Dirty River Bassing
The first big bass trip of the season started early as always with a pre-dawn start and a fair drive down to a section of water we discovered late last season. It was a creek I had fished with Fraser and had had an awesome session of 40cm+ bass and as you can imagine I was keen to give it another crack. The mid-week downpours had us a little apprehensive regarding the colour of the water but luckily this creek tends to hold its clarity much better than others so after a quick check of the river heights (slightly raised) we were off.
We arrived in the pre-dawn gloom and were a little disappointed to find the creek up a little more than expected and a little dirty. The only river height we could check was the main system and the creek we were fishing was a slightly different catchment so it must have received a bit more water than the main river. It was a funny colour like tea with too much milk in it but we were there we were keen and we were chasing bass.
On entering the water we realised with the flow that we were moving a lot faster than normal. The first hour saw no action until we finally reached a nice deep pool. Tristan was using a Megabass Grand Siglett and was rewarded with a solid hit from a good sizes slap of silver. The bass missed the lure and refused to come back for a second hit even though we hammered the pool with a number of lures.
The rest of the early morning was disappointing with no bass hitting the surface or sub-surface and I was quite dejected after a good session last season. The only highlight of the morning was Tristan falling into the cool water after trying to re-enter his kayak after a particularly difficult set of rapids. He had chosen a kayak re-entry of high difficulty instead of choosing the easy re-entry, even after my warning of “Do you know what I reckon you have a 75% chance of falling in!!”. So in he went on a cold September morning doing well to keep his kayak upright.
We eventually reached a pool that had been teeming with bass on the previous trip and we were desperately hoping that it would give us a couple of fish to make the long drive worthwhile. Halfway along the pool I was finally rewarded with a “boof” on the Sammy and successive casts by Tristan on the Siglett and me on the Sammy had the fish hit the lure 5 times and miss. The cold water must still have their “radar” a little off as the hits were very subdued. Further down the pool Tristan hooked up on a subsurface lure only for the hooks to pull mid-fight and I missed another surface hit but thankfully this one I picked up on the Sheleft HD Video Sunglasses.
By the end of the pool we were feeling even more dejected after close to 4 hours of fishing we had landed no bass. The only bonus was that with the river up the kayaking was a lot more fun as previously unnavigable sections of the creek could be kayaked with greater ease.
Pool after pool was peppered with lures without a bump until finally Tristan cast below a set of significant rapids and there was a holler that he was on from down the creek. On arrival he had subdued the bass and I quickly netted it, we were both very relived to finally have some runs on the board. His fish went 40cm which was his first for the season and a great start.
We continued to make our way down the creek working the surface with Sammys and then switching to subsurface lures to work the murky depths of deep pools with running water at the head. Finally I managed to hook up on my Yo-zuri 60mm Hardcore Ghost Shad and although not a great fish, I was happy to have netted and photographed a 34cm bass on a hard days fishing.
We eventually arrived at the main river which seemed to have a little less colour than our creek and I switched back to the Sammy. A short distance down the creek I was rewarded with a nice little surface hit and the follow up cast was obviously too tempting as a 37cm bass hit it with gusto and hooked up. After a long morning I had finally managed another surface caught bass.
Tristan had moved ahead and was working the structure with his subsurface lure which limited how tight he could cast his lure. I would then work behind him casting tight with the Sammy and leaving it in the zone for as long as possible to try and entice lazy fish. Eventually I got a solid surface hit next to a grassy sedge and was happy to land my third bass on a very slow days fishing. This bass went 38cm and was creeping closer to the magic 40cm mark.
The afternoon wore on and the bass were still very quiet. I managed another fish from amongst a set of boulders at the head of a pool. This fish hit the lure gently initially and then literally sucked the lure off the surface without a ripple on the subsequent pause. I have found this tends to be the behaviour of bass just before the start of winter when the waters begin to cool so I assume the water was still a little cool for big hits. When netted the fish went 36cm.
The final fish of the day came off a cast that landed into a rocky alcove at the bass of a rock face. This pool has some amazing structure and after numerous trips has not raised a fish in a couple of years. We always joke that there is a big resident cod in there that engulfs any unwary bass. The little bass went 32cm and rounded out a very slow day on the water.
We cast and paddled all the way back to the exit point a little dejected at the low numbers of fish but very happy to be back on the water. After a very cold winter the bass may be a little slow getting there energy up but hopefully in the next few weeks as the waters warm and hopefully the dirt washes out they will be eager to smash the surface again soon!!