Tackling the Albert Falls Tourney

2013-08-31 00:00

ALBERT Falls is considered to be one of the country’s top bass fishing waters and this weekend sees the start of the annual Albert Falls Bass Tournament. The tournament was originally started more than 30 years ago by local fishermen as a way to raise money for their club. As the years passed and the event grew too big for them to manage, KZN Artlure decided to sell it off to Sabaa, the South African Bass Angling Association, which still runs the event today.

This tournament never disappoints and five-kilogram whoppers almost always seem to tip the scales in the winner’s favour. However, the cold front that is forecast to hit today, is sure to increase the stakes and make things just a little bit more trying.

The most important equipment that anglers should keep sharp during tournament fishing, other than their hooks, is their mind. Fishing at any time of year requires that the angler is aware of what the fish are doing. If you understand the fish, then the chances are that you will catch the fish.

Fishing in a cold front can be frustrating, with the cold winter chill doing its best to convince anglers to head for the local pub. Van Dam says that a cold front often affects the fishermen more than it does the fish. Fortunately the strong winds initially forecast for today seem to be calming down so that should certainly keep the playing field level. Forecasters predict a crisp start to the competition with only a touch of rain in the morning, though who can ever be sure whether this will prove to be accurate? Fish tend to be a bit temperamental and stick to cover tighter than your partner clings to his seat as you go full throttle and race to your starting spot.

Cold weather in winter is a challenge that you have to learn to deal with if you want to take your fishing seriously and get your money’s worth from that fancy bass lightening that spends most of its life tucked away in your garage. After all, someone out there is going to catch a bass as it lazily glides from its hiding place to swallow down its next meal. Why not have that someone be you?

A dam will fish completely differently on the day that a cold front arrives from the second day following a cold front. Chances are that the bass will still be willing to offer up reaction bites on day one of the Albert Falls tournament. By day two, things will be getting a little bit trickier as lockjaw sets in and the bass have to be systematically deceived into biting down on some slow-moving baits.

Bass are cold blooded. This means that their body temperature is controlled by their environment. The cold water temperature leaves the fish feeling lethargic as their metabolism slows down. Bass don’t need to feed as often in the cold winter months. However, they do need to eat and these fishy little fellows are about as likely to turn down a conveniently placed drop shot as you are to turn down a cheese encrusted, mouth-wateringly delicious pizza hand-delivered to your door. Make it easy for the fish. Target areas with dense structure that are sure to house fish and then take your time. Who jumps out of bed to answer the doorbell when it’s freezing cold? Using a scented lure like Gulp will help the fish find your lure. The scent will spread, and the fish will come in search of an easy meal.

Things are going to get crowded quickly so find a spot that works for you. Keep your head down, your hands moving and your nose pointed in the direction of the wind. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, if you can keep your wits about you when all others are losing theirs, you’ll be a fisherman.

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