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February 2019

Issue 214

Summer Bass Fishing Tips Strategies Secrets Tactics

RSA: R39.34 (VAT incl.) Other Countries: R34.21 (Tax excl.)

Crankbaits in the heat of summer | Summer topwater action | Destination - Bivane Dam | Farm dam strategies Conservation issues | International angling news | Secrets of South Africa’s pro’s and more...

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SA BASS Magazine

is published monthly (12 issues per annum) by WJ Lindeque cc t/a BB Print (CK99/23366/23)

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Hannes Lindeque -

Assistant editor:

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Regular contributors:

Roger Donaldson, Philip Kemp, Jay Röhm-Williams, Gary Peter, Gordon Brown

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SA BASS “Topwater action” Top water bassing is without any doubt the most exciting facet of bass fishing, and after a few massive blow ups and no hook ups, it is also the most aggravating facet! – Dewald Viljoen


TACTICS “Crankbaits in the heat of summer” We’re heading into February and in many parts of South Africa we will be experiencing the most sweltering temperatures. – Roger Donaldson

About SA BASS magazine:

SA BASS, which is editorially and financially independent, is a monthly magazine catering exclusively for the bass angling community in Southern Africa. SA BASS is distributed country-wide by RNA to outlets, not only in South Africa, but also in Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana. SA BASS is designed as a specialist bass fishing publication and has catered for a well-defined niche market since April 2001. It enjoys the support and endorsement of non-government organisations, but is not affiliated in any way to these bodies or to any other publishing, environmental or political interest group. Our mission is to promote bass angling as a socially acceptable and popular outdoor recreational activity, and in addition, to encourage acceptable angling ethics. As such, SA BASS provides pertinent information on a wide range of subjects. These include providing a platform for informed debate on issues affecting the sport of bass angling, providing information on bass angling strategies and techniques, bass angling waters and opportunities, and also creating awareness of new products. Within this editorial mix, due consideration is given to developing the 02 SA BASS February 2019

sport among all the country’s people (including the youth), and to the practical conservation of the country’s natural resources. Copyright is expressly reserved and nothing may be reproduced in part or whole without the permission of the publisher. All enquiries regarding editorial correspondence, manuscripts and photographs should be directed to: Address contributions to the editor. Manuscripts, photos and artwork will be handled with care, but their safety cannot be guaranteed. Enclose a stamped, self addressed envelope with all editorial submissions. The publisher and editorial staff are not responsible for researching and investigating the accuracy or copy right of the material provided for publication in SA BASS magazine. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of the contents of this magazine, the publisher does not accept responsibility for omissions or errors or their consequences. Readers are advised to use this information with the understanding that it is at their own risk. The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publisher, the editor, editorial staff or SA BASS Society.


FLW “5 Basic paddling points to maximize efficiency” A Jackson Kayak Pro-Staffer explains How To Improve Your Stroke – Bridgett Howard

How to use QR-codes 1. Open the QR-code reader/scanner app on your smartphone. Most smartphones models often have an app pre-installed. If not, visit your phone’s app store and download the app. 2. Keep a steady hand while the QR-code is centred on the screen. 3. As soon as it is done scanning, whatever information should present itself for your viewing pleasure.


SA BASS “Follow Michael Matthee on Tour” One of our very first FLW South Africa champions, Michael Matthee, is living his dream – Hannes Lindeque




SA BASS “Licence to kill ” Over the last couple of months, the destruction of our target species has once again reared its ugly head. – John Badenhorst

“Metamorphosis” Bass fishing as a sport or hobby is not something that most folks are born into. It’s not just a hobby or a way to pass the time – John Badenhorst

36 16

“Making the cast” From first glance it looks like an impossible cast to achieve… – Jay Röhm-Williams

BASICS “Summer bass tactics” Bassin’ during summer can be tough especially with the hot weather upon us. – Hendrik


CONSERVATION “Dam threatening vegetation” It is no secret in South Africa and the world alike that today fresh water is becoming rapidly a scarce commodity. – Jay Röhm-Williams

38 40


SA BASS “A small craft angler’s road to Lake Guntersville – Part 3” It started to slowly hit home: This was really happening. I did it! – Vicus Horn


32 24

MASTER CLASS “Late summer bass fishing” During the heat of summer don’t make the mistake of packing up and heading home after the morning bite slows down. – Mark Bilbrey


STRATEGIES “Farm Dam Strategies – Part 1” I am sure there are many avid bass fishing readers who recently started their journey into the sport of bass fishing and who have access to a farm dam close to them where they can get a few hours of fishing in on a casual weekend.. – Roger Donaldson

SA BASS “Holiday madness ” Bronkhorstspruit Dam, a little gem situated roughly 45km east of Pretoria and Johannesburg. – Valerie Jacobs

SA BASS “Secrets of South Africa’s Pro’s – Part 7, Current Makes a Difference” We’re on the main subject of scouting the waters – Bass Spy


SA BASS “Who teaches who?” I had the privilege of taking both my kids and one of their friends to Lake Mteri a few days ago – Clint Skinner






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DESTINATION – Bivane Dam Resort




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“Wanneer is ‘n kopskuif belangrik” Dit is snikheet warm en die kwik vat-vat so aan die mid-dertigs – Philip Kemp

ON THE COVER “Bryn Batty Image: Darryn Brooks

SA BASS 03 February 2019

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DIGITALLY Teen hierdie tyd is almal seker weer vol aan die gang en skouer aan die wiel. Ek weet nie hoe wyd dit gereën het nie, maar as ek so na die stand van ons damme se watervlakke luister, en ook sien hoe droog dit hier rondom ons is, dan hoop ek regtig ons almal kry goeie laat reëns. Die lae watervlakke beïnvloed nie net ons landbou gemeenskap nie, maar ook ons hengel-industrie, ons hengeltoernooie en sommer ook almal se moraal. Ek kyk by die venster uit en sien hoe die diere bokspring in die veld na ‘n reënbui, maar ongelukkig met die versengende hitte is hulle vrolikheid van korte duur. Nou voordat ons in mismoedigheid verval; waarna kan ons uitsien binne die afsienbare toekoms? In Februarie spring ons weg met die Tolderia Pretdag net buite Ermelo. FLW Suid-Afrika se mobiele verhoog en -weegstasie gaan ook daar wees ter ondersteuning van twee kerke se fondsinsamelingsprojekte. Die eerste prys tydens die swartbaarhengelkompetisie se waarde beloop R16,000. oo Daar is ook ‘n aantreklike tweede pryse en ‘n prys vir die swaarste vis. Ons moedig ons lesers aan om ‘n draai te kom maak, en kom sien dat daar werklik ‘n hemel op aarde vir ons swartbaarhengelaars is. Dis by Tolderia! Kort daarna is dit die groot geleentheid waartydens Suid-Afrika die gasheer gaan wees van die 2019 Wêreldhengelkampioenskappe. SA BASS en FLW Suid-Afrika wens al ons Suid-Afrikaanse hengelaars baie sterkte toe. (Op bladsy 23 word meer inligting omtrent die gebeurtenis gegee.) Die res van die tydskrif is weereens propvol handige artikels om ons lesers te help om ook in die skroeiende hitte nogsteeds meer en groter visse te kan vang. Ons fokus in hierdie uitgawe op die kuns van swartbaarhengel met die gebruik van harde plastiekvissies, hengelstrategieë, -tegnieke en -geheime en omgewingsbewaring. Ons eerste Suid-Afrikaanse FLW kampioen, Michael Matthee, bevind homself deesdae voltyds in die VSA waar hy aan die FLW Tour deelneem saam met bekende professionele swartbaarhengelaars. Lees meer daarvan op bladsy 14. As jy teen hierdie tyd alreeds moeg gewerk is en wonder waar om jou volgende hengelvakansie te beplan, stel ek voor jy blaai na bladsy 48 en oorweeg dit om jou lyne by Bivane Dam te gaan ingooi. Vir die wat nie so gelukkig is om nou al weer weg te kan breek nie, bied SA BASS die maandelikse Cast-for-Cash swartbaarhengeltoernooie aan (in ses streke). Dit is eendag toernooie waar passievolle swartbaarhenglaars mekaar in spanverband uitdaag om te sien wie die swaarste vyf visse vir die dag kan vang. Besoek gerus ons webtuiste vir meer besonderhede omtrent die toernooi en die geleenthede wat SA BASS ons plaaslike hengelaars bied. Of, op bladsy 18 vertel Vicus Horn van sy onlangse ervaring in die VSA waar hy FLW Suid-Afrika ampetlik verteenwoordig het, en hoe hy daar gekom het. Vir eers tot ‘n volgende keer; mag julle lyne sing en onthou om fotos te stuur van julle vangste sodat ons dit kan publiseer onder Readers-go-Bassing. Hannes Lindeque, Uitgewer 04 SA BASS February 2019

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To feature in “Readers go Bassing” send your story and pictures to All photos published in “Readers-go-Bassing” are for the exclusive use of SA BASS Magazine. Any photos previously published by other magazines will not be considered.

