There had been some good rain on the North Coast and I was hopeful the flush of water would bring the bass on the bite. With high hopes I set off upstream in the kayak. An early start had me paddling in the near darkness. Not having fished this particular creek this season, the anticipation was high. The plan was to slowly work into the current, casting a likely structure as it was encountered.
As is customary, there was a surface lure tied on to start proceedings. One of Bill’s small black poppers was given the honour of breaking the stillness of the morning air. There was so much cover to cast to that it was difficult to know where to start. The popper was lobbed next to an old stump and allowed to sit. When my patience ran out, I gave it the first twitch. Bloop! Now that was sure to wake any bass in the vicinity.
Two more bloops and the popper was starting to get out of the strike zone. Or so I thought. Crash! Bill’s popper disappeared in a spray of water. I was on and the drag was screaming. The bass knew where home was and headed straight for the old stump. I tried to turn it but the kayak was being pulled behind this mack truck of a fish. The grind of line told me he was home. All over red rover. Another lure bites the dust.
As the light improved, I was shocked at the colour of the creek. It was totally brown and as thick as a homemade soup. It looked like the runoff from a farm further upstream. By the consistency of the water, it looked like the whole back paddock was heading out to sea! Large noisy lures were called for in these conditions, so one of Mick’s big jointed creatures was extracted from the lure box.
A good cast landed the walker right on the money (one of the few). It splashed down right up against an undercut bank. As the concentric circles dissipated, I slowly started the retrieve. The plop, plop was similar to the conventional Jitterbug, but seemed to have a more resonating sound. Once again water erupted all over the large black creature and I was hanging on to a screaming reel once again.
As the kayak once again started to be towed around, I managed to wedge it against an exposed tree stump. Now at least I had some leverage to work with. A quick fight and it was all over. A lovely female bass was lying beaten beside the kayak. After cradling her for some photos, she was gently revived and allowed to swim defiantly back to her lair. I was on the board and looking to add to the total. The further upstream I paddled the narrower the creek became.
At times I thought I had reached the end of the line, but sometimes grabbing the reeds and pulling the kayak through revealed another pocket of water to explore. Doing this at one point, I came face to face with a large goanna lying on a half submerged log. I don’t know who got the biggest shock. My heart was racing and he took off at a rate of knots in the opposite direction.
These hidden pockets of water turned out to be little treasures. There was no shortage of bank side cover and exposed branches broke the surface of the water. If I hooked anything in these surroundings, things would be interesting! Poking my rod tip through the reeds, I lobbed a small fizzer into the tiny pool of water. One twitch was all it took. Now I was in trouble! The bass tore around the tiny space, angrily trying to rid itself of this annoying piece of timber. I was helpless to stop it and finally the hooks pulled.
A pleasant morning was spent exploring this lovely creek. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, I was once more reminded why bass fishing is such pleasant way to escape from the worries of everyday life. The creek finally petered out and I turned back for the pleasant paddle downstream. Drifting with the slow moving current, enclosed by the tree canopy, I could have been anywhere.
Peppering the likely looking structure on the drift downstream, I was rewarded with some more small bass. Because of the colour of the water, surface lures were used almost exclusively. The shade of the overhanging trees also helped to extend the surface bite. The camera was now being used almost as much as the rod. I find it hard to choose between the two consuming passions of fishing and photography.
At one stage I spotted a good size drop lizard sunning itself on the dead limb of an overhanging tree. I slowly manoeuvred the kayak around underneath trying to find the best angle for a photo. After taking one or two photos, I tried to get as near as possible for a close up. Bloody Hell! The drop lizard lived up to its name and dropped into the kayak with me! There was a mad scramble to see who could get out of the kayak first and we both ended up in the water. What a way to end a great morning on the creek!
Copyright by Graeme “the cod” Bowes.