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Nepean River Spooled Trip - Jan 2007
Posted: 17/02/07 11:00:00 (Australia/Sydney)
This arcticle has been viewed 8041 times.
▲TopNepean River Jan 07
▲TopDay 1 â The hope of Big things:
After an extremely event filled 2006 for Spooled, our first Spooled Trip for 07 was a welcome relief. A time before life gets back to normal, our programmers return and our workload begins. So on Sunday afternoon after much anticipation it had arrived. With the car packed and the yaks roped down we set off toward the Nepean River.
Feel Free Nomad Sit on Top Kayaks (www.activewatersports.com.au) it was the first real workout they were to get. When we used to do these trips in previous years we would use a canoe. So due to our crafts a little thought was required to what we took.
After alighting from the car and seeing it motor away we knew we were close. A reconnaissance mission had been conducted prior to see if it was possible to camp at our usual spot as some 7kms of river is now blocked by the mines. Forced to fish in a lower section, the reconnaissance mission had located a suitable camp.
After a late night we decided we would concentrate on the Bass the next evening. With a reasonably late rise of around 8 am we had a breaky of Bacon and Eggs along with the mandatory coffee and set of for the day.
Even though we were itching to get at the Bass, we try to not work the same water twice if we can help it, so they would have to wait. Kayaks readied, tackle box loaded, rods rigged and holstered we set off chasing mullet. We had seen them everywhere on the way in, with mullet and carp tearing off in all directions as we disturbed them. I was actually quietly excited about the mullet fishing itself. I had seen the largest population of mullet in the river ever and the largest individuals too, with Bully mullet 2 and even 3kg in large abundance. While the carp were a little recluse, we did see a few on our way in.
We didnât need to travel to far from camp to find fish; we actually began fishing almost camp-side. The river was extremely weed filled with Elodea or Egeria weed, Salvinia (Salvinia molesta) (www.ricecrc.org), and Bubble weed (Alligator weed) the major culprits. The Elodea had formed thick forests from bank to bank. With low water levels the deepest sections of the river were only 20 feet, this meant that the weed covered the entire riverbed. The mass of weed left pockets of open water above the canopy of the marauding Elodea.
On the upside the weed filters the water of waste and provides homes to literally millions of fish (and that was just in the 3kms we traversed.) Not to mention the food it provides, allowing the fish to flourish. The bread being attacked on the surface was a testament to that.
jiggler had now landed his second fish, I was quickly getting over the long wand. Removing my rod from the Feel Free Fish-pods rod holder I cast out to join the action. It wasnât 3 minutes before the float disappeared; my first mullet for the trip was on its way. Jaye asked for my fly rod and began to harass the school. I had now landed a couple more fish but we were about to pick-up and move due to the size of the fish which were all around the 1kg mark when Jiggler coaxed a bite out of a Bully on the bread fly. While he too was only a kilo, Jaye definitely enjoyed himself and the grin as the fish was brought boat side said it all. Released unharmed we headed off to look for a bigger target.
Jaye again led the way taking the first big Bully at approx 1.7kg. Seeing that aggressive bite is such a buzz as Jaye connected and worked the fish to the edge of the pool, through the weed as quickly as possible, trying not to disturb the school.
Massive mullet from kayak YEEHAA!!!
With photos taken, the fish was slipped back in the water and we went about chalking up a few more on the board. That particular pool proved extremely productive as we battled 14 fish in a 3 Â½ hour session and only dropped 2. The smallest fish was around 1.6 kg, the largest and majority, were around the 2kg mark. Now almost 4pm we decided to head back to camp for lunch and a cold beer before setting out for our first evening bass fish.
After lunch, a quick clean-up, dishes done and fire readied (in case of a late return) we headed off. The sun was just touching the tops of the mountains. We were still a little early although we were of the opinion we should still do ok. Paddling across the river to fish west bank and more specifically the shadows, we began to work the snags. Jaye fishing a fizzer, while I used a Spinnerbait to cover both options. We leap frogged each other down the river. By the first hundred metres we were shattered. A stretch that big would have ordinarily produced multiple strikes and very minimum 2 or 3 landed, but nothing! Jaye had a couple of follows by tackers (juveniles around 10 cm) but nothing encouraging. The weed proved a nightmare for the spinnerbait and growing tired of de-weeding it, I also opted for a surface lure. A Bugger Chug was the weapon of choice, again to vary the options and cover all bases. After 500 metres we felt positively defeated, the sun now well and truly below the horizon and there was no reason we shouldnât have been hooking fish. We decided to fish another 100 metres or so before weâd call it a night. Without raising a single strike we paddled back defeated. We were obviously confronted with a very different river this season. While Jiggler and I hadnât put a trip in, on the Nepean in 3 years and our most productive year being six years ago (before the drought). The amount of Bass or at least hits had dropped out of site.
From a mind numbing, hand throbbing 120 Bass (all 30 â 50 cm) per day six years ago. Hard to believe - but not a word of a lie. To 30 - 40 per day three years ago, to 3 follows, nothing landed, by little more then a tadpole. Tonight would be about deduction and the formulation of a new plan of attack I set the mobile for 5:30am and we hit the hay.
▲TopDay 2 â Weâre not in Kansas anymore Toto
120 Bass (all 30 â 50 cm) per day
When the fish arenât biting Jaye and I are almost always silent, using every scrap of knowledge and experience to put in the perfect cast, selecting lureâs according to water temperature, light, available bait for the target species, pulling out old retrievals in an attempt to raise interest.
Nothing, and with the sun now up we turned for camp and breakfast. Over the boiling billy and a crackling fry pan of bacon and eggs, we decided we would attempt to fish the west bank one more time that evening. If we failed to produce Bass, we would implement plan B. Plan B was a reconnaissanceâs mission, and an attempt to get to the section of the river we used to fish, further up river, even though I had failed on the previous Recon.
▲TopDay 3 - Mandatory Reconnaissance Mission at 5am
The mobile was far too chipper considering there was every likelihood we would not raise a Bass for our efforts. We pounced on the Nomads though with all the vigor of the Lone Ranger and Tonoto (slight exaggeration). We put in almost 3 hours and only raised one fish, a 19cm monster succumb to the subtle persuasions of Jigglers Producer. While I had fished various colour Bugger Chugs with no success. Same drill of breakfast and a coffee gave us sustenance for the day ahead.
There were absolutely no deep areas of the river unaffected by weed. This meant our usual carp fishing session throughout the day were also out, and site fly fishing for them with a nymph proved fruitless this trip. Poor bloody mullet. You guessed it, after fishing the same stretch of river for them, the mullet were very spooked. So we moved further up stream and cleaned up again with double hook-ups right, left and centre. Day 3 was good!!!
Heading up stream that evening we even produced a couple more little bass around the 20cm mark.
▲Top Day 4 - Thank Christ for that!
We had given up on getting up at 5am considering the fishing was as tragic as it was, however another top mullet day.
▲TopDay 5 â The smell of camping, a true test of a Marriage
With our last days Bass fish only turning up one 16-17cm fish we headed back to camp for breaky and began packing. Even though the Bass where a bit of a disappointment. All in all it was a top trip.
A place where a bloke can just be a bloke.
Damn itâs good to be an Aussie!!!