Exploring New Bass Waters
So with the rain we had for most of last week and most of the rivers I usually fish being unfishable I headed off to do some exploring. As a result I found a number of creeks that run relatively clear and return to a relatively normal flow quite quickly after the rain. So on Monday I was off to one of these creeks to chase some bass.
I had also picked up a cheap Sit In from BCF that I had fitted out with various bits and pieces and I wanted to see how it travelled and what I needed to adjust to make it a better fishing platform.
So I was off early as always, and by early I mean ridiculously early. The time of the morning when you wonder what the hell everyone else is doing on the road! I arrived at my destination to find the creek still high but running clear, just how I like it for fishing the surface. So I set up the kayak (much faster than the Tempo mostly because it doesn’t have the capacity and makes you really think about what you need) and I was off!
I’d also picked up another 2-4kg Strudwick Sic Stick Pro bait-caster rod to match my other and a 250m real of 8lb Sufix Matrix Pro which I put on my two Daiwa Sol baitcasters. This gave me two identical rods to fish with as changing between two non-identical sticks had been frustrating me. Let me tell you that the matching outfits made fishing a dream.
On one rod I tied a Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada for the pre-dawn and on the other as always the Lucky craft Sammy 65. The Soft Shell coped a few hits early and my first hook-up (I always seem to drop my first fish of the day!) before I managed a 22cm bass on the Sammy and a 30cm model soon after.
The light appeared in the sky and the creek was running nice and clear through a rock and pebble covered stream. The creek contained a lot of rock and had gouged tracks into the sides of the hills over time. This was very different to the typical waters I fished which were lined with timber.
The next pool I was hit twice by small bass and I realised that the water was so clear that I could see them attacking the lure. This same hole seemed to hold heaps of rat bass that would bump the lure and chase it on every retrieve but never hook up. Numerous lure changes got repeated hits but no hook-ups and just as the lure reached the yak there would be a bass flashing silver as he headed back to the middle of the creek.
The next pool and I managed a 33 and 35cm bass on the Sammy and missed a few others and found that this new creek was spectacular in terms of scenery. Previously I had headed downstream and found this upstream section to be just as scenic.
I continued getting hits in most pools and finally reached a pool that had a granite cliff sloping into the water. For those that have read my previous posts you will know I love fishing this structure. The shaded corners of these cliffs always seem to hold bass and often good ones. This cliff was no exception, the lure went in to a shaded corner and a single twitch had it disappear in a swirling eddy as the bass took off to the bottom. Originally I thought it was a small bass as the hit was very gentle but with the rod loaded up and the drag peeling every now and then I knew it was either foul hooked or a reasonable fish. A short tussle and I landed a nice 39cm bass, which equalled the best from my previous trip. The bass in this system also pull like freight trains and fight hard!
After this the next few pools more or less were quiet. I noticed that there were hundreds of turtles in this pool on all the best structure and as I approached they would jump in as always. I’ve always wondered whether that effects the fishing? In one hole there were so many turtles lining the bank that as I approached the nearest one he launched into the water followed synchronously by the other hundred turtles lining the bank in the distance. I felt like I was watching some cheesy commercial!
Eventually I managed another 33cm bass in a shaded pool to break the dry spell. The next pool was fairly shallow on one side and I walked the yak up while casting at the deeper bank. A coped a small hit on the retrieve and in the clear water I was entertained watching a keen but small bass hit and chase the lure all the way back to a foot from my legs where he hit it again before swimming off. Gee the fish were aggressive!
This pool yielded me another 30+cm model before I reached the head. Here the creek narrowed down to a deeply gouged “mini gorge” (sorry best way I could describe it), where the water had dug a channel into the rocky earth. It was in the full sun and appeared a milky light blue colour due to the depth and light coloured rock. At its head was a strong flowing rapid that poured into the gorge. I had discovered this sort of structure held bass on our last trip when I fished a similar structure.
First cast and the sammy was hit by a small bass that shot off the bottom out of the milky depths to hit the Sammy. He chased for a little bit before heading back to the bottom. Very entertaining while standing above the gorge and watching. In the Sammy went again hoping to get the bass to rise up from the milky depths to hit the lure again. I walked the Sammy down with the current when a bigger bass shot up from the gloom at speed to hit the lure and drag in down to the bottom. I got to see it power at least 2 metres to hit the lure and gee it was fast. It went 39cm again and it was a shame I couldn’t video it as it was awesome to watch.
The fish went quiet again and the river went quite shallow requiring some long distance portage to get to the next few holes before I eventually reached a causeway that was fairly high. I pondered whether to keep heading upstream and decided to keep going as it was only early. I missed a fish just above the causeway and the next 3 hours were dead. I eventually bit the bullet to turn around and head back to the car. Casting in the same spot above the causeway where I had previously missed a fish I nabbed another 33cm bass. Gotta love missing fish and reworking the same area after it has had time to settle down to catch potentially the same fish that missed earlier.
On the way down it seemed the larger bass in the system had switched on, maybe it was the heat or the cicadas but I missed some good fish on the return journey as I reworked the good looking structure on the return journey.
Casting into a small patch of dark shade below another cliff face I was smashed by a good bass that sprayed water everywhere in its enthusiasm to nail the lure. It put up a good fight before sliding into the net and went 40cm. It was a nice bass for this system and had me wondering why I was catching bass consistently around the 39-40 mark ( Must have been a good spawning/recruitment year). The larger bass were really broad across the back and pure muscle, very different to some of the bass in other systems I have fished.
I copped some good hits on the way down and missed some good fish. Almost all of them would not return for a second look and if you missed them on their first strike they didn’t return no matter what you threw back in their direction. It might have something to do with the shallow water. Most of the bass were coming off the bottom and few were hiding amongst the timber. Long casts parallel to shaded banks accounted for a number of fish.
The final bass for the day was caught on one of these casts. Casting parallel to a deeply shaded bank the Sammy was smashed again by a good sized, highly aggressive bass who fought well above his weight. Eventually netted she went 40cm again and made for a great last fish. The rat bass kept me entertained for the rest of the journey back to the car striking and missing the lure on numerous occasions. The clouds had also started to gather with a few spits of rain which in this system meant it was time to go. All up it was a great day with 15 bass netted and a huge number of missed or lost on the way to the net.
Sorry for some of the photos I am still working on my camera mount which needs lowering!