Dupe the fish by copying their prey

2013-03-02 00:00

DRESSING up as Kevin van Dam is as likely to land you a fish as strapping a VMax to your back is likely to turn you into a boat.

There is a lot to be said for mimicry, but it must go beyond kitting yourself out as your favourite bass angling superstar. The key lies in figuring out why your angler is wearing his khakis on the dam. Determining why anglers choose to dress in a way that would be unacceptable in most social situations is sure to enhance your understanding of the entire fishing experience. The reasons behind some of an angler’s must-have items are self-explanatory. Sunscreen for one might not enhance your experience on the lake, but it will ensure that you aren’t deliriously confined to your bed mumbling incoherently as you struggle to overcome sunstroke.

Mimicry should not be limited to buying the most fashionable fishing vest. Rather, anglers should observe the fish that they are targeting. They should take note of where the fish are feeding and most importantly, they should determine what the fish are feeding on. There is much to be learnt from the prey of your target.

Fishing with artificial lures, especially, relies on duping your prey by imitating theirs. Locating where the fish are actively feeding is not a guarantee of success in itself. The bass of your dreams can be smashing baitfish three metres in front of you and if you aren’t throwing the right lure, chances are you aren’t going to get a bite. Improving your chances does not mean that your chances of success are guaranteed. Last weekend saw every lure in the boat come out and not one of us could tease a bite from the fish devouring baitfish in the shallows. There will always be those fish that want nothing to do with your perfect imitation of a floundering tilapia. Instead, they’ll snap up the luminous pink worm that your girlfriend threw out, just because it sparkled in the sunlight.

Angling requires a whole lot of intelligence and just a little bit of luck.

While you may think that your school days are best left in the past, every day on the dam is different and each is an opportunity to learn something new. The lure that won last weekend’s BETT Tournament is probably not going to win the next one. This is because the fish are not guaranteed to be feeding on the same thing day after day. Seasons change, temperatures drop, bait fish move and may eventually grow into predators themselves. As fish must adapt to its changing circumstances, so, too, must we. Our ability to adapt to our changing circumstances, or in this case, to the changing circumstances of our prey, will determine whether we succeed in our attempts to do well on the water.

When you notice fish feeding, take a moment to determine what they are feeding on. Tilapia, blue gill, baby bass and midges are common sources of food, but they all move differently through the water.

The size of the bait fish and the structure that they are holding to are all key factors in determining what lure to throw. Observing the prey of your target will provide you with invaluable information that, provided you are equipped to replicate them, will improve your chances of getting a fish to fall for your tricks hook, line and sinker.

On the other hand, too much reflection may leave you with more questions than you started with as the fish that you have been targeting gobbles up an oversized black DDD when all around it other carp are feeding on a scum line made up of cream midges.

The KZN women’s Freshwater Bank Angling Team showed that bait anglers certainly know what they are doing after finishing third at the SAFBAF Ladies’ National Championships held at Verlatenskraal Dam last month. Perhaps you should offer your male team-mates a few pointers before they head off to Chelmsford Dam for the nationals.

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