Adventure at the Inanda Bass Classic

2011-05-14 00:00

AS you know, the Inanda Bass Classic was held last weekend at Inanda Dam. 174 boats made up the field, a vast increase from years gone by, probably due to the highest valued prize ever featured in a South African bass tournament — a fully rigged Skeeter boat valued at well over R300 000.

Andrew Read and I had found good fish in practice — not boat winning fish — but we were confident that we could take what we had patterned and apply it on some larger fish. On day one we fished hard and with determination we tried to make something happen, without making anything happen.

The fish were in the areas where we located them, but no matter what we did, we could not get them to bite. To make things worse, it seemed the anglers around us could not go wrong and each time we rotated a spot, another angler would coax a good fish from the spot. By the close of the first day we had a mediocre limit to show for our efforts and were not feeling too inspired to return on day two.

Renewed motivation filtered through the field of anglers on the morning of day two when the word that the biggest fish weighed so far was only 2,416 kg. This meant that one decent bite could take home the boat for the largest fish.

We once again set out to win and fished with unrivalled motivation, which lasted until about midday when we had very little to show for our concerted efforts. Eventually the relentless sun abated and the afternoon breeze swept through the valley lifting our spirits enough to make one last stop on a windblown bank.

Andrew made a cast to the weed-line and received an arm jolting bite which was followed by an instinctive hook-set. I could tell by his sudden change in intention that he had hooked a fish way more significant than anything we had hooked over the last two days.

The fish stayed down and before I knew it, it was under the boat but unseen due to the dirty water. I readied myself with the net and watched the line closely in the hopes of getting a swipe at the fish.

The fish broke the surface in a confusing welter of water, her head shook from side to side as she propelled herself into the air and her intentions were met with the jig tearing free from her jaw in mid flight.

I reacted without thought, and in an instant and lunged over the side of the boat with the net angled in the direction of the now hook-less fish. Fate was unexpectedly on our side and the fish contradictorily found herself in the bottom of the net igniting shrouds of ecstasy and overwhelmed disbelief.

We immediately ran the fish to the weigh-in with the subdued hopes that we could have just landed the winning fish, hopes that were dashed when we discovered that we were 14 grams short of the winning fish. We had to settle for the second heaviest fish as well as the second heaviest bag, a far better position than we were in after day one.

Congratulations to Barry Muirhead, the 2011 Inanda Bass Classic champion and winner of the fully rigged, imported Skeeter bass boat. Barry has decided to sell his prize at a price well below market value. If you are in the market for a world class bass fishing platform, let me know so I can put you in touch with Barry.

Email me with reports, pictures and questions at


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