Today almost didn't happen as earlier in the week I'd found a big puddle of coolant under the car... The garage reported it was a busted water pump and amazingly managed to fix it and get it back to me by Thursday meaning Friday fishing was back on!
I've yet to get a bite anywhere near the launching stage or in the main drag towards the damn so I set to the long paddle to the far end of the reservoir deciding to start at the 'rope swing' section (so called as there's a rope swing high in a tree about half way along the bank - simple!). It gives your shoulders a good early morning work out and preps them for casting which is no bad thing. The weather was bang on, warmish with a slight chilly breeze, sunny with clouds so not too bright and as I arrived at the first likely looking spot I was full of anticipation...
So it was a real surprise when on the 5th cast towards a snaggy bush the rod absolutely busted off! I couldn't believe it, a bite this early on in the session and a really savage one at that?! This was a pretty serious fish, it desperately tried to get into the lily pads but I managed to steer it into open water, then it took a deep dive under the kayak, stripping line and turning me in a full circle (I'm always amazed by how much influence on a kayak a fish on the end on a line has). I was completely unprepared for the bite and the size of fish and sadly this meant I made a complete fumble of the whole process and as I scrabbled to get the landing net from behind me the hook pulled... Arrrrg. Gutted. So annoying! Silently swearing under my breath I got myself sorted out but I'm not going to lie, losing such a good fish so early on in the session on a water that's not known for doing lots of bites and big fish put a big dent in my day.
One thing that I've been really concentrating on is being stealthy on the water (it makes a BIG difference) and with all the commotion, I figured that the spot was now probably ruined. At which point a blue helicopter appeared overhead, shot across to the far side and then appeared to make a dummy landing on the bank - what the hell?!?! It was so loud and slightly surreal, I wasn't 100% sure I wasn't imagining it...
So with my antics and the helicopters noise I was pretty amazed when I got another chance. I'd moved 15 or so metres down the bank, had a bump on a retrieve and on the next cast a really solid bite - fish on! And this time, I was fully prepared, drag spot on, landing net close to hand and after a short tussle the fish was in the net and not a bad one either.
Big sigh of relief, and lost fish almost forgotten I explored the area for another 20 minutes or so but with no more takers and the wind picking up and constantly pushing me into the edge I needed a change of scene.
On my previous session I'd had lots of luck around the rafts of lily pads at the furthest reach of the reservoir so I decided to head that direction and see if there were any fish around. As before, I positioned myself upwind and a fair distance away from the pads and let the breeze and current drift me into and amongst the pads, casting around as I went in an effort to locate the fish.
I actually ended up in virtually the same spot as before, casting to a raft of pads out in open water when I got my first bite, another good size bass. After getting that fish in the net, I rafted up on the pads opposite and set to casting tight to the edge to see if there were any more takers. I got bump after bump, there were clearly more fish around and it didn't take long until I got another chance. But sadly, after a short fight this one came off...
One thing I'm trying to get into the habit of doing is regularly checking my hooks and leader knot during the session and after each fish. As it happened, the main hook point was 'dinked' over and failed the thumbnail test... Five minutes with the split ring pliers and a new hook fitted I got to casting again and bang, another fish on - what is it with this particular set of pads, it appears to be a fish hang out?!
I'm desperately tyring not to out stay my welcome in a swim, its so hard when you've had a couple of bites not to turn the water to a foam with relentless casting for hours on end so after not receiving any more knocks on my next 10 'good' casts (i.e. clipping the pad edges) I decided to move on and explore the other rafts.
The bass were definitely awake and happy to hit as two more spots produced fish and multiple knocks. It was amazing, the reservoir was fishing like a completely different water, I couldn't quite believe the amount of action and activity. I don't know if it's due to it being cooler, or that there seems to be less cover along the edges (the pads have really reduced in size) but the open water spots around the rafts seem to be where the fish are hanging out and I was more than happy to take full advantage!
By this time the sun was high in the sky and a quick check of the phone reviled it was 1.30! Where had the time gone?! It was hard to call it a day but duty called as I needed to pick my son up from school, so I gave the pads a fond farewell and started the long paddle back to the landing stage with a big smile on my face. What a fantastic session, I'm loving kayak fishing and can't wait to be back!