Well the intention had been to head off for potentially my last bass session of the season with Biggles. Unfortunately work commitments meant Biggles had to pull out so I headed off on my own anyway. The very chilly nights of the last week and the phone call from another bass fisho (Enjpyfish1) indicating his lack of success on a trip earlier in the week had left me a little pessimistic about my success. I had also read my report from this time last year where I had only managed 6 bass for the day which added fuel to my negative intuition of a slow day.
So I headed off relatively early, but at least this time with the late sunrise I could sleep in a little longer before I headed out. The temperature was well into the single figures and as a result I had dressed to suite the conditions. In future when I feel the need to drag out the thermal underwear, beanie and wear a hoodie and jacket to stay warm it probably means the bass might be a little shy. To make matters worse half way into the drive I realised that I had left the camera at home and would have to use the phone to take my photos.
Arriving at the launch spot the air was freeezzzing but the water felt quite warm so I was quietly confident. Launching the yak I began casting with a Bassday Feather crank which is nice and noisy but it failed to generate any interest in the pre-dawn dark. As the sun emerged over the horizon the valley was immersed in a grey light which is my favourite bass fishing time. I switched to my favourite lure this season, a Luckycraft Sammy 65 and after 15 minutes of casting I got my first hit. The bass had come screaming out of cover with its back breaching the surface. It missed the lure’s trebles by a mile and almost head butt the lure. It looked like the bass had pulled out of the strike late and unfortunately it did not return for another look.
Further up the creek I reached a nice undercut bank beneath a large fig tree which almost always holds bass. On the third cast it didn’t disappoint with a nice bass boiling the lure but not following after it as I walked it back to the kayak. I eagerly cast back into the strike zone and after a few twitches the lure was solidly hit and the bass took off. To my horror line peeled off the reel as though the drag was barely set and only after some manual thumb control did I manage to control the bass and encourage him into the net. I was a happy camper with a 38cm bass opening the account.
Once I took a few photos I checked my drag setting and was shattered to find that the drag washers seemed to have failed on my last trip of the season. Bugger! I decided to keep fishing and hoped that I could manually control the fish with my thumb but was a little pessimistic if a half reasonable bass took an interest in my lure. I was encouraged with the two hits early in the session and hoped that this boded for a good day.
I reached the top of the pool and after lugging the yak to the next pool I decided to inspect my Daiwa Sol baitcaster. I was very happy to discover that it wasn’t the drag that had failed, instead the braid was spinning freely on the spool. It seemed that the cold had caused the aluminium spool to shrink and as a result the loop tied onto the spool was no longer creating any pressure. As a result I spent some time removing the line and tying it through one of the holes in the spool. This solved the problem, Yeah! I also realised just how beautiful the day was, it was a shame it was so cold!
The next couple of hours resulted in absolutely no action what so ever. I cast multiple lures ranging from surface to divers to Jackall TN50’s but there was no interest. With no action below the surface either I decided to persist with my favourite style of fishing and returned to the surface. I switched to a Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada and decided to cast next to promising structure and flick the rod tip gently to allow the wings of the lure to twitch on the spot. This way I hoped the lure would remain in the potential strike zone and enable any lazy bass not to have to travel far to hit the lure.
Casting along a rocky embankment I spied a small bass hit something at the surface and so I cast directly above where I had seen the hit. I twitched the lure repeatedly and after a few twitches it was plucked off the surface by a small bass which after dragging the lure below the surface dropped the lure without touching the trebles. Bugger! He was only small but on a slow day any fish is a good thing.
20 m further up the creek I repeated this technique and managed a second hit from another reasonable fish with a similar result. The lure was hit hard and the bass dragged the cicada below the surface before dropping it after a short run. Double bugger!
I switched back to the Sammy and used a similar technique of casting the lure in tight and twitching it continuously in the timber in the hope of stirring up a bass. After repeated attempts it finally paid off with a nice 34cm bass smashing the lure in really tight and causing me a little grief in the thick timber.
The fishing was really slow and I continued on casting for a little further because the day was so nice. The bass had shown little interest and so I decided to turn around and head back to the car. I cast a few divers around in the hope of finding the odd bass but the fish had completely shut down. On returning to the car I decided to head to another creek that is typically teeming with fish just to see if the fish had actually shut down on whether it was just this creek I had chosen for this trip.
On arriving at the second creek I explored a bit in the car finding multiple new launch locations for next season. I eventually arrived at a place where I knew I could fish a couple of pools in the small amount of time I had before I had to head back to the family. First cast into the first pool and a feisty bass hit the lure towards the end of a retrieve and missed the trebles. I then cast at every part of the pool with no interest. This was a pool that on my last trip I had caught about 7 bass so I was finally convinced that the season was over. There was no my room for denial!
I hit the second pool and continual casting was fruitless. It wasn’t until I reached the top of the pool that a nice bass hit the Sammy and missed. I paused the lure and without a twitch the bass hit it again and I coaxed a 32cm bass to the yak to finish the day. This fish was such a different colouration to the fish in the other creek which always appear a bronze/gold colour. This fish was very dark and came out of crystal clear water.
So the season was over as much as I hated to admit it. The fact that my feet were numb from the icy waters I had been walking in may have also been helpful in making my decision to call it a season. It’s been a great year and I can’t wait to 2012. Bring on September!