A slow day’s bassing and new PB! :)
With a few hours free in the middle of the day today I decided to head down to one of my local systems to chase a few bass again. The time slot was not ideal but any window free for a fish in a good window so off I went and I hit the water at 9am.
The river looked perfect, and the background sounds of cicadas and perfect blue skies had me desperate to get that first cast into some nicely shade timber. I have fished this system so many times that I now know all the good structures that repeatedly hold bass and right on cue the first rock face I cast at was rewarded with a solid hit on the Sammy and a brief hook up before the fish spat the lure and swam back to the depths.
After this the surface action went very quiet and unfortunately at the time of day I had chosen to fish left a lot of the river exposed to light which is not ideal when targeting bass. I continued targeting the small pockets of shade I could find but many of these were in shallow water and I quickly switched back to a diver.
I eventually arrived at a structure that has cost me two lures to big fish and even though the structure was completely exposed to the daylight I still braced waiting for the hit. The Sammy generated no interest and so I switched to the Yo-zuri Ghost Shad and first cast I hooked up on a river rat which at least had me on the board.
The head of the pool had a huge amount of submerged timber in deep water and I decided to get down amongst it to see if I good entice a big bass to come out from the depths. I switched to a spinnerbait so I could minimise the chance of losing a lure to the timber and after multiple casts I received a single hit from another rat but no behemoths were interested in the lure.
The next couple of hours I threw cast after cast with the spinnerbait and Sammy but did not see or feel any interest from a bass. The only highlight was seeing a Mary River cod rummaging amongst the rocky bottom looking for what must have been a feed. He was about 50cm long and unfortunately I only saw him at the last minute and eventually spooked him with the shadow of my kayak.
I hit the top of the last pool I planned on fishing before heading downstream and then began my return journey. By now the Sammy had been retired and the Yo-zuri was my primary rod. Eventually a cast into the fringes of a shaded bottlebrush was nailed and a 36cm bass fought hard before being netted. Usually bass in this system are a picture of health, but this fish had quite a few red spots on his body.
I returned to the pool with the large amount of timber at its head and decided to have another cast into the pocket where the small bass had hit the spinnerbait. At this point I had retied the Yo-zuri back on and the first cast in it was smashed and I was in some serious trouble. The huge amount of structure gave the bass multiple targets to brick me and it took quite a bit of maneuvering to negotiate him to the kayak. As I negotiated him over a submerged branch I noticed a dark silhouette following him over the log. The water was a little murky and it was only when the bass got closer to the kayak that I realised it was a large cod attempting to harass (surely not eat??) the 40cm bass I had on the line. He was so preoccupied with the bass that he came screaming at the bass all the way to the kayak and hit the bottom of it before taking off to the depths. It was an awesome sight!
I cast repeatedly at the timber hoping he would reappear but nothing I cast would entice him to re-emerge. I continued down the pool and stopped again at the rock face I had missed a bass earlier in the morning. Casting with the Yo-zuri it was eventually smashed down deep and I was onto a solid fish. It ran deep for a while before coming to the surface where I was pleasantly surprised to find yet another cod. He refused to come to the net and repeated attempts to get him in there saw me doused in water as his big paddle tail displaced a huge amount of water in my direction. It was a very nervous few moments as I anticipated a potential new PB throwing the hooks at the last minute. However, he eventually relaxed enough to slide into the net and I was ecstatic! I had managed a 65cm Mary River cod and a new PB.
I continued downstream and passed my launch point to move into a relatively shallow pool. At the end of the pool the water deepened and was fringed with some impressive structure. Large Melaleucas grew parallel to the water’s edge and created huge areas of shade that were virtually black. It’s these sorts of areas were no light penetrates through the surrounding foliage to the water’s surface that get’s my surface action radar buzzing.
Switching to the Sammy again it was eventually blasted off the surface by a keen bass and again I was in some trouble. I typically cast very tight to any structure and as a result the bass often have the initially upper hand as they drive for the nearest bit of structure. Again I was lucky enough to play the fish out of the timber and netted another bass just shy of 40cm.
The next Melaleuca was a similar structure and I fired a cast right up next to the branch. The first twitch saw it get engulfed and this time I was in serious trouble as the fish was a good one. He had me in amongst a submerged root ball in microseconds and powerful surges and my attempts to extricate him unavoidably saw the leader part after a couple of minutes of to and fro and I was gutted to see my favourite Sammy disappear.
I continued downstream to a large pool that can really fire up on occasion but I only got one hit on the Sammy that saw a 40cm+ bass almost completely emerge from the water in an attempt to hit the lure. It must have expended a lot of energy to make the hit as numerous casts with the Sammy and Yo-zuri could not get entice a follow up hit. The next hour saw my casting arm get a work out for no reward and I headed back to the launch. It was a slow day but the cod made the trip well worth the effort