What’s this weather doing?

2012-08-25 00:00

THE fishing on the nearby dams has been a mix of good and bad over the past few weeks. If the confusing weather is a contributing factor, then I am hardly surprised.

The fish are starting their pre-spawn movements, but have definitely not progressed to the stage where they should be. What the fish need is a warming trend that spans more than a day or two.

At the moment we are having a day or two of warm weather and then three to four days of adverse weather. While the fish bite better on the cooler days, they do not stay on track with their pre-spawn movements. Hence, confusion reigns and we find ourselves thinking we know where the fish should be and what they should be doing, but we seem to be the proverbial step behind on most occasions.

I fished on one of the overcast days last week, and although we never caught huge volumes of fish we hauled in some chunky specimens, well over the two-kilogram mark.

I then fished in a Predator Bass Club competition two days later on a 30°C day, and the fishing was testing, to say the least. Andrew managed to catch a few better fish and won the day, but in general the anglers had to scrape their limits together.

With the BETT event today at Albert Falls, I am predicting that some anglers will get on to the bigger fish, but I fear that the bite will not be as easy as we would hope. With only one event left on the calendar after this, tensions will be high as the teams battle it out to make the top-10 cut. The points are extremely close and all the tactics necessary will be implemented to qualify for the final, which will also be held at Albert Falls in October.

For the next month or so, the pre-spawn and spawn periods will take effect on our local dams, with the smaller male fish moving to the shallows first to prepare the spawning sites, followed by the larger female fish. This is without doubt the best time of year to catch a fish of a lifetime as the females will be holding more weight than ever.

This is also the time of year when essential fish care and handling should be practised. We all know the bass are facing a descending battle, so we need to ensure that all fish are released unharmed at this critical time in their lives. Denying the fish the chance to spawn will result in dire consequences.

Top-performing rigs during the spawn are without doubt the Carolina rig, the drop-shot rig as well as deep-diving crank baits. Lizards and creature baits seem to come into their own at this time, and don’t be shy to upgrade the size of your bait when the bigger fish are on the cards. Look for shallow areas adjacent to drop- offs and river channels, and main lake points and off-shore humps. These are classic spawning areas.

Aqua Academy Skipper Training reminds all skippers to check their COF forms before leaving for the dam. If you need your registration renewed, call 033 386 7293 or e-mail info @aquaacademy.co.za. They can also do the inspections at your home.

So get out on the lake and catch some bass, and remember to release your catch to prolong the sustainability of our resource. E-mail me with reports, pictures and questions at zorthewitt@hotmail.com.

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