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Gorillas in the mist

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It has been said that you could give 1000 monkeys, 1000 typewriters and in 1000 years one of them would come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Well, the same is apparently true of Gorillas. Give 2 Gorillas, 2 fishing rods and in 1000 casts one of them will actually land a lure in the water! Such is the strange behaviour of the nocturnal bass-fishing Southern Lowland Bass Gorilla.

To have any chance of seeing one of these elusive creatures, you have to be prepared to become sleep deprived... preferably hungover. It is important to journey into their natural habitat. Areas of the Tweed River Valley in Northern NSW are known areas for observing them. The best time to find them is 1-2 hours before first light and in the hour or so once light has touched the sky.

As can be seen from the accomanying photo-essay, the Southern Lowland Bass Gorilla is elusive and shy, preferring mornings when their rivers are shrouded by mist and on nights with no moon. This can make their feeding challenging... although one wouldn't know it from the specimens observed today... both having put on solid condition through the cooler months.


Preferred hunting conditions for the Southern Lowland Bass Gorilla

A particular challenge for the Bass Gorilla is determining the location of snags in the misty pitch darkness. Many of their feeding 'casts' end not with a splashy 'plop' but with a stony 'kerthunk!' or less commonly a woody 'crash'. At these times, they often vocalise and one could be forgiven for thinking that they perhaps almost have a language (although the meaning behind the raucous laughter, sledging and curse words is hard to decipher).

One of the Southern Lowland Bass Gorillas this morning actually spent 15 minutes fanning casts in all directions in the dark, being constantly frustrated in his attempts to find prey (and water). Eventually the large silverback realised that in the inky dark he was in fact in a cove 10cm deep, surrounded on 3 sides by rocky beach... a most unlikely place to find the Australian Bass... the Gorilla's preferred prey.


The troublesome cove as seen in daylight

His companion in trying to move past a large fallen tree was equally confounded for some minutes by the same beach until realising that the river was around 10m wide by going the other way around the tree. More raucous cries in the dark.


And the equally troublesome fallen tree... a different proposition for Gorillas in the mist

At this point, the Bass Gorillas began to hunt successfully. Despite being completely unable to see what they were casting at, an occasional hopeful cast actually managed to land on the water. It should be noted that the Southern Lowland Bass Gorilla is adept at using a limited range of tools. Apart from 375mL beverage containers, they also have the dexterity needed to use conventional spin tackle with poppers and Jitterbugs. Such is there ability with these tools that a succession of fit, though skinny Bass started to be collected by the pair. As you may see, conditions and the need for stealth made photographing the hunting behaviour challenging.



Southern Lowland Bass Gorillas during a successful hunt

Older silverbacks like one of this pair, sometimes develop the more advanced behaviour of seeking Bass with fly fishing tackle. Only one dominant male in any group usually has the aptitude for this form of hunting. Those observing this pair this morning would have been lucky enough to see this territory's largest male successfully employing this technique.


A younger Gorilla obseved beyond the fly rod of a more experienced male

The younger and perhaps more showy of the 2 Bass Gorillas at one stage had been slightly more successful in the early hunting, having captured 3 Bass to the old Silverback's 1. But a large male will always try to see off an ambitious rival and with with experience of years, the silverback just waited until the sledging was at its peak before fighting back.

With the coming of the sun, while the Southern Lowland Bass Gorillas become easier to observe, they like their prey also become skittish and nervous. With the hunt slowing down as the sun climbed, the 2 Bass Gorillas began migrating back towards their home range. The old silverback as if to emphasise his strength, finished with 2 very fat, fit bass while the younger male looked on, frustrated.


Attempting to assert dominance, the old Silverback fights back




A series of photographs of the preferred habitat of the Southern Lowland Bass Gorilla

Both males successfully captured 6 Bass each on this particular morning ensuring that they will continue to frequent this particular habitat. It's uncertain how long the old Silverback will be able to maintain his position in the group as his ailing fitness was evident as he struggled inelegantly out of the water. But there is an undeniably majesty and grace displayed by both these Southern Lowland Bass Gorillas in their natural habitat... Once in your life you should try to observe these elusivce Gorillas in the mist


Gorilla in the mist

and extremely rare film footage of the Southern Lowland Bass Gorilla's natural behaviour in daylight

Prof. S.L. Inky


Edited by slinkymalinky
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Hahahahahahahahahaha, top notch description of the southern lowland bass gorilla. I have never before seen such great photos of this rare beast, in its natural habitat as well. Some fine camera work and reporting there. Great spin (pun intended) on a typical bass trip!

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Very funny read mate.

It suits the very funny session!

I haven't laughed so hard for ages. I was a little dusty, had no idea

where I was in the pitch black darkness & fog, & your casts landing on the

bank & hitting trees was just too much.

Maybe a moon lit night where we can see SOMETHING is in order

next time. I nearly fell out of the yak I was laughing so hard!

Anyway, I was happy with the 12 bass between us ( 6 each ) & the new water

we fished looked awesome.

I think we did really well considering the barometer went from 1008 to 1005

over the session. If it was going the other way we would have smashed them.

Yes, we were gorillas in the mist & I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'll find somewhere new for us again next time!!



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ha ha ha LOVED IT! I can just about see it in my mind ....... so pleased you landed some of the Southern Lowland Bass ....... Well done!!

Good to see those yaks out on the water! :clapping:



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Definitely deserves an Oscar for "Best Picture" and maybe even for "Best Actor(s)"

Having started a trend can we look forward to regular "Gorilla's in the Mist" contributions from Proff Slinky?

Or maybe some talented Raider film maker will accept the challenge and produce another epic.

How about an annual award for the most humorous filmed contribution from a Raider? Decided by members voting. Having a little spare time I would be happy to have a go at making a suitable Perpetual Plaque with the usual brass discs to engrave the winners names each year.. The Plaque to be displayed in a single post.

Love this site!



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A remarkable tale about two of Australia's most elusive creatures! Hats off to you Prof. S.L. Inky. :biggrinthumb:

Looks like a bloody nice waterway. great to see you out on the water again mate. All indications are it is going to be a very productive couple of months for chasing freshwater fish .... get the frequent flyer points ready! :1gathering:



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