We had been wanting to do a yak camping run for a couple of months now with this past weekend locked in, it involved an overnight camping trip where everything we required was loaded into the yaks and off we went...well it didn't quite go to plan due to the storm activity forecast but still an enjoyable couple of days and an interesting night....
When the storm systems were identified earlier in the week Plan B was put into place where worst case scenario we'd make a late run for home having had a day out exploring some of our local waterways.
Saturday morning started at a reasonable time and after picking up Brett we were on the road north. The first spot we were going to try was a great part of the Mary River I'd stumbled upon on an earlier expedition...in just under an hour and a small river crossing later we were parked up and ready to unload.
This area of water had some great drop offs and a number of fallen trees that looked like they'd make a great ambush spot. In no time at all we were unloaded and on our way, still wary of what was supposed to be coming later in the day the camping gear stayed in the car.
A couple of trolling runs up each side and one down the middle before I stopped to start peppering the sunken timber with a mixture of soft plastics and small hard bodies with no real success. The Lung Fish & turtles were popping up on a regular basis looking very inquisitive.
It wasn't long after I got caught in the trees for the umpteenth time that I heard an almighty splash behind me and turning around to see Brett was hooked up to a solid Saratoga, fight was short and dirty before the hook pulled, bent backwards by the large fish he estimated to around a metre and FAT...damn!
We riddled the spot over the next hour or so with no success before slowly drifting down the length of the waterway flicking SP's with a couple of very short hookups to show for it.
By this time it was stinking hot and we were hungry so we headed back to the car for a feed and attempt to get out of the shade.
The plan was to try a few spots through the day and hopefully store a couple of great yak camping locations for future sojourns....Spot A showed promise but we were moving on
Next stop was one of the creek crossings on the way to Borumba Dam, we ended up at Stirling's Crosiing, another great looking piece of water with enough snags to have BCF rubbing their hands together
Within 10 metres of launching and first cast and I was on....and then off again. On further investigation it looked like the fish had dived straight into a log and busted me off. Was looking good for a great arvo of fishing!
There was also an awful lot of leaf litter floating on the surface making casting and retrieving shallow diving lures quite painful, the heavier/deeper diving lures ended up snagging continuously.
The afternoon was riddled with a number of short hookups and bust offs the order of the day. The first storm rumbled through just to the south of us mid afternoon and with no range of the phones we couldn't check BOM to see what was coming, thankfully we ended up with a few drops of rain and that was it.
When the light faded we hooked up the surface lures to see if we could entice a strike but only ended up cleaning off half the water surface of all the fallen leaves and as the light diminished the next storm passed through, it was time to look for somewhere to camp for the night....we were leaning towards somewhere with some protection if a big storm did hit so decided upon one of the local campgrounds
On the way back to the launch spot Brett had a nice hookup and ended up landing a nice yellow belly @ 43cm ..his first!
After checking BOM and seeing we were in for some storm activity later we dropped in to the Deer Park to find they were very full, we heard something about a Ukelele Convention or something equally as strange so moved on. Island Reach was also overflowing so we made the dash for Cobb & Co on the other side of the highway. In the scheme of things a great choice as all the storms overnight seemed to be concentrating in and around Imbil.
We setup camp, got the fire going and had some dinner chatting about missed opportunities and what tomorrow would bring before retiring for the night. Not much sleep was had as a procession of storms rolled through, lightning, thunder and rain were hitting at regular intervals but thankfully they weren't too severe!
The early mark was delayed due to a violent storm hitting around 4.00am and lasting a good hour or so. Up for some breakfast and a much needed coffee before contemplating where to attack.
We decided Spot A required further investigation and in 15 odd minutes and a creek crossing a little hairier than the day before we were ready to hit the water again.
We trolled through the area we had riddled with lures the day before and crossed on foot a fast flowing set of rapids that we could not paddle against to be greeted by a very fishy looking spot. Sharp drop offs , ample fallen timber and a sprinkling of rocky outcrops had us salivating with anticipation and it wasn't long before I had my first strike with a couple of hits on a surface popper getting me started.
With a renewed energy I attacked every snag I came across with a repeat of yesterday afternoons short fight, smashed in the sticks
It was time for a stretch and as I headed down towards an area that wasn't 'cliff like', shallow diving HB out the back it was SMASHED, initially I thought snag, then it peeled off line like it was nothing pulling me backwards in the process. Heart was beating like mad when I realised whatever it was was buried deep in the snag. I backtracked and tried a few different angles and finally (and thankfully) my first fish of the weekend was in the boat...a 36cm Bass punching way above its weight!
After a short break and some land based popper flicking it was back in the yaks for the trip back. We passed under this bridge and were amazed at what we saw....the top of this bridge had to be 10 - 15 odd metres above us and it was riddled with tree pieces, evidence of how high the river gets..incredible!
A slow trip back towards the car flicking into the snags at every opportunity supplied moments of exhilaration & frustration as fish were hooked and then dropped.
While trolling from one fallen tree to another I hooked up to something mid river and after a short fight was rewarded with a Mary River Cod (I think)...a first for me if it was indeed what I thought. A quick pic and it was returned to the water
A number of yak camping spots identified for next time and some great memories stored...it was time to go and dry out!