‘Unbelievable to terrible’

2010-02-13 00:00

THE 1st BETT event of the season was held at Inanda Dam on January 30. Pre-fishing was awesome, most teams had located reliable areas holding good quality fish. Garth and I, fishing under Team Garmin Goya, had also located phenomenal spots pushing our confidence sky high. Talk was nothing under a 10 kg, five fish limit, needed to win this event and this was not going to be a problem as schools of over aggressive fish were smashing top waters and crunching spinnerbaits along the shallow grassy banks.

Well, let me rephrase, this wasn’t supposed to be a problem. Two-hundred-and-fifty millimetres of torrential rain had the Umgeni and Duzi rivers in flood, raising the water level, dropping the water temperature, muddying the water and had brought every piece of Water Hyacinth in Africa to rest in Inanda. This sudden change had shut down the fish, moved them off the banks and had made most of the top producing spots inaccessible due to the flotillas of hyacinth. Anglers scattered to their favourite spots and after coming up fishless, realised there was a problem. Garth and I had two fish by one o’clock and many anglers had not yet scored. Fortunately the afternoon fared slightly better and with the increase in wind and cloud cover, came a slight increase in bites. We finished the day with a limit of just under five kilograms earning us a mediocre 15th position, just over two kilograms behind the winners Roy and Michael Cannon. Local fishing legend Eugene Potgieter and his son Gareth earned a second place with Eugene’s vast experience paying off under the challenging conditions. Competitors were amazed at how quickly the fishing went from unbelievable to terrible; this was testament to how versatility is paramount and also to the vital role changing conditions play in the hunt for bass!

Albert Falls and Midmar are still under pressure to perform with more effort being put in than fish coming out. The relentless heat is more than likely the major cause of this as the high sun and high water temperatures force the fish to feed during the hours we don’t get to fish. In the heat of summer the bass will resort to feeding most actively at night. They will still feed during the day, but their feeding windows will be short and more precise than usual. It is a researched fact that bass feed heavily during the dark hours due to cooler temperatures and lower light conditions. Bass are ambush feeders and what better way to ambush your prey than in the dark? Bass possess an acute eyesight, far more than one would think. This coupled with a super sensitive lateral line to detect the slightest vibrations from their prey and a mean green hunting machine is in action, even on the darkest night. Unfortunately bassing from a boat after dark is not allowed on our major impoundments for safety reasons, so make sure you put yourself as close to the action as possible by getting on the water early and fishing the dying hours of the day. If you are camping at one of the dams or have access to a farm dam, try your luck at targeting bass at night. Even fishing from the bank will get you results, as remember your boat is not permitted after dark. In these hours the bass will gravitate to the banks to feed. There are obviously things to look out for and certain areas to focus on, so make sure you check out my next column where I will be dissecting exactly what you need to do to broaden your bassing horizons into the night.

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

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