Hot Night Session!
So what do you do on a hot humid night (min 23 degrees and 70-80% humidity), minimal wind (4-6 knots) and high barometer (min 1017 hPa)? Go bass fishing of course!!!! Rod and I decided to head off chasing bass on Thursday night considering the G20 in Brisbane had been kind enough to give us a public holiday the following day.
I arrived at 7PM to find Rod already on the water and as I kitted out my kayak I hear “I’m on!” from the far side of the river. The night was also very dark and I could barely see Rod until he switched the red head lamp on to remove the lure from his netted bass. I quick query as to the size of the fish had Rod estimating it at approximately 30cmFL as he did not have his brag mat with him. As you can imagine the kitting out of my kayak approached light speed at this point!!!
I hit the water and paddled over for a quick hello before I paddled upstream and started casting myself. The darkness was pretty thick and casting with any form of vision was impossible. Most of the casting was by feel and any time the lure got caught up you would lose your acquired night vision the minute you switched the head lamp on.
After 5 minutes casting I heard Rod call out again that he is onto another fish and that it’s a bit bigger than the previous bass. I paddled over to take a few photos and a quick measure and Rod’s second fish of the night was measured at 35cmFL and released.
Heading back upstream I heard a bass smashing away on the surface on the opposite bank and so I paddled over to see if I could entice it to smash my Arbogast jitterbug. Casting at the first significant bit of timber I could see the lure was hit moments into its walk and missed the size 6 trebles. Moments after a cast beneath a tree had the jitterbug hit three times without hook up before it shied away.
The surface action died away as quickly as it began and we continued upstream casting for 3 ½ hours for only a single tiny bass to Rod on the Tiemco SSC. As the night was so quiet you could hear every noise on the river and its bank and when a male koala started practicing a few Barry White tunes in the night it really carried up the river. I can imagine how a tourist might freak out if they heard that noise in the dark Lol!
Although the fishing was dead I was confident that the surface action would potentially improve as we approached the top of the pool. Previous trips to this location had proven that the fishing seemed to improve the further you went up the river. At this point I had switched to a Nobroko Softcada and sure enough as we approached the choke point that marked where I thought the fishing would improve, a cast tight next to a large lay down was belted and I thought I was onto a good fish. The hit however was deceptive and I eventually netted a bass in the twenties.
Not much further a similar cast at another large free that had fallen across the river had a bass hit the lure three times before finally finding the trebles. At approximately 30cmFl it would be my biggest bass of the night. A second cast into the same area saw a second bass hit and hook up but this one was much smaller.
The hits kept coming but the bass had their radar switched off as we approached the top of the pool. I was eager to have a few casts here as I had seen some big bass in the shallows on a previous trip. The first few casts were hit repeatedly by tiny bass that just could not connect with the lure. Rod meanwhile was casting at the edges behind me and eventually I heard him call out that he was on again to another small bass.
As Rod brought his bass to the kayak I had just sent a cast to the edge of the bank at the top of the pool and began a retrieve. The Softcada had walked about 2 metres from the bank when there was an almighty explosion of water and the rod loaded up hard. Initially I thought I was onto a monster bass until Rod mentioned that it may be a lungfish. I wasn’t so sure because although I had heard of lungfish taking divers I had never heard of them hitting surface lures at all let alone violently.
The fish took off everywhere and I had great trouble even getting it close to the net. Finally I switched on my head lamp as I was anxious that I would not even get to see what it was. To be honest I had already predicted what the fish might be but considering our location I just couldn’t believe that it might be a Mary River cod. Sure enough we I finally managed to get this fish near the surface all we saw was a big slab of green.
The anxiety increased once we saw the fish and I wondered how my size 10 trebles were managing to hold. However, I eventually managed to slide a 65cm Mary River cod into the net to both my and Rod’s amazement. We knew some had been stocked in a nearby dam but they were few and far between and it meant this one had managed to go over a dam wall and recover pretty well to be happily living where it was.
Being the end of the pool this was our turn around point and it was a great way to finish the night. Rod managed another small bass while we continued to work the head of the pool and I hooked up on another only to lose it near the kayak. The paddle back to the launch point was a long one and it wasn’t until 12.37AM that we finally managed to pack up and head for home. Although the bass were few and small the by-catch made the night a spectacular memory.