Back in the September school holidays , while vacationing at Noosa I had planned on meeting up with RAD (Rob) to explore some of the sweetwaters north of Brisbane. Unfortunately that trip fell through, so when an opportunity to get out on the water with Rob on Saturday became available I happily jumped at the chance. All week I was counting the days as I eagerly waited for the working week to disappear.
It wasn’t until Friday evening that I got the call with directions to our targeted system and I was very excited when I discovered it was a spot I hadn’t explored before. There is nothing better than exploring new locations especially when you have a guide experienced with the new location to talk you through each pool.I arrived very early at about 3.45AM as I had overestimated how long it would take me to drive there and I was too excited to sleep anyway. A short wait in the car saw the sky begin to lighten and eventually the glow of headlights appeared some distance down the road as Rob drove up to the meeting point. A quick bit of chit chat ensued as we kitted out our kayaks and it was as if we had known each other for years. It’s amazing how quickly two people with a similar passion for bass fishing can fall so easily into a comfortable conversation.
The talk continued as we dragged our yaks down through the paddock towards the river, quietly shadowed by very friendly horses. The first stretch of portage was quite significant but we eventually reached the first pool which straight away gave out great bass vibes. The tannin stained waters were clear but almost appeared ink blank in the grey light of dawn and the edges of the pool were a mix of grass, timber and shrubbery that I couldn’t wait to get a cast at. The only annoying thing was that prevailing winds had pushed a massive flotilla of duck weed up to the head of the pool significantly restricting our ability to cast at the various snags at the start of the pool.
I discovered after a chat with Rob that he had tied on my favourite lure the Luckcraft Sammy 65 in MS Black which he had received as a present from his wife. It was the first time he had used the lure and he quickly had the retrieve perfected and managed the first surface hit for the morning that eventually converted into a nice rat bass to begin the morning’s action. Not long after another solid hit saw him manage a second bass of 38cm that hit the lure well out from the grassy edge of the pool.
- First bass of the day to Rob. He caught it with his eyes closed too. Lol!
- A nice upgrade for Rob at 38cm
At this point I was anxious to manage my first fish and spying a nice grassy edge that floated on the surface of the water a goo metre from the bank I fired out a cast. The first twitch of my Sammy saw the lure snare up on a submerged grassy stem and for those that chase bass regularly you will know that no amount of rod flicking will dislodge the lure. I was reluctant to disturb the potential bass holding structure and so I free spooled the baitcaster and positioned it out of the way so that I could fire a cast with my Yo-zuri 60mm Hardcore Ghost Shad. A few twitches and the lure was slammed, I had great difficulties persuading the fish to hid out into the middle, instead of dragging me into his lair, but with a paddle in one hand and maintaining pressure on the fish with the other I managed to coax the bass out. The bass continued to fight hard out in the middle but with a patient hand I eventually managed to net a nice 46cm bass to start the day.
A switch baited 46cm bass
Rob and I continued down the pool both casting Sammy 65’s and both with black colour patterns I( I was using a Sammy with the Archer Bee colouration). We continued to catch fish off the top although the size was average with most fish in the high 20’s to early 30’s. Towards the end of the pool I heard a big hit on the surface and turned to see a massive boil and Rob loaded up. A split second later the pressure on the line vanished and a quiet howl and slump of shoulders on Rob’s behalf indicated that both the bass and the lure were gone. Bugger!
I love doing this!
We soon reached the bottom of the pool and after a short amount of portage we made our way to the next bit of fishable water. Again, like the previous pool this water had duck weed pushed towards the upper end that made it really unfishable with surface lures. I had given Rob one of my spare Sammys in a Ghost Minnow pattern. After a short distance we reached a rock wall that had a deep recess into the bank and some timber lining its edge as well as some sedges trailing in the water. I had seen a bass hit the surface while at the head of the pool and was keen to give it a cast.. The first cast saw the lure repeatedly hit 2 or 3 times before eventually a 30 plus bass took the lure. This was repeated two more times in different parts of the recess with the biggest bass going 38cm.
- A nice 38cm bass gives me something to smile about
Throughout the morning Rob had been tagging the bigger bass we caught and at this point I was given a lesson on how to tag fish as well as eventually tag my own.
A tagged bass ready for release
- We continued down the pool where another rocky outcrop pushed into the creek and a larger pool of deep water sat on its upward side. A long cast by Rob saw the Sammy slurped at by what appeared to be a small fish and this happened about 4 times before the fish finally took his lure and took off. Previous estimates of it being a small fish were quickly dismissed and a good fight eventually saw Rob land a 45cm bass which was his PB off the surface. Repeated casts into this pool saw me land another three 40cm+ bass off the surface. Rob and I at one point both went to cast at the same spot and I was a split second faster which saw him pull his cast. I commented about poaching his fish when a split second later the water erupted around my motionless Sammy and cut me off from the sentence. A 43cm bass had jumped all over the lure just after touch down which had made me jump a mile.
