Hitting the Skinny Stuff Again
Well I managed to get out again on Wednesday with the plan to chase some 40cm plus bass early and then head to another system to try to get some footage of some surface strikes. The second system had a healthy population of small bass that are also keen to hit surface lures. The system is also very picturesque with a good mix of timber, vegetation and granite boulders, as well as crystal clear water.
So as always I headed off early hoping to hit the water before the sunrise when the bass are roaming all through the pools. Arriving at the launch I was quickly in the water. Initially I cast at the nearest structure, but eventually I reached the head of the short pool which had a set of small rapids at either bank, and a pebble patch extending up the middle of the pool. I knew from previous trips that one of the rapids dropped into a deep channel, and a cast up the middle of this channel with the Sammy had a bass hit the lure and connect. It was only a small fish at 29cm but it was the first bass of the morning and I was only 10 minutes into the trip.
The sky lightened quickly to reveal and overcast day with high cloud and a gentle breeze had appeared by the time I reached the second pool. The bottom end of the pool was very quiet and both the Sammy and the Yo-zuri Shad could not entice a fish. This trip I planned on using a sub-surface lure to target the deeper sections in the middle of the pools and structure in the full sunlight. Half way up the pool a cast to the middle was hit solidly and a 34cm bass came to the net.
Moving up the creek I arrived at the structure that had seen me smoked by big bass twice in the past. I eagerly checked my leader and cast at least a foot away from the timber in an attempt to attract any lurking bass out of danger zone. When this didn’t work I cast in tighter and eventually a bass smashed the Sammy. This fish wasn’t the brute I was keenly chasing but when netted it was a respectable 36cm. Funnily enough he also was missing a significant part of his caudal fin.
The rest of this pool and the next were very quiet with no fish taking an interest in either surface or subsurface presentations. This pattern was repeated as I turned back around and continued downstream to a large pool below the launch point. This was no real defined shade anywhere in the pool and the overcast conditions seemed to disperse the light evenly across all parts of the water. This seemed to have shut down the fish as banks lined with awesome bass holding structure that previously on other trips had fished very well had yielded no bass.
At the end of the pool I decided I needed to try something new to find a few fish in the pool. I headed to the opposite bank which was almost always exposed to the sun. There were a few pockets of shade along its length and I targeted these first. At the second such structure I found some timber that was canopied by some palms. A few palm fronds had fallen onto the timber pile and created some artificial shade below the water’s surface. Using the Yo-zuri I cast in tight to the structure and after a few twitches it was hit and a bass dived for structure. At 35cm he didn’t have the pulling power to drag the lure back into the sticks and was netted quickly.
A little further up the bank was an aquatic plant that I often see growing on the waterline of a number of systems that I fish. Again this provided some deep shade ant had timber extending all around it. I cast the Yo-zuri in again and was slammed hard. This fish initially had me in a little trouble as he managed to turn into the timber before I was able to negotiate him towards the middle. A few strong runs had me hoping I had managed a 40cm+ fish but once netted it came in just shy of 40. He had also engulfed the lure and required some delicate manoeuvring to extricate the lure from the bass’s gill arches.
The follow up cast targeted the back of the plant and I was hit again on the Yo-zuri by a smaller fish that came quickly to the net. It measured 32cm and was the last fish before I headed back to the launch point with the intention of moving to a new system for the rest of the morning and early afternoon.
The plan for the next system was to explore parts that I had not yet managed to fish. I arrived at the launch location which was a raised timber bridge and lowered the kayak into the water. I traversed the first section of rapids and found the first pool not far from the launch. When approaching the pool I always walk in first to cast at the head of the pool without disturbing it with the kayak. The first cast with the Tiemco Soft shell came back to the bank without a touch but the second cast was hit by a small bass a foot into its retrieve without hooking up or returning for another look.
I switched on the HD Video sunglasses and started taking some footage that really highlights the first part of the trip. The bass ranged from about 20-31cn which is typical for this system although there are a few bigger models in here.
The creek eventually reached a long pool although it remained very skinny. The structure in it was awesome and I managed 3 bass in the early 30’s in the upper end of the pool. I stopped on the way back to take some photos of some of the structure as it was that impressive. After the photos I tied on a shallow diver and was repeatedly whacked by a multitude of pre 20’s bass that could not take the trebles.
After the battery in the glasses went flat I continued to catch fish although the numbers were a bit lower than normal. The scenery was sensational and the entire system is worth videoing because of this. I took some time to photograph some of the awesome looking structure which the bass came out of more than the fish themselves which were all relatively small. Towards the end of the trip I took off my go to lures to try a few purchases that hadn’t been tried yet.
The first was a Jackall Bros Kana Kana which is a cicada style surface walker. It has a sensational action and the mix between the metal wings and rattle give it a unique sound as it crawls along the water. It also floats high and is an easy lure to use without any need to impart any action apart from a stop/start. The bass are also very keen to hit the lure but will not return again if they miss the lure unlike the Soft Shell.
I also tried a Yo-zuri 3D Flatcrank that got continually hit by tiny bass without hooking up but they really loved hitting it giving me the impression it would work really well in systems with bigger fish. It runs about a foot below the surface and required a lot more technique to get it zipping and darting below the surface.
It was a good afternoon and the small bass are very entertaining taking lures off the surface and the misses. In the end 6 bass were caught in the first system and about 15 in the second.