Back on the Water
After a slow start to 2017 I finally managed to head out for a full day trip with Rod on the weekend. We decided to head to a system that held good numbers of fish and although not renowned for their size, they did provide an opportunity to get some video footage. The system was one of the furthest trips we take time-wise so an early start was in order to attempt to get us on the water early for a long days paddle.
When we arrived we found the river was looking great and we were really keen to hit the water and start throwing a few lures.
It wasn’t long until both Rod and I started to find a few fish in the low thirties and it was really exciting to find them super- keen to hit our surface lures. In some sections of the river the bass were really thick and seemed to be holding in the middle of the larger pools especially in the heavily shaded areas. At one stage casting into the middle of a pool, that was completely shaded over, had me getting repeated hits until finally I hooked up on a decent fish that steamed towards the yak and just as I got a chance to set the hooks they pulled.
This system like a few we fish had a few long stretches of deep shade we affectionately name “bass alleys”. In these stretches the river often narrows enough that the canopy encloses over the river and the bass simply love these stretches. Our casting strategy often changes also as in these river sections the bass are not limited to the shade provided by structure and will happily sit and swim in the open water looking for prey. Rod and I will often cast in all directions and more often than not we will successfully net multiple fish over a relatively short distance.
We continued downstream consistently catching average sized bass regularly tight to structure.
The pools continued to produce bass after bass and although none of them rated size wise, they were so numerous that the surface action was awesome fun. It just seemed that the bigger models had their radar off line or would hook up and then throw the lure in all many of ways.
At one point we reached a large creek mouth that I decided to poke into as it almost always holds a few fish. The mouth of the creek like many of the pools in this system was heavily shaded by the surrounding canopy and the water was crystal clear and tinged brown by tannins leaching from surrounding trees. I managed to find a few fish and dropped the hooks early in the fight on quite a few.
A little further up the creek was running quite dirty and towards the top of the first pool I found another school of hungry fish sitting in the dirty water. This lead to another entertaining little session with plenty of missed hits and a few rats to add to the day’s tally.
Rod found me having a ball in the creek mouth and soon after his arrival we decided to poke up the narrow creek a little further on foot. The next pool saw us manage to hook up on a couple more fish and I even found a dead Tiger snake floating down the river which made us a little more wary trudging through the thick Lomandra. The stupid thing was I picked it up to have a quick look and later thought “What if it wasn’t quite dead!”. Hindsight is an amazing thing!
As always seems to be the case with schooled fish the biggest bass of the group had managed to get the prime position below the running water and the second my Sammy 65 touched the water he was all over it. Yet again the bass came screaming towards the kayak and I struggled to keep up with the fish and maintain connection. I thought that I was gong to lose another bass as I had not had the opportunity to set the hooks but luckily he had hit the lure hard enough to remain connected and I netted a 35cmFL bass. Not huge but it ended up being my biggest for the trip.
We continued down stream and as always seems to be the case the closer we got to the exit point the fishing slowed. I missed a cracker of a fish that smashed my lure twice and missed before shying away and even though I returned a little later to try and entice the fish further he remained cagey and refused to be fooled again.
By the time we reached the exit pool we had managed in excess of 30 fish with plenty of missed opportunities. It really is a great system to target when you need a good bass fix and also to get some great video. It just shame the big fish that have resided here in the past have not been present for a few years. We really need some good Spring/Early Summer rains as we have been getting plenty of good falls in the Autumn to get them downstream but none to get good numbers of fish back upstream!