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Zero to Hero and then some!

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:38 pm
by Leper
I headed out on September 1st for my first bass session for the 2018-2019 with eager anticipation. It had been a warm end to winter and although the Spring rains had not arrived yet I was optimistic that the warmer weather might have woken the resident bass up early and got them on the move to the tops of all the pools. I knew the spawning bass would still be lower in all the river systems waiting for the first bit of flow to allow them passage to the upper reaches of the waterways, but I really wanted to get into the skinny stuff and have an explore to see how shallow the rivers were after a warm, dry winter.

The winds really got up on Friday night and although the weather forecasters had predicted a drop to about 15knots by the morning I knew it was potentially still going to be an uncomfortable paddle. With a predicted top temperature of 28oC and a warm night I was still hoping that I would be relatively protected from the winds and would still be able to cast my baitcasters accurately after a 4 month absence.

So I hit the road before twilight and reached my launch point as the sky started to light up. WayneD had already posted on Facebook that he was finding a few lower in the same system I had planned to fish and it seemed he had found the migrating school on its journey upstream by the large numbers of bass he had caught off the surface during his morning quickie! I must admit this had me super excited to hit the water, and the speed at which I was geared up and heading to the water was astounding.

Once on the water I knew I would have to get a few practice casts in as I had not made a cast with my baitcasters in about 4 months. You would be surprised how little muscle memory needs to be lost in this time and considering I like to cast inches from structure I knew I would need to get my eye in. So I started throwing a few safe practice casts and adjusted the cast controls till I was relatively happy with my casting. That said I must admit it was not that great.
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Once on the water the first few things I noticed was that the river still had some flow which was great, but it was still very low. Even after good rain the first pool was always quite shallow and very rarely did it ever produce good numbers of fish so I was not really worried when I had no action before I reached the second pool.

Even when I reached the second pool the bass were very quiet and I started to notice a build up of surface weed on the banks and around significant structures. This was great for the bass, but not great for targeting fish that may have been unwilling to chase down lures from a great distance. It was a great feeling when finally a cast into a narrow side channel was finally smashed even though it missed the trebles. It gave me a little confidence initially, until casting the rest of the large pool resulted in absolutely no hits.

I continued upstream and the next couple of pools were dead also, however they were very shallow and rarely held bass except when the river was full and flowing strongly. However, I knew the next pool was the crux of a successful season opener. If I could not find a bass in this pool I knew that the session was going to be a real struggle. Luckily my first cast into a section of the pool that always held fish was smashed after a few twitches and although I missed the bass again it gave me the motivation to keep pushing upstream. Finally at the top of the pool, a cats beneath the flowing water was finally hit and I connected to my first bass for the 2018-2019 season. At 34cmFL it wasn’t huge but it was a positive start after almost two hours of casting.
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With renewed confidence I continued upstream and the smaller shallower pools between the deeper pools continued to disappoint. The next deeper pool had me miss a small hit right next to the kayak but again multiple casts at awesome structure left me shaking my head with frustration. It wasn’t until I reached the top of the pool where the water was flowing strongly into a deep pool that I finally had an aggressive bass tempted by my Luckycraft Sammy 65. He chased my lure out of the flowing water an initially boiled beneath it before smashing it just before it walked into shallow water. Missing the lure I quickly sent in a second cast and I was rewarded with a cracking hit and a good fight from a solid bass. I had forgotten how hard these fish pull and I must admit my arms were a little sore when I finally netted a 37cmFL bass.
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I quickly made my way to the next deep pool through some very shallow water, and knew that I should find a few fish here as it almost always provided some quality fish even on slow days. After a few casts around the structures at the bottom end of the pool I finally managed a solid hit and a miss and five minutes later I missed another good bass. I even managed to hook up on a large saw-shelled turtle on a follow up cast after I tried to regain the bass’s interest.
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I started to wonder what was off and whether it was the bass, me or a combination of the two. The rest of the pool was dead and again I started to consider whether calling the session off was a better option than casting for hours for just a few fish. I reached the top of the pool where a large tree had fallen at an angle across the river after the current had eroded the soil beneath its root ball. Casting millimetres from the base of the tree trunk my Sammy was absolutely smashed by a big bass and I thought I was in trouble when I was forced to thumb the spool to prevent line tearing from my reel as the bass powered back towards the root ball. It was only when I had managed to bully the fish away from the structure that I took my thumb off and allowed it a little more freedom to fight it out. It was so relieved and ecstatic when a 43cmFL bass finally slipped into the net.
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This gave me the confidence and freedom to explore a bit further and so I decided to continue further even though the fishing continued to be very quiet. I really enjoyed the journey to the next pool as it was quiet and picturesque with some amazing fig trees along the riparian fringe. I initially thought that I had not ventured up into this area of the river before but I quickly realised I had fished it before albeit a long time ago. The next pool was amazing again and I was disappointed to not find a fish early until a 28cmFL bass made the journey worth the effort. Soon after a quick poke up a deep back channel was rewarded with another small bass of 33cmFL.
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The rest of the pool was very shallow, and the wind had come up, and so I decided that it was a good time to head downstream and see if the increasing pockets of shade, caused by the late morning sun, had concentrated the bass a little more than the early morning twilight.

The trip downstream was actually much better than many other trips and in the pool below my turn around point I managed to pick up another 34cmFL bass. I then managed another further downstream in my “guaranteed pool” when a cast along my favourite snag was smashed by another good bass that fought hard considering its poor condition. At 39cmFL it was a great way to finish the morning. It’s lack of muscle looked like it had caused some form of spinal curvature and I wondered whether some fattening up would have made it measure a little longer.
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The rest of the trip downstream into the bottom two pools was very quiet as I expected and it wasn’t long before I was back at the car and unpacked. Even though it had been a morning that was much slower than expected it was still an awesome way to start the season.

Re: Zero to Hero and then some!

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:56 pm
by rocketV
Looking at those pics and reading your well written report has me chomping at the bit to get my season started! Well done mate :cool:

Re: Zero to Hero and then some!

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 9:37 am
by pazz
Great report Brad,
Nice Turtle.
Will give my local a crack this weekend if weather stays good.
Cheers
Steve

Re: Zero to Hero and then some!

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:15 pm
by WayneD
Can't complain about that Brad. Although you worked hard for your fish that's for sure. I didn't even get my feet wet for the season opener :lol: but my spot is no where near as pretty as yours. That's why I love where I launched, in and out in under two hours, normally get a few off the surface, back home before the family has breakfast. And it's only 7mins from my new home :wink:

Catch up soon for a night session, once it warms up.

Re: Zero to Hero and then some!

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 7:48 pm
by Aussie54
Very nice, gotta be happy with that to start the season off with. :grin:

Re: Zero to Hero and then some!

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:03 pm
by RAD
Noce start to the season Brad you do still have my mobile number don't you? :lol: :lol:

Re: Zero to Hero and then some!

Posted: Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:19 am
by allane
Well done on some nice fish. 43fl is certainly a great way to open the season. Looking forward to getting out to our locals as well.