Real Skinny Water Bassin’ (NEW!)
I found a small window of opportunity today to head out and chase a few bass even though the water levels in many of my favourite systems are currently very low. The alarm went off at 4.30AM and I quickly packed the gear and headed to my launch which was in the upper reaches of an SEQ waterway. This particular system doesn’t have bass in massive numbers however the average size is really good and the chance of some special bycatch is always a high possibility.
Arriving at the causeway that was my launch my first observation was that the water levels were very low and that the water between pools was barely moving. The bottom of the pools was also starting to become covered in snot weed and some orange scum that I have noticed growing in stagnant waters before.
Hitting the first pool I was quickly casting my Sammy 65 at all the likely structures and as always I was surprised when casts into the deepest darkest structures came back untouched. Eventually I began switch-baiting with my Duel 60mm Hardcore Shad. At one point I cast into some structure that had yielded me two bass on consecutive casts on my last visit. The water levels were so low that the Lantana which had once been partially submerged was now out of the water.
When the Sammy 65 invoked no interest I switched to the Shad and on the first cast it was nailed down deep halfway back to the kayak. The fish was solid and it took a while to get a glimpse of what I assumed would be a good bass and instead saw a flash of green. I had managed another cod in a system which seems to be full of them. I have managed to catch these magic fish on almost every trip to this system in the last two seasons. Once netted I quickly had the lure out and after a couple of photos a 51cm Mary River Cod swam off into the depths.
I continued downstream and found each consecutive pool very shallow and at best 4 foot deep and its deepest sections. I cast at any likely structure but was hugely pessimistic as the lack of flow and depth was significant.
At one pool a large patch of shade covered part of the river and I knew the water was relatively deep where the current had dug a channel into the pebbled bottom. Casting the Sammy 65 long, I began my retrieve and hallway back the walking Sammy was smashed off the top by a plucky little bass. At 32cmFL he was only small and was covered in those ulcers that I have noticed appear on bass when the water is warm and stagnant.
I moved to the next pool, which happens to be one of my favourites, and ran a surface lure and a diver over every inch of the pool for no result. With the bass seeming very quiet I decided to head back to the launch and head downstream to a pool that I knew had a lot more depth and hoped that I might find a few willing bass.
Reaching my next launch I had to drop the kayak down a 5m cliff and into a thin section of water that is very picturesque but too shallow to hold any bass. I headed upstream and reached a small causeway and just above it was a nice section of deeper water with a large fallen paperbark running along a bank of sedges. My first cast was a shocker and I managed to pick up a small branch and had to drag it back to the kayak to remove it. The follow up cast though was a cracker and halfway back the kayak the water exploded around the lure and I eventually netted a 37cmFL bass. Sorry about the photo, I forgot to take it off the macro setting after the previous shot! Dumbass!
I headed into the main pool which was quite large. It had pastureland on one bank but the opposite bank was a vertical embankment well shaded from the sun and had every structure a bass fisherman could want boulders, timber, rocky cliffs, sedges and plenty of deep water.
The first half of the pool was quite disappointing and it looked like this pool was going to continue the pattern in the upper reaches. Eventually though a cast beneath a small sedge was “boofed” and the fish missed but felt the trebles and would not return.
Feeling a little more optimistic I continued along the wall and it wasn’t long before another bass exploded all around the Sammy 65 after a few twitches. This was a solid fish and I was quite pleased when the bass obligingly powered out into open water. I eased off the drag and the bass fought hard but in the open water he was eventually netted and at 42cmFL was a great addition to the session’s bag.
Soon after on a similar cast I managed another small bass at 33cmFL. This bass seemed to have been hit by a bird of prey or something as it had a large ulcerated wound on the side of its body.
I continued down the pool casting at every structure that looked like it held bass. Frustratingly it seemed that every piece of timber also had a hungry water dragon and the minute the Sammy 65 hit the water it would launch at the lure and try and grab it. This happened 5 times within a space of 20 minutes.
By this point the wind had come up and I was being blown every which way. I decided to head downstream and have a few casts in a pool that was riddled with timber. Just past the launch point I spied a massive stump and although it only 2 foot of water I had to have a cast at it. First cast the Sammy was smashed and the bass missed the trebles. Follow up casts could not entice the fish to hit again and so I decided to move on and have another crack on the way back.
The wind was really blowing now and a few of the pools were covered in leaf litter. Eventually I reached a section that screamed bass but the bass refused to come out and play and so after about 20 minutes I decided to head back to the car. On the way back I had another cast at the stump and the bass had obviously re-settled back into the snag. First cast and I was on to another feisty little 33cmFL bass to round out a great morning!