Close but no Cigar (Hat)

Owens wife had secretly organised a trip for his birthday back in August so when we collected Owen from the airport he was as keen as they come.

With the Rivers still running a little dirty, we set off in the late afternoon and headed for our first nights camp. We fished what would normally be productive water but worryingly the fish were completely shut down. After setting up camp we headed out for a night session but after a couple of hours called it quits and paddled back without one hit.

This was not looking good.

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Next morning we were up early and fished for a couple of hours and Owen managed a couple of Boofs off the surface but they didn’t result in a fish.

We set off and made our way to some lower pools. Finally, we found a few small Bass here and there falling to our Spinnerbaits, then a small Cod. We had Lunch and talked about how we hoped things would pick up but the reality is sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

As we neared the end of a smaller hole I hooked a decent Cod and this perked us up a little so we pushed on.

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We set up camp and headed out for an afternoon session hoping that the storm we could see building would get things moving.

Wasnt long before Owen was onto a big Bass and after a bit of excitement (mostly from me), it was safely in the Net.

49cm of Bass is a great fish but being 1cm off the magic 50 left Owen without a “Wild River Tours” hat (50cm Bass or 1m Cod wins a hat) but I don’t think he was that bothered and we paddled back to camp feeling victorious.

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Next morning we were up early and within a few casts, a monster Cod had smashed my Pompadour off the surface. She was a cracker of a fish going 90cm and it took Owen 2 seconds to change his lure from a spinnerbait to see if we could fool another fish.

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With Owen sitting up the front of the canoe, I paddled him up the river and in no time his Lure was destroyed by another monster.

For the next 2 hours, Owen was in Cod heaven.

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With 5 cod over 70cm (90, 87, 84, 80 and 70) we headed back to camp for breakfast and to talk about what had just happened.

I have had some sessions with Cod but never had only Big Fish hitting the lure like that.

Great stuff.

 

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When it blows from the East the fish bite least

23 fish may sound a lot but when you put 4 experienced Fisho`s on New South Wales premier river (arguably) over 3 days the numbers should be 60-80.
However, Bass can be moody little buggers and we were faced with the fact that the weather had turned to custard and the barometer was sitting at 1011. Then add an Easterly wind this was really going to be a struggle.

Day One Scotty upset a great Bass from out in the middle of a decent size hole. It was all smiles and photos as this Bass smashed Scotty`s previous best and it set the mood high and we all thought that maybe things would be OK.23516039_10159838738585352_521606720_oUnfortunately, this would be the only fish landed for the rest of the day and by the time we hit camp the mood was low. A few beers and some very nice Scotch that Chris had brought along (I think it was very expensive) lifted the mood and I ended up having one of the best afternoons just sitting and chatting that I think I have ever had on the river.

Day Two and Chris paddled out whilst we finished breaking camp and within seconds a small Cod had taken a shine to his lure. I wouldn’t call Chris an excitable fella but he started shouting and gesturing as a giant Cod came up from the depths and grabbed the small Cod he had on. The big Cod let go and just before Chris could do anything a different Cod came up and hit the small Cod off the lure and then took the Lure. Chris only had light fishing gear so we quickly paddled out to help to land this stunning Eastern Cod.23584220_10159838735905352_886539610_oThe rest of the day we picked off Bass and Cod mostly from the bigger holes. Jason had sent a deep diver down and was rewarded with one of the biggest hits I have seen and we all thought he had hooked a really sizeable Cod. By the way the fish was hugging the bottom you would have thought it was a 70cm Cod but he coaxed her up and netted this perfect Bass. I think I was more excited than him as it is great to see not only a client but also a bloody good mate catch a new PB.
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When we neared the end of the same hole I hooked a 40cm Bass and just as I had him beaten I also had a giant Cod come up and grab the poor fella. The lads laughed as I shouted and screamed for the 90cm+ oath to let my precious Bass go and after a big tail slap on the surface he/she sunk back down into the darkness.
2 Cod attacks in 1 trip are really unusual but its great to see some big fish around and I really wouldn’t to be a small fish living in that river.

Day Three and we awoke to wind and spitting rain.
We had already decided that we might paddle out and get back to the cars early as work commitments loomed and the weather was just crap.

So on reflection, it was so amazing to be back on the big river again after 3 months I absolutely love it and dread the day I am too old to paddle it. Although we didn’t slay the fish I think 4 new PB`s for the lads on 1 trip is pretty bloody good and spending time with people like Chris, Jason and Scott really make this job pretty easy.

Dave.

The Perfect Trip?

We had changed our minds a few times over the last few weeks in regards to where we will fish, but we finally agreed on some high Northern New South Wales hills and we made the drive towards some access I had secured the year before.

When we arrived there was a local fixing up something by the gate so I jumped out of the car for a quick chat and things escalated quickly. He was aggressive and in my face within seconds and it looked like we were about to have a dust-up. After some short words and when he accepted the fact that I was not going to back down or was not there to rob his house, he softened just like Jackal and Hyde. He was all smiles and now giving me advice as to where I can drive in and what to look out for.

Some odd people live in those hills.

Laughing this off we unloaded the Canoes and said our goodbyes to poor old Joanne who had to make the drive home past our new friend’s place (Mr. Hyde).

 

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Always good to have a launch picture so the rescuers know what to look for!

 

We got to camp in a few hours with no sign of a fish and made ourselves comfy for the night around a small fire and a couple of cold beers.

The next morning Frank was up like a shot and paddled out to a small hole not far from camp.

Twenty minutes later he was back and he shouted: “get the camera”.

 

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Frank with his 48cm Bass

 

Now with high expectations, we set off around 9am and fished hard but with the massive Moon, I didn’t expect to see much till late morning.

Around 11am the fish started to show and we started to clock up some good numbers.
Just around Midday, I hooked a fish with my Mazzy Popper that had some weight. It took me straight into a snag and I was bricked. I instantly jumped into the water like some lunatic and swam towards the snag leaving my canoe and paddle to start to float down the river.

I managed to untangle the line from the snag and to my amazement the fish was still on. Soon as she broke the surface I could see it was a big Bass and in the excitement, I was shouting all kinds of nonsense at Frank (he has this on Video and may hold me to ransom one day).

 

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54cm of Wild River Bass

 

By the time we finished up at camp we had 20 or so fish. We set up camp and went back out straight away. We fished from a single canoe, walked the banks for a few hours just picking off Bass and Cod until we had over 30 fish in total. That night around the fire we talked about the crazy wind we had been competing with and of course the amazing Bass & Cod we had landed.

The next day we were up early and as keen as Mustard.

We picked our way down the river and targetted pools with the Mazzy Poppers, Alive Chatter Baits and anything else we could use. Frank used a spinnerbait in the deep holes to upset the Bass that thought they were safe. With this type of fishing, Eastern Cod are a bycatch but as they are actually a protected species so you need a quick photo and return them to the water to go about their day.

In the late afternoon, Frank hooked onto a really big Cod that had him in all sorts of trouble. His reel was given a run for its money but he landed the 80cm chunk and it was not till later when we stripped it we noticed he had totally melted his Clutch.

The fishing on this trip was as good as it ever gets and even with the wind and the giant Moon, the fish played the game.

The final score was 114 fish and by the time we got to the car (on Franks 40th Birthday) we had both had enough.

Dave.