A Very Long Day on the Water

5 01 2012

Awaking to a bright, hot day I was quick to jump to the idea of putting in the kayak and exploring a stretch of river I was yet to try. Rushing around and grabbing all that was needed I got out as soon as I could, which was still too late. Hitting the water at a bit after 11.

The Mantra Noa set up and ready to hit the water

Putting the yak in full of everything I would need and the GPS turned on to mark out where I was headed and record distance/time I was on my way downstream.

A lot of the river to begin with was very shallow and rocky which made for some very interesting rapids which were a blast heading down. The Noa being as wide as it is means that it doesn’t actually sit that far in the water another giant bonus is that it makes it much more stable which is very handy when taking on rapids and small drops (like mini waterfalls).

The fish were proving very tough with not a touch in about the first 4 hours and even then it was just a quick hit, slightly hooked and then dropped.

Moving downstream was proving difficult with many fallen trees blocking the way but with the kayak only weighing 20kg I was easily able to carry it around or even lift it over the blockages.

Being as light and short as it is the Noa is easily manouvered through, around or even over anything in the way.

Persisting on downstream I found a dead silver perch floating (never seen a silver in this river before) which was a relief in it’s own way now knowing they must still be about.

Whilst drifting along casting to snags mid river I looked at a small bird slowly swimming around. As soon as I started to turn my head to send out the next cast the surface erupted in a giant explosion as I watched this small bird be eaten by a cod well over the magic metre mark.

Now shaking in excitement I cast many lures through this area, everything I had at hand hardbodies big and small, surface lures, spinnerbaits, buzzbaits, jackalls everything I could grab I cast to this fish but not even a nudge was recieved so I decided to press on downstream and leave this monster for another day.

Further downstream I found a large dead ‘lay down’ snag where a turtle jumped in. I thought to myself that the noise a turtle makes isn’t loud enough to spook fish but isn’t quiet enough to not get a fishes attention and come investigate so I cast my first cast across the snag, nothing. Second cast I retrieved a little quicker and as I let the 90mm AC float above the just visible snag I feel a slight nudge followed by a massive boil.

Now knowing there was definitely a fish in there which was interested I positioned myself a little better and through a long accurate cast right along the snag. Slowly rolling the lure along this large tree I braced myself for the take. Only about a third of the way back I was slammed and the fish just turned and swam straight back to the base  of the snag.

Now hooked up I used all the might I could to try and remove this fish from the snag but the ‘yak was just dragged in on top of the fish. Now fighting the fish from directly above I still had myself a massive challenge of getting this fish from it’s snag, still not knowing the size of it.

After a good few minutes the fish finally rose from it’s dwelling and sat under the kayak in plain view. The fish being and easy high 90cm or even pushing the  metre just sat there staring up at me. Now shaking from the size of this giant fish I tried to pull him up closer, knowing that he hasn’t even began to fight but hoping to get a quick grip to ensure its capture I tried again to raise the fish but to my despair I watched the hooks of the lure pull free of the fish’s lip.

Nearly breaking down in tears I watched as this brute of a fish slowly headed back down into it’s snag. Many loud, inappropriate words were shared with the on looking cattle and wildlife.

Now very sunburnt and beginning to tire from over 6 hours of paddling I was starting to get very disappointed in this trip. A little further downstream I came to walls of flood rubbish caught up on willows and fallen trees which were blocking me from passing downstream so out I hoped to carry the kayak but put my foot straight down where I should not have.

I will now remember to always wear shoes when exiting the kayak..

Carrying the kayak around the blockages wasn’t difficult as it is so light, however it was proving dangerous as not only did I tread on the thorn but as I was taking a step a brown snake I did not see struck out from some long grass and missed me by only centimetres.

Now limping and with the life frightened out of me I put the kayak back in the water and continued my adventure downstream.

Finding a lovely small hole full of snags which looked extremely fishy I threw out a few dozen casts amongst the snags to no avail. But before turning around and leaving the hole I decided to cast the AC to where the water was running in, in the middle of the hole.

Just as I pulled the lure below the surface I was hit and I was hooked on to a rather acrobatic and energetic cod which broke the surface numerous times whilst I tried to land it. Finally landing the fish I noticed that it was only held on to by one point of the back treble in it’s cheek, which wasn’t even past the barb, how I kept the fish on I have no idea.

The miracle fish caught on Gladiator Cape Yorker kayak rod and Banax Syren reel

Now releasing this great fish which took almost 8 hours of kayaking to reach I decided that since it was now 20 past 7 and I still had over 3km to kayak I would stop the fishing and kayak as fast as possible as I did not bring any light source.

The river as the light was dissapearing

As the sun set and I had nothing to guide me through the river but what little moon light was shinning through the trees I was very grateful to be in such a stable craft as going down the fast rapids hardly knowing where I was headed could have been very dangerous if not fatal.

Arriving at the pick up at about 9pm I was relieved that the day was drawing to an end. In the end of it all the GPS read that I had travelled a total of 16.52km and had been on the water for 9 hours and 31 minutes for a total of only one fish landed.. But now I know where the bigger ones are to head back to next time, with a torch.




2 responses

5 01 2012
Peter Hanrahan

maybe pack a fly, sleeping bag and spend a night out their. But try and find some one to go with you.
Good story mate
Cheers Pete

5 01 2012

Really need to get into the fly fishing one day soon, could be a great idea and a different approach. Also a fishing partner would be great, not many brave or stupid enough to tag along on some of my trips though.

Thanks a tonne for the feedback mate.

Cheers, Joe.

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