CRAZY 8th December 2018 - was a tough yet great weekend on the Breede River with the Western Cape KBC. Fished like I usually do... pitching in the grass... hitting the weeds and letting it drop. I have tried swimbaits and even attempted cranking the rapids but nothing! The water was extremely murky. I then popped on a Berkeley Powerbait Critter Hog (Watermelon Red Flake) and attempted to dead stick it. I pitched it, dropped my rod beside me and just as the thought to pop open my lunch bag to get a snack pops… “bam!” Crazy take, no strike! The fish weighed 1.47kg To watch a short video on YouTube visit https://www. – Dwain Paul

06 SA BASS February 2019

KINGFISHER I recently had a very ordinary catch, but very interesting at the same time. At first glance it looked like a lure stuck in its mouth. On closer inspection I found it to be a kingfisher. – Desmond Spies


PLEASURE I had the pleasure in December 2018 of catching this 1.8kg bass from a Pices Predator pontoon on a private dam in Gauteng. The bass was caught on 7lb line with a Baby Bass Super Fluke on a Mojo finesse rig. Once the picture was taken the bass was released back into the water to fight another day. Thanks for a great magazine and all the advice. – Des Ward

I’m so happy to see that the fish are still around in Theewaterskloof Dam. There was another boat on the water that also managed to land a big fish so it’s a good sign! The fishing was rather difficult but fishing slow seemed to be key. Some of the fish had yet to spawn and some had already spawned out. At the point of catching most of the fish, there was a gentle breeze from the north west - just before it started to pick up and bring in a cold front. It was still sunny and hot at the time of catching most fish. The breeze on the water seemed to activate the fish in the specific area. We caught in total four fish with the heaviest weighing 3.56kg. Pitching of brush and trees in the shaded areas with a creature bait. One had to let the bait soak for about thirty seconds before the first twitch of the bait. Fish would then swim off with your bait. More than one fish would come off a tree. All the fish were released and swam off strong. The strength of the fish caught was unbelievable! – Angus Crowther

LETSI The biggest fish caught in our trip to Letsibogo Dam was the one I am holding (left) weighing in at 2.8kg. The one on the right was caught by my cousin, Shakeel Chand which weighed 1.6kg. These two splendid specimen were caught in mid October last year. The conditions were overcast but sweltering heat of up to 38ºC and a wind speed of up to 17km/h. The setup we both had was a just a Texas rigged Zoom Magnum Fluke that both these fish ate as the lure was still sinking to the bottom of the wood structure. We caught a total amount of 7 fish on this day – Talha Tajbhai SA BASS 07 February 2019

Very important; wait for the lure to settle before starting your retrieve


Top water bassing is without any doubt the most exciting facet of bass fishing, and after a few massive blow ups and no hook ups, it is also the most aggravating facet! It is, however, much easier to get your trebles into a bass by following these few simple tips. >> Dewald Viljoen*


hen fishing on the surface, the type of line you use is of critical importance. First of all, no fluorocarbon! Fluorocarbon sinks which will absolutely destroy the action of any surface lure and unless you are fishing a soft frog over grass, stay away from braid too! When it comes to line selection for surface lures, plain old monofilament is the way to go. Do however choose a decent high abrasion line. Another important consideration is the rod you use. Much like every aspect of bass fishing, there are rods designed to work on different lures. For walking baits choose a medium to medium heavy rod in shorter length. I prefer a 6’6” length that gives me a crisp twitch without hitting the surface. For frog style baits go with a heavy action rod in a longer length that will help you lift and bully a big fish through the grass. My favourite frog rod is a 7’11” heavy action with an extra fast tip. Like with jerkbaits, cadence is very important with top water baits and you should experiment with speed and pauses until you find a rhythm that speaks to the fish. A personal favourite tip is to wait for the lure to settle before starting your retrieve. I like to cast into a likely spot 08 SA BASS February 2019

and then let the lure sit until all the ripples have disappeared. This can often take as much as a minute. Very often a fish will hit the lure as soon as it moves after sitting still for a while. No matter what surface lure you might be throwing, one rule stands above all. When your bait gets eaten, take a breath before setting the hook! Whether a frog, a popper, a buzzbait or walking bait, allow the fish to turn away before setting the hook. The extra second you wait will improve your hook up ratio by a huge amount! Walking baits are more effective of a smooth surface where as popping, spitting and buzzing baits work better in a slight chop. When the surface gets rough, I would rather go to a crankbait. Surface baits, as a rule of thumb, work best in low light conditions. That is at dusk, dawn, night time or on overcast days. These were a few simple tips but they can make a world of difference and give your heart a good jump start! *Dewald Viljoen is a custom lure maker and the owner of Hot Reels Service Centre.

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Crankbaits in the

HEAT OF SUMMER >> Roger er Donaldson* Dona Donald


e’re heading into February and in many parts of South Africa we will be experiencing the most sweltering temperatures. Don’t stop with those crankbaits now as they will be producing some excellent bites as we go through the heat and make the turn towards autumn. By now you may have learned that bass migrate to different areas of the dam constantly and temperatures are one of the factors contributing to this move. They may be more actively feeding in one area of the day today, but tomorrow they are nowhere to be found in that same spot. There are some proven reasons for this and once you’ve got this at top of mind you will remembering the most important factor about locating bass. I recall three instances where I could cast and catch more than twenty fish in a row, one after the other. The bass had honed into baitfish in an area and they did not leave until the baitfish left. All three occasions happen to be on Albert Falls dam, but the same applies to all dams and I’ve experienced a few similar days on many others.

As temperatures and weather changed from day to day the fish would move around. Trying to locate them again was always quite a task and quickly I learned that the fastest way to track the fish again was with a crankbait. You can fish the lures fast and cover plenty of water to pretty much what ever depth you choose. Versatility and speed were the key and with the variety of crankbaits available i.e. shallow, medium and deep diving, searching for bass is easiest done with this strategy. In the blistering heat there will be a few ideal times and places to be.

Early mornings and evenings This will be a firm favourite as the bass will very likely still be enjoying the shallow cool water. Searching for structure such as shallow rock piles, rip rap along the dam wall, flooded grassy banks, and areas close to channel breaks will reward you nicely.

A shallow grassy point tapering off into deeper water on Inanda Dam is a perfect crankbait area 10 SA BASS February 2019

Choose your crankbait according to the depth you’re fishing. You want the lure to be skipping nimbly across the bottom, only touching it very gently as the crankbait passes through. Fishing around tree stumps can be tricky as your treble hooks can often snag, but are easily retrievable in the shallow depths. Keep in mind that the depth may taper off from a shallow 3ft to 30ft in certain places. Choose your deeper diving crankbait and start with a slow retrieve and elevated rod tip to make the most of the shallow depth. As the lure reached deeper water you will need to lower your rod tip and retrieve slightly quicker to get your lure diving deeper. You’ll get the hang of that quickly and as long as you feel the bottom making gentle contact with your bait you are in the right depth.

In the heat of the day It is not often that still, hot days will see bass sitting shallow without any decent shaded, covered area to protect themselves. So out in the open bass will retreat just a little deeper to find cooler water and place where they are not as easily visible to other predators, or their prey! Many dams have these deepwater spots which are precisely what the bass are looking for in mid-summer. Bronkhorspruit Dam has a potent area near the yacht club, Driekoppies Dam has excellent deep water riprap along the dam wall (Malelane area gets very hot in February),

Tzaneen Dam provides steep points with combinations of vegetation and gravel and crevices ideal for trickling your crankbait over and through. Albert Falls Dam has produced some record bass on the edge of the ridge area with deep diving crankbaits and this dam should certainly not be overlooked, as well as Goedertrouw, Inanda and even the Vaal Dam around the yacht clubs and rip rap areas. The last few hot months of the year will have all dams shouting for action in deeper water in the midday hours. Hint: deep water can mean that the structure you encounter will be completely out of your reach and out of sight – that’s a good thing! However, when your lure gets nicely hung up / snagged you’ll be very sad to have to snap your line and lose a crankbait. Make a wise investment and find a crankbait retrieval system that works for you. Some you can buy and they work for me and some anglers like to use their own homemade methods. Regardless your choice make sure you head out there with something as you want to be getting your lure deep into the structure to give yourself every chance of locating those bigger bass. *Roger Donaldson is an experienced journalist and knowledgeable bass angler who has enjoyed many enlightening hours with many of South Africa’s top, competitive bass fishermen. As a competitive angler himself, he also enjoys sharing his expertise with fellow bass fanatics in the hope that they find the same joy in this unique sport.

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SA BASS 11 February 2019



Quick Tips • Maintain good posture – sit straight and relax your shoulders • Engage your core • Keep arms relatively straight • Loosen your grip • Don’t strain your wrists by bending • Use the footpegs to brace



By Bridgett Howard


ou’ve got a kayak, a paddle and a PFD – time to jump in the water and go, right? Almost, but first review the following five pointers that will help you get out and stay out there and boost your chances to land some backwater bruisers.

1. HOLD YOUR PADDLE CORRECTLY The widest, or longest side of the paddle should be up (see above), and the power face (concave surface) facing you. This will allow for an easier stroke when the blade enters the water and means you won’t need to employ a death-grip on the shaft of the paddle. Relax your hands and let the paddle do the work. Your hands should be a bit farther apart than shoulder width. 12 SA BASS February 2019

2. POSITION YOURSELF FOR SUCCESS Your posture has a direct impact on how quickly you tire. In a sit-on-top fishing-style kayak (see facing page), your legs should be slightly bent, allowing you to brace against the foot pegs with your back braced comfortably against the seat. Adjust the foot pegs before you push off the bank. Sit straight, but relax your shoulders and open your chest.

3. DON’T DRAG YOUR KAYAK WITH YOUR ARMS The optimal stroke won’t have power coming from your arms – it will come from your core. Many newcomers attack the water with their biceps, but the key is using the larger muscles in your quads and rotating around your torso. Reach forward toward your feet with the paddle blade and draw back, pressing against the foot pegs. When pulling from the left side of your kayak, you should be pressing with the right foot against the pull. Bring your paddle back to your hip, and reach forward to stroke with your opposite hand. Press with your left foot for the right-hand stroke – this should feel nearly like a bicycle push-and-pull motion, and the nose of the kayak should move left to right with each stroke, using your core as the pivot point.

forward stroke

4. FORWARD SWEEP STROKE Paddling harder on one side of the kayak will turn the boat, but it isn’t the most efficient method. A better way is the forward sweep stroke. To perform this stroke, reach forward with the paddle blade toward your toes. Sweep out in an arc away from the boat, and then pull back toward the stern, keeping your other hand at shoulder level or below. The kayak will turn to the opposite side of your stroke, and you will be able to maintain paddling momentum. Keep your center of gravity over the middle of the boat.

forward sweep

5. REVERSE SWEEP STROKE Need to make a quick pivot with the kayak? The reverse sweep stroke will allow you to turn the kayak rapidly in place. Twist to initiate a stroke that begins behind you, reaching toward the back of the kayak in the direction you’d like to turn. Sweep the paddle out in an arc and then back toward your toes, and be sure to keep your body centered and use your torso to twist. At first, it might seem like a lot of work to use proper technique while paddling. Developing and maintaining good form on the water will keep your body conditioned after years of paddling – and that core strength is something that’ll go a long way toward improving your hookset, too.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR River-bound year-round, Bridgett Howard’s playground includes the rivers and streams of east Tennessee. Fortunate to be able to combine work and play, she is part of the Jackson Kayak and Orion Coolers marketing and fishing teams in addition to representing Werner Paddles, Kokatat and RAM Mounts on the water. Howard loves to prove that big fish live in skinny water, and bass are among her favorites.

reverse sweep

SA BASS 13 February 2019

Michael Matthee is now a professional FLW Tour angler in the USA


Follow Michael Matthee on Tour “FLW - Live your dream�


>> Hannes Lindeque


n 2016 Michael Matthee and Wayne Louw won themselves the title ship of FLW South Africa Champions on the Vaal River at the end of the season’s Cast-for-Cash championship. They each won a fully sponsored slot to the Costa FLW Series Championship on Lake Kentucky in the USA. There again our FLW South African anglers made history. Not only did Michael win the international division but also became the very first international angler to finish under the top ten on day three. Winning the international division gave Michael an entry slot to the Forrest Wood Cup in 2018 on Lake Ouachita. Highly motivated by his experiences in the USA he entered the FLW Tour and become a professional bass angler in 2019. His first FLW Tour tournament was on Same Rayburn Reservoir in Texas. It was a four day tournament where he competed against the best of the best whose only income is by winning tournaments and their ultimate dream is to win the Forrest Wood Cup in August.

