Well the season had a much slower start for me than previous seasons. Traditionally I would hit the water on the night of September first in the chance of finding a few fish to kick the season off but this year it was not meant to be. With a bigger session planned for the following Saturday I wasn’t too disappointed, until the forecast of rain and wind put a stop to it which I must admit had me a little crushed! I couldn’t really see myself getting out at all until the following weekend and I was devastated, as the forecast for the week was a shocker with high winds and a little rain the following weekend. It wasn’t until mid-Sunday (Fathers Day) that I finally hatched a plan with Rod to take advantage of the milder weather that night and convinced him to head out with me and chase a few bass.
So with my boys heading to bed after a fantastic Father’s day I jumped in the car and headed off to our chosen location to open the season. We arrived well into the dark and with the moon barely visible, zero wind and a little cloud cover conditions where pure magic. The launch point was a fair distance from where we kitted up and required quite a bit of portage down the river through the scrub to launch the yaks. When we first reached the river to begin our portage we were amazed to see how high the water levels were and realised the late winter rains had really given the bass a good opportunity to make their way upstream.
It also gave us a chance to throw a few lures in the pools as we headed downstream as well. The first pool we reached was narrow but it did have a large rocky outcrop that acted as a barrier to migrating bass. The water was running strongly through the rocks and fell into a relatively shallow pool that rarely held a fish. However, after months of not casting a lure both Rod and I were too excited not to throw a few speculative casts in the pool. It wasn’t longer until Rod copped a hit and I had a couple as well. Rod then hooked up soon after and seconds later I had as well and we started our season with a double hook up. My bass was just a rat but Rod had managed a fish just shy of 40cmFL to open his season, and it gave us a great boost of confidence to catch a couple of fish minutes after arrival.
The magic start then continued with Rod netting another 3 bass in our first pool and then I managed another bass further downstream before we even hit the water in our yaks. When we finally slipped our kayaks into a much larger pool surrounded by the canopy of trees growing on the riparian fringe it was amazing. The water was mirror calm and warm and everything was just perfect as we began casting everywhere. The bass were relentless too and our dream start was turning into one of the best night sessions I had had in years. The size wasn’t there, but when you are catching multiple bass between 28-39cmFL o your opening session you just can’t complain.
We moved from pool to pool and the fishing was smoking hot! We were missing heaps and catching plenty and they were literally in every part of the pools. It was obvious we had launched into a section of river where the bass were clearly on the move upstream and had not managed to disperse that far after the moderate winter rain. Rod was even throwing on a variety of lures he hadn’t caught bass on before, just to give them a run, and all of them were producing interest if not a netted bass.
The only sad moment for me was when a lure I had reliably used for years, one of my Nobroko Softcadas, finally died after catching me hundreds of bass! As a result for the rest of the night I fished with the ever reliable Tiemco SSC which Rod was also having success on and the fishing continued to fire!
The river had also changed significantly indicating that the recent water levels had risen high enough to shift large amounts of sediment and alter the course of the river slightly. New stands of timber also made the whole experience feel like you were exploring a new river. You just couldn’t imagine anything that could make the session any better.
My biggest bass for the evening went 39cmFL and was really a token fish after I dropped a much better fish moments earlier. I had spied some surface movement near a large log that has managed to remain in place after many floods. It was also a consistent producer of quality fish and so I was keen to get a lure amongst the disturbance in the hope it was a large marauding bass. Casting into the ripples, I twitched the lure a little before starting a crawl across the surface. It wasn’t long before the lure was smashed and I was hooked onto a solid fish. The bass ran deep taking a spurt of drag before I felt the connection to the fish suddenly vanish to my dismay. I quickly continued to cast around the timber in the hope of finding another quality fish and the lure was eventually belted again. The fish hooked up, and eventually after a good fight I netted my biggest bass for the evening.
We reached our standard turn around point at 11:11PM and the bass were still smashing our lures. It was so hard to head home but knowing it was a work night we knew we had to paddle hard back to the cars so that we could get some sleep. We picked up a few more on the way home and it really was hard to leave with the bass so keen to smash our lures. Both of us had managed to net over twenty bass each to start the season and missed many more. By the time I slipped into bed it was 1AM and I knew I would be exhausted when I headed off to work but by god it was worth it!!