The last BETT nets hefty results

2009-09-12 00:00

THE last BETT event of the season was held at Midmar this past Sunday. Anglers were somewhat apprehensive due to the historically tough fishing Midmar normally offers. This was all to change when anglers brought in hefty sacks by the end of the day to break the mould on a tough impoundment thanks to a five-day warming trend, which raised the water temperature and triggered the spawning process.

Mark Holder and Cameron Harvey of team Span Africa stole the show with an extraordinary five-fish limit weighing 8,635 kg, which included a giant fish of 3,815 kg caught by Cameron on a deep-diving crankbait. The rest of their limit was caught on a combination of Carolina rigged plastic baits and shakey-head worms. The areas this duo targeted were offshore, containing isolated cover appealing to pre-spawn fish waiting to make their move.

Second place was snatched by father and son Jon and Ryan Swart of team Mercury who are no strangers to the podium. Their five-fish limit weighed 7,660 kg and was also attributed to isolated cover holding the larger female fish. Third place went to Tim Williams and Jaco Stone of Team Honda Marine who also cracked the code and racked up a limit of 6,725 kg. Garth and I were off the pace in this event and presented a very average bag. This, however, did not stop us from claiming the KZN BETT league title for the third consecutive year. Take a look at the top 10 finishers who will be attending the BETT Classic at Nandoni Dam, Limpopo, next week where the top 10 teams from KZN, Gauteng and Limpopo will go head to head to see which team will be crowned national champions.

Albert Falls has finally started yielding the fishing it is famous for. The warming trend has definitely stirred things up in conjunction with the recent full moon and moved hordes of bass in to the shallow areas. Tournament angler Mark Schmidt reported a brilliant day’s fishing recently when he caught no fewer than 20 solid fish in shallow vegetation on an array of baits, including a topwater bait. Schmidt also lamented that he was able to “sight-fish” a few of these bass and also saw a few massive spawning females up on the banks.

Focus on these shallower areas now that the fish have moved in, but do not pass up the standing timber. Although slightly deeper, these areas sometimes attract a higher concentration of larger fish. Do not be shy to cover the shallows with topwater baits and shallow running crankbaits in the early hours of the day and then slow down with lightly presented plastic baits to entice the spawners. Offshore humps and flats will also start carrying schools of bass intent on spawning, so focus on these areas adjacent to spots like the ridge and the main trees. Carolina rigged baits are the way to go here with a slow-rolled spinnerbait or deep-diving crankbait thrown in between.

Nagle Dam has also kicked off the spring season with reports of some huge fish being caught. Upon hearing this, Garth and I ventured down there to check out the claims and were duly rewarded with a few mules. We did not catch an exceptional amount of fish, but landed, among others, one of three kilos and another of four kilos, both taken on a shakey-head worm.

My next column will be a report-back from the BETT final, hopefully consisting of success stories from the KZN teams attending. So get out on the lake and catch some bass. Remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with bass fishing reports, pictures and questions at zorthewitt@hotmail.com.

BETT RESULTS:

1. Garmin Ruff Thumb (Skipper - Grant Hewitt, co-angler – Garth Liefeldt) total 51,705kg; 2. Evenrude Rapala (Carle Gudzeit, Grant Lindeque) 43.25kg; 3. Yamaha Panasoni (Gavin Richardson, Julian van Zuydam) 42.150; 4. Flying Dutchman (Joffre Hannaway, Pieter du Bruyn) 37.7kg; 5. Mercury (Jon, Ryan Swart) 37.24kg; 6. Yamaha Rapala (Martin de Kock, Grant MacKenzie) 36.975; 7.Span Africa (Mark Holder, Cameron Harvey) 34.37kg; 8. Lucky Strike (Zander, Eugene Potgieter) 33.95kg; 9. Crow Bass Tackle (Lionel Crow, Cindy Crow) 33.87kg; 10. Bollard (Mike, Brendon Lombard) 33.72kg

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