Chilly Night Session with Wayne
After getting a taste of surface action on the weekend chasing the aggressive little Aussie Bass I was keen to get in another session soon after. This time I decided to head south, and teed up a trip with WayneD who I knew lived quite close to my chose system. It was a relatively late start for both of us as I was running late and so was Wayne with me hitting the water before he had even arrived.
The full moon was out as I dragged my yak to the launch point and it was dead set like a monstrous beacon lighting up the landscape. When I arrived at my entry point I found the river had changed significantly since last autumn when Debbie had ripped through creating massively eroded banks and making the portage to my usual launch much more difficult. When I finally reached the river’s edge I found it to be very shallow, but knew that this did not really matter to bass especially at night.
I slipped into the water making sure to keep my feet dry as I knew that it was going to get cold and so I had dressed appropriately. I had brought my wet shoes and had stowed them in the back but I knew I was being overly optimistic and that eventually me feet were going to have to enter the rivers chilly surface. I started casting the first pool which typically fishes poorly and it lived up to expectation with even a bump. As i reached the end of the pool I heard Wayne making his way into the water and by the time he reached me it was time to exit to the next pool.
We slipped into the next section of the river and started targeting opposite banks. The moonlight was making fishing difficult as the bass were clearly acting like it was a sunny day, receding into the safety of moon shadows which quickly became our target. I was the first to get some action when a small bass hit my Arbogast Jointed Jitterbug and missed only to hit it again and briefly hook up before the trebles pulled.
I then spent a fair amount of time casting in exposed parts of the river where the moonlight reflected off the water and even though the timber I was targeting looking fantastic, there was not a bass in sight. It wasn’t until Wayne disappeared into a pocket of deep darkness that we both heard a bass feeding in the gloom ahead of Wayne before another bass smashed his lure close to the kayak and failed to hook up. Soon after we heard another bass on Wayne’s bank and knew that there was a chance we would find some feeding fish.
Eventually I reached a nice long section of bank that had structure and darkness and I was hopeful I would find a bass lurking in the depths. Sure enough a cast close to a patch of fringing Lomandra was hit with a solid whack and I was onto a nice fish to start the night. At 34cmFL it was still underwhelming but I was glad to avoid the donut.
Sadly the rest of the prime structure was devoid of surface action and even after we reached the head of the pool I was disappointed to find that one of my favourite locations in this section of the river was devoid of surface feeding fish. I decided to poke up a little further into an area of the pool that I rarely fish due to its depth, which was quite shallow. It had changed a little since the Autumn flooding rains and so I send a cast high up into the shallows which were shrouded in darkness. I couldn’t see the hit but I heard it which ilicited an “ohhhhh” from me followed by an “I’m on!” when the bass smashed my lure. It was a solid fish and I had no idea where it was, or where it was going in the dark, but as it pulled me around I eventually felt my leader rubbing firmly on timber and I knew I was in trouble. I was well and truly stitched up and had to paddle over to the snag which I was sure the bass had pinged me on and released itself, butt as I reached into the water to extricate the lure I found the bass still connected and after some careful extraction I awkwardly netted a solid 39cmFL bass.
We continued upstream and eventually reached a point where wet feet were unavoidable and I had to change my shoes. It didn’t really matter as between the bass caught, net, drips from the paddle and extrication of a snag caught bass I was already pretty wet and cold as the temperature was dropping fast. Wayne just thought I was soft as he only had on a pair of shorts.
We moved through some shallow pools having a few fruitless casts but I was keen to try one more pool before we headed home.
We eventually reached my favourite pool and cast away for absolutely nothing. All the prime real estate was a little high and dry with the lack of water but I thought we would find something. We reached the head of the pool which I knew was very shallow, however after my previous success in the lower pool I thought I might find a bass in the shallows. We had a few cast for nothing, and were chatting away as the kayaks were right next to each other in the narrow river, when there was a solid “boof” on my lure. The conversation instantly died and after a pause I re-commenced my retrieve when the bass returned to hit it again and miss. The lure was now really close to the kayak and even when I dragged the lure along the surface I could not raise the hungry fish much to my disappointment.
We kept casting into the shallows and chatting when I cast into the corner of the river where the water from the rapids ran into the pool and there was some Lomandra overhanging the water line. Mid-sentence there was an almighty “boof” and I was on to a good fish in ultra shallow water. The bass went berserk, and there was splashing everywhere as I fought it to the yak where it was very green and splashing around like a hooked Barra. After a few attempts to net the crazy fish I was sure I was going to lose it but I eventually netted another 39cmFL bass to make for an awesome little night session.
We headed basic down stream, casting at all the shaded areas of the river without a single touch. By the time we reached our exit point the temperature had finally reached a point that now Wayne was starting to feel uncomfortable. So we dragged our kayaks back to the car with icy cramped fingers and I was so relieved when I was able to drag on some warm, dry cloths. It was a great little session considering it wasn’t the peak of summer and has me itching to head out again soon!