In the ambush zone in Gauteng’s flooded dams

2011-01-22 00:00

THIS week I am up in Johannesburg, finalising and collecting my new boat, pictures of which will accompany my next column.

While I have been here I have obviously taken the opportunity to test one or two of the local flooded dams. I fished Renosterkop Dam with local angler Eric Gander, and like all the waters up here at the moment, the drastic influx of new water has somewhat spread the population of fish.

Nevertheless, we still loaded up in excess of 30 fish, including a handful of chunky-sized bass. The dam itself is overwhelming, consisting of thousands of acres of flooded vegetation of varying types. This line-up of choices would intimidate a bass angler of any calibre, especially on their first visit.

When faced with a situation like this, the best thing to do is target two forms of cover — edges, where you can focus on a defined start or finish to a section of vegetation, or in our case the convergence of two or more types of cover.

This was the first scenario I looked for and located with ease. We found vertical reeds surrounded by submerged oxygen weed along the windier banks. The vertical element to the cover gives the fish that are using the submerged vegetation an ambush point as well as a pit-stop from their daily feeding or migratory destinations.

This sudden change in the common cover also attracts the bait fish, which as we know, decide where the bass live. We caught on a variety of baits, but when targeting vertical vegetation, you want to get into the bass’s ambush zone with baits like jigs, Texas-rigged plastics or weightless Senkos.

Garth and I had the trip of a lifetime at an Eston farm dam last week, one which changed our outlook on smaller waters, generally thought to only harbour small bass.

We had loaded the fish up by late afternoon, erratically fishing Kamakazee Senkos and Flukes across the surface. We had upsized to 4/0 hooks to further our casts as we were fishing weightless. I made a cast to a deeper weed line and was ill-rewarded with my only over-wind of the day — I promise.

While I muttered profanities under my breath and rectified the line jam, a fish had promptly swum off with the bait, which had been lying motionless on the bottom. The fish stayed down and peeled a few turns of line before taking to the air in an attempt to rid itself of the hook.

The fish was every bit of four kilograms and after a tense tussle was safely in my grip. This was undoubtedly one of the largest farm dam fish I have ever had the pleasure of catching.

So get out on the lake and catch some bass and remember to release your catch. E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at zorthewitt@hotmail.com

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