Slowly the sun fades below the river gums, its harsh light replaced by an eerie darkness. The occasional squawk from a late roosting cockatoo can be heard as it settles for the night. In the distance a farmer’s dog is letting his owner know its tucker time with a series of vivacious barks. Even the hum of a single but annoying mosquito seems amplified as it searches for blood.
The inadequacy of human eyesight soon becomes apparent and without the aid of a headlamp, life becomes clumsy. Salvation from embarrassment comes soon enough in the form of a rising moon.
Finally casts start to search for hungry cod, life is good right about now.
A different dimension exists when fishing at night, senses such as hearing are heightened to new levels. Elevated heart rate caused from unfamiliar sounds and cod detonations is certainly guaranteed.
If your easily spooked or of a nervous nature, fishing under the stars mightn’t be for you, since many creatures forage and flocks by the river banks. My advice is to man up and try it.
*Whether fishing from canoe, kayak, or float boat, store extra clothing in a dry bag. I like to pack polypropylene pants, jumper, beanie and a buff to cover exposed skin in the cooler months. Keeping a spare set of clothes in your vehicle is also a good practise, just in case of an emergency.
*Using a LED headlamp that features a red lamp to alleviate being swarmed by insects.
*I rely on three types of poppers, all feature weedguards and don’t be afraid to experiment with trailing and tandem hooks. 1) Loud bloopy style featuring large cup face. 2) Slider type, eg Big poppa. 3) Gurgler style.
*Concentrate casts towards structure, in particular weed edges. I find the head and tails of the pools to be the most productive areas.
*Anywhere from half-moon onwards is an ideal time to fish at night, I like to be on the water at least a few hours before the moon comes up. Alternate from the shaded side of river to moonlit to find if the fish have a preference.
*Mix up retrieves from a quick pace to slow steady strips with long pauses, most times the strike will come within the first metre. Nick
John Everett and I had been eyeing off the abundant and very healthy water on the eastern side of the range. We researched a stretch of river that could be easily covered in our float boats with enough white water to make things interesting, but the chance to tussle with the resident Bass and Eastern cod made the threat of capsize worth it.
*3am, when most are in bed we start heading east to catch a beast.
*The fishing was tough, but as a fly only option it was obvious that express sink flylines and weighted flies should be in the kit.
*Kayaking is one serious Olympic sport, but they don’t carry expensive rods and camera gear, so we portaged the nasty ones and lived another day.
*Light fading and food failures: we sacrificed some fishing real estate to reach a boulder ridden gorge section with a hunch fishing top water under moonlight would be where it’s at.
*Discovered that dehydrated soy teriyaki and John’s gluggy rice should be dished up with a warning label attached.
*Thank you Mr Bass and Goodoo, brought a little size 1/0 foam gurgler to the late night party and you all came out to eat it. By 1.30am we head back to our 5 star hiking tents.
*During the daylight hours we covered the kilometres and cursed a heap of cruising Cod, damn things weren’t interested in our flies!
*Plenty of potential for the adventurous angler, but being scared of the dark or too fond of the sleeping bag will rob you of fish and good times.
*Photos taken by Nick & John.