On day one he caught three fish but unfortunately couldn’t find any more fish for the rest of the tournament. The event was won by Terry Bolton who took home some US$125,000! Terry waited a long time for his turn, but he’s grateful that he has won this event. When Bolton considered retiring this offseason - a proposition he says was 60 to 40 in favour of retirement - he had no way of knowing just how close he was. And now that he’s finally gotten it, the fire is rekindled. It’s all about his next shot. And the next after that. Matthee is living his dream now and FLW South Africa wishes him all of the very best for the rest of the season. FLW South Africa appreciates the support of our tournament partners who help us make our monthly Cast-for-Cash anglers live their dream: McCarthy Volkswagen Wonderboom, Garmin South Africa, Yamaha South Africa, Laboria and SA BASS magazine. Visit our website for more information, dates, venues, rules and more.

FLW South Africa anglers; Henry Petersen, Wayne Louw and Michael Matthee 14 SA BASS February 2019

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>> Hendrik

BASS TACTICS Bassin’ during summer can be tough especially with the hot weather upon us. We might think it would be better WRȴVKDWQLJKWEXWWKHUHDUHVWLOODQJOHUVZKRZRQȇWJLYH XSDQGSUHIHUVȴVKLQJGXULQJWKHGD\

Cloudy conditions will help to prolong the feeding time 16 SA BASS February 2019


t is important to remember that big bass have their established travelling routes. They will move up to 150m away from their summer homes to feed while some won’t even bother to go that far. Whether they travel far or not, they will all do the same thing and that is to follow the break lines or channels from their homes to the feeding area and back. Most of the big bass will be like a lone wolf but when feeding, more than one big bass’s route might overlap and you might just be in luck. These feeding areas are normally points, ridges, humps or drop-offs. These fish seems to prefer depths between 3m to 6m. You will even find that some of the big bass will suspend at 6m and can go as deep as 12m or even more. Other big bass will prefer to hang around brush piles, instead off suspending, but they will also follow the regular routes. Unfortunately no feeding will last a specific time. Weather conditions will always play a big part in the duration of the feeding period. For example: cloudy conditions will help to prolong the feeding time and therefore do not try your fishing spot just once. Visit it a few times during the day and keep in mind that different bass are going to feed at different times. The hottest time of the day might turn out to be the most productive. The key to your success will be to locate all the important routes and feeding areas. We can use a variety of lures and techniques to catch these big giants, but I found that deep diving crankbaits are the most effective lures for me. The choice of colour is a personal thing and it will vary for dam to dam, but I suggest that anglers use their “go to� colours - a rule of thumb is to match the resident baitfish colours. If you find the ideal spot but the bite is slow, try different colours. There are such a huge variety of colours but I prefer my “go to� colours like red craw, chartreuse with a pearl belly, lavender shad and Texas shad crankbaits. Hot summer fishing can be tough, but when doing it right you can easily beat your personal best and have loads of fun.


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fter pri prize giving, Hannes called the top five aside W aside. We conducted some interviews, and had photos pho taken. Next, Hannes took the top four aside, aand started telling us what was going to happen next. n We each had to obtain an American visitors visa. He then gave us few tips on how to speed up the visa applications, and som some tips on preparing for the journey. It sta started to slowly hit home: This was really h happening. I did it! I drove home very tired, but so eexcited that I had no problem staying awake and alert during the drive. When I arrived home, my wife was waiting in the driveway. She had already opened the front gate and garage door. She w was beaming. She had already decided In the previous issue: eearlier, that if I was to win, she would At prize giving I nervously sat with my Gauteng not be coming with me. Her excitement no was wa a all on my behalf. We chatted happily team mates, and waited for the pleasantries to as I sstarted unpacking. run its course. My wife was texting me every D Du During the next eight weeks, I obtained few minutes, demanding updates. She was my vvisa. my isaa. I also heard that unfortunately, due to is even more nervous than I was. In the end, personal Barend Brand would not per pe rson nal ccircumstances, i I held on to take fourth place. making bee m akin ak akin ng th thee trip. He had studies to contend with, and d on o top top o of of that, th h he was also getting married. Juan >> Vicus Horn* obtained his obt ob tain tain ned dh iss vvisa isa a ffew days before I did, and I soon heard is tthat th at Hendrik Hen endr drrikk got gott his h visa as well. Flights were booked, accommodation was sorted, and a few days before we had to leave, all the planning and arrangements were complete. On the evening of the 25th of October, we arrived at the airport. Hannes gave us our FLW clothing, which consisted

A small craft angler’s road to


No‌ we are looking at the baitfish in the shallows 18 SA BASS February 2019

of a warm jacket, colourful FLW fishing shirts, and caps. We said our goodbyes, and boarded our aircraft. Our travel group consisted of Hannes, his wife Wilma, Hendrik, his girlfriend Elri, Juan and I. The adventure had begun. The trip to our destination consisted of two parts. The first flight, taking eight hours was to Doha in Qatar. The second flight taking approximately fifteen hours would be to Atlanta. The sight of Doha from the air was interesting. The architecture of the city was unlike anything I had seen before. Clean, modern lines characterized the layout of the city. Marinas was to be seen all around the city area. We only had a two hour lay-over. Soon, we were heading to Atlanta. The fifteen hour flight was not comfortable. But it passed soon enough. We arrived in Atlanta tired, but excited. After disembarking and picking up our luggage, Hannes rented a Chev Suburban, which was to serve as our transport for the duration of our time in the USA. We travelled to the guesthouse where we were to stay for the first three days. It was in a town called Cartersville, about two hours’ drive from Lake Guntersville. We soon arrived, unpacked, and settled in. It soon became apparent that our little group was going to “gel” very well. Each of us just naturally took to doing some of the chores that needed to be done. No one needed to be asked to do something. I shared in the cooking duties, Elri helped out with the washing, Hannes and Wilma was continually planning our daily ventures and transport. Juan turned out to be a natural and willing handy man, fixing anything that was broken or not working properly. Hendrik was always seen carrying and packing stuff. It was late autumn in Atlanta, and the mornings and evenings was chilly. Our guesthouse had automatic internal heating, was fully carpeted, spacious and comfortable. We were all looking forward to our planned visit to the Bass Pro Shop in Atlanta the next day. The Bass Pro Shop was a bit like a Builder’s Warehouse, but for fishing and hunting. Truth be told, there was not too much to be found that we could not also find in South Africa. But it was till fun. I did find that I could not resist buying a few things. We spent about four hours there before calling it a day and returning to the guesthouse. Once there, Juan and I decided to look on the local map and see if we could find a spot to do some fishing. Hendrik and Elri wanted to go and see the oceanarium in Atlanta. Juan identified an area at Lake Allatoona that was on the way to the oceanarium, and made arrangements with Hannes, our “minister of transport”. We were dropped off at a boat launching area at about 11:00. The water was clear, and we saw some baitfish in the water. After about forty minutes Juan picked up three fish in quick succession all in one spot. Two of them were spotted bass. So Juan was the first to add a new bass species to his list of conquests. For the rest of the day we caught nothing. Fishing was definitely tougher than we expected. It was still fun. Hannes picked us up about half an hour after dark. Hendrik and Elri said that they thoroughly enjoyed the outing to the oceanarium.

We were treated to a tasty buffet lunch

The next day, we had to leave for Lake Guntersville. The trip took about two hours. We enjoyed the scenic drive, marvelling at the neat and clean streets and roads, and the quiet of the place. Very few people were seen walking. People mostly use cars in this part of the world. When we arrived at Lake Guntersville, we were greeted by an exciting sight. We drove alongside the lake, and even from the car, we could see disturbances on the water surfaces that appeared to be schools of baitfish being chased by some kind of predator. We know that the besides bass, the lake was also home to gar and striper. But, most of us were definitely picturing bass in our minds, chasing those baitfish. The atmosphere of excitement was palpable.

SA BASS 19 February 2019

We soon arrived at the new guesthouse. Like the first one, we found it to be comfortable, and spacious. It was also situated right on the water. During our stay, Juan who must be one of the best fishermen I have ever seen, caught several fish off the dock. My only complaint was a lack of cooking utensils. There were a few basic things, but not what I normally liked to use. I just made a few plans while cooking, and made do with what I had. Soon after we arrived, we left again to go and try to find a boat to hire for a pre-fishing trip for the next day. We eventually found someone willing to help, for a price, of course: $400. A pretty penny. We agreed, and split the cost between the three of us. The South Africans who were fishing in the main event paid us a visit that evening. Neels Beneke (pro), Robbie Olivier (co-angler), Shaun John (pro) with his girlfriend, Michaela and Peet van der Schyff (co-angler) with his fiancé,

Christine. We swapped “war” stories and just had a good chat about fishing and life. It soon became clear that Peet was a natural comic. He had everyone in stitches laughing at his antics on a couple of occasions. Never a dull moment with Peet around. Later that evening our guests left, and we also went to bed, thinking of the next day, tournament day for the pro’s and co-anglers. We went to bed exited, as the next day would our first day on Guntersville, by reputation one of the premier lakes in the USA. The next day, we arrived at the boat dock an hour early. We had to wait the full hour before the boat was made available to us. But in the end, we got on the water as planned. Juan was taking skipper duty, as he was the most experienced bass boat operator among us. Juan had also downloaded a mapping app for the lake on his phone, and he had studied it the previous day. So cont. on p22

