The River is Flowing!
With recent rains in SEQ I have been reading the Rain and River Height data on the BOM website to see which streams have risen and by how much to get an idea of the flush each of my rivers had received. Many had not risen at all but a few had been given a good wash out and even better the surrounding soil had soaked up so much water that the flow had been maintained for the past week as the water slowly drained from the surrounding countryside. Fishing during these times for bass can be quite rewarding as the bass take the opportunity to move upstream or downstream which requires energy and therefore they hit feeding mode. A theory but I like it!
There was no way I could get away for a full day but with civil twilight still around 4.30AM I knew I would be able to get close to 4 hours casting before the family had finished breakfast. The river I chose to paddle and cast was close by and still had a reasonable amount of flow according to the data but as I knew well this did not always correlate when you reached the launch point. Especially in regard to how dirty the water may be.
I reached my chose entry point at 4.20AM and after some considerable portage to the river I found the water flowing and a little dirty. It was difficult to determine how dirty the water was as the thick clouds, which had sprinkled rain on my car on the drive, protracted the civil twilight and made perfect low light conditions for targeting bass on the surface. I dipped my white paddle into the water and found that I could still see it to a reasonable depth and realised the turbidity wasn’t too high.
I quickly launched, and spied a root ball from a lay down that lay 2 metres out from the bank. As I was close to the bottom of the pool where the water was running quite quickly I paddled up a bit and fired a couple of casts past it as I drifted downstream, a novel feeling this season with the lack of rainfall. On the second cast the cicada I was using past close by the root ball and after a metre was belted off the top and I was onto a solid bass. When he finally reached the surface I grabbed the net and slid it into the water and lost the high thirties bass as I tried to negotiate it into the net! Bugger, I hate losing my first fish!
I continued upstream and the first pool was very quiet. It still had a lot of weed both on the surface and bottom but thankfully much of it had been flushed out. The first set of rapids at the top of the pool dropped considerably and so I had to get out in the fast flowing water to traverse up to the next pool. The first thing I spied was a bit of debris bobbing up and down 20 metres upstream and when I went to investigate I found a dead possum being munched on by a multitude of turtles.
The bottom of the second pool was also very quiet and I started to lament the loss of the first bass earlier in the morning. I reached a large basalt cliff face and was confident that I would find a bass lurking beneath as I had managed a few fish off of it in the past. Sadly this time there was not even a swirl.
Just past the cliff there were still a few pieces of basalt jutting from the bank surrounded by vegetation and finally a cast at one saw a bass have a go at the cicada and miss which added to my dismay. I cast at the spot again only for the lure to return to the kayak without a nudge and then decided to cast a metre to either side of the hit knowing the bass often shifted their location a little after a missed surface strike.
Sure enough the next cast at the sedge just upstream a bass smashed the lure and I was onto a solid fish that was fighting hard. It still amazes me how some bass can fight well above their wait whilst other larger fish will almost swim directly into the net. I was a very happy man when a solid 36cmFL bass slid into the net and I had finally managed to catch a bass.
Moving upstream the water had risen high enough that the sedges were half submerged and the entire river bank had become a potential hidey hole for a fish. I moved to the opposite bank where a long lay down was positioned a metre from the bank and had a few other snags caught up in it. I methodically cast from the upstream end to the downstream end with a metre between casts until I reached the best part of the structure. This was where a leafy branch covered in foliage had crossed the trunk of the lay down. Casting tight into the pocket made by these two intersecting pieces of timber saw the cicada belted and I was onto my second bass of the morning which went 38cmFL.
The rest of the morning I moved up the pool and missed another 3 surface hits. The bass seemed only semi interested in the surface lures and after a single hit would shy away and would not return for either a surface or sub-surface presentation. A cast between these two structures was belted by a good bass. Don’t know what I would have done if he had hooked up!
I reached the head of the pool where there was a strong current from the pool upstream. Knowing that bass liked to sit on the bottom in the middle of the current I sent a few casts up and retrieved the cicada downstream with the current. Although this caused the retrieve speed to be a bit high to keep the lure’s action eventually a good bass exploded around the lure mid-current and took off downstream. A powerful fight ensued as the bass stayed deep and moved into open water thankfully. At 40cmFL she was another trip upgrade and was very skinny.
It was time to head back to the car but I couldn’t help heading upstream a little further for a bit of a look as I had not been back to this particular stretch for over a year. There is nothing better than seeing the new structures in the various pools and the river looking so fresh after the recent rains. Eventually I had to turn around and it was great being able to run the rapids all the way down to my launch point for the first time in a very long time.
I’m loving the short morning sessions during the holidays and cannot wait for the next one.