It’s no coincidence that through the drought, fires, floods and then COVID I have not been very aggressive when it comes to looking for new customers. I can’t think of anything worse than people going through all the effort & expense to get to me and then spending 2-3 days on a river listening to story’s from a guide about how good it used to be. The rivers in our catchment have been declining for a few years and are just really tough to fish. However, If you are on social media and follow any of the Bass fishing pages you will be aware that the Clarence Valley is experiencing some of the best Bass fishing it has seen in many years. Reports of multiple 50cm Bass being caught all through the river and hundreds (yes hundreds) of high 40cm Bass. I have been out and It’s been a crazy few weeks and this has to be the best start to a season I can recall.
I have been visiting some iconic water and also snuck around some lesser-known spots. A few weekends ago I took Willem who had previously booked a couple of trips with me for a fish and we put the boat in and harassed the local Bass. With a 47, 48, 2 x 49s and a 51 landed and a few smaller fish, it was a great weekend and I witnessed some great fishos landing multiple 50`s and numerous other big fish.
With all the locals chasing the migrating fish my mate Andrew and I decided to try and find some less fished water and loaded up the Scanoe with a few beers and paddled out for a few days. I’m a big fan of the Scanoe but as we would be fishing some open water I was really looking forward to using Andrews mini outboard as they are a bugger to paddle especially if you overpack with beers and food.
Within the first couple of hours of fishing, we had landed some high 40cm fish, it was great fishing. As we drifted into a back eddy at the bottom of a rapid Andrew hooked into a big fat 51cm Bass that was hiding under a small branch.
I noticed a lure in a tree on a small island. I put a quick cast in before going to get the lure and wallop, A few minutes later and I was netting a 52cm fish. Very nice and I got a free lure for my troubles. We already had 10+ fish we started wondering if we had allowed enough time to get down the river. We spent the next 2 days picking up fish here and there and Andrew dropped a very, very big Bass right at the side of the boat, bugger.
The next day whilst having a beer at camp I noticed something shiny in a tree about 400m away. Every time the wind blew you could see it glisten. Curiosity got us and as we paddled to it Andrew said. I reckon that’s a Pompadour, a little bit of tree climbing and I was now a proud owner of another lure and he was right, a new Pompei.
The final count was exactly 30 fish and by the time we had dragged ourselves back up the rapids we were happy to head home. It’s not long now till the Nymboida and Mann open up and if the first few weeks of the season are anything to go by it looks like it’s going to be a season to remember.