Session with some BS boys
For months I have been in contact with Ozzybass (Tham) who had planned a road trip north and as part of that adventure we had organised to catch up and chase some SEQ bass. Unfortunately as the week progressed I had to cancel our original plan as my wife had to head off and complete a course only possible on our designated day and so we were forced to alter our intended destination. Tham was heading up from Glenlyon dam and so we reorganised our trip so that I met him part way and at the very least we managed to spend half a day chasing our favourite fish.
Knowing that Tham would be awhile I decided to explore a part of our chosen river that I had not explored before that was upstream of our launch point. As always it was an early start so that I could be on the water at the very latest at twilight. Luckily that meant I could still get a little bit of a sleep in as the days are getting shorter and shorter this late in the season.
Arriving at the launch there was a chill I the air that I noticed for the first time this season (Winter is Coming – Pardon the pun!) . Cold air was sinking down the mountain and was being channeled down the river and giving my hands that numb feeling as I traveled downstream. Within the first 15 minutes I had my first bass on board in the low thirties and another two within the next 20 minutes in the high twenties to low thirties.
The river started to get quite rocky as the elevation rose in a series of granite outcrops and the portage was quite difficult between the difficult terrain and slippery rocks due to the low flow. I reached the next pool which looked awesome and managed a bass around 35cmFL that smashed my Sammy a long way out from the bushy tree branch growing on the waterline. I also spied what I thought was a drowning currawong but it ended up being a dead currawong that was being eaten by turtles.
In the next pool I managed another bass in the low thirties that was foraging amongst some grasses growing on the bank. In the next ten minutes I managed to miss another solid hit from a pile of built up debris and hooked up to another bass that I lost next to the kayak when I pulled the hooks .
I continued upstream for another half hour before I decided to turn around to make sure I met Tham and his mate Damian at the launch point on time. I cast the Sammy on the return journey but when I couldn’t find any willing bass I switched to a diver when I reached the large pool just above where I had parked the car. I also spied this large carpet snake on a rock in the middle of the river. He was at the end of his moult and still had a little “beanie” left on.
Initially I cast the Sammy around one structure probably a good dozen times before I decided to switch to the diver and give it a crack. Initially it also was ignored until I changed up my retrieve to a “Jack” retrieve I used up north. This involved allowing the lure to slowly sink for a couple of seconds before giving it a couple of hard and fast twitches and cranks and then dropping back to a slow retrieve after. Doing this managed to excite a nice 35cmFL bass to smash the lure the instant it was slowed and then managed a 37cmFL bass on the follow up cast in the exact same pattern.
Reaching the car, I had arrived a little early and so I decided to launch into the pool below the launch point and texted Tham that he would find me in there. It was a very long pool and I knew that I would be working it for a while before Tham arrived. I must have fished almost the entire pool without luck when Tham arrived and called me and it wasn’t long before he also was heading downstream to meet me. In the mean time I had missed three bass at the bottom part of the pool including “long distance release”. Eventually tough I finally managed a bass in the low thirties before Tham paddled around the bend and we had a quick chat before we both started casting away.
Being at the end of the pool it wasn’t long before we excited the pool and headed to the next. We didn’t manage any bass in the next pool but I did give my heart a bit of a work out when I first stood on a monstrous eel lying in some leaf litter in about 15cm of water. It erupted in a mad spray of water at my feet and gave me the fright of my life. This was followed 5 minutes later by a duck hidden under an undercut bank that took off a foot from where I was floating in my kayak. To complete my environmental defibrillation a large lace monitor sunning itself on the bank waited till the last minute to make a quick escape up a large tree a couple of metres from me and left me aged and shaking!!
As I headed towards the next pool I head Damian arrive and make his way down the river to where Tham was still casting in the previous pool. I had pulled up below this and was having a quick bite to it and stretch and Tham was finishing some food on the bank upstream a little waiting for Damian to make his way down the rocks to him. I decided to send a cast from the bank into the top of the pool which was really quite shallow at about a foot but I knew there was an undercut bank so there was a possibility of a bass in residence. The first couple of casts were ignored but the third saw a 35cmFL bass hit the lure in the shallows and put on a merry display when there was nowhere for him to go really!
The others made their way down to where I was taking a happy snap of the 35cmFL bass and I was introduced to Damian. Tham continued having a feed and I made my way downstream and cast into the shallow section of the river. The forest canopy meant that this part of the river was permanently shaded and although I had rarely picked up a fish in this art of the river I knew it was worth a cast. After a few casts I eventually picked up a new PB of………………………………………..11cmFL
Damian and Tham eventually caught up with me and I pointed out the left bank of the river where I knew there was a steep rocky drop off metres out from the bank. Sure enough when he sent out a long cast along the drop off his lured was belted for all our entertainment and although there was no hook up it was fun to watch. I paddled along the sunny side as the others cast in the shade and spied a small pocket of shade in some shallow water. After a couple of twitches the Sammy was belted and I was onto another nice fish that would have made for great video work as I fought it in the sunny shallow water.
