Burrendong Dam / Cudgegong River Mudgee
The threat of a postponed journey or postponed return loomed as bushfires once again punished the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. We were headed for Burrendong Dam near Mudgee, or more specifically as arm of a feeder River called The Cudgegong.
Travelling out to Mudgee. It hard to deny the sheer beauty of the Australian bush
The Cudgegong is an absolutely beautiful River meandering through valley after valley until it eventually meets Burrendong Dam. Unfortunately it was closed season for Cod which meant we would be fishing for Carp, Yellowbelly (Golden Perch) and Silver Perch.
We had been invited out by Dave âBlueyâ Smith of FishnTrips (www.fishntrips.com.au). Dave guides in and around the Mudgee region which means he also has access to some marvelous Trout waters. Although we opted for bait fishing at night having fished Thompsons Creek Dam for Trout only recently.
After meeting Blue in Mudgee we proceeded out to the Cudgegong River. The road headed out of town left at the Honey Farm and we were on our way. The trip is about half an hour from Mudgee and half of that is gravel (the road is pretty good though). If attempting this trip be mindful of the wildlife, there is quite a lot of Kangarooâs in the area and also sheep on or by the road.
Arriving at our destination we proceeded to the Managers cottage to pay our entry and camping fees. With the paperwork sorted we continued. The drive takes you across what is ordinarily the dam floor. Although in our current drought conditions these plains are home to innumerable Kangarooâs, sheep and all sorts of birdlife.
Pulling up at our location our excitement peaked as sunken timber begged to be cast at. The time was about 5pm and we proceeded to set up the camp, while Bluey began to rig up the rods. I was quietly impressed with the outfit he runs. He is an absolute professional right down to the gourmet rolls for dinner which he had had prepared by the chef at the Oriental Hotel.
Camp up and rodâs readied we baited up and cast out, spreading our baits over approximately 25 â 30 metres. jiggler
and I have done quite a bit of freshwater bait fishing in the down time between our sunrise and sunset Bass fishing sessions on the Nepean River. So I didnât expect any fast and furious action. I had settled into a safe frame of mind, believing it would be a while before we saw any action. I couldnât have been more wrong.
The last of the six baits hit the water when rod oneâs alarm went off and the rod tip began to dance in the holder. A quick sprint saw me dis-engage the bait-feeder and stike. A solid fish drawing the line tight and began to take line. His first run put him back in the timber and I broke off on a log. My mind now in a very different place and anticipation high, it was clear we werenât in Kansas anymore.
Cudgegong River Carp
Re-baited and Re-cast we waited. Well we didnât have to wait to long before Jaye hooked up and was done also. Whatever they were though they were big! Another ten minutes passed before the rod went off again and Jaye dove on it. As difficult as it was we knew we needed to keep them away from the snags. A different fight saw Jaye land the first fish of the day, a nice big carp. Brought to the bank Blue put the lip grips on her and lifted her out of the water. Photoâs taken the fish was quickly and humanly dispatched.
(Remember:- It is an offence to release carp into ANY Australian waterway and heavy fines apply if caught)
Well we were on the board and another Spooled Trip was off to a good start. It was decided that I would watch the rods while Blue and Jaye went to get firewood for the night before we lost the light.
Rick with Mirror Carp
Within minutes of them driving off, a rod went. Picking it up my thoughts again were on the snags. The fight played out and after a few minutes a mirror carp was lifted from the water. Wondering how I was going to get a decent photo (as I didnât have my tripod and there was little in the way of flat surfaces). I upturned a half drum which had been put around for campers to have fires in. Set-up the timer and rattled off a couple of shots. As I was going to dispatch the fish I heard the other rods alarm going off. Due to the fact I was upwind and thirty or so metres from the rod I hadnât heard the alarm, so by the time I got to the rod the fish already had me snagged. The boys returning to see me losing another fish to the timber (not a very good look). After seeing my mirror carp I was forgiven though.
This was how the night would proceed. We would lose a couple then land a couple and before we knew it the night had slipped away. It was 11pm and our time with FishnTrips
As the last hour had quietened right off we decided to call it a night and have a well earned beer. So cranking up the fire we did just that. Sipping a black ale as we talked about the day.
Feelfree Nomad sit on top kayaks
Day two saw us ready the FeelFree
sit-on top kayaks for their maiden voyage, we were pumped at the prospect of fishing from them for the first time. We were lucky enough to get sponsorship from a company that had exactly what we wanted. So after of a small addition of rod holders a week earlier we were set. I wont go into the details of feature etc here as we will be doing that in a Product Review soon. Suffice to say though (this was unnaminous) they were a dream to fish from.
Global warming and our drought have really taken their toll out here
We decided to fish the structure in our immediate area first and after peppering them with 5/8 oz Bridgewater spinnerbaits
we paddled downstream toward the dam. The River snaked around and widened the further we went.
Setting the rods in their holders we trolled about 2 kms, having covered as much water as we did and with innumerable snags to fish on the way back we turned around.
Trolling in the yaks
You canât help but appreciate the countryside here, I must admit when I experience a place like this I am honoured to be able to be in it. We were a little ill prepared for kayak fishing and this was due to the yaks arriving early. Our first scheduled trip with them was to be in December, for our week long Nepean River Bass trip. When they turned up early we decided to get them out on the water. So minus a Sounder or Ice jigs we used what we had. The spinnerbaits hadnât produced anything yet so we opted for a lure change, putting on divers. Working the timber from kayaks is an absolute pleasure, being able to put lures in places you could only dream about in a boat.
Jiggler getting amongst the timber
With the wind picking up and it almost being time to leave we decide to head back and troll on the way. Jaye disturbed a carp feeding on the surface up ahead, as I paddled past where he was I was saying to myself âTake the lure, take the lureâ
. As we all know this was stupid as carp donât take lures or I had never heard of it. Then the pulled tight and the rod bucked as I set the hooks on an experience that would be another first. You guessed it, Carp on lure and out of a Feelfree Kayak
too. I was being pulled all over the place, what a blast. I have fought big carp out of a canoe before but it is not nearly as fun as fighting them out of a kayak. Not only did he run he also dove in an attempt to get away from the kayak, definitely a great experience. He took off around the back appearing on the other side, forcing me to swap hands and follow him with the rod. When I finally got him to the side of the yak I had a smile from ear to ear.
Carp caught trolling a lure in the Camo custom made for Spooled - Feelfree kayak
Overall a great trip and I highly recommend FishnTrips
to give you a great experience. A lot of people bag out Carp fishing, however the majority of those people either havenât done it or arenât very good at it. They represent great fun and are a great way to get the kids to experience big fish in a safe environment. I guarantee when they catch one of these monsters it will be an experience they will never forget, automatically making you the best parent in the world.
Dave offers this and much more, from trout fishing to packages including accomadation and even incorporating wine tours for that total getaway.
Give him a call to find out about his extremely competitive prices and let him know Spooled sent you.
0401 378 250