find some keen surface smashing bass.
Considering the distance we had to cover it is no surprise that an early start was in order and we launched into a small creek off the main river at 5AM. This enabled us to hang in the first pool and fish safely prior to heading over the first set of rapids to the next pool when the light started to hit the sky. As the dawn approached it was evident that he water was still recovering from the serious rains we had seen in the previous month. It still appeared quite dirty and there was still quite a bit of flow in the upper reaches of the system. The flow did not concern me too much and if anything I was happy for it to help us move quickly between pools and eat away at the considerably distance we had to travel.
As the sky lightened through the mist and created a protracted dawn we were a little apprehensive that the first few pools were relatively quiet until finally a cast beside a partially submerged bush saw my Sammy 65 plucked off the surface and I netted my first bass of the day at 29cmFL. Initially we made very slow progress as we peppered every likely structure in the hope of raising a bass or two as the morning light made it very difficult to target darkly shaded structure. However, we were consistently managing to find a few bass that were seriously keen on smashing our surface lures.
Any cast that was placed within striking distance was subsequently smashed off the surface often the instant it touched the surface or within the first couple of twitches. Rod and I initially targeted any deeply shaded structure until we finally cracked the first pattern of the day. The bass were definitely at the bottom end of the pools we were fishing and any cast at any form of structure was likely to raise some interest. The great thing was that the bass were all a reasonable size with most over 30cmFL and he smallest at 25cmFL.
Sadly it was very late in the day that we also then discovered that the bass were just as keen in the sun as they were in the shade. I had moved to the opposite bank to give Rod full access to the shaded section at the bottom of a large pool. Casting into the timber in the full sun on my side of the river I managed to pull two good mid-thirties fork length fish while Rod failed to find any in the shade, soon after Rod managed to have his lure smashed by a high thirties fish hiding under an overhang on a boulder in the middle of the river.
The further we paddled away from any form of public access the fishing just got better and better. Normally I can recall every hit and subsequent capture or loss but on this trip the bass were all such a good size that it is difficult to recall one strike from another.
The most memorable battles were from the larger fish caught on the day all of which seemed to be holding beneath sedges on granite boulder lined banks or under overhangs of the boulders themselves. The first decent bass I managed was from a cast just beneath a deeply shaded overhang on a rock face. Truth to tell as the lure landed there was a minor disturbance around the lure and the next thing I knew I was on. The bass like many during the day seemed to be playing very nicely and screaming out of the structure once hooked which made them much easier to play to the yak. My first good bass went 37cmFL and like many others caught during the day had engulfed he lure making extraction very difficult.
Later that morning another good bass exploded on the lure as it landed and took off like a mackerel into the current and he middle of the river. This became problematic as like many of the bass in this system he was holding in the very last stretch of the pool just before some serious rapids. In the video this is the last section of footage and you will see me land the bass and place it on he mat between my legs before paddling like crazy to avoid disaster. This was my best fish for the day and went 40cmFL and like the other bass took some delicate work to extract the lure. For some reason once swallowed the trebles were getting pinned in opposite directions and working against each other when I tried to remove them.
We finally reached the halfway point and I knew from previous visits that the river dropped rapidly in elevation from this point, creating some serious rapids which required some tough portage to get around. The rapids we were able to confidently run were great fun but more often than not they would fill both our kayaks with water that subsequently had to be emptied which was painfully frustrating. The upside was that the bass just got bigger on average although no monstrous fish were caught during the whole trip.
I missed one good fish that was well over the 40cm mark and I also captured hat hit on film. I cast next a fallen stand of bamboo that always seems to hold reasonable fish. I walked the lure for a few twitches when a large broad shouldered bass knifed through the waters and hit the lure. I was very briefly on before the hooks pulled and I watched a lovely solid gold flank slip back into the inky depths
We were now catching some solid fish with quite a few between 36cmFLto a nice 39.5cmFL bass caught by Rod in a nice granite alcove. As the day wore on the pressure to paddle harder and fish less became more urgent and eventually we just had to do a solid paddle to the exit to enable us to make the long drive home at a reasonable time. At one point Rod managed to lose his grip on his kayak and it made its way downstream without Rod and luckily avoided hitting any structure and rolling over.
It was extremely difficult to paddle to our exit point without casting at so many opportunistic structures due to our time constraints. The last pool was glorious and it was such a shame to leave it untouched. We arrived at the launch and did the car juggle so that we could pack our gear and head home.
We were absolutely exhausted but the advantage of such trips is that you can get into country very few people are willing to put in the hard work to reach. The results are often very rewarding and this day was no exception. By the end of the day we had managed well over thirty fish the majority over 30cmFL and almost all off the top! It really was a very good day!