First “Official” Night Session
So with the nights just starting to warm a little and the single figure temperatures disappearing as spring starts to take a grip, I decided it was time for another night session. The original plan was a foray into the dark on Thursday night but with winds tipped to peak upwards of 20 knots I was forced to alter my plans. A call to a friend who is just beginning his apprenticeship on bass and kayak fishing in general had him jumping at the bit to head off on another adventure and we after some planning we were ready to go.
We hit the water at about 7.30PM and it was a glorious night, reminding me of how nice it is to be on the water after dark. Initially on turning on our headlamps the insect life was crazy and swarming around our faces. This is a good thing as iit means the bass have something to chase already but can be really annoying as well. However, once on the water we switched them off and allowed our eyes to adjust to the gloom.
The first few hours were very slow with not a touch in the first pool, although it appeared the black jointed jitterbug I was using was getting some attention with the occasional swirl below the lure as it neared the kayak. The second pool was almost a repeat of the first and I was very close to calling it quits and was going to suggest we head back to the car when Brett copped the first hit of the night. It sounded like a solid hit as the water imploded around the jitterbug with a hollow “boof” . Being a beginner his first instinct was to strike which resulted in the lure launching back to the kayak and repeated casts by both of us could not entice the bass to return.
We continued to the next pool and our lines were constantly assailed by microbats. My first few night sessions had me baffled as to what the little hits on the lure were, until I realised that the vibrating line must act like an insect flying along the water’s surface. I have had one tangle in my braid before and occasionally had them buzz my head in the dark. This night the river was teeming with them and I imagine they have been hibernating over winter and waiting for the first balmy nights to raise the insects out of the grass so they can fatten up after a winter fast!
Soon after hitting the third pool Brett’s lure was “boofed” I the night and a query flung across the river conformed that he was on although it wasn’t huge. I didn’t care as it meant the night was a success at the very least with Brett managing his first “night bass”. I kept casting as he played out the fight and was also rewarded with my first hit, although the bass was a ” one hit wonder” and didn’t return for a second grab at the lure.
I paddled over to Brett and helped him a net a nice little bass in the mid to late twenties. We took a few snaps for Brett to add to the start of his brag book and although small it was an upgrade from his last session with me late last season. We continued down the pool and my Tiemco soft shell was finally sucked off the surface. It wasn’t a big fish but I had cast into “Tiger country” in an attempt to find a few bass tucked away out from the open water. At 29cmFL it wasn’t a monster, but it meant no donut, and that I could focus on finding a few more rather than the possibility of a bruised ego!
The remainder of the pool was quiet and so we ventured into the last pool before heading back to the cars and home to bed. Brett’s jitterbug was smashed again in the night by a bass that committed itself so much that it left the water and I could see it flapping around above the waterline in the gloom. Again Brett reacted too quickly and the bass disappeared before getting a second shot at the lure. I didn’t turn the headlamp on to see how it had left the water but it was one of the more unusual things I have seem night bassing!
Soon after a long cast by me along a grassy bank was rewarded by a resounding “pop” in the dark followed by another but the bass failed to hook up. Initially repeated casts could not raise the bass again until the bass had a solid strike at the Soft shell metres from my kayak. I had the patience and the poise to allow the lure to pause and without the slightest of twitches the bass smashed the lure and I was on to my second fish of the night. This one was a touch bigger at 35cmFL but very lean although it did go hard for such a skinny fish. In the process of measuring him, he attempted to make an early release and I managed to get spiked in both palms. I can tell you this, that is one aspect of bass fishing I do not miss!!
With throbbing and numb palms I continued working the edges while Brett did likewise on the far bank. He had another follow and hit inches from his kayak and then my highlight of the night came. Casting at another grassy fringe, the Tiemco hit the surface and just as I engaged the reel there was a “boof” and I was on to a solid fish. Drag peeled in spurts from the spool and the bass took off in all directions as I paddled with one arm out to the middle of the creek. This bass gave me a great work out until I eventually slipped a solid bass into the net. Measuring 41.5cmFL it was a great fish and unlike the others caught had some weight still on.
We continued casting until the need to turn back and head to the cars was too strong. On the way back we had a quick cast over areas that had held multiple fish in the past and I was rewarded again with another good hit and I was on to another bass. This fish measured 34cmFL and was a nice way to end a nice little night session early in the season.
Must admit I love this form of fishing, although the photos can never fully capture how nice it is to be on the water after dark. The best thing is I can do it once the kids are asleep and it’s a much better option than sitting on my a^$e watching TV!