Skinny Water Bassing
All week I had been flipping and flopping between locations for the weekends bass trip. My two options were a location where the number of bass was quite low but the potential for a 45cm plus bass was quite high and a location where the chance of a reasonable number of 35cm+ bass and a few 40cm+ bass was a quite possible.
In the end the lure of some big bass won out and I headed to the upper sections of a river where I had caught a few big fish early in the season. The location was new to me and had been fully researched on Google Maps so that multiple launch locations were identified. This enabled me to have options in case my preferred launch spot ended up being inaccessible.
I arrived at 4am and the launch was remote, accessible and lead straight into an awesome pool. Three and a half hours later I had cast at some awesome looking structure in about 4 pools with multiple lures for nothing. Not a touch, bump, boil or any form of evidence that the bass were in residence. Feeling a little disheartened I pulled the pin early and headed back to the car with the intention of heading to my second option.
A quick call to Tristan (Enjoyfish1) to report on my lack of success and I had a change of plan. He reminded me of another system 20 minutes up the road that I had targeted for a quick session with a good result so I decided to hit the upper reaches of this creek instead.
Arriving at the launch the creek was really skinner both in depth and width. This sort of water is always an exciting way to fish as fish have access to cover on both sides without having to travel great distances. Before launching, I had the compulsory pre-cast in the first pool. I was using a Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada which had proved so successful in this system on my last trip. In went the first cast and about a third of the ay back in the retrieve it as hit by a small bass. A second cast was again pounced on by another rat bass and this made my confidence soar that this creek would yield me a few fish.
I slipped the yak into the crystal clear waters and made my way upstream. The second pool was a lot deeper but unfortunately it was quite exposed to the sun and the amount of available shade was small. I cast along a reed bed that had a narrow band of shadow bordering it and finally managed my first fish which was small at about 20cm. I had a few speculative casts into the various structures in the pool but the sunny conditions must have made the bass very wary as they made no attempts at the lure.
The next pool was a textbook bass haunt with overhanging trees and heavy shade. The first cast was hit by an enthusiastic bass which missed the lure but left the heart quickening. The second cast was then engulfed and I was on to what I thought was a good bass. Strong runs and drag peeling in short bursts I had great difficulty negotiating the bass away from the various structures in the skinny creek. When I finally netted the bass I was surprised to find a 36cm bass in the net. Gee he had pulled hard reminiscent of a Clarrie Hall Bass. The next cast went into the same pool on the opposite bank and further up the pool. Half way back it disappeared in a spray of water and another difficult tussle yielded a 37cm bass. The tails on these fish were really big and that I assumed was the source of their unusual power. They were also very well conditioned and broad across the shoulders.
I continued up the pool and a speculative cast into a shady part of the creek that really lacked any form of structure was engulfed by a good bass that caused me a lot of trouble. The fact that there was no other structure around helped a great deal. Eventually the biggest bass of the trip came to the net and at 39cm he was a beautiful fish.
The head of this pool had a beautiful shallow drop of flowing water into a jumble of timber that screamed bass. After a few casts and a lot of hits from small bass I landed one and then moved up to the next pool. This pool was quite large and open to the sun at one end and shaded at the other. The first cast was a long one and was eventually nailed by a 35cm bass. Repeated casts and each one was hit by a bass. I landed some and missed the others but by the time I made it to the headwaters I had managed to net 6 bass after 20 minutes of casting. Most around the 30 -35cm mark. The day was really shaping up to be a cracker with 12 bass landed in the first hour and a half.
I continued upstream landing random bass in small pools at one stage a large snag yielded about 5 strikes at the lure and in the clear water I could see three bass vying for position to hit the lure. One was a quite reasonable fish, of course it was the young and dumb one (smallest) that finally took the lure. The bigger bass took off and the other chased his hooked comrade all the way to the yak.
At this point I turned around with the intention of making my way downstream to the pool I had first fished about a month ago. Switching to a Jackall TN50 to drop it into the deeper snags in the bigger pools on the return journey.
I reached the pool that looked like a bass haven with its running water and surrounding timber and cast the Jackall in. Fives casts later I had another 3 bass to the tally. These were only rats between 20-25cm but still a bit of fun in the tight country. I repeated this pattern in the main pool dropping it into the deep water on the edge of the shade and this yielded me bass after bass till eventually another 8 bass between 20 – 34cm came to the yak.
I reached the launch point and had managed about 23 bass in the space of about 3 hours which well and truly made up for the bad start. This began the journey downstream and I was eager to discover just how many bass there were in this system. Pool after pool yielded hit after hit and the bass kept on coming at the lure. It was simply awesome.
One pool looked sensational and a cast into the back of an eddy yielded an instant hit and eventually a small bass came to the net. Numerous casts with the Tiemco failed to draw another fish and so I cast the Jackall into the pool. At the deepest part a Bass peeled itself away from the stones and I was on. Another 30cm+ bass came to the net.
This continued all afternoon until I reached a pool that looked simply awesome. I switched the camera to video mode and set it up on the mount. First cast in and the lure hit the water and the line went over a small branch. As a retrieved the lure a small bass hit the cicada and missed. As I tried to remove the lure from the branch he proceeded to hit some debris that hit the water. A return cast lasted about a second before the small bass nailed it and I had my first video for the morning.
I knew it was almost time to go but thought I needed 2 more bass to break my PB bass session (later I realised I already had as my previous best was 32!) so I headed for one final pool (You know how it goes!)
This was the biggest pool of the day and first cast into the timber I was on again. I cast with the Tiemco and caught bass after bass and when this went quiet I dropped the Jackall into the depths to catch more. It was a bass bonanza with them coming from everywhere to hit the lure. It was heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!! I seriously had to drag myself home as it was an awesome session. They weren’t huge but gee they were keen and they fought like they were possessed.
I headed home and had a few random casts for a few more hits but I missed them all. I was absolutely wrecked by halfway home as I had to drag the yak a serious distance and my jelly-like legs could barely carry me. The last pool yielded me even more hits and the last one was a cracker. The lure hit the water on the edge of a large tree and was belted before it was twitched. The drag screamed and I had nothing as the fish was into the timber before I could respond. The tussle stopped and eventually I had to go in to extricate the lure from the timber.
I got back to the car and I could barely move as my muscles were all cramped. It was a sensational day and in the end I landed 44 bass and probably had well over 100 surface hits! But wait…………………..
Here’s the best bit. About halfway back I heard the screaming of a distressed cicada. You know the sound as it’s carried off by a bird! Anyway I focus on the sound and here it comes floating down the rapids on its back. I pick it up and you wouldn’t believe it but it’s a dead set image of my lure. Not a slight resemblance but a picture image. If you were ever a doubter of “matching the hatch”, this should make you a convert!