There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finishing up at work on Friday lunch time, packing the car and heading up the coast with a mate to indulge in the fine art of angling.
Last weekend saw Scotty Thomas and myself load up my Subaru Outback to the roof lining with fishing tackle and camera gear and set the cruise control for our final destination of the Macleay River Bass Lodge.
Both of us had fished the mighty Macleay before, but not as far up as the Bass Lodge. To say this place is remote is an understatement, when you think you must have driven past it and you're starting to get worried, keep driving for another 15 minutes and you'll find it.
Once you're there both the lodge and its surroundings exude a vibe that makes you feel like you're not sure if you want to go bass fishing or just sit on the verandah with a rum and enjoy the serenity. In reality there’s plenty of opportunity to partake in a bit of both.
Dave Young is the Bass Lodge's caretaker and guide. Dave’s done plenty of fishing and knows each run and pool in the Macleay and its tributaries intimately. He loves his bass fishing, a cold beer and does a good job of keeping you laughing. All the stuff that makes a weekend away fishing a memorable occasion.
As usual “Captain's curse” had stowed away in the car and our arrival in God's own bass country was heralded by an overnight rise of two metres in the river's water level. A large storm cell that followed us up the coast on Friday afternoon had dropped its payload high on the ranges, sending a sudden surge of muddy turbid water down the river.
We awoke on Saturday morning to the sight of Dave snatch-strapping a camper's ute out of the middle of a large pool of water in front of the lodge. The river's water level had come up so fast the ute's occupants were caught out while they were sleeping.
Right there and then I thought we were going to have fairly dusty heads by the next morning after a long day on the verandah and a little too much serenity. But one of the big bonuses of staying and fishing with the team from the Bass lodge is the benefit of options, local knowledge and access to some very sweet and secluded little feeder creeks.
Dave assured us that all wasn't lost as he had a plan. As it turned out his plan was red hot and we caught some magnificent fish in some of the clearest and pristine water I have ever fished in. We spent the day sight casting to big wild river bass that we spotted long before we cast our lures amongst snags, rocks and shallow pools.
Scotty and myself had a fantastic weekend and can’t wait to get back up there. If you're looking for a weekend bass fishing adventure I would highly recommend a stay at the Bass Lodge.
You can check out the full story in the upcoming December issue of Fishing World magazine.
More info at: www.basslodge.com.au