While the Sun is Shining
After some very wet weather over the last month our rivers and creeks have more or less remained swollen. Some of them are still close to a metre over there average water level and consistent heavy rain has kept them inaccessible to kayak fishing. I have spent the last couple of weeks watching the river heights on the BOM in anticipation of getting out and chasing a few bass. The weather was predicted to turn real ugly again early next week with 100-300mm predicted which would send all our local systems awash with a muddy torrent that would take another couple of weeks to settle down.
With this in mind I decided I was going to head out on the weekend regardless of the river conditions as I knew a couple had lowered in water level enough to be safe but probably not enough to lose some of the mud from the previous weeks downpour. The weather on Saturday was predicted to be showery and windy and it seemed Sunday was going to be the better day. However, my old mate “Murphy” decided to play a hand and Saturday morning was glorious and I was kicking myself for not heading out.
The original plan was to head out with RAD but a last minute text from him ruled him out with the lurgy so I had to head off on a solo mission to one of my locals. Not wanting to head to far due to the potential for the weather to turn I headed to a system that was easy to get in and out of although it has seen some serious pressure of late.
I hit the water at 5:15AM just as the light started to turn night into day and it wasn’t long before I was on the water and casting a couple of lures. As always the Sammy 65 came out first and it wasn’t long before it was plucked off the surface with a less than exuberant hit and I was onto my first bass of the morning at 27cmFL.
This was the pattern for the twilight with three more hook-ups on the Sammy by small to average bass. One would have had to have been the smallest bass I have hooked in this system and the hooks pulled early in the fight as he would have barely got his mouth around the treble. The other two were a little bigger with a 31cmFL bass making it to the net while I pulled the hooks on the other bass again early in the fight. The bass were not really committing to the strike either and as soon as the sun rose in the sky the surface bite disappeared.
As I headed downstream it was amazing how much this system had changed since my last visit. Many old structures were gone and many new ones had appeared. There were new massive banks of sand and stones that were ridiculously tall and the river had changed course in parts. The most amazing new development was that two previously separate pools had merged into one.
With the surface bite all but dead I switched to a diving lure although I couldn’t help but cast the Sammy at some structures where the chance of a surface strike was remotely possible. At one such structure I cast the Sammy in only for it to get hooked up on the edge of a large log. I didn’t want to destroy the sanctity of the snag and so I decided to cast the diver around my snagged up line. Second cast in and my diver was smashed down deep and I had to fight the bass around my braid floating on the surface. The bass fought hard and I was lucky I was christening a new setup as it was spooled with 12lb braid and so I was able to control the 36cmFL bass and guide it safely into the net. It was one stocky fish too.
I headed downstream until I saw another kayaker further down working the area and so I decided to head back towards the launch. The surface continued to be quiet and so I switched to my Yozuri 60mm Hardcore Shad permanently and put the Sammy away. Casting at any serious structure I eventually managed another bass at 31cmFL. Like the previous fish he was a good few feet below the surface.
The bass started to come a little more regularly now and I finally cracked the days pattern. I would cast to the bank and the bass would not hit the lure until it was at its maximum depth of about 2.5m. The bass were still well below the surface and if I had the time I would have bounced a Jackall TN50 along the bottom of the deeper pools but the wind had come up and so I continued working the banks. On the way I managed another 3 fish between 25-29cmFL and was a little disappointed that I was failing to find any larger models that I have caught in this system in the past.
I continued back towards the launch spot and cast at each bank hoping to catch a few more last minute bass. Eventually the lure was slammed down deep and I finally thought I was onto a cracking bass. The bass refused to come to the surface and although it did not peel braid off the line its weight was huge and I hoped I had finally found my 40cm+ bass. Eventually I managed to raise the bass and was a little disappointed to find a 35cmFL bass that had managed to hook itself I the flank!
I paddled the rest of the way to the launch and was out of the water by 11AM. Even though the water was still a little dirty and the bass were a little quiet on the surface it was a pleasant morning. Especially considering as I write this the rain is belting down yet again and the rivers are on their way up. At least I got a fix!