On returning from Mt Isa I was keen to chase a few bass and a call from Rob (RAD) had me chomping at the bit to start casting a few surface lures. The plan was set to meet at the launch at 7pm giving us both enough daylight to drag the kayaks over the considerable portage to the first pool,
Rob had a Kokoda bat tied on and I began casting with the black jointed Arbogast jitterbug. The first cast saw a bass hit the lure metres from the kayak and minutes later Rob’s lure was also receiving some ill treatment by a marauding bass. Repeat casts into saw Rob’s lure repeatedly hit with failed hook ups but eventually one connected and a nice bass slid into his net to start the night.
I cast into the same area of the pool and a bass smashed the jitterbug and I was on the board with a 35cm bass. We continued casting and Rob’s Kokoda bat was getting a serious work over but the bass’s radar seemed off with more bass lost than connecting to the lure.
Meanwhile I was struggling to attract a fish to the lure and repeatedly changed to stir up a bite. I finally switched to the reliable Lucykcraft Sammy 65 and caught a 33cm bass on my first cast. Rob was continually attracting bass and a few were hooking up and sliding into the net. He was now managing to net a number of 40cm bass and I was keen to connect to a few as well. In the light of a half- moon I could faintly see boils around my Sammy and occasionally felt the lure get tiny knocks that I eventually realised were bass short striking the lure. They seemed to be creeping up on the lure and slurping at it without the almighty displacement of water I was used to from other systems.
I decided to tie on a Bassday Feather crank, which is a type of wake bait, which sits a little lower in the water than the other surface lures. The hope was that it would improve the hook up rate on the lazy bass that were worrying at the lure. This seemed to work as I now seemed to be finding a few bass although they continued to be average bass around the 35cm mark.
The bass continued smashing Rob’s lure and either missing the lure repeatedly or managing g a “long distance release” much to his frustration. I was now managing a few bass but the hits were so lazy that often the lure would be plucked off the surface on a pause with the barest of ripples and you would be frantically winding up line to connect to a fish.
Occasionally the bass would smash the lure in a spray of water and my first serious fish did just that. A cast along a lay down tree was smashed a line peeled off the reel as it attempted to bury the lure in the submerged timber. The kayak was dragged towards the tree and some hand pressure on the spool was the only thing stopping the fish from reaching the timber. Eventually a solid 42cm bass reached the yak and my night was complete.
We continued down the pool casting in all directions and missing, losing a netting a number of bass between 35 and 42cm and reaching the end we were keen to see what might be in the next. This pool on a previous trip had been home to a number of good bass and we hoped history would repeat. The top of the pool was covered in broken pieces of surface weed which kept entangling the lure but eventually it cleared and a bass started to follow Rob’s lure slurping away repeatedly before eventually hooking up metres from the kayak. The fight was a good one and eventually a 45cm bass slid into the net which was his best for the night.
Eventually it was my turn and my Feather crank was inhaled by a hungry bass on a pause and the drag instantly screamed off for a few metres identifying the bass connected was a decent fish. Fighting bass in the dark is quite tough as being able to maintain pressure while following the line movement is impossible. I was a very happy man when a 44cm bass was netted photographed and released.
We managed a few other fish in the 35cm brigade which were thick throughout the pools before we reached the next portage point and made our way to the last pool. This stretch of water was thick with timber and both Rob and I instantly tightened our drag in anticipation of bass fishing amongst some serious timber.
The top of the pool was very quiet but as we made our way casting amongst the numerous lay downs Rob copped a hit near the kayak. A couple of casts later his lure was smashed by a good bass and he was in a serious fight. The kayak was dragged towards the timber and periodic squeals from the reel as the drag was tested made for some great entertainment and nerves as Rob attempted to land the bass. Eventually, to Rob’s relief the fish slipped into the net and he had a new surface PB of 46cm.
The night was now quite late and Rob needed to be home by 11pm so we heeded back having a few random casts. Except for another 35cm bass connecting to my lure, the trip back was very quick which was a shame as the bass were still keen to play. By the end of the three hour session we had managed about 30 bass between us ranging from 33-46cm. It was an awesome night and a great way to kick off 2012
Hopefully Rob can add a few more photos later. Sorry they are all fish as the scenery is a bit hard to photograph at night oddly enough!