Busting the myths that fishing is fun and all about luck

2012-09-01 00:00

THOSE who think that freshwater fishing is for the mild and unadventurous obviously haven’t been fishing at Albert Falls lately.

Saturday’s hot and howling winds left much to be desired in terms of comfort. White horses came rolling in with the Berg wind, which so often blows before a cold front, and only those anglers most adept at getting their boats off the water were able to keep calm and stay dry at the close of the latest BETT tournament held at Albert Falls last weekend.

Many boats were saved from being sunk by kind local Clive Harries, who was out for a quiet day on the dam. Harries was quick to help fellow anglers struggling to trailer their boats — thereby revealing the calm composure that may have contributed to his partner’s success in winning last year’s Albert Falls Bass Tournament.

Anglers weren’t all left wet and wanting at the latest BETT, as Team Span Africa Strike King proved when team-mates Ryan Swart and Ryan Thompson weighed in a five-fish bag of 7,395 kg. This haul was more than a kilogram heavier than their nearest competitors, Team El Grande Lures Team One, who weighed in with a 6,370 kg bag. It appears that the two Ryans were well named as they certainly proved to be the little kings of the day.

Tim Steyn and Angela Crookes of Team McCrystal Insurance currently lead the rankings of fishermen competing in the KwaZulu-Natal BETT series. However, there is little separating the top four teams, so things may get interesting as we approach the last event before the two-day final to be held at Albert Falls on the first weekend of next month.

Yesterday saw the start of the much-anticipated annual Albert Falls Bass Classic. It is unfortunate that anglers weren’t competing in a sailing tournament as winds were predicted to reach 27 km/h.

Critics of the sport often argue that fishing is based on luck. However, the fact that the same anglers are so often found at the top of the log, seems to confirm that consistently catching quality fish must be attributed to skill.

This is not to say that luck plays no part in tournament fishing. In fact, last year’s winner of the big fish prize landed his kicker while seeking shelter from unfavourable wind conditions in the last hour of the tournament. Obviously, Joe Mendes was in the right place at the right time.

It would seem that caution is a valuable asset in fishing, as the chances that he would have been fishing the same area if it weren’t for the southerly winds are doubtful, and thus this quality bite may be credited to luck.

Landing that 5,5 kg monster, on the other hand, was a combination of quality tackle, skill and tournament temperament. Even fish could stay out of trouble if they would just exercise similar caution and learn to keep their mouths shut.

Conditions at the moment require that all anglers prepare for the unexpected as the competition continues.

An enjoyable day of angling is unfortunately not only about how proficient you are at throwing a line. It can also involve superior boating skills, composure and a sense of balance reminiscent of gymnasts competing in the recent Olympic Games. Pressure is high and fish haven’t had much time to recover from last weekend’s KZN BETT event. Keeping a cool head may give one the edge required for a podium finish, as the competition is the only thing forecast to heat up today.

This year’s annual Albert Falls Classic has a Crackleback 500 with 115 Mercury Optimax outboard up for grabs. It is fully rigged with batteries, fishfinder and sneaker motor.

So I recommend that you get your head out your bass and hit the water with confidence.

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