Juan was taking skipper duty 20 SA BASS February 2019

contd. from p20

he had some ideas as to where to go first. He fired up the motor and we were off. Hendrik and I just sat back, and let Juan do his thing. Juan took us under a small bridge, and up a creek arm. We soon saw some bait fish schooling. The baitfish was being hunted by something, just like we saw when we first arrived at the lake. Juan shut down the outboard, got the trolling motor going, and we approached the baitfish schools which were clearly to be seen boiling close to a steep bank. This was new territory for us, as we would not be likely to experience anything similar to this in South Africa. About two hours later we were not so exited any more. I had a take early on, but failed to hook up. After that, nothing. We were perplexed. We had tried everything, the whole tackle box, fast, slow, deep and shallow. Nothing, nada. Okay, so this was not going to be quite as easy as we expected. I sat back and said: “Guys, I suggest we do what we know how to do. Let’s ignore these bait schools that have been giving us the run-a-round. Let’s find some solid grass patches and fish the grass like we do in SA.” After some discussion the other two agreed. Juan fired the motor up, and we were off again. As we approached a bank, I saw a grass patch. I pointed to it, and Juan pointed the boat there. .Once we arrived, I picked up a rod with a Texas rigged Senko, with a 1/32 oz tungsten weight, and aimed for the weed-line, letting it sink to the bottom before twitching. The other two persisted with moving baits. Swimbaits, cranks and chatterbaits, if I remember correctly. At about my fifth cast, my line moved off to my left. I struck, and was into a fish. My first USA bass was landed safely. It was only about 800g to 900g, but it would do nicely. About fifteen minutes later, using the same technique, I picked up another fish of similar size. Juan relented, and also picked up a rod with a Texas rig. But we got nothing more in that area. The rest of the day we moved from spot to spot, fishing grass patches. Juan and I stuck to our Texas rigs. Hendrik refused to give up on his moving baits. In short order, Juan started to out-fish me using the same technique as me. At the end of the day, I had three fish, and Juan had ten. Hendrik got one, so at least he had also managed to land his first USA bass. Juan was to be my team mate during the International Friendship Tournament, and it occurred to me that we would make a good team. My strength was finding a pattern, Juan was better at execution. I was confident that between the two of us, we could manage a limit at least. During the day something a bit bizarre happened. At some point, Juan, who was positioned on the bow, turned towards me, and started to get his phone out of his pocket. I saw the phone slip, and what happened next was so quick my eyes could hardly follow. There was a splash, and Juan was gone. For about two seconds the only thing of him I could see, was his cap drifting on the water. It took my slow brain a couple of seconds to work out that he dropped his phone in the water, and that he went after it. He was back on deck about twenty seconds later, sopping wet 22 SA BASS February 2019

We visited Bass Pro Shop in Atlanta

and sputtering, phone in hand. He then realized that his sunglasses also went swimming with him. The sunglasses were never seen again. Later that evening, he would try do dry his phone to save it, but to no avail. It was beyond repair. After we arrived at the dock, the boat was returned, and Hannes arrived to take us home. All-in-all, the day was a success. Although fishing was tougher than expected, we adapted and did manage to get a fair number of fish between us, and we had some opportunity to get a feel for the lake. The next day was registration day. On our way to Lake Guntersville State Park Lodge, where registration was to take place, we stopped at a local tackle shop. Lo and behold, outside was parked the vehicle of a certain Mr. Bryan Thrift. Once inside we duly saw the legendary pro bass angler browsing the shop. Hannes approached him, and soon we were all treated to handshakes and photos. Bryan proved to be a humble and pleasant man. He patiently stood for photos, and gave the impression that he was privileged to do it. Where in fact, we were the privileged ones. We soon finished our business and departed for the state park. Once we arrived, we found the registration process to be well organized and pleasant. We also got goodie bags with some caps, a shirt, and rubber drinking glasses. Juan and Hendrik also got to meet some more bass fishing celebrities, and somehow (don’t ask me), organized/cajoled some lures from someone. After registration, we had to attend a briefing were all the competitors of the main event had to be present. There were some speeches, but it did not take too long. After that we were treated to a tasty buffet lunch. In the next issue: On the morning of tournament day, we arrived at the dock to find the weather not looking too bad. Overcast, no rain and the wind no more than a breeze. I hoped that it would hold. Unfortunately, soon after our arrival, we got news that… *Vicus Horn is an FLW South Africa small craft bass angler and represented South Africa at the Costa FLW Series Championship in 2018 at Lake Guntersville, AL.


2019 World Fishing Games

>> John Badenhorst*


outh Africa has once again proven its ability as a country and host on an international level. Due to the recent successes of various angling tournaments, South Africa will host the 2019 World Sport Fishing Games. This is the Olympic Games of fishing and includes all the different facets that our sport encompasses. With teams from around the world arriving on our shores as early as mid January, this is set to be the biggest fishing event to be hosted by South Africa to date. On Saturday the 9th of February, teams from around the world will form part of a street parade from Nelson Mandela square to the Sandton Convention Center where international organizers will officially open the event. This opening ceremony is open to members of the public and will

be attended by many local and international dignitaries. After the official opening ceremony, teams will travel to different destinations around our beautiful country for the difference facets of sport fishing. Locations such as Loskop Dam, The Vaal River, Bloemhof Dam, Sodwana Bay, Saldana Bay will be where teams will put their angling skills to the test against our very own Protea anglers and some of the best anglers from around the globe. Just some of the teams in action during the tournament will be South African, USA, Germany, Italy, Spain, Korea and Australia. With the improvements in internet and connectivity structure, social media will be abuzz with information over the next couple of weeks. SA Bass Magazine will also be there, from the pre-planning stages, right

through to the opening ceremony and the tournament days thereafter with regular updates and information as the 2019 World Sport Fishing Games unfolds. *John Badenhorst is the assistant editor of SA BASS magazine, the Master of Ceremony for FLW South Africa, radio presenter at Platinum Gold Radio and a keen ultra finesse angler.



When things get tough, it’s time to throw a grub

SA BASS 23 February 2019


Late summer bass fishing >> Mark Bilbrey*


n fact in the summer with their metabolism in overdrive due to the warmer water, their digestion is acting at a rapid pace. This requires more food. In a world where big fish eat little fish, maintaining size and growing is survival. One thing that anglers must realize is to fish the condition not the calendar. Fish do not know what month or day it is, but they know when the water is warm or when the water level is falling due to drought conditions or rising from rain. Rain fall increases oxygen and cools the lake, and rising water is always good for the bite. Summer can mean great fishing. Here are some things to think about. Anglers should target shady banks and the shaded sides of docks from late morning through the middle of the day for a good chance of catching some big bass. This is a good pattern if the body of water is warm enough for the thermocline to diminish the water quality in the deeper water, especially true of small lakes and ponds. Jigs and soft plastic worms pitched into the shade can produce fish in the middle of the day. During summer, lakes begin to stratify and create a layer of water known as a “thermocline” or middle layer with the cooler water in the bottom layer called the hypolimnion that is depleted of adequate oxygen. Once this occurs it forces the bass to move shallower between the warm top layer called the epilimnion and the middle thermocline. This is where the bass school in relation to structure such as main lake points. You can find at what depth the thermocline has developed by monitoring your electronics. The thermocline is normally from 12 to 15 feet deep in most late summer conditions. Cold water fish such as trout will be found in the lower part of the thermocline and bass will be on the upper layer. Find the depth

Burning a buzzbait is a great presentation 24 SA BASS February 2019

During summer, lakes begin to stratify and create a layer of water known as a “thermocline”

of the bass and then you can start fishing on structure at that same depth. Gently sloping points from the mouth of a creek out toward a main river channel can be such structure and enhanced even more with current. Fish these lake points with deep-running crankbaits, jigs and Carolina rigs for some great summer action. A Carolina rig, shaky-head or a drop-shot rig can be great during the summer months and a four inch wacky rigged worm can give bass something they’re not used to seeing. Downsizing your bait alone may not be enough; smaller line can enhance finesse fishing even more from late summer until the fall migration begins in a few more weeks. During the summer months, fishing during morning and evening hours can be a very rewarding experience since bass become active and can be found in the same areas that anglers caught the bass d during the pre-spawn season. In this season, the bass are shallow sh for a reason, to feed on the fol migrating bait as they follow drifting plankton blown to the backs of creeks by th the late summer wind. Summer evenings hol hold wonderful opportunities for an anglers seeking

Top water action is addictive

the trophy of a lifetime. The late summer pattern of the bass feeding on the migrating bait gives way to one of the most exciting presentations that an angler can experience, summer top water. Whether you are fishing shallow from a bank or in deep water from a bass boat, top water action in summer can be amazing. If you see bass busting on the bait, let the bass tell you what they want. Take the time to understand the forage in the lake you are fishing, if it is shad or perch, match the bait in size and colour as best as you can for ultimate results. Burning a buzzbait is a great presentation when bass are chasing shad, or when they are feeding on perch or other bait, try a popper to imitate an injured bait fish. Both presentations will catch bass during this transition period. Sunrise and at late evening summer top water lures are a fun and exciting choice for catching bass. There is nothing like a top water detonation as a big bass explodes onto a lure. Be cautious not to allow your adrenaline to cost you a bass. Often bass are lost when an overzealous angler attempts a premature hook set. With some practice and a few broken hearts, most anglers learn the hard way to wait until they feel the weight of the bass to set the hook. As a rule of thumb, wait about two seconds after the eruption to set the hook. Many anglers keep a second rod ready with a worm or a creature to cast to an area of a missed strike, but in open water keep the retrieve moving and the bas will strike again, often at the boat. Many anglers use trailer hooks on their buzzbaits to compensate short strikes. In diminishing light, bass often strike a little short on moving baits. Summer without a doubt is a favorite season for bass fishing for many anglers. Top water is an addictive presentation, if it is a frog in the vegetation or a buzzbait along the edge of the bank, or even a popper sputtering and pausing before the explosion this is what bass fishing is all about. Good times and tight lines. I hope each of you get to experience the top water bite this year. Happy Fishing! *Mark Bilbrey is from Crossville, Tennessee USA where he is a professional fishing guide and a registered Master Angler. He is also an ambassador to the World Fishing Network where he shares his tips, techniques and stories with the hope of helping new anglers to locate and catch fish. Fish lake points with jigs for some great summer action



