Better Night Session (A Little!)
I arrived home on Thursday night and after a brief chat with my wife Nike before going to my son’s parent teacher interviews she said why don’t you go for a fish tonight! Seconds later, after I tore a hole in my shorts to frantically retrieve my phone, I sent out a text to seek out a partner for the trip Simon’s rat had family over and RAD missed the text until the following morning but rocketv was quick to reply with “What’s the plan?”. A quick call later and we had nutted out a plan and were raring to go!
We reached the launch at 7.15PM and the first thing I noticed was the aroma of rotting vegetation, a clear reminder of the rainfall and high river levels the week before. The big question was “Which way had the bass gone during the run?” My hope was that the bass in the pools we were going to fish were in feeding mode preparing for a move in either direction.
After some initial portage we finally reached the river and for the first time this season it was running and running well. The water was crystal clear and we could actually kayak down some of the gentle rapids where earlier in the summer we had to walk it! The other thing I noticed was the number of cane toads!!!! The river was fall of them especially in sections where the water had pooled and was becoming stagnant with rotting vegetation. When they started calling to each other up and down this small sections of river it was a cacophony of noise.
Finally we started casting and conditions were perfect for a surface session even though there was quite a bit of debris on the surface. We both headed to opposite banks and I was a bit disappointed when the top end of the pool fished so poorly when all through summer it had fished so well. Eventually I found a small willing bass that hit my cicada lure twice and missed before it reached the kayak.
The rest of the pool was quiet until I reached a narrow section and sent a cast up the middle. On the first twitch it was sucked off the surface and I was on to a small bass that I eventually netted and released. Upon taking a quick photo of my catch I realised that I had brought my camera without it’s SD card so I was a
We were also amazed at the number of micro-bats in the air in this section of the river. They were constantly buzzing our ears and chittering away and we would often feel the tell-tale pull on our line from them hitting our braid as they mistook it for a flying insect.
As we made our way downstream I heard a surface hit on the bank near me and sent a cast in its direction in the hope that the feeding fish would take an interest. I paused as I allowed the marauding fish to find my lure and when nothing happened I cranked the handle only to find out I was onto a fish. Initially I thought I was onto a good bass until it started to fight a little weird. Usually I avoid turning my light on so that I do not cast the beam across the waterline where I might spook a fish but I decided to have a look and found a dirty great eel on my lure. Thankfully the eel came free just near the kayak but it had already made a mess of me line. The lure was twisted around the leader and absolutely coated in thick mucus. It was such a mess that I had to retie lure and leader in the dark without my glasses! Bugger!
I decided to tie on a lure I had not used in a while. With the bass simply sucking the lure off the surface I decided to switch to a Bassday Feathercrank due to it crawling just below the waterline. We made our way to the next pool and again it was with delight that I could paddle the mild rapids between pools. The pool was very quiet again until I reached the end of the pool. A cast tight to a grassy bank behind a large tree stump was hit on the first twitch and I was onto my second bass for the night. It was another small fish in the low to mid- twenties and in the process of removing the lure I managed to break one of the hooks off the rear treble. I couldn’t be bothered to replace it in the dark which I would come to rue later.
The run to the next pool was great fun in the dark. It was moving quite quickly and the grass lined bank made it safe to travel as long as your rod was stowed carefully. Normally the portage downstream would take a while but this time we reached the next pool in about a minute.
We continued fishing and eventually my Feathercrank was plucked off the surface again on a cast tight to the bank and this time by a better fish. I struggled in the dark to get it to the kayak and the bass darted I all directions. As I reached for the net I felt the hooks pull as the bass changed direction another time. Of course at this point I wondered whether it was the lack of a good rear treble as you do.
We made our way downstream and I continued casting as tight to the grass edge as I could. It was tough in the dark especially seeing the small sliver of moon cast very little light. Some casts would go an inch too far and others too short but occasionally one was perfect and eventually I hooked up again to another average bass. This fish decided not to dive deep and pull and instead thrashed about on the surface so much that it eventually threw the lure again and I decided to change lures rather than trebles in the dark. I still stuck with with the Feathercrank but a bright fluoro colour which made no difference in the inky blackness, however no more bass came out for a play.
It was soon time to head upstream and we began the paddle. We reached the first portage point and realised that the trip upstream would be a lot tougher than the trip downstream. Within the first 5 metres of the drag upstream my shoe managed to get stuck in some soft mud and in my subsequent efforts to pull it free it manage to come free and float downstream. We tried to find it but to no avail and I was left with the unfortunate pleasure of portage barefoot in the dark!
It was late and we spent more time on the move rather than casting, however once we reached the top pool we slowed up again in an attempt to find a last minute fish. I cast at a log I could barely see running tight to the bank and it was a good cast. A few twitches and my wakebait started to swim back to me but it didn’t get far. A couple of feet from the log and my lure was smashed off the top by another average bass. At just over 30cm it was a nice fish to end the night with.
We paddled through cane toad alley and were soon back at the cars. Considering my last few night sessions here it was a reasonably good session for me at least. Sorry Rod!