From hero to zero in bass competition

2012-05-05 00:00

ANTICIPATION was high as the 150 boats lined up on the shoreline for the start of the 2012 Inanda Bass Classic last weekend. The starting flare was sent sky high for the 6 am take-off and the boats, piloted by anxious anglers, sped off one at a time.

Andrew and I were ready to take on anything the dam or the fish had to throw at us. With a good idea of where to find early feeders we braved the agitated water at high speed to ensure we reached our top spot first. We dodged boats and islands of floating hyacinth in aggressive fashion for 12 km until the spot was within sight. Just a few more seconds and we would be fishing, competing for the first prize of a boat and motor. With victory in our minds my boat abruptly lost speed from 128 km/h as we came to an unceremonious halt in the middle of the lake. We were dead in the water with 225 confused horses behind us. I started the engine again, put it in to gear and … nothing. We had no power whatsoever. With a profusion of profanities we watched no fewer than four boats veer around us and anchor at the prime spot. We had no choice but to deploy the trolling motor and hobble to the adjacent bank to try to rescue the most disastrous start to any tournament I have ever had.

Anyway, we were fishing, and two casts in Andrew had the first bite, on a frog, which violently exploded on the bait without finding the hooks. It was a good fish, but we shrugged it off in a confident disposition. A few throws later and we had a keeper, then another before Andrew put an above-average fish in the boat. We were not even in the spot we wanted, but we were getting bites, so we were in the mood to up our day. The mood didn’t last long. I hooked a solid fish, which pulled off after a strong run, bringing my frustrated sentiments to the surface again. My next throws produced another bite and a small fish, and the next cast again attracted a tournament changer. The fish again surged hard, then jumped and rudely spat the bait back at me. I had no words left to soften the anguish. In one hour I had gone from hero to zero, and after the morning’s depressing antics we struggled to put the puzzle back together again. Unfortunately our struggles were not over yet. We started the five-hour limp back to the slipway powered only by the trolling motor, which barely made it there after killing three deep-cycle batteries.

Why did we not get towed back? Well, because I could just not handle the embarrassment associated with that. We rushed back to town that afternoon and with the most appreciated after-hours help from Gil, of Gilcraft Marine, we had the faulty bush in the prop replaced and were back on the lake the next morning for day two. The second day saw us catch some decent fish with no mechanical failure, so all ended well, although there were no prizes for us. Local angler Kevin Christie took top honours and the prize of a brand-new boat and motor with the largest fish of the tournament which weighed 2,8kg.

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

Catch ’em up!

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