The Everglades: The Journey Home!
As with all camping trips the final day arrived and waking up early the following morning I planned to fish my way back to our launch. I quickly pulled my gear down and packed my kayak so that I could head off and fish the river on the way down without having to rush. As had been the case for the previous two days the winds were absent in the morning and conditions were perfect
I managed a few fish in the morning although the fishing was much slower as I covered stretches of the river that had received consistent pressure from all of us over the previous couple of days. The wind also arrived much earlier and this shut the bass down on the more open sections and I decided to use this time to paddle rather than fish.
It wasn’t until I reached another of the tight bends where the water was protected from the wind that the fishing heated up and I started to manage a few bass again. Due to the winding “S” bends the current obviously flowed through here and ripped into the banks on the edge causing copious amounts of timber to fall into the water and provide ample structure for marauding bass.
Just like the start of this awesome adventure I was just unhooking and releasing a bass when WayneD, StevenM and Kristian rounded the bend again. After a quick chat they explained that they were going to paddle straight back to the launch and head home although Wayne was desperately trying to get a few casts in when he could find a moment during the journey. Simon’s rat was nowhere to be seen and it seemed like me he was finding it hard to pass up on a few more casts on the trip downstream.
As the three amigos rounded a bend downstream, Steve (SR) rounded a bend upstream and after a brief chat we decided to fish areas where the wind was absent and would paddle through the open windy sections. The wind was strengthening steadily and the fishing in the roughed up water as ell as the lack of casting accuracy made it almost pointless. When the fish are hanging in tight and you need to cast within an inch of structure to entice a hit, strong winds are a nightmare.
After a quick chat I began casting while Steve was paddling and after catching 3 bass in a space of 15-20 minutes Steve was quickly casting too and we both were catching a few fish and missing a few as well.
Luckily for us any areas of the river that were wind affected happened to be blowing us downstream and at times were strong enough that we barely needed to paddle. We made really good ground and covered long distances at such a rate that we would easily make our launch at a reasonable time so we could make the long journey home.
We reached the next big bend in the river and the fishing yet again hotted up with both Steve and I picking up a few fish to make the journey home a memorable one. It was about this point I managed to drive a treble into my finger as I attempted to remove it from the net and bass. This was a little stressful and not to mention painful and we were so far from the launch I could not imagine how I was going to paddle home. Luckily with a bit of effort I managed to remove the treble and after recovering from a brief bout of shock we continued fishing.
This tight bend in the river like the previous one provided some more quality fishing. Besides the usual 30-34cmFL models I managed to hook up on a solid bass in the fork of a submerged tree trunk that just screamed bass. This fish headed deep into the massive jungle of submerged timber and had me bricked being shaking the hooks. Luckily I managed to loose the hooks without disturbing the area to much.
After a few casts and missed fish downstream I decided to make another run starting at this awesome snag. Casting deep into the shadow of the fork my Sammy65 was smashed again and I was onto another feisty bass. This bass managed to temporarily brick me as well before I was able to get her into open water and net a plucky 36cmFL bass.
A few minutes later as we approached the end of the calm water I managed my last bass for the trip before we reached the wind affected part of the river again.
The wind had continued to strengthen so much so that Steve took a towel out and tried to sail home. Lol! Although we managed a couple of random hits with no hook ups, the wind had more or less shut down. We decided to do a direct paddle home and although we were extremely weary we finally rounded that last bend and reached the end of our journey.
With probably close to 50km paddling it was a relief to be able to get out of the yak and drive the few hours to get home. It was an awesome trip, with a great bunch of blokes and one I would gladly do again!