Mid-Week Bass Fix!
So with a few hours to spare today I decided to head off for a bass fix to one of my favourite systems. I was a bit unsure about how well it would fish as I was fishing well upstream and would only be targeting resident fish that had now made the spawning run. With the major flows SEQ had in late Autumn/Early Winter I envisaged that a large number of fish would have migrated to the salt and having not made it back upstream yet.
Hitting the water the first thing I noticed was that the wind was a little stronger than expected and would be just a little uncomfortable casting especially surface lures. The second thing I noticed was that the water level was very low, much lower than I have ever seen before. This was evident at the first set of rapids which I normally would be able to paddle down but this time about halfway down the kayak stuck. Instead of hopping out and dragging the yak I decided to us my hand and the paddle to push myself down. Unfortunately part way through the process the blade of the paddle snapped, leaving me with half a paddle for the rest of the trip.
It wasn’t long before a tight cast into the first heavily shaded structure I saw was picked off the surface by a feisty little bass that gave me a good fight. At 32cmFL it was a good start to the day and being very early in the trip gave me some good vibes for the rest of the trip.
Once the little fella had been released I decided to give a follow up cast into the exact same location. This time the lure was hit a lot harder and I struggled to keep the bass out of the timber. Eventually I managed to coerce the fish out into the middle of the pool and I eventually managed to slip the net under the bass.
This bass was significantly bigger and would have measured at least in the high thirties. Unfortunately, once the Sammy was removed the bas gave a few flips and somehow managed to slip through the net (WTF!!). On close inspection I found a significant hole in the webbing of the net and had no idea that it was there before the bass had slipped through.
The rest of the pool was relatively quiet until I cast the Sammy past a partially submerged Melaleuca branch and the water around the lure exploded. A large cod had absolutely smashed the lure and water had sprayed in all directions. I have now seen cod hit surface lures a number of times and there is such a huge difference between the surface strikes of the two species. When cod hit a lure they turn as they strike and a large portion of the rear of their body exits the water. The large displacement of water is because of their large caudal fin flicking out in an attempt to drive the cod to the bottom. Sadly yet again the cod would not return to have a look at any lure presented into the location where it hit.
I moved on to the next pool and targeted all structures at the top of the pool heavily. The bass in the previous pool had been in the first bit of structure at the top of the pool indicating that they might be preparing to move upstream at the first opportunity. At the top of the second pool it was relatively shallow but it dropped off a little on one bank and it was clear through the crystal water that a number of medium sized boulders were scattered near the point of drop off.
I made a few casts towards the bank with no luck until a bass rocketed from the cover of one of the boulders and smashed the Sammy. The water was only about 2 feet deep and really clear so it was a treat to be able to watch the bass as it desperately tried to find some structure to help rid itself of the lure. The bass measured 41cmFL and completed my checklist of a good trip out!
The rest of the pool was quiet and so I quickly moved to the next pool. Again I targeted the first bass looking structure at the top of the pool and initially it looked very quiet. I was casting and really going through the motions when a solid bass hit the lure in the middle of the pool making me jump out of the yak (figuratively speaking!). Unfortunately, he felt the trebles and as a result did not want to play any further.
I wasn’t very confident about the lower half of the pool as all the previous bass had been holding near the top. However, I eventually reached some structure that a caught a solid bass off on my previous visit. This time though the structure was not fully shaded so I was not confident that any bass would be keen. The structure was also what I class as “tiger country”, easy to get the lure in but not so easy getting the bass out if it hit the lure. Casting into the perfect spot meant casting over a large log so that the lure landed next to a Melaleuca branch. The second the lure hit the surface the water around it erupted and a sizeable bass headed straight into the timber. The next few seconds the bass threaded the line in every piece of timber it could find. I gave the bass it’s head in the hope it would free itself but no luck and efforts to force it free failed as well. This only left one option.
A few minutes later I had divested myself of all my gear from the waist up and I slipped into the water. Lucky for me the water was warm after the hot weather we have had and so I began following my line down into the timber. The bass had managed to get the line seriously threaded and repeated attempts to free it failed and eventually the line parted. I was about to climb back n the kayak when I decided to reach down and see if I could find the broken line. By some miracle I managed to find the line again caught up on the timber and this time I dived down to find where the leader started. It wasn’t that far and I was able to find the lure and bass and after few dives down I eventually freed the bass and slipped it into the net. At 42.5cmFL it was definitely a Tiger and the day was definitely looking up!
The next pool was one of my favourites and had produced numerous bass in my previous visits. I targeted all the usual structures and eventually I found a bass holding on a vertical trunk that again had a serious timber at its base. The bass hit the lure and after a great fight slipped into the net. At 37cmFl it was another good addition to my daily tally.
Casting into the surrounding timber I managed another bass at 36cmFL on my Duel Hardcore Shad before moving down the pool. When I took the photo of the second fish I somehow managed to take almost an exact replica of the previous photo. What are the chances of orientated the kayak in the exact same way twice. Weird!
I continued casting and eventually reached a section of the pool that was shaded and large boulders were interspersed along the bank. I sent out a long cast and walked the Sammy across the surface and over the boulders. Halfway back the water exploded around the Sammy again and this time I was connected to a good fish. The hit was typical of a cod and sure enough I eventually netted a beautiful greenfish. I removed the lure and the fish flipped out and found the hole in my net and slipped back to the bottom before I could take any good photos. Luckily I managed to get some video footage and grab some dodgy photos from that! He would have measured in the fifties and definitely not my biggest fish but I’ve gotta say that their surface hits are spectacular!!
I continued down the waterway but it had shallowed out dramatically. This left many pools that I had fished previously unfishable. I was keen to have a go at one more pool before I headed home and so I quickly paddled downstream. I reached the last pool and targeted the structures that had produced in the past. The wind had completely dropped off and some grey clouds started to roll in. I knew thunderstorms had been predicted and realised that the change in weather probably indicated their arrival. The bass had shut down and although I had a couple of bass boil the lure they had lost any real interest. I cast a bit longer until I heard thunder and then headed for home.
I quickly packed up the gear and managed to get the gear in the car and hit the road just as the storm hit. The wind picked up dramatically as I drove and I was thankful that I was off the water before it hit. When I got home I checked the weather and saw that the temperature had dropped almost 10 degrees in the 2 hours between my last fish and when I exited the river and the air pressure from 1011hPa to 1007hPa. I’m guessing this had something to do with he change in the bass’s behaviour but who knows. Regardless it was a great day!