The weeks leading up to the trip, the activity in the group chat from Neil, James, and Miles, AKA Rewind (he earnt this nickname as he spent so much time going backward in the Canoe) started to increase significantly. Ignoring the constant banter about who was going to catch the most fish or who was going to capsize and so on, the real topic was the weather.
The trip was booked for the weekend starting the 16th but weather reports and the news were talking of a Cyclone.
With a week to go, we decided it was better to be safe than sorry and we would delay the trip for another week. Ironically the weekend of the 16th was bathed in glorious sunshine and low winds with a high pressure sitting over the state that would have surely made for great fishing.
Nice work BOM.
Three days before the boys were due to arrive the weather reports were now talking about significant rain on Thursday and Friday. Now depending on what Weather site you use this would vary by 10-30mm (that’s a lot). I don’t mind a bit of rain (I am English) but if you get 20-30mm up the mountains that can lift the water and affect the fishing (admittedly sometimes in a positive way). However, if you get 50-100mm slow fishing is the least of your worries.
The day before the boys were due there Willyweather was showing 100mm at Dorrigo on Friday. As we were keen to fish the big river this was more than enough of a risk for us to either cancel or find somewhere different.
So I decided we would head North and aim to launch at the top of a system and even though it looked like rain for Friday and the water would be dirty from a flood 2 weeks ago, I thought we had a good chance of finding some Bass.
We awoke to torrential rain at 4am so the boys sat at my kitchen table nervously drinking coffee as I checked the Radar and every website prediction I could find. Finally, I looked at them and said: “Its on”.
As we paddled down the river we knew it was going to be a tough day but spirits were high and the lads were just happy to be on the water doing what they love.
The rain came in small waves and between the showers we managed a couple of Bass and just as we thought we may be OK, we noticed the big black cloud. Then it rained, I mean really, really rained and it didn’t let up for ages. My new waterproof coat eventually gave up and it started leaking. The fellas informed me that they were also in the same predicament and by lunch, we were all shivering and feeling a bit over it. We pulled over and I got the billy on, a cup of soup with some cheese and ham wraps was all that was needed and as we paddled off we all felt much better.
By the time we hit camp there were only Six fish on the board and as we sat and had a quick beer we all decided to have an early night and put an end to the day.
We awoke to no rain and the chaps wasted no time in getting out on the water. Miles took the first fish and it was a cracking 45cm Bass in mint condition. Neil missed a big hit from a Bass way up under a tree near where a small stream joined the river. Undeterred he jumped out the Yak and stalked the fish from the bank tea-bagging his lure through the reeds. Wallop, it was all too much for the Bass and after a few brief runs Neil had landed this beauty.
As the morning went on there was a definite change in the weather and as we progressed the fish started to come on the bite. By lunchtime, everyone had had a decent fish and we started to get some really good numbers with Neil also managing a nice Cod out of the dirty water on his Ballista Trance proving they work well in the murky stuff just like it says on the packet.About an hour before we hit camp it looked like a storm was brewing and the Bass started to really turn it on with acrobatic takes and aggression that only a rapid change in a weather system can bring.
After we set up camp we all went out again for a paddle and Neil managed another nice high 40`s fish but other than that it was fairly quiet with only the odd surface hit from time to time. We headed back and all sat around the fire for some food, cold beers, and numerous fishing stories.
The boys headed out about an hour before light (I stayed in bed) and as they threw large surface lures into the darkness they just couldn’t tempt a fish. They managed a couple more Bass as the light came up in the fast water and Just before returning to camp Miles lost a big Bass that the other boys said peeled line right across the water.We packed up and paddled our way down the river only managing 2 more fish before the trip was over.
With over 30 fish landed and plenty of missed opportunities, I think the boys did brilliantly. I know they enjoyed themselves as I can’t recall fishing with a bunch of blokes that laughed so much.