With few options regarding rivers to fish due to the never-ending bloody rain, we decided to head as far up as we could go to try and find some clean water. Easter is so busy on the rivers that we were pleased to find that we had the place to ourselves and hoped it stayed that way for the next few days. Quick set up of camp and a feed and the canoe and Kayak was slid into the water and off we paddled. Within minutes I was onto a fish that kited up the river and we soon realised that in our hurry to get on the water we had forgotten the landing net. The fish rolled by the side of the canoe and we all started flapping as we could see it was a big Bass. We beached the canoe, unhooked, and measured the fish and she was a comfortable 50cm. A quick picture and off she swam, bloody marvellous.
Just as Andy & I sorted ourselves out, and Andy was just about to cast into a nice-looking snag Pic shouted from behind a line of trees “Big Bass,”. We paddled around the corner to see him paddling back up with a big grin on his face. The Bass was as thick as you will ever see and had a distinctive black stripe down its flank that we think was maybe an old war wound from a Cod or some other hungry predator. He did well to land the fish as it was right in a section of river that shallows, and then bottlenecks with each side guarded by fish losing snags. We fished on and pushed up the river and before long I was onto another fish. A few tense moments and some big powerful runs concluded in the fish being landed safely into the canoe. Same routine, measure (49cm), picture, and release, and then we realise that we are into some serious fishing that dreams are made of.
We paddle slowly flicking at anything and everything and only minutes from my last fish I have hooked up again. Just as Andy murmurs “what the F” a bow wave heads for his lure and he is into a big Bass. It is fair to say that we were in a bit of a pickle as both fish darted under the Canoe and within seconds it was clear we were now tangled. Landing one big Bass without a net is a challenge but landing two is just crazy. Pic came to our rescue and after a few scary moments, he had both fish gripped by the lips. My fish was the smaller of the two at 48 and Andy’s was a big thick 49cm. Unfortunately, just as Andy washed the fish off for the photo it made its escape, photo denied. We fished on for a while, but the light was fading, and we headed back to camp for a cold beer and some food.
Over the next days, we missed & dropped a few fish, drunk a suitable amount of beer, ate giant T-Bone steaks, explored some serious 4×4 country, accessed some new water, ripped more bits off my car, and basically had a good old time. However, it seemed that the Bass gods had decided we had had our fair share and no more fish were landed. A bag made up of 50,49,49,48,46 cm Bass is something that you do not see very often, and we accepted the outcome as the rain set in and we decided to get out whilst we still could.
We made our 3-hour drive home retelling stories of fish and other adventures. The rivers are in the best condition they have been in since 2015. In the last few trips when the heights have allowed, I have seen big Bass, and I think this coming season is going to be bloody awesome!