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Yakkety Yak! Smackety Smack!


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It's been a long time between drinks for Jewhunter and Slink Bass attacks. It's also been a long time between buying and finally using my Jackson Coosa Kayak.

Well finally this morning, I dragged my sorry backside out of bed at 1.30 am to head across the border into NSW for a pre-dawn bass raid. After a bit of firgging around, I managed to get me kayak on the roof and with all the rest of the gear dumped in the back before heading south for the hour drive. Reports of big bass being caught in some of our favourite haunts had us both keen.

So keen that JH was actually waiting for me at the door when I rolled into his place at about 3am. We hoofed it up to our launching spot and got the yaks into the water. It was surprisingly easy getting sorted and out onto the water... a combination of keeping it simple and good head torches (big fan of my new Lenser H7).

What isn't easy is snag bashing with lures in the pitch dark. Grant knows the bit of water we were on like the back of his hand. So do I... but since I don't know the back of his hand very well it left me at a disadvantage. Needless to say he was keen to show off (probably trying to cheer me up for leaving me behind while he fished Weipa)... his very first cast with a jointed Jitterbug got smashed and after a short tussle and lots of yahoos, a 35cm'ish Bassamundi came to hand.

I made the mistake of taking a light baitcast outfit with me. Awesome outfit in daylight... truly stupid in the dark. While Grant picked up a couple more fish and was getting regular hits, I was getting practice unpicking birdsnests. :mad3:

Finally, with just enough light in the sky to be able to make out the snags, I found a suicidal bass in the mid 30's that grabbed my little Jitterbug. My first ever fish from a Yak so I was pretty chuffed.



Then I decided to break out the magic wand (Reddington 6wt flyrod!!). Grant had given me a couple of poppers he'd found at a local market and they swam like champions. Short little strips had the fly popping loudly while barely moving. With the fly making so much noise while staying in the strike zone, I immediately started getting hits. In fact the first good snag I fished to had a fish that hit my fly on 4 consecutive casts before finally coming up tight on the 5th. A nice 37cm Bass for my first on fly from the yak.


Grant meanwhile was getting steady action on his big 'Cod Botherer' sized Jitterbug and for a while just on first light the river was ringing with the sound of boofing bass and yahoohing fishraiders. Give me surface fishing every time!!

Eventually we decided to start heading back towards the cars which were now about 1km behind us. The action had slowed but there were a couple of really big laydown snags that we'd passed in the dark on the way down. I nosed my yak into one of them and got absolutley hammered on the first bloop of my fly. In the still conditions, the sound of the take was awesome... and so was the fight in this fish. I quickly learned how hard it is to deal with a fish that was towing me and my yak into the snags. I used all of my 9' fly rod's length to monouver the fish under my yak and out to the other side away from the snag but he had some serious horsepower. Finally in the boat he went 40cm... my PB Bass on fly.



Before heading back to the cars, Grant called for a quick diversion into another snag filled section of river away from the wind that was starting to pick up. Not far into the area and I heard a yell from behind me. Grant had managed to pull a solid bass nudging 40cm off the edge of some lillies. Like all the fish we caught today it was in great condition... clean and green with big shoulders and a bad attitude. After grabbing some snaps we continued on.


Some of the snags in this section are insane. With the light well and truly in the sky now it was a lot quieter so we were throwing suicide casts right into the middle of snag-riddle ugliness. It's a bit like a car accident that you can't look away from... you see a great pocket surrounded by timber and sticks and you just know there is no way to get a fish out of there... but you throw the cast anyway because getting smashed and smoked is an awsome rush regardless.


On one particular snag I almost had my baitcaster pulled out of hand after switching to a small spinnerbait and getting blown away moments into the retrieve. I'd love to see the fish that hit me because he popped my 10lb leader on the hit like cotton.

Finally we decided it was 'ass o'clock'... the very special time of day when one's posterior insists that it's had enough kayaking for the day. Back to the car, an inelegent dismount after realising that my legs no longer worked properly, egg and bacon sambos in Murwillumbah, and another awesome fun session came to an end.

Cheers, Slinky

Edited by Jewhunter
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Well done Tony & Grant! What a terrific report, Tony! Great looking bass & that 40cm on fly - it would have 'gone'!! Shame the Spinnerbait one busted you off!!

Bet it's not too long before you get out again, eh? You really get a different battle when hooking from a yak!!

cheerio & looking forward to your next report already!


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Thanks for the great morning mate.

It was a heap of fun. Nothing beats surface strikes to get the blood pumping.

Those fish were in the best condition I've seen in that part of the river.

Fit, feisty & fun!

Congrats on that cracker on a fly. You did well not to be stitched up.

We'll have to fish it again soon to nail that 50cm fish.



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Sounds like a top sesh and well worth the early start.

It surely won't be long before you cross paths with a true horse out of that water. I don't think finding a 50cm fish will be the hard part. Staying connected in those snags for more than a nano second might be. Its a magical place.

Congrats on the PB on Fly Tony. I'm hoping to have a crack at a few local fish on fly this season myself.

Looking forward to many more wild bass reports from you two in the coming months.

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