Little baits - big bites

2013-01-26 00:00

AS the rain has abated, the heat has come with a scorching passion, raising water temperatures to levels that normally shut bass down. Fortunately, the fish have had more reasons to stay shallow than to turn and head off to the break-lines in search of deeper, cooler water.

I fished a Predator Bass Club competition this past Sunday at Midmar, a venue I have foolishly not fished for many months. I pulled up to my first shallow area in the hopes of at least catching a lone ranger or two, and was understandably content when not long after that my brother Craig and I both had five fish limits. The fish were no giants, but were a refreshing reminder of good fishing in the summertime shallows. I managed a second place finish, with the top spot for the day going to Shaun Botes from Aqua Marine — well done Shaun. We caught all our fish on two baits — a horny toad, which is no newcomer to the ranks and a new plastic bait called the little spanky, which is categorised as a paddle-tail swim-bait. At a compact 10 centimetres and designed for maximum action from minimum bulk, it is a true winner. I rig it on a 2/0 swim hook and peg a 1/16oz tungsten weight on the front. What you now have is a streamlined, weedless swim-bait that can go anywhere and will appeal to fish in any mood. This rig is as close as you will get to imitating the prevalent baitfish. All you have to do is match your colour to the baitfish and you are ready to go. The best part about this rig is the simplicity in its application. It is a straightforward chunk and wind process, in which I keep the bait just a few inches below the surface and maintain a steady retrieve. If you do not tempt a bite on a likely looking piece of cover, you can easily “kill” the bait and let it drop into the zone, which often “force feeds” the fish. That throbbing tail is extremely enticing on the fall and is a sure-fire way to demand bites from underactive fish. Most local tackle dealers should already have stock of this magic little bait, and trust me it is a definite permanent addition to your plastic bait selection. On the colour selection, ensure you have a combination of natural, lighter hues as well as darker patterns. The natural colours will obviously do the business in cleaner water and the darker colours will create a more visible silhouette in dingier water. With the ever present schools of baitfish, presentations like this are a major producer of shallow water bass, which have more reasons to stay shallow than head deep.

Albert Falls has also been producing a handful of good quality fish, while the fishing at Inanda has taken a turn for the worse, largely due to the believed effects of the chemical spraying of the invasive water hyacinth. Although the chemicals do not kill the fish, the added elements definitely disturb the fish and send them far off-shore — I would presume to evade the unnatural additions to their environment. I would not worry, this situation normally turns itself around and the fishing should return to normal in the upper half of the dam in due course. If you do head to Inanda, I would suggest you concentrate your efforts in the cleaner dam wall side of the impoundment where the effects are less.

So remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at

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