Summer rains bring new life and a feeding frenzy

2013-01-12 00:00

AS predicted a few weeks ago, the rains have continued to fall and have done so with a vengeance.

Midmar is spilling profusely and Albert’s will be doing the same in the next few days. It is an awesome sight to see such vast expanses of flooded vegetation and new life on the shores of our dams.

With so much happening on the bass fishing front in the form of good fishing, schools of baitfish and new life on the water, I went trout fishing instead, go figure.

I played the family point-scoring game recently and spent my cherished days off in the Berg lazing around, but was at least able to sneak off and catch the odd trout. I hooked up with Alan Payne of the Underberg Fly-Fishing Club who very generously put me on some awesome trout waters in the Underberg area with splendid results. I did, however, come back down to Earth and ventured to Albert Falls upon my return.

Schools of fry are on the menu and the bass are not shy on testing what is on offer. When the bass are busting fry, the fishing can be bitter sweet. The fish hone in and selectively feed on their target which is way smaller than anything you can successfully imitate so frustration can set in. The key here is not to try and duplicate what is on offer, but rather to try to appeal to their senses at the right moment.

When you see the fish bust, you need to get your bait into the strike zone fast and fish the bait erratically for a few seconds and then kill the bait. Hopefully, while the bass is in a state of disarray, fuelled by his obsession to hunt, you will trigger the nerve to lash out at anything in his path. This is normally when they make the simple error and find the hooks.

The other proven tactic is to get your bait into the strike zone and just let it die. The best plastic baits for this are fluke-styled baits and in particular the Strike-King Z-too which, when weighted correctly, will become neutrally buoyant and will stay in the area of influence for longer, drawing strikes from weary fish. These tactics can test your patience and nerves to the max, but when you find your groove, the results can be worth way more than the effort.

More great news is the fact that the bluegill have made an amazing rebound appearance at Inanda and Albert’s, and many experienced anglers will know that a flourishing bluegill population will often indicate a stable and positive bass population. The bluegill do naturally appear when the dam levels increase and are obviously more visible during their spawning months, which are now, but in the few years gone by, even these factors did not lift the bluegill voodoo, so they are a more than welcome sight. The sizes that have been reported are way larger than normal and so are the numbers.

Bass and bluegill are eternal colleagues and are both native to North America hence they naturally benefit from a relationship of symbiosis which errs on the bass’s side due to the fact that bass eat them like strawberries.

Having a healthy population of both species really displays a healthy eco-system, one that the anglers will benefit from. Unfortunately, the bluegill are very susceptible to overfishing as they are eating machines and lack any form of judgment or discretion, so once again, we need to respect them rather than eat them.

So get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at zorthewitt@hot mail.com. Catch em’ up.

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