Shallows tactics deliver a winning bag

2012-03-10 00:00

AFTER being delayed by fog for over an hour, we eventually put the hammer down and raced across the dam to our first spot. Andrew had miraculously drawn starting position No. 1 for us, so getting to our spot first was no problem.

A huge field of teams had gathered at Albert Falls for the second event of the 2012 BETT season and with insanely hot temperatures forecast, the anglers were left worrying whether the bigger fish would bite. By 7 am the temperatures were already at the 30°C mark and by midday had topped 44°C.

This put additional stress on the already pressured anglers as well as the fish. Andrew and I started shallow and very quickly put together a solid limit, much to our delight. We culled one or two more fish before I loaded up on a game changer. We were targeting feeding fish in flooded vegetation in literally a few inches of water. Finding the fish was absolutely no problem; getting them to see the bait through the curtain of flooded grass was the challenge. We had been chasing a shallow bruiser for over an hour until I finally put the right cast in front of the fish as he had just smashed up on a school of baitfish. The fish did not hesitate in eating my jig and was in the net shortly afterwards. At 2,4 kg we knew this fish would set us up with the chance of a win. We soldiered on, landing fish after fish for the rest of the afternoon, but only managed minor culls.

It was our day though and we elatedly found ourselves clenching our first win of the season with a respectably hefty bag weighing 8,4 kg. This was an epic victory for us and a reminder of how sweet the podium is.

Team Yamaha, consisting of Julian van Zuydam and Martin de Kock, shared second place with team El Grande Lures with an equal weight of 7,7 kg. All the top 10 teams weighed in limits of over seven kilograms, making for an exciting finish, despite the demanding conditions.

Most of the top finishing teams targeted the larger fish that were relating to the bait schools in the shallows. Although fewer bites were to be had, the average size of the shallow fish was bigger. The off-shore bite was not to be missed as well!

Many teams reported catching dozens of keepers, but were not able to single out the bigger fish, leaving their bag weights lacking.

A few days ago I made a trip to Albert Falls again, this time with my brother Sean in the hopes of catching a few barbel for a change.

The weather was putrid to say the least, but we marched on anyway. The barbel action was slow at best so we ran from the wind and fished for bass instead. We somehow managed to latch on to an absolute beast of a fish that left us both speechless, but very grateful for braving the cyclonic conditions. The fish ate a deep diving crankbait and was the only decent fish we caught.

Don’t forget New Hanover School’s bass competition next weekend. I will be there putting my skills to the test on some of the famous farm dams in the area.

So get out and catch some bass and remember to release your catch alive to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail reports, pictures and questions to

Catch em’ up!

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