The spawn looms

2011-08-20 00:00

THAT’S right, the bass are gearing up for that inevitable time of year when they abandon their winter routines and start to acknowledge the fact that spring is in the air and their biological obligation is to spawn.

Up until this point the fishing has been anything but good, but recently some isolated reports of giant bass have come to the surface. Gavin Richardson, Albert Falls resident and veteran tournament angler, recently landed an obtusely oversized egg-laden female fish weighing 4,4 kg.

Garth and I also had some welcome success when we came across a small wave of pre-spawn fish. Garth landed a three-kilogram-class fish and I jumped one off at the boat that was no less than four kilograms. Once this action had dried up we never caught another fish for the day.

I ventured out again the following day and failed to draw a bite. As you can tell from these erratic reports, the fish have started moving up, but definitely not in huge numbers. Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see some well-fed fish of massive proportions still roaming the waters of Albert Falls. For the next month or so the pre-spawn and spawn periods will take effect on our local dams with the smaller male fish moving to the shallows first to prepare the spawning sites, followed by the larger female fish.

This is without doubt the best time of year to catch a fish of a lifetime as the females will be holding more weight than ever before. This is also the time of year when essential fish care and handling should be practiced. We all know the bass are facing a decline, so we need to ensure that all fish are released unharmed.

Top-performing rigs during the spawn are without doubt the Carolina rig, the drop-shot rig as well as deep-diving crankbaits. Lizards and creature baits seem to come into their own at this time, and don’t be shy to upgrade the size of your bait when the bigger fish are on the cards. Look for shallow areas adjacent to drop-offs and river channels as well as main lake points and off-shore humps.

Don’t forget the Pro/Amateur tournament to be held at Albert Falls on October 2. This is your chance to get out on the lake with a professional angler and receive one-on-one tutoring and experience while competing in a full-out tournament. The format is two-man teams paired up with a pro angler.

The day will consist of a morning fishing session, then lunch and beverages will be served followed by the afternoon session and weigh-in. Awesome prizes will be up for grabs. The tournament is limited to the first 20 paid two-man team entries, so act fast, choose a partner and request an entry form from me via e-mail.

We will also be hosting yet another bass seminar at The Fish Eagle in Victoria Road, Pietermaritzburg, on September 15. As usual, there will be food and refreshments on hand with loads of tips and tactics to make you a better bass angler. You will need to book either by e-mailing me or calling Brandon or Craig at the Fish Eagle at 033 345 4224. The charge will be R60 per person.

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@hotmail.com.

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