September is always a great time to be on the water in sunny Queensland, but what do you do on those days when the wind is howling or the tides aren’t quite right? Why not try trading the salt for the fresh?
Living on the Fraser Coast I’m pretty lucky to live close to some great freshwater rivers and creeks with everything from bass and saratoga to sooty grunter and tarpon on offer. Early in the season I’ll often fish sub surface patterns such as bass bunnies and leech patterns when the fish are still pretty lethargic. As the water temps begin to rise, the cicadas start to sing and insect activity increases, I’ll start switching to topwater presentations like the master splinter, poppers, dahlbergs, stp frogs and gurglers. Nothing quite beats the adrenalin rush of a fish crunching a fly off the top especially when you’re fishing around structure.
Most of the time I’ll usually fish my little 5wt Airflo Vector combo out of the canoe and kayak with a fairly short single part 15lb leader.
Recently I went for a run with a good mate down the river in his tinny and packed my Scott Sector 908/4 and Waterworks Cobalt to give it a run in the sweetwater (it’s usually my light flats setup). The weather prediction wasn’t great with strong winds and rain forecast so I thought the extra punch of the Sector might make for more comfortable casting, particulary when turning over bulkier bass patterns. Man, I’m glad I packed this rod, it’s just so god damn fun to cast!
We hit the water fairly early and were greeted with 15-20 knot gusts and pouring rain for the first couple of hours. We persisted through it and eventually the rain stopped, and we had a small window where the wind dropped right off. I picked up the trusty Sector, tied on a bass bunny and went to work targeting any of the likely looking pieces of structure and undercut banks. The water visibility was great, I was able to see my fly a couple of feet under the surface, so any takes or misses provided a great visual show.
We’d already boated a few average size bass (for this particular waterway) so I was keen to catch something a bit more substantial. I’d only just missed a fish that swirled on the fly and as we used the electric to motor along the bank, I spotted a massive tree under the surface. I said to Sam “there’s gotta be one sitting there” so I put a cast in tight to the bank and started a slow short sharp retrieve along this piece of submerged timber. A metre or so into the retrieve I saw a bass rocket up from underneath, crunch the fly and it began tail walking like a barra on the surface. We were both blown away, watching this slob of a fish putting on such an aerial display (something I hadn’t seen before). After a quick tussle in the timber the fish hit the landing net and the battle was won. The condition on this fish with superb and was a new PB bass on fly for me, you bloody ripper! After that we decided that it was time to make tracks, grab a decent coffee on the way home and start to thaw out.
At the time of writing this I’ve just purchased a float tube so I’m looking forward to fishing some areas that would typically be too hard to access with the boat or a kayak. Who knows I might even treat myself to a new Primal 6wt Mega for the season.