Hooking game-changing fish

2012-10-06 00:00

THE last event of the 2012 BETT season took place at Woodstock Dam this past weekend. With difficult pre-fishing and a tight top 10 finish to be made, expectations were mixed, but everyone had a common goal in mind.

That common goal was making the top 10 to qualify for the BETT classic that is being fished at this very moment at Albert Falls. The top 10 teams from the Gauteng BETT trail will also be competing, which makes this event a battle for national bragging rights, as well as a heap of cash.

Woodstock Dam did not disappoint, even though the fish were tentative in the weeks before. A warming trend that built up to the event definitely helped the process of forcing the fish into the shallower areas to get on with the spawn. Andrew and I ran to our first area after a long and testing ride across an extremely vast piece of water, which spans some 20 kilometres.

We were positioned 13th going into the event, and knowing how motivated the competing teams in front of and behind us were, a day of good fortune was needed to get us into the elusive top 10.

We went for over an hour without a fish, before I had the first bite while talking on the phone. At this point my bait lay motionless on the bottom, which obviously enticed an obliging fish to pick up the bait.

This indicating bite meant that we had been fishing too fast, so we immediately slowed our presentations drastically. After that two-kilogram fish, Andrew boated a three-kilogram one. A few minutes later, I stuck another three-kilogram fish, after implementing our new-found lethargic approach. Talk about a game-changing phone call. Not long after that and we had our limit that weighed a staggering 10,4 kg, which had us as surprised as hell, but as grateful as could be.

When the dust had settled, there were seven bags over the 10 kg mark, with Team Span Africa-Strike King taking top honours with an impressive 11,8 kg sack. The heaviest fish was caught by future pro-angler Gareth Potgieter and fell just short of the four-kilogram mark.

The number and size of the fish caught was absolutely mindblowing and was an incredible way for the teams to end what has been a reasonably low-scoring season. Andrew and I finished fifth for the day and jumped into seventh position overall, cementing our spot in the Albert Falls shootout.

The fish at Albert Falls have now more than likely transitioned into a post-spawn pattern, with a few late comers still partaking in the spawn. I can guarantee that even though the teams have not been able to get on the dam to locate the fish, it will not take long for the fish to be patterned by the country’s best.

Shorelines and flats will be the order of the day and I am sure that top-water baits and jerkbaits will star in the show. With some solid cloud cover forecast, I am sure the fish will push up shallow, making for some interesting tactics. If I have to hazard a guess at the winning weight for 10 fish over the two days, 18 kg to 20 kg will be the number. So watch this space to see who takes home the largest portion of the R140 000 up for grabs.

So get out on the dam 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 zorthewitt@hotmail.com.

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