A 45cm bass gives Rob a new surface PB
Another 40cm plus surface caught fish
And one more!
The pool that held seven surface hungry bass
After this we moved on to the next pool and again the duckweed was pushed upstream. We attempted a few casts into the areas where the duckweed was not as thick and I managed another 35cm bass before moving further downstream. Unlike the previous pool this section of water was riddled with heavy timber and Rob had previously commented that this was “tiger country”. Rob moved further downstream while I peppered the structure higher up in the pool. Rob missed one good hit as he cast parallel to s set of timber and I past him to cast at the next set of structure. I then managed another 35cm bass off the bank while Rob missed another casting along the opposite bank.We eventually reached a large stand of timber at the bottom of the pool that was covered in some form of vine all the way down to the waterline. Little openings appeared at its edge that gave small amounts of shade to target, with one large opening, clear of vines, that contained a large log running along its surface. To make it even more inviting baitfish where boiling along its surface and both Rob and I saw the occasional surface hit breaking up the school.
We began peppering the area with casts and eventually I was onto an average bass and then Rob managed one a heartbeat after mine for a double hook-up.
Double Hook Up!
We continued casting and Rob’s lure was smashed again only for the hooks to pull half way through the fight. I then cast into a small shaded pocket with my Sammy and after a few twitches the water exploded around the lure and thankfully the bass was persuaded away from the timber. The fight was a good one and eventually I netted another quality bass at 44cm. We continued to pepper the timber hoping to entice a few more bass to come out and play and eventually I sent a cast up tight against the log beneath the vines. The lure hit the log and fell into the water where after a few twitches it was smashed by a good bass. This bass was a serious contender, and had me stitched up in some unseen structure beneath the surface. Being early in the fight it had some serious energy and it disposal and some powerful surges ground my leader to dust and bass and lure were gone. Double bugger!
Caught me a tiger!
I switched to a brand new lure in MS black and we moved onto the final pool. Rob was first to have his lure hit but the bass missed and refused to come back for a second look. I then managed a hit off a log that saw the bass miss the lure but unlike Rob’s fish this one happily hit the Sammy on the follow up cast and I netted another nice bass at 38cm.
Another 38cm bass caught in a pool with a major fish kill
As we made our way down the pool we began to notice that the water was much dirtier than the previous pools. We then began encountering dead bass on the surface, at first one or two but then we began to hit double figures. The pool had all the hallmarks of a fish kill. At one point I even found a bass swimming stationary on the surface in full sun and I was able to grab him by the tail before he swam off. We tried casting for a bit but the numerous dead fish and lack of interest in some awesome looking structure saw us turn around and head back to the previous pools.
The trip back to the launch saw us cast a few speculating casts at structure we had fished earlier in the morning but except for my lure coping a single hit it was very quiet. We reached the first pool again and the wind had significantly increased. We cast for a little while with Rob managing a sub- twenties bass off the top before family commitments meant he had to depart. I decided to stay on for a little while and decided to switch to a different style of lure to try and attract the attention of different bass in the pool.
A surface caught rat bass to finish Rob’s morning
I tied on a Bassday Feather crank which is a wakebait. It half sits above and below the waterline and as the name suggest it creates a wake as it wobbles tightly through the water. It also has a significant rattle which makes it very noisy and not as subtle as the Sammy. As I watched Rob paddle off at the top of the pool, I cast along a stand of lay down timber and the Feathercrank was smashed. The bass took off on a few lunging runs, thankfully in open water, before sliding its beautiful 43cm body into the net. I called to Rob to show him the bass but the strengthening winds blew the sound off to the south.
A 43cm bass that couldn’t resist a Bassday Feathercrank
I eventually reached the next pool which looked good except that like the bottom pool it seemed to be a lot dirtier and green in colour indicating a lot of suspended algae. The wind was now really quite strong and surface luring was out of the question. I managed a 30cm bass on the Ghost shad and then drifted (rapidly) along the river casting at the bank where I could. Eventually the weather conditions deteriorated to the point I decided to head back to the launch and then home. On the way back I found a large drain with detergent riddled water pouring out of it into the river. This explained the large amount of planktonic algae in the water which was probably compounded by the cows fertilising the water as well.
Heading home after a great day!
A very big thank you to Rob for taking me into his special little piece of heaven and I hope to share one of my little honey holes with you soon. Hopefully we can head back to your backyard after it gets a good flush with some rain