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Cracker PB bass Session in the upper Burnett River

*PLEASE NOTE*

A closed season applies to Australian Bass throughout Queensland from 1 June to 31 August EXCEPT in and from waterways upstream of:

- Baroon Pocket, Bjelke-Petersen, Boondooma, Borumba, Cania, Cressbrook, Fred Haigh, Gordonborrk, Hinze, Lenthalls, Maroon, Moogerah, North Pine, Somerset, Wuruma and Wivenhoe Dams

- Claude Wharton and Jones weirs

- Isis Balancing Storage (Lake Gregory) , Lake Dyer and Lake McDonald

I will state right now that I was fishing the upper Burnett river and I was WELL upstream of Lake Gregory and actually above Jones weir.

Most people would know that I aim to create a blog entry every 4 days and thus far, have done so without fail, however, todays entry is a day early, but there is good reason for this. I simply could not wait to get this entry written and to share it with all my readers – It was such a great session on catching some absolute cracker Bass out of my kayak in the upper Burnett River – Bundaberg.

I have just returned from a weeks holiday and seeing my family in Bundaberg. Every time I go home, I always make a point of chasing some Bass in beautiful Lake Gregory. However, I had heard that the actual AFC Bass round was occurring there whilst I was home and decided to give it a wide berth and hit up a location on the upper Burnett River that I hadn’t fished in years.

I remember the last time I visited this location, it took it’s toll on my hilux. This track is rough as guts and this time it wasn’t much better. It was a hell of a lot worse actually due to the severe washouts, but hey, they do say getting there is half the fun. There was actual one hill climb which I had to have a couple of attempts at as my wheels were free spinning and was a little bit hairy but in the end I got there. I managed to ding up my side step and get a few extra scratches but the fish I ended up with, was just some memorable that I don’t mind. It’s nothing that a bit of polish, shifting spanner and rubber mallet could not fix.

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After an hours Four-Wheel-Driving, we had finally made it to our chosen location and our little glide kayaks were deployed. My old man and brother in law – Damo were also fishing with me on this occasion. Almost immediately, I found a likely looking spot to cast out my little 3 inch Atomic Fat Grub. There was a shallow riffle section of stream which dropped away into a deep bank which was peppered with trees and timber (obviously victims of the devastating floods 6 months ago).

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It took all of about 5 minutes before I registered the first inquiry but what and inquiry it was. 6lb Unitika Aorika braid starting screaming off my brand new Shimano Rarenium 2500FA spin reel and my light 2-6lb Samurai Reaction 203 Estuary was doubled over in half by a really solid weight. This fish knew exactly where to go and started heading for the fast flow and woody debris – however a couple of clicks of my Rareniums drag, soon turned her head. At first glance I could have swore that this fish was a small barramundi but I simply could not believe my eyes when I managed to beach the biggest Bass I had ever caught. This beast stretched the tape to 50cm and was definitely a new PB. It was so rewarding to break in the new reel with this fish. What was doubley rewarding was the fact I had caught it on my lightest 2-6 spin stick, 6lb braid, 10 leader and against the odds in the middle of the cool weather. I took a couple of photos of this beast and released her quickly.

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10 minutes later and I was in again but whatever was on the end of the line was unlike anything I had ever felt before in terms of fighting ability. Headshakes and erratic behaviour were crazy but it was not long before this animal showed itself. It ended up being a metre plus freshwater eel. You know that seen out of the movie “Ananconda” where the big anaconda grabs the monkey and shakes its head whilst having half of its body out of the water? Well this eel was behaving very closely to this. I ended up landing this slimy specimen and quickly sent her on her way. It was just so bizarre to catch an eel on soft plastic.

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About an hour passed before it was dads turn for a hook-up. He had just drifted over this faster flowing section casting is little hardbody and BANG! The old man was using very light Shimano spin gear also and was soon rewarded with a lovely 46cm Bass.

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Despite the fact there was only 2 fish landed, they were absolute crackers and made the hard track in and long paddle upstream in the kayak, very worthwhile. It was just so awesome to catch my PB 50cm Bass on very light gear and could not have thought of a better way to blood the new Rarenium.

Live It….Breathe It….

Luke

The Natives are getting restless!

The natives getting restless could never be a good thing, but on this particular occasion – firing up the natives was simply awesome! The natives I am referring to in this instance are Yellowbelly and Australian Bass.

I must admit that I have a massive soft spot for bass and every time I head home to Bundaberg, I make a point of heading out to Lake Gregory with my kayak and try to get a amongst a few of these hard fighters. I have just recently spent a week at home in Bundaberg whilst on annual leave and on my last day there, I made it my mission to scope out some unchartered territory where we had never been before. My brother in law “Damo” and I spent the day exploring a small tributary of the upper Burnett River but not before 4WD’ing some likely goat tracks.

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The Burnett River looks to be absolutely decimated and stripped bare by the recent and tragic flooding but the isolated tributary we found had a relatively small catchment area and seemed to be in pretty go knick. I didn’t know how this flooding was going to affect the fishing but to our delight, the fish were obliging.

We tied on some medium diving hardbodies and sent them out along a deep, undercut bank. These lures were diving to 10 feet and they were nowhere near hitting the bottom so the depth at this particular location is anyone’s guess, but it was deep!

It didn’t take too long before line started screaming off my reel and geez this fish was putting up a good fight. It turned out to be a real solid 52cm Yellowbelly. I will be the first to say that I have not caught too many of these golden gems but I think my soft spot for bass is going to be rivalled by these beautiful fish. I could not get over the sheer weight and width of this fish. It was built even more solid than some of the massive sootys we get in Mackay – and thats pretty solid!

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Damo was snag bashing around some fallen timber and debris and was also rewarded with another big “yella”.

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By now we were both pretty well pumped, each with our PB golden perch. We also caught a few large spangled perch and tarpon at this particular location.

We trekked a little further upstream and came to a fork in the tributary. I ran my hardbody parallel to where debris had piled up on one of the banks and a massive hit left me shaken but disappointed the hooks didn’t find their mark. It didn’t take too long though, as about 7 casts later and I was onto another awesome fish. It was fighting a little different to our golden perch so I wasn’t going to call it for another gold nugget. About 20 seconds of screaming drag later, I was rewarded with a real nice thickset bass. This guy would have been pushing my PB bass as well but didn’t end up putting a measure on it. Let me just say that this bass made the ones I have caught a Lake Gregory look like “small fry” – quite literally.

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I am already planning another trip to this location the next time I head home to “visit the family”. If it fishes this well after the floods, I can’t imagine how good this place will fish once it gets back to its former glory again.

Tight Lines

Luke