Dave landed at the Airport and on the way back to my place we chatted about options and tied up the loose ends for the trip he had booked over the next 4 days. This being Daves second trip with us he had a fair idea of what to expect and we had chatted about the fact that the rivers were really low and although I was confident we could find some fish this was going to be hard work.
The next morning we awoke but for a change, it was Gentlemens hours and not 3am as I am used to for most trips I do. We had decided that due to the big moon and Daves flight arriving late we would aim to get on the water around 11am. We loaded the Car and put our Canoes onto the trailer and headed West to see what we could find.
When we reached the river it was just a trickle under the bridge but I still had a good feeling and was confident we would see some Bass. A quick picture at the launch spot so the rescue squad would know what we looked like and off we paddled down the river. I had the usual feeling of excitement that I always have had since I was a young boy fishing for Carp, Roach, and various other fish that lived in the UK rivers and ponds.
It was only 10 minutes before Dave shouted “Yep” but when I looked over Dave was already being dragged into the snags and it was looking like he was in all sorts of trouble. “You bricked” I called out to him but I could see the answer. The fish had taken him down to a big snag and as I paddled over the top I could see the large tail of a really nice Bass. I pushed Daves Canoe over the snag so he could get a different angle for leverage and instantly the fish was free and screamed off pulling line until it found a new home in an adjoining snag. No matter how we tried we eventually had to admit defeat and the fish had won.
Dave shrugged it off and said, “Tell me, it was a big Bass wasn’t it?” I just nodded and off we paddled not mentioning it again.
A short while later as I tweaked my Skinny Dog lure away from a snag a nice Eastern Cod decided to attack it and after a few minutes of messing around it was subdued and with a quick picture he/she was returned safely. This was 1 of only 2 Cod for the whole trip which is surprising as the river is full of the stupid things (I say that with love).
We fished for the rest of the day picking up a few Bass, some on the surface and as we made camp spirits were high and we quickly set up looking to put a few hours in once it got dark. The thing is with fishing is that you can never tell what’s going to happen, and as we paddled out into the darkness I was really certain we were going to clean up. An hour later and with not one hit between us we decided to head back to camp for a drink and an early night.
We were up early and Dave didn’t waste any time and was harassing the Bass from the getgo. The Beetlespin with a Motor Oil Paddle Tail was doing the damage and after spending some time trying to rescue a Cow (second one in as many days) we went back to camp and packed up as we had some serious country to cover and I was worried about the extra time we would need from the low water and the dragging we were clearly going to encounter.
After a half hour ride using the 2hp motor, we entered into the skinny section of the river and it was just as I expected, Dave didn’t complain as we spent the next few hours dragging through the trickle of a river and over the grabbing volcanic rocks. There was not much fishing to this part of the river and the only excitement was when we found a small section that held some fish. Dave introduced himself to them using a Spinnerbait whilst I managed to get numerous short strikes.
After setting up Camp we headed out but could only snag a solitary Bass off the surface just on last light.
I awoke to a clap of thunder just on daybreak, I woke Dave as he had not heard anything due to having to use earplugs as the frogs were on operatic form all night. We packed up in a hasty fashion and set off down the river keeping an eye on the storms that were missing us by only a few miles. The Bass were slow to take a lure with lots of short strikes and many misses. We were adding numbers but it wasn’t the most exciting fishing and by the time we sat down for lunch we were both knackered from the humidity and heat. Just as I was munching on my Cheese and Ham cracker Dave shouted “SNAKE”, he wasn’t fibbing as the biggest Brown Snake I have ever seen was swimming right at us with his head held high out of the water. This snake was an easy 7ft, maybe more. I jumped up and down whilst shouting “Yaaaaaa YAAAA” and as it got about 10ft from us it veered off and entered the bush just next to us. I really, really do not like Snakes.
We pushed on and as we reached camp Dave was looking forward to his Strawberry Milkshake (this is a continuing joke from a previous trip). We didn’t bother to head out that night as the wind was howling and to be honest, I think we were both a bit exhausted from the day.
We awoke to rain and as I lay on my stretcher listening to the rain on my tarp I had time to appreciate how lucky I am to be able to share these experiences with people. It’s bloody brilliant and I absolutely love it.
It stopped raining and we tucked into a big breakfast, as we set off for the last morning of fishing within a few minutes we had to put on the wet weather gear. It didn’t matter though as the Bass were ON! Both Dave and I started to land fish from either side of the bank as we meticulously made our way down the hole. Just as Dave shouted Yep I`m on, I had a decent bass woof my Mazzy popper off the surface, who doesn’t love a double hookup? I paddled over and helped Dave unhook his mid 40`s fish and we had a quick picture and wasted no time in getting back into the fishing.
By the time we arrived at the bridge to find Joanne waiting for us, we had 34 fish landed with an average of over 40cm. Not bad for a River that is in terrible shape and desperately needs a flush.
The Trip highlights were the Snakes, jeez there are so many up there this season we even had one try and get into Daves Canoe on the first day. We had Echidnas and amazing Yellow Frogs, Eagles, Kites and when you are awoken by the loudest morning chorus of what seems to be every bird in NSW its hard not to be in awe. The fishing was typical Bass fishing with patches of excitement followed by long periods of nothing.
Did Dave enjoy himself? Well, he had already committed to booking again for a Bass trip later this season and also next years FNQ Jungle Perch trip so I think he was happy with the fishing or maybe it’s the Milkshakes.