#1 - The Weekend Warrior

>> John Badenhorst*


ass fishing as a sport or hobby is not something that most folks are born into. It’s not just a hobby or a way to pass the time. For dedicated bass anglers, it’s a way of life. Some of us have been fortunate to have had parents that helped nurture our love of the sport, while others have been introduced to the sport of bass fishing through social connections or close friends. Whichever way you as angler happened upon this pass-time, you share it with millions of like-minded people from around the globe. When it comes to bass fishing, there are three types of anglers, well, actually four but the last one is a special case and so we will leave that for last... Firstly, there is the social angler or as we affectionately call them... “The Weekend Warrior”... This angler is not particularly dedicated to the pursuit of bass but will cast a line if the opportunity arose and there is not much else to do... Then there is... “The Newby”... An angler that’s new to the sport but has a level of dedication that can sometimes overshadow his or her desire to catch some bass instead of knowing everything there is to know about bass fishing. This angler will spend time talking to other anglers, getting tips and ideas, sharing information 26 SA BASS February 2019

and getting together with other anglers as often as possible to hunt that ever elusive PB... Here we get into our third type of angler and this is where things become a bit different in our beloved sport... “The Pro” or also known as the tournament angler or “That guy from YouTube”... This is an angler that’s spent countless hours out on the water, read everything conceivable about new techniques and ways to catch bass, spent even more money than most folks on all the latest gear, boats and electronics. Fiercely competitive and secretive, this angler has one goal in mind and that’s to reach the very top of the sport. Some, unfortunately take it too seriously while other simply enjoy the journey. Then we get to our fourth type of angler... “The Addict”... The addict is a special breed and that’s why I left this one for last... The addict is addicted to the sport but not to the point of obsession... no, it goes deeper than that. This is an angler that has gone through the entire metamorphosis from the very beginning, reached a satisfactory level in competitive angling and has decided to go back to the roots of what

#3 - The Pro

makes this sport so special and why most of us started doing itt ng in the beginning and that is to have #2 - The Newby fun. Having fun while bank bashing, being out o n the water or exploring l a new venue or trying a new technique. At the same time, you will find “The Addict” to have a wealth of knowledge, experience and information that he or she is always more than willing to share. If it so happens that through their knowledge, you happen to be on your way to the top or as a weekend warrior, you happen to get your PB, then the old parlance is true.... happy days. I’m not a tournament angler; I’m most definitely not a weekend warrior or a newbie either. Over a period of 40 years, I’ve fallen in and out of love with bass fishing. I’ve caught fish that some only dream about, I’ve had incredible days and yes, I’ve even blanked (some three years ago). I’ve had days on or next to the water with folks that I admire and with folks I’d rather forget. I’ve targeted bass with everything from earth worms (was very young and didn’t know better) to all sorts of lures and flies. From crocodile

infested lakes to calm backyard ponds, I’ve hunted bass almost all my life. I sometimes ask myself... what is it that makes this sport so addictive? Is it the planning, anticipation, is it that twitch twit in the line that signals a bite, is it that positive hook set when all hell breaks loose or is it that fight and the w mag moment you hold up that beautiful bass for a quick magical photo pho and only to watch it swim away to fight another day? As thousand anglers that question and I bet, you will Ask probably p have just as many varied answers. All I know is that bass fishing is an addiction, something not to be ashamed a of and through experience and practise we find w to deal with our addictions. ways *John Badenhorst is the assistant editor of SA BASS magazine, the Master of Ceremony for FLW South Africa, m rad radio presenter at Platinum Gold Radio and a keen ultra fines angler. finesse

#4 - The Addict SA BASS 27 February 2019


If we all do a little something today we would have made an enormous start together. Jay RĂśhm-Williams

Leaves of the black wattle tree 28 SA BASS February 2019

Dam threatening vegetation What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. - Dr. Jane Goodall >> Jay RĂśhm-Williams


t is no secret in South Africa and the world alike that today fresh water is becoming rapidly a scarce commodity. The ripple effect is something in this case that no one can escape, even we as anglers. Our passion for our sport swims fin in hand with the waters, which all life holds so dear. Dams, rivers and streams are feeling the increasing pressure from all sides more in this moment right now than ever before. Many factors contribute to the problem of water shortage and one in particular is the vegetation that aids in depleting our water sources across the country. The facts are simple; less water leaves us with less reservoirs leaving us with less bass. Of course life in general will be almost impossible to continue but for a fair majority of folks, what is life without bass fishing anyway. On a serious note though fresh water is replenished through two main forms namely rain and ground water springs. Over recent years the African continent has experienced intense, increased daily temperatures while suffering with little to no rainfall in some areas. Bass are extremely hardy but nothing can survive without water. It is then the precious ground water that we then turn to in order to survive and meet our daily needs plus there is a lot of it. Slowly though this too is beginning to diminish by tremendous aid of unchecked, invasions of foreign vegetation across the entire landscape. No matter what province you reside in or which water hole you visit to get a good session of bassing in I can almost guarantee you will find water gulping trees, shrubs or aquatic flora that really are doing far

more harm than good. Statistically our country loses annually on average 1.44 billion cubic litres of water through invasive plants. Not only are we all losing out on valuable water but our agricultural sector suffers, the natural biodiversity dies off almost completely and wildfires are now intensified drastically. The list goes on but you get the idea. So how can we as anglers give back to the waters which have giving us so much? A first thought would to become personally more informed. If you are able to identify and become aware of a problem, that is already a conscious step in the right direction. The following are three of the most common, hazardous invasive species of vegetation hindering our freshwater, bassing venues.

Water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) This perennial, aquatic plant has generally free floating roots which become mostly anchored in shallow water. Originally from South America, water hyacinth grows rapidly in dense, thick, matted clumps covering the surface of freshwater ponds, dams and estuaries. It has dark, shiny green leaves that curl upwards with violet or blue flowers protruding from many stems. By covering the entire surface area above, the water’s chemistry below begins to change harming organisms present and water quality in general. Hyacinth has a high level of evapotranspiration meaning the process where a lot of water is lost into the atmosphere basically. I think one of the most massive examples we are all likely to be familiar with

Water hyacinth grows rapidly in dense, thick, matted clumps covering the surface of freshwater ponds, dams and estuaries

is the situation that occurred at Hartebeestpoort Dam better known as Harties. There are however more well-known, bass haunts where the problem continues privately or publically like Midmar Dam in KwaZulu-Natal and Vaal River through the Free State.

the entire coast. Ground water levels are altered severely where ever black wattle thrives unmaintained, robbing precious water from all other life. There has never been a time while out bass fishing in the Eastern Cape that I have not seen wattle trees present along the water’s edge.

Black wattle (acacia mearnsii)

Gum tree (Eucalyptus grandis)

Where do we begin with this evergreen tree which grows on average to reach a height between five to ten metres. This dark, olive green leafed invader originates from Australia and is quite hardy stretching through-out the Western and Eastern Cape regions mostly. It has a light green, flexible stem as a sapling growing together in dense stands along mountain ranges and valleys. They have pale yellow or white flowers when in bloom which form in large clumps. These trees contribute immensely to blocking up natural springs and waterways in ravines up and down

Very common; has many uses and is a great resource but when it comes to thirsty alien trees, Gum trees win hands down. A full grown, adult eucalyptus tree can stand as tall as fifty five metres in its life time consuming between eighty to two hundred litres of water per day. There are over several hundred species of gum tree through-out the world and it can be found through-out South Africa. Native to Australia the evergreen eucalyptus tree has smooth bark which is generally pale cream and brown in colour. The long leaves have a glossy texture and range between a

dark green to a lighter, faded shade of brown. When in flower bunches of creamy coloured flowers hang down from the branches covering the tree. They too are highly responsible for interfering with our ground water supplies and catchment areas. Not only do eucalyptus trees cause general soil erosion but if allowed to spread over wide, vast areas they create a platform for intensified, abnormal wildfires to rage on. Wildfires in turn require massive amounts of water to control usually supplied by any neighbouring dam or water source available. Under such immense use and abuse from all elements in play, not many reservoirs can hold out against eventually running dry. Possibly bringing the end to one of your own, much loved bass dams you frequent. Knowledge is power and if we all chip in we can ultimately achieve anything. We have a beautiful country with some world-class bass angling waters whether private or municipal. Let us as an angling community continue to help keep our dams preserved for future generations of bass enthusiasts. Avenues about the possible uses of these invaders could be further explored by land owners, local community projects could be started if one is not up and running in your area already. Even by pulling out a few wattle tree saplings next time you out with your mates for a bass session would help. Sharing information to other like-minded anglers and individuals on the matter really does have an impact in regards to creating solutions. Rods out and safe fishing everyone.

Large black wattle trees in bloom with scattered Port Jackson nearby SA BASS 29 February 2019


Part 1


Typical sunrise morning on a farm dam in the north of Johannesburg

>> Roger Donaldson*


am sure there are many avid bass fishing readers who recently started their journey into the sport of bass fishing and who have access to a farm dam close to them where they can get a few hours of fishing in on a casual weekend. These strategies will help you make the most of your fishing and you’ll be netting more fish than you believed. Fishing from the bank or small craft really forces you to focus and make every cast and area count. Most of all, don’t think there is a single lure that won’t work. Every lure available to you has been designed to attract bass to bite. Being a little more selective about colours and sizes will benefit you though as you will very likely achieve many more bites with a lure which is most natural to the dam you are fishing in. Let’s take a look at some lures in this issue and why they work.

Frogs first! If there is one message I out loud and clear across to my son when he was just five years old it was that bass really can’t resist that frog lure rippling and plopping its way across the water surface. If you are ne to these baits you may be wary of their strange designs. Interestingly, all frogs work very much the same way – reel them in across the surface and wait for the bass to either leap from the water and crush 30 SA BASS February 2019

the lure, or swirl beneath the frog and suck the plastic bait down with it. Frogs are fairly large baits in comparison to most soft plastic lures and it turns out they also magically attract large bites. Farm dams are certainly a great place to fish your frog lures and don’t hesitate to try them year-round. A great benefit you will soon realise about your frogs is that they don’t get snagged up in any overgrowth that you’re fishing in, so take every opportunity to cast this lure right into the mix.

Top water for the lunkers! I’m not moving far away from frogs just yet, as top water lures are really exciting to fish and will get you some impressive bites. The range of top water baits is massive. When you’re ready then select from these hard baits, including the Heddon Zara Spook and Rapala Skitter Prop. You’ll soon be switching between these lures depending on the water and weather conditions. For example: Zara Spook: excellent for calm conditions and open water where it’ll be difficult for the lures treble hooks to snag up. These lures float so you can pause them in your retrieve and let the bass really contemplate what they’re going to do about this

Frogs are a first choice and an irresistible lure to bass

delightful morsel. Get your tackle store owner to give you a hint on how to retrieve the bait so that you get the ‘walk-the-dog’ swimming action that it’s famous for. Irresistible. Skitter prop: the propeller on this lure kicks up a trail of bubbling froth, the sound from which is undeniably inviting to bass. I like to twitch the lure in my retrieve as it really does mimic a struggling fish and provides exactly what your predatory fish are looking for. I like this more aggressive, noisy lure when the water surface isn’t as calm.

