Lost My Mojo!
On Thursday night I headed out again, this time with Tristan (Enjoyfish1) chasing some surface smashing bass action in the darkness. Conditions looked ideal when we arrived with the inky black surface of the river perfectly reflecting the starry sky and the temperature being cool but not cold. However, the night ended up being very clear and with the full moon shining bright in the sky and the water level was much lower than previous visits. The system we had decided to fish typically held a good average size of bass with most bass measuring above the 30cm mark and a good number breaking the 40cm mark, so as you can imagine we were very keen to hit the water.
The first pool we launched into had relatively easy access to land-based fisherman and so we quickly cast at any potential structure eagerly trying to make our way to the second pool that was much less accessible to the average angler and as a result always produced a few bass.
As always the night was very quiet and after a while both your eyes and ears acclimatise to the conditions and the sound of any breach of the surface travels a long way. Most of the time it is the sound of mullet jumping, but every now and then the distinctive sound of a bass hitting the surface could be heard and both Tristan and I would instantly try and locate the sound to give our casts a little more focus.
At one point he sound of a bass trying to engulf some hapless animal floated through the still air and Tristan called out “What was that!” With the full moon it was easy to identify where the bass had hit and so I told Tristan that it was a bass before I paddled over to target the area where he bass was feeding. Numerous casts could not raise the fish and Tristan had continued up the opposite bank of the river while I continued to target the area. Eventually the bass took an interest in my black jointed jitterbug and had a gentle slurp at the lure, in the process rattling the trebles, before taking off never to be seen again!
I moved on and continued to cast at the various structures but the bank I was fishing was very exposed to the moonlight and the bass seemed reluctant to chase my surface presentation. Tristan reached a section of the river that almost always held bass and seemed to typically hold bass in all the systems we fish. A sheer vertical cliff face that on this particular night was one of the few parts of the river that held any “impenetrable blackness” that bass seem to love. A shout in night indicated that Tristan was on and a query from me, eventually had Tristan calling back that it was a solid fish. I kept casting as he played out the fish, netted it and removed the trebles before paddling over and taking the compulsory photo. The fish measured 42cmFL and was a great start to the night for Tristan.
We continued paddling upstream and casting and eventually I spied an undercut bank fringed with sedges that was also shaded from the moonlight. I cast in the jitterbug and gave it a few twitches before beginning a retrieve. Just as the lure crawled to the edge of the shade a bass hit the lure and missed before swimming off without a further glance much to my frustration. I moved a little further up the bank repeating the process and eventually my jitterbug was smashed off the surface and I thought that I was onto a good bass until the fight started and I quickly netted a 33cmFL bass.
The fishing then went very quiet before we reached the head of the pool. I threw a long cast that was hit twice by a hungry bass that again did not connect. At this point I was getting a little frustrated! Grrrr! Tristan then cast in with his Soft Shell Cicada on the opposite bank and also found an interested bass that hit his lure and was on! The bass wasn’t huge at 32cmFlL but was still a bit of fun on a quiet night. I cast back into the head of the pool and this time I was rewarded with another surface hit while Tristan removed the trebles from his fish, this time the fish connected and although small was still better than nothing. As the bass reached the surface next to the yak and was flipping around it managed to release itself before I could net it. Bugger!
I decided to push up further into the really shallow water at the top of the pol while Tristan began the return journey to the launch spot casting over previously fished structure. Casting to the point where the water was running quite swiftly I retrieved the jitterbug and must admit I was very surprised when a bass hit it twice in the ultra-shallow water only to miss the lure yet again. At best the water was 15-20cm deep and it always amazes me how willingly bass are to move into these areas after dark.
l while Tristan began the return journey to the launch spot casting over previously fished structure. Casting to the point where the water was running quite swiftly I retrieved the jitterbug and must admit I was very surprised when a bass hit it twice in the ultra-shallow water only to miss the lure yet again. At best the water was 15-20cm deep and it always amazes me how willingly bass are to move into these areas after dark.
I decided to head downstream to re-link with Tristan and make my way back to the cars. He was re-casting along the bank that had yielded all our hits and so I decided to head further down to target the cliff face again hoping another bass had moved in to feed. I had paddled about 100m downstream before a “Yep” in the dark indicted Tristan had managed another bass on the Tiemco. I turned back to get another photo and found Tristan had netted a 37cmFL bass just downstream of where I had missed a bass earlier in the night on the Jitterbug.
At this point I decided to switch to the Tiemco with the assumption that the larger size 6 trebles I was using on the Jitterbug may have been a bit big for the smaller bass that were hitting the lures. The rest of the pool was quiet and it wasn’t until we reached the lower pool that a few more fish came out to play. On the way up I had cast into some Timber that had a large mass of vines dangling from the tree above it. Unfortunately, the cast earlier in the night had gone a little wayward and subsequently I had been forced to paddle into the area and “retrieve” my lure and disturb the structure.
On the return journey I managed to get a few “better” casts in from the upstream angle and on one of these casts the Tiemco was smashed off the surface and the braid screamed off the spool in spurts as the bass fought the lure. It was a solid fish and I was gutted when on one drag peeling run the trebles pulled and I lost yet another potential capture. It seems that I was destined to have one of those sessions where all my mojo had left me!! Maybe it was the full moon!
As I paddled downstream another call of “Yep” indicated that Tristan had connected with another bass just across from the launch spot. As I paddled don to him he netted the fish and removed the trebles to reveal a 34cmFL bass to finish the night.
It was great to get back to this location and the bass were relatively willing, although a little on the smaller side to what we are used to. Tristan had managed 4 from 4 for the evening and managed to convert every strike into a fish where I had managed 1 from 7 and although I could find a few bass just could not manage to get any netted and in the yak. Oh well that’s fishing!