We moved to the next pool and I sent Damian and Tham up a lovely shaded backwater which contained some awesome structure and I knew they would find a fish or two up there. Meanwhile I fished the main pool which was unfortunately exposed to the sunlight as we were fishing it in the afternoon when normally I would be here in the morning. The fishing was slow along the grass lined banks and the small pockets of shade and I could not entice a single bass to come out and play.
However, I eventually reached a large lay down which had held good fish in the past during the early hours when it was not sun exposed. Initially I could not find a single fish along the upstream side of the structure with either the surface lure or the diving lure. Predictably the diver eventually managed to get pinned on some unseen timber and I was forced to paddle in and remove the lure from where it was stuck. I then spied a nice grassy bank behind the fallen tree and in my impatience decided to cast across a multitude of sticks to get the lure in the zone rather than cast a better line by making my way around the large tree. Sure the Sammy was belted and I had to fight the bass on terms all in the favour of the bass. Eventually the bass had me caught up and I was back amongst the timber again to remove the 35cmFL fish from the same sticks the diver had gotten caught up on the cast before.
I made my way to the front of the tree where it sat in the middle of the river and started casting my diver amongst the dead twiggy foliage in the same “jack” technique had used in the morning session. After a dozen or so casts the diver was belted down deep and I had a good fight on as I desperately steered the fish out of the timber. Eventually I netted another 37cmFL bass which I had time to show Tham as he emerged from the backwater. Damian followed soon after and although both had managed to encourage a few bass to hit the lure, neither had managed to net a bass.
We continued along a long section of portage to the next pool which always seemed to hold a large number of bass. I made my way to the end of the pool to give Tham a chance to get onto a bass in the awesome structure that filled the top half of the pool. The shade was almost permanent and there was a nice mix of steep granite embankments and timber falling into deep water. Tham started casting and quickly got some interest from a bass while I had my first cast deep into a pocket on the bank. The Sammy hit the surface and a millisecond later it was belted and I reacted to fast and missed the fish. Tham had seen the hit and paused his lure mid retrieve while he watched for my second cast. Sure enough it was “on the money” and as before the Sammy was smashed the moment it displaced the water. A moment later Tham’s cicada was smashed while he was pre-occupied with me. Initially he thought he had missed his fish but eventually he realised he was connected and we both managed to net our 35cmFL bass together and get a quick double hook up shot.
All three of us lined up along this section of the bank and kept casting. In that time my Sammy seemed to be very popular with three more bass coming from this pool and encouraging Tham to switch from cicada type lure to a Sammy in Archer Bee. Tham stuck around for a bit casting while Damian and I headed downstream to the next pool. I pointed out a deep pocket of shade that formed from a tree growing close to the water line and sure enough his first cast in was belted and he was onto another mid-thirties fish.
I knew the next pool was a long way away and that the portage was going to be pretty full on to get there. I asked if the others were keen to make the arduous journey to get there and they said they were both keen and so we decided to kick on. I knew this pool also held large numbers of bass on previous trips and so was keen to get there as well. However, I also knew it was very late in the day and I was pushing my luck time wise to be home at my scheduled hour.
I was quick to arrive and waited for the others by casting at the shallow head of the pool for no luck. As the others arrived I pointed out a nice section of bank for them to fish while I moved further downstream. After a few casts I got my first hit form a good fish and hooked up for a few seconds before pulling the hooks moments later. The fishing then slowed up and I must admit I was a bit disappointed by the pool which I had been keen as to get to with the boys. I decided to make my way to the end of the pool and finally found a couple of fish so I called the others down to join in.
Tham came down and joined me and said both he and Damian had found a few willing bass but were still struggling to convert. I sent him down to the bottom of the pool and sure enough he found another willing bass that hit his lure multiple times but was still avoiding the trebles. He moved to the opposite bank and again missed another fish and was starting to get frustrated. Damian arrived and I decided to head back to a structure upstream that I was sure should have held a bass or two but had been disappointingly quiet. As I started to head upstream Tham finally hooked up and was onto his second bass for the session.
I reached the bank which we had all just cast over and began casting again knowing there had to be some bass somewhere. I started casting the Sammy in and finally after multiple casts I finally managed to get a good boil from a decent bass. The follow up cast was ignored and so I cast in the diver and after a couple of quick cranks I was on to another 37cmFL bass. I decided to stick with the diver as it seemed the surface was a bit quiet and managed another fish at 36cmFL followed by another 37cmFL bass to finish the day.
Realising it must be late I called out to Damian to ask the time and when he told me it was 4.45PM I had a bit of a panic. I needed to be leaving at 5.00PM and knew I had a journey of well over an hour to get back to the car. I yelled out my goodbyes to Damian and Tham who had decided to fish for a bit longer and “hoofed” it back to the car. I have to admit I more or less ran and paddled all the way back and managed to get to the car in 45min. I quickly loaded up and jumped in ready to drive off when I looked down on my car’s clock and saw that it was only 4.30PM. Damian had told me NSW time!!! Lol!
It was a great day and really was a bit of a shame that the time I got to spend with Damian and Tham was so short. Hopefully next time the planets will align and we can make a better day of it. Still it was geat to meet you both and I am keen to head off again next time you are up this way!