Always steadfast soft plastics! Let your mind reel when considering the different soft plastic lures you can select from. The obvious ones being some of the following: Zoom Super Fluke: in clam or shallow water conditions you won’t even need a weight to fish this bait. Rig them weightless with little hassle and cast it absolutely anywhere. With the hook pegged beneath the skin of the bait (ask your tackle store how) there is very little chance that this soft plastic lure is getting hooked up in the vegetation or hard structures that you are targeting. Twitch worm: such a versatile lure that can be fished across the top of lily pads and the surface of open water, or allowed to sink and advertise its flailing action. The flicking tail action on the surface induces great bites and you’ll be sure to attract the attention of all sizes of bass.

Creature baits: lizard, Brush Hog, etc: there’s a wonderful variety of creature style baits now and too many to mention. Getting these baits in between reeds, pockets of lily pads, next to jetties and under trees will be your unwavering bet. The appendages on the creature lure need a little bit of weight to get them moving with the water as they flounder toward the bottom. Try and get them to crash into as much structure as possible on their way down and don’t be impatient about bringing the lure back until you’ve shaken that rod tip around enough to make your lure behave like Fred Astaire beneath the water. Search baits (crankbaits and spinnerbaits): the world here is vast and you can start spending a little more money. Be selective and start with your smaller crankbaits as they are excellent for fishing small channels in the grass and open water areas. Spinnerbaits are also going to become a firm favourite of yours when you realise how weedless they are and their tendency to snag a bass with hardly a strike. Now that you’ve got your lures let’s get to March where we’ll set the stage for the perfect catch! *Roger Donaldson is an experienced journalist and knowledgeable bass angler who has enjoyed many enlightening hours with many of South Africa’s top, competitive bass fishermen. As a competitive angler himself, he also enjoys sharing his expertise with fellow bass fanatics in the hope that they find the same joy in this unique sport. SA BASS 31 February 2019


As daar nou n hengelaar is wat sy eie kop volg is dit my seun Maurice

Dit is snikheet warm en die kwik vat-vat so aan die mid-dertigs. Dit is gewoonlik die tyd van die dag op die water wat die baars hulle tot die dieper water wend, of hul self diep in die watergras ingrawe en die hitte hulle eetlus so demp dat hulle nie eers aan jou aantreklikste aas wil raak nie... of is dit nou net jou aas..., want jou hengelmaat blyk nie dieselfde probleem te hê nie? Dis net daar wat ‘n kopskuif nodig is. >> Philip Kemp*


Wanneer is ‘n kopskuif belangrik 32 SA BASS February 2019

ie meeste van die top professionele swartbaarhengelaars weet dat baarshengel oor baie meer gaan as net ‘n groot versameling kunsaas in jou kassie. Die selfvertroue in die sport speel ‘n veel groter rol as die duur gerei wat gebruik word om ‘n baars mee vas te trek. Bykans enige hengelaar, beginner of professioneel, kan op ‘n goeie dag baars vang. So ‘n goeie dag kan selfs ‘n beginner soos ‘n “Kevin VanDam” laat lyk. Wanneer ons egter meer gereeld begin jag maak op baars, en dit sluit veral die groot 3 tot 4kg vis in, vind ons dat die goeie dae nie altyd so gereeld sy opwagting maak nie. Dit is op sulke moeilike dae wat ‘n mens meer respek kry vir die hengelaar wat volhard en met selfvertroue bly hengel. Baarshengel kan ‘n groot uitdaging vir die hengelaar wees, en die feit dat baars juis so onvoorspelbaar is, maak dit net nog moeiliker. Ek het al op een dag met ‘n spesifieke aas die een baars na die ander gevang, net om die volgende dag nie eens een stampie met dieselfde aas te kry nie. Dit gebeur ook dat ek baars in een area kry, om net die volgende dag weer uit te vind dat die baars verskuif het. Op ander dae sal ek die baars vind, en dan maak dit nie saak watter aas ek vir hulle gooi nie, hulle wil net nie saamwerk nie. Dit is op sulke dae, wanneer die moedeloosheid op sy hoogste is, dat die hengelaar wat ‘n kopskuif kan maak, met die wengeld gaan wegstap. Ons kan al die kennis en vaardighede oor baars hê en alles in boeke oplees, maar as die hengelaar nie in sy eie voorgevoel glo en homself nie in sy geloof ondersteun nie, is die saak heeltemal verlore. Wat egter baie belangrik is, is om ‘n deeglike kennis oor baars se gedrag

te hê op sekere tye van die dag en seisoen. Daar is soveel buite faktore wat ‘n rol kan speel. Oor baie van die faktore, soos die weer en die baars se gedrag, het ons net nie beheer nie. Die bekende Glen Lau is ‘n persoon wat vir jare baars se gedrag bestudeer het deur onderwateropnames te maak oor hulle gedrag op spesifieke tye van die jaar en volgens verskeie weerpatrone. Volgens hom is die beste ding wat ‘n hengelaar kan doen, om baie tyd op ‘n spesifieke stuk water te spandeer en sodoende die gedrag van die baars tot in die fynste besonderhede te bestudeer. Dit is dus altyd raadsaam om ‘n notaboek byderhand te hou op hengeluitstappies en elke verandering in baars se gedrag te notuleer. Saam met dit is dit belangrik om datums, tyd, weerstoestande, waterkleur, watertemperatuur, aas, strop, tegniek en selfs lugdruk aan te teken. Glo vir my, die meeste top hengelaars doen dit, maar sal dit beslis nie met die opposisie deel nie. En jy wonder waarom daardie betrokke hengelaar altyd die res ‘n treëtjie voor is? Selvertroue, en om te weet wanneer om ‘n belangrike kopskuif te maak is dus nie net iets wat op korttermyn op die water ervaar gaan word nie, maar ook iets wat oor ‘n langtermyn deur die hengelaar opgebou kan word deur baie tyd op die water te spandeer en in die tyd ook ‘n deeglike studie van baars en hulle gedrag te maak. Ons as hengelaars het maar altyd daardie een aas wat jy altyd op een van jou stokke gereed hou waarin jy onomwonde glo. Hengelaars is ook altyd geneig om ‘n hengelmaat se tegniek vinnig te kritiseer omrede hulle glo dat net hul eie tegniek die alfa en omega blyk te wees. Dit neem die meeste van ons hengelaars egter ‘n hele paar jaar om te kan uitwerk watter tegniek of aas vir ons die beste werk. Ons as hengelaars het dan ook nie net ‘n spesifieke aas wat ons altyd hengel nie, maar ook ‘n spesifieke tegniek, strop, lyn en stok waarmee ons die aas hengel. Ons moet egter waak daarteen om nie ‘n hengelmaat slaafs te volg nie. Ek verkies my eie tegnieke wat nog altyd vir my gewerk het. Jy moet egter aanpasbaar wees by verskeie situasies en nie bly vasklou aan dit wat altyd vir jou gewerk het nie. So het ‘n goeie hengelvriend van my saam met my in die Vrystaat op my swaer se plaas gaan baarshengel. Hy het in “Dead Ringers” op ‘n Mojo-strop geglo. Nodeloos om te sê, ‘n aggressiewe baarsmannetjie het sy stok met die wegtrekslag skoon uit sy hande gepluk en hy was sy Johnny Morris kwyt. So suksesvol as wat hy met die spesifieke stok was, kon hy daarna, met ‘n ander stok, met presies dieselfde aas en strop, nie eens ‘n stampie koop nie. Hy was later so ontstoke dat ons hom op die wal moes aflaai, waar hy homself onder ‘n populierboom gaan sit en bejammer het, en dit terwyl ons besig was om die een mooi baars na die ander aan te keer. Sy selfvertroue was geskaad. Hy het geglo dat die stok in sy hande net nie so goed soos sy “versuipte” Johnny Morris was nie. Gelukkig het ek later iets sien blink in die vlakker water en het ons, tot my vriend se grootste vreugde, sy stok herwin. Vir hengelaars wat al lank hengel is dit egter baie belangrik om in toestande, waar die hengel moeiliker raak, jouself nie te laat mislei deur te doen wat jou hengelmaat noodwendig doen nie. Dit kan soms die grootste fout wees

wat ‘n hengelaar kan maak. Die teendeel is egter ook waar. Ek het dit op ‘n dag agtergekom toe ek nie een vis aan die hoek kon kry nie, terwyl my hengelmaat in helder skoon water die een baars na die ander vang. Ek het halsstarrig gebly by my eie tegniek, maar tog later toegegee, en met dieselfde aas en strop as my maat begin hengel. Nog steeds kon ek niks vang nie. My moed was in my skoene, totdat ek agtergekom het dat hy met helder wit flourocarbon lyn hengel, en ek met lyn in ‘n donkergroen kleur. Die water was so skoon dat die baars moontlik my lyn kon sien. Nodeloos om te sê, toe ek van lyn verander, het dit skielik ook met my beter gegaan. Alhoewel dit ‘n tydjie neem om uit te werk watter tegniek en aas die beste gaan werk, is daar wel ‘n paar kortpaadjies wat geneem kan word. Dit is belangrik om by kleure te bly wat nog altyd goed vir jou gewerk het, al eksperimenteer jy met ‘n nuwe tegniek. Vir die onervare hengelaar is dit algemeen om by kleure te bly wat met die bodem van die dam saamsmelt, of om net ‘n kleur te kies wat dieselfde kleur het as die baars se voedselbronne in daardie spesifieke dam of rivier. Sodra ‘n hengelaar op die punt kom van moed opgee is dit belangrik om te besef dat daar geen kortpad na sukses is nie. Gary Player het immers gesê, “The more I practice, the luckier I get!” Selfvertroue kan vir die hengelaar so ontwykend wees soos die Wêreldbeker vir die Proteakrieketspan. Die groot geheim is egter oefen, oefen en nogmaals oefen. Die beste raad vir daardie moeilike dae is dus eksperimentering. Gebruik dan die tyd om daardie ase wat jy gekoop het, omdat hulle vir jou net mooi gelyk het, en nou net in jou kassie lê, uit te toets. Jy sal dalk aangenaam verras wees oor die uitslag. Ek wil elke SA Baars-leser ‘n voorspoedige nuwe 2019 toewens en mag jy jou “PB” sommer ‘n paar keer verbeter in die nuwe jaar. “Happy days!” *Philip Kemp is ‘n gesoute swartbaarhengelaar en ‘n gereelde bydraer.

Vertroue in die goedkoop kunsaas het my al baie vreugde verskaf

SA BASS 33 February 2019

The notion of spear fishing in our inland waters is not right



Over the last couple of months, the destruction of our target species has once again reared its ugly head and with the advances in internet technology and more people having access to social media, things like these do not stay under wraps for very long. >> John Badenhorst*


ocial media is an incredibly powerful tool and once a subject or such goes viral, there is no way of stopping it with a global audience growing in fast numbers every single day. Over the last year, there has been instances where photos have surfaced of people (as I won’t call them anglers) having done an injustice to the sport of bass fishing which we all love so much. Early in 2018, pictures emerged of students in Potchefstroom having dived at well known and loved Boschkop Dam and where they had spear fished some bass. This created a furore across the internet with some supporters of our sport calling for rather nasty things to happen to these youngsters. There have been pictures of people that have been posted where they proudly display up to fifty good sized bass that were caught and slaughtered and as I recall, one of these even had the tag line of this being food for the dogs. Not too long ago, pictures emerged about a person that spear fished bass in Inanda Dam and that social media outcry had some devastating results for the culprit. Let’s be honest here, there is no law against removing bass from a dam or pond, there is no minimum size limit on 34 SA BASS February 2019

bass or even a bag limit of fish that can be removed from our systems. However, I see myself as one of the custodians of these so called alien fish and will do anything and everything in my power to preserve them so that many anglers and sport fishermen and women after me may enjoy the thrill of catching a big bass. There are many anglers that feel the same way and yet, there are those that due to their upbringing or genetics feel that they have the right to remove what we hold so dear. Even if it means doing so in a very unsporting fashion such as spear fishing. Social media is a minefield and one has to be very careful of posting pictures of someone in their personal capacity even though whatever it is they are doing might be seen as wrong by the majority of people that follow social media. In the blink of an eye one can be sued for slander and this in itself has some repercussions that could end up costing the person who made the original post some time in court and money. It becomes a grey area when for instance someone posts a picture of himself in order to brag on social media platforms and since the picture comes from the source, sharing that picture onto other social media platforms become the grey area I’m referring to,

In a recent incident, a picture popped up all over Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even a host of WhatsApp groups and communities of a guy that had gone spear fishing at Loskop Dam and shot a fish estimated to be in the region of over 6kg. This photo has been spread far and wide in the New Year and has created once again a furore on social media with some violent reactions and threats. This is especially hard for dedicated lovers of the sport of bass fishing to understand when in recent months a new record bass had been caught in the same dam and safely released. With this, anglers from around the globe suddenly looked upon South Africa as having the potential to deliver the next world record bass. With this comes increased tourism and the associated foreign currency as there are anglers just like hunters that would spend a great deal of money to visit our shores in the hopes of catching the next record fish. There are many local anglers that wait every single year to head to Loskop at the right time in the hopes of catching a new PB. Yet, when pictures such as this are posted on various platforms, there are still some that call openly for the wholesale removal of bass from our systems. Some of these happen to be dedicated carp anglers and herein lays the short-sightedness of man… Alien species in our inland waters are seen as bass, carp and trout. The wholesale removal of these species will see the collapse of a sport fishing industry that generates billions in revenue ever single year. The removal of such alien species would impact on tourism greatly and with recent international tournaments on our shores and the associated income in foreign currency this could only be bad for our economy in general. Since the photo had surfaced, I’ve been in contact with Mpumalanga Nature Conservation and got confirmation that a limited amount of spear fishing permits had been issued in recent years for fresh water species and this had been done primarily for the purpose of research. This research is done under the guidance on one or two specific days at very specific venues and overseen by the Mpumalanga Nature Conservation Board. On such research days, fish of all kinds of species are targeted over a three hour period. With this New Year, there are going to be some drastic changes in respect to the issue of these permits for spear fishermen. Social media can be a veritable minefield and as passionate anglers about our sport and species, we still have to be careful when posting pictures that could cause controversy and in these instances, even if we simply re-post a picture. Its best to get in contact with all the role players involved before a story can get out of hand. In many people’s views, anglers and nonanglers alike, the notion of spear fishing in our inland waters is not right and if there happens to be a permit issued for research purposes, cognisance should be taken that the permit holder is managed adequately by the relevant authorities and does not see it as a licence to kill… *John Badenhorst is the assistant editor of SA BASS magazine, the Master of Ceremony for FLW South Africa, radio presenter at Platinum Gold Radio and a keen ultra finesse angler.

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Awkward spots can be very rewarding


>> Jay RĂśhm-Williams

From first glance it looks like an impossible cast to achieve‌

36 SA BASS February 2019


ine check, one, two, three. Everything looks perfect. The lure hangs freely swaying ever so gently as you steady your arms. You guarantee yourself all knots are flawless while eyeing out your targeted location. Tilting your head slightly you give some last reconsideration to the quick

calculations involved in your casting equation. Distance combined with force accompanied by angle factor gives you bass on! Casting is an art and comes in many forms, each having their own techniques. In the beginning when we all learnt to cast, I personally remember it not been

Getting in there to make that cast

as simple as it would seem. As with anything in general the more you practice the better you become and soon we all got the swing of it. In the truly, great history of the bass fishing world a variety of casting methods have been passed on, perfected and even tweaked for personal preference. Whether you are banking, tubing or boating - majority of the time many anglers will simply just cast from left or right straight out a few times here and there hoping for a strike. Generally we know that bass can be found in either shallow or deep water, lying next to structures and so on. A change of angle every so often helps keep us optimistic but in most cases casts will be made in the same, comfortable manner repeatedly with little to no danger of getting stuck. Submerged trees, dense aquatic vegetation and nooks between tall reeds are danger areas to the unconfident angler. After all swimming to find lures is not everyone’s favourite exercise but I do encourage it if possible. It is these particular, hazardous areas along the water that we should not fear for the prize of catching big bass is a life changing reward. So let’s look at the fundamentals from a logical perspective when considering making that risky cast with your brand new lure. Perhaps along with these thoughts and some self-confidence getting hooked into more beautiful bass in awkward spots will be a more common occurrence. The first thing we have to establish when approaching any weird form of structural layout whether submerged or above the water is where do we want to put our lure. What lure is

suitable for the task and where exactly do we want it to fall to get the best chance of a big hit. Once you have chosen a couple of optional spots the next step to consider is the distance between yourself and the targeted location. There will be numerous angles for retrieval and depending on your practical lure choice, hopefully some open gaps in which to work your way out of from amongst the vegetative chaos. Now it can get interesting. You can either take your time and get it right or rush

Long casts are stealthier though require more force with the risk of less accuracy. through the motions botching your chances. Ideally you want enough space around you to make a decent cast so keep this in mind. Long casts are stealthier though require more force with the risk of less accuracy. Shorter casts allow the angler more control but you run the gamble of been detected. The idea is to get your lure subtlety into those places you would usually avoid or overlook. Under overhanging vegetation with lots of branches, flooded stands of trees and deeply, packed beds of lily pads are all places you want to be fishing. Find the open pockets in between the watery obstacles and see

what there is to work with. Can you bounce your lure off a nearby rock or suspend it above a clump of grass before dropping into a dark, patch of deep water are two simple examples. By using the structure in the vicinity to our advantage “hard to make casts” becomes less daunting. In the end it boils down to perfecting that level of skill and the angler’s personal concentration. You want to guide the lure to its destination and not throw it there just like that any which way. Gentle but confident under hand casts are what we are trying to achieve with only a subtle flick of the rod to gain the necessary momentum needed to clear the distance. One must judge accuracy carefully and adjust his/ hers body position accordingly. A great way to practice this at home is by creating actual scenes with debris from around the garden then leaving an empty bucket in the middle as your target spot. Attach a soft plastic with a weed less-hook setup to the end of your line and attempt different angles and strengths of various casts. Whatever reel you prefer whether spinning or bait-caster after a good few sessions in the backyard I can assure you it will make a difference out on the water. Soon you will be flipping, pitching, skipping, and punching your lures anywhere you please without hesitation. Summer is still with us and there are a good number of days with some great, active bass to be caught. Don’t be afraid to cast into the complicated zones, remember fortune favours the brave. Rods out and safe fishing everyone. SA BASS 37 February 2019




Bronkhorstspruit Dam, a little gem situated roughly 45km east of Pretoria and Johannesburg. A place of tranquillity and for many anglers around Gauteng and for some in Mpumalanga, a favourite hunting ground for those that dwell in the deep... >> Valerie Jacobs


fter a long year which in many cases has been trying in our personal lives and the ups and downs in the economy, many of us took a deep breath to the end of the year, raised our glasses and looked forward to a well-deserved break. In years gone by, Bronkies as we affectionately know it has seen a host of our angling brothers and sisters spending quality time on its waters with many happy memories of the one’s we caught and the one’s that got away. I’ve always loved the basic tranquillity with the sounds of fish

38 SA BASS February 2019

splashing and the local fish eagles calling across the waters. Then it all comes to a screeching halt... Holiday time... more importantly, December holidays and then this peaceful little gem becomes a living hell for us anglers. During the recent holidays we decided to make a trip at least once a week to Bronkies and went away with mixed feelings and I suppose some disappointment and a hint of anger. Just like everyone else, we go through the motions of boats and of course paying our fees in experience

and getting that all important skippers license. Getting a skippers is tantamount to passing a national road driving test and this gives us rules and guidelines of the water. It teaches us how to behave on the water towards smaller craft, swimmers and other users of our bodies of inland and coastal waters. Imagine looking forward to a day of bassin’ only to experience what I would only describe as a horror movie. There we are, about 40m off the bank on our boat, fishing the outside edge of a weed bed when a guy comes

screaming through that narrow gap between us and the weed bed without even a check while trying to balance a klippies and cola. Then there is the thirty odd foot deep-sea boat with three massive motors on the back with all the rod holders and aptly named Marlin Hunter that comes roaring past pulling a tube with some kids on the back. I honestly thought they might be trawling for carp or bass. Let’s not forget the tsunami that came with his passing almost causing the boat to get swamped. Then on another occasion there was the guy with the big ski-boat putting his 12 year old son behind the wheel while he cracked open a beer with the rest of the family. On yet another occasion a young girl who we guessed to be about ten almost rammed our boat again about 50m off the bank on a high powered jet-ski with a younger child clinging to her back all the while going full throttle and pulling a tube with two more kids on it. In all of this I very rarely saw folks wearing life jackets while screaming past, except the cowboys on their jet-skis that weaved around and inbetween the almost 80 boats. No spelling mistake there... we counted a total of around 80 boats and about 30 jet-skis racing all over the place. On such a small body of water! In the past, we had the privilege of the water wing patrolling the dam, keeping water sports enthusiasts in check and at the same time creating

harmony amongst all the users of the dam. Not on a single occasion did they show up or maybe they just gave the dam a miss on the busy days. Clearly there were a good couple of “bleshoenders” that by all purposes should have driven an extra couple of hundred kilometres down to the coast or those that in terms of the law are too young to handle such craft and the accompanying responsibility that it has. Let’s not forget the chap that almost crashed into us because he was too occupied with his klippies... On such a small body of water, there should be clearly marked no wake zones and maybe a dedicated zone for anglers where boats are not allowed to simply do as they please. Maybe the water wing should be stricter and enforce the law when it gets crowded or keep a closer eye on things. Some might be sad and some simply mad but I’m glad... glad that the holidays are over, when the “bleshoenders” can park their boats and klippies for the next holiday, when hopefully the other boat might be able to afford heading to the coast and actually catching some marlin. I’m glad that I won’t have to shout at boaters and jet-ski operators almost crashing into us. It’s not good for my blood pressure. I’m glad that there are calmer days on the return when once again anglers like you and me can enjoy our sport in relative peace only being disturbed by the sounds of splashing fish and the cry of the fish eagles. SA BASS 11 March 2018


Secrets of South Africa’s Pro’s – Part 7


Makes a Difference

Current flowing through the shallow grass as Clanwilliam Dam fills up


e’re on the main subject of scouting the waters to understand the quarry you are going to be fishing and we’ve covered numerous structure types, angles of approach, water levels and more. Now we can also imagine how much the fishing might change if you were to introduce current, whether the current is always present, or whether recent rainfall, or the lack thereof will have an effect on fishing conditions. 40 SA BASS February 2019

>> Bass Spy* A great example of current from a tributary is the Umgeni River, the main tributary to Albert falls Dam, amongst others in the chain, including Midmar, Nagle and Inanda. All four dams change considerably depending on the volume of water and current generated from the river system. The river section of Albert Falls is riddled with rocks, boulders, and reeds which all provide excellent ambush areas for bass. The current positions the

predator right behind the structures, where they don’t need to use energy fighting the current and then lie in wait of their prey. On Inanda Dam the fishing around the channel edges created by the river system is phenomenal at certain times of the year. There are rocks sporadically dispersed along the channel which will also enhance the fishing conditions and you need to search for these spots, as the bass will

choose to hide here where the effects of the current are not as harsh. Some positive effects of current are that they increase the oxygen content in the water which in turn raises the level of fish activity. This is particularly helpful in the summer months when temperatures are soaring. The opposite might be true though in cooler months, as the rivers current can often produce much colder water conditions. The colder conditions are not attractive to smaller fish species and therefore you will find that the bass are also not frequenting these areas readily. The effects of the current are also not only felt in and near the river itself, but can also affect conditions in other areas of a dam. Now that you’ve established what level of current there is you will also be able to choose the type and weight of your lure. Lures which are too light in weight may not reach the structure you are targeting so this will be a major reflection. Influx of water and current in Goedertrouw Dam near Eshowe was another interesting example of how bass move out of the main channels to avoid silted, oxygen starved water. Shallow water was filtering through the bed of chicamba weed and provided super clear, cool, shaded conditions thriving with marine life. Large bass had moved in and were so eagerly taking advantage of the proliferation of life that they were oblivious to us fishing directly over them. Without scouting the fishery we would very likely have confined our fishing to the “popular” spots which were now dirtied by the harsh flowing current. A number of examples can be emphasized and the fishing I find to be some of the most adventurous. Mokolo dam near the Waterberg is fed by the Mokolo River mainly. The river provides excellent clean water current in the summer and bass, as well as other species can often be spotted swimming up into the current in search of their next feeding area. In this river there are two arms you can traverse. I have found that navigating your way up the left arm to be more successful, pitching my Texas rigged

lure into the reed pockets as I provide thrusts of sneaker power at intervals in order to crawl along as tactfully as possible – the fish are quite skittish in this shallow water. At the upper end the current filters through reeds and smaller rivulets and shallow pools are host to many fish that you can cast to. Glide your way down the opposite arm, being careful to steer clear of large boulders beneath the water. Make note of these large boulders and return again with the intent to cast at each of them, as the bass do enjoy using these areas to ambush prey. Lastly, I would like you to consider changing up your bait colours as the intensity of the current increases and the water clarity deteriorates. This is another obvious reason why scouting will assist you greatly, as a brighter colour choice could make that important difference and help you get a few additional bites. *The Bass Spy has fished alongside and been exposed to the secrets and tactics of many competitive bass anglers on waters throughout the continent. This column is dedicated to all fanatical bass enthusiasts looking for the inside track and an edge on their favourite past time.


Who teaches who? I had the privilege of taking both my kids and one of their friends to Lake Mteri a few days ago and spent four days on the water with them. It led to asking a few questions about the sport, the ethics, conservation and more... >> Clint Skinner


y daughter Samantha (10), son Anthony (8) and their friend Kyle Thomson (11) arrived at the lake where I had already been for the previous four nights fishing league. So while the rest of Harare Bass Chapter was going home they were arriving full of beans and ready to fish. The car had barely stopped and the kids were already charging down to the water eager to get lines wet and the first fish on the line. The lessons started immediately though with a call of “be careful of crocodiles!” For the previous few days, a few very newborn crocodiles, about

Kyle, Anthony and Samantha 42 SA BASS February 2019

20cm long had been sheltering under the jetty so mom had to be nearby… with some crocodiles well in excess of 15ft this is nothing to be trifled with. Unpacked and ready to roll we all hit the water. After the kids were shown how to tie the right knots (lesson number one) and rig up with weightless Senkos (lesson number two) the first casts went out. Now for those of you who don’t know Mteri it has an abundance of tree structure. Mopane forests, long submerged and even the thinnest twig is almost unbreakable with mere line. So within seconds the calls were “I’m stuck”.

Lesson number three: when fishing in the trees less is more. There is no need to make a cast of 20m when one of 5m is good enough. Pitching skills are important but with only my 8 year old Anthony having used a baitcaster before all three kids were on spinning tackle so they had to learn that first… Lessons four to six were for me… learning patience, putting my own rod down after breaking the top two inches off my new NRX while helping undo another “branch fish” and then open water rock piles work wonders when frustrated… we moved to an area with a lot of rock all around the boat in 5ft to 12ft and spent the last two hours without a single tree interfering... pure bliss for me! Gradually the casting improved and one by one the kids started getting bites, understanding what the bites were and fish were coming to the boat. I was kept busy with the net and helping re-rig and still getting the odd “rock fish” sorted when the fluoro wedged itself solidly. The new Ultrex trolling motor proved to be incredible value as I did not have to man the bass motor to hold us in position over the pile. Fish were averaging 4lbs and the kids had a blast until it was almost dark and it was with great disappointment when I called lines up. In the live-well was one bass that sadly had taken a hook through the gills and had not survived but it provided yet another lesson on how to fillet a fish, a light dusting of seasoning and a flash fry in a bit of olive oil making the most delicious snacks before dinner. Somehow I knew that the kids would be awake before me the following day eager to do it all again and again and again. Having been donated an old Shimano Bantam baitcaster by Zimbabwe bassing legend Roger Cousins, 10 year old Kyle wanted to try his hand at baitcaster fishing so he and Anthony set their rods up that night and after a few tips I sent them to the jetty for some early morning practice… amazingly no major issues so we set off again once the chargers had been disconnected and drinks and ice loaded. We headed off for yet another secret rock pile and sure enough the fish were obliging with Kyle catching a solid 1.9kg first baitcaster fish having dropped the first one because the drag was not set correctly (read my fault). I guess one only begins to appreciate the complexity of fishing once you have to teach someone else. Things we take for granted having always done them actually have to be expressed and shown to those not used to doing them. Adjusting the drag, changing the magnetic setting when moving to a seven inch bait from a five inch and how to undo that birds nest are all skills that need to be taught not just done. The kids were eager to learn and one has to question the report cards that say they don’t concentrate… seemed perfectly able to on the water. Back in the trees things had improved and so did the quality of the fish. All three kids getting fish from 5lbs to 7lbs within seconds of the other allowed for a unique photo opportunity with all three hanging onto proper

The lessons started immediately though with a call of “be careful of crocodiles!”

Anthony Skinner SA BASS 43 February 2019

Samantha Skinner caught her 3.21kg bass on a 6” Senko fished weightless

Kyle Thomson’s first baitcaster fish 44 SA BASS February 2019

bass. Learning how to cradle the egg heavy females before lowering them into the water to swim away and fight another day, explaining why we don’t bend the jaw back and why we don’t handle the fish more than we have to brought back memories of my dad teaching those skills to me. My dad was there, in the second boat only 20m away also posing for a picture of his own 6.5lb fish. Memories being made by the minute along with his grand kids. Banter flying back and forth and discussions of “A teams and B teams” quickly raising the volumes as the heat of the Lowveld began to show itself. My daughter Samantha latched into her PB, a fish of 3.2kg and was so eager to get it safely back I barely had time to get a picture before she let it go and watched it swim back to the very tree it had been pulled from moments before. Explaining to the kids why there was a male bass on every ball of fry and how important it was that if we caught one to release it immediately to preserve our precious bass resource. Mteri is the perfect family dam, reasonable accommodation either catered or self-catered along with a pool to keep the kids cool and the lodges close enough from anywhere to zip in and out as often as needed. Town is close enough if you forget anything or need a resupply of ice or drinks. The fishing is sublime, the bird life incredible and you can easily miss a bite while watching the fish eagles harassing the nesting herons or seeing an African harrier hawk, (or gymnogene as it is more commonly known), sticking its foot into a hole and helping itself to a fledgling as reward. All the while the kids are learning, looking up the names of the birds they spot. Calling out when the buffalo meander down to have a drink or the zebra grunt a warning call. On the last full day we found a poacher’s net that had been set the night before and with permission from the game section at Mteri decided to lift this. The kids were soon involved releasing the bream that were strong enough to survive and all the while learning why we do this, why netting is harmful to the dam as a whole with fish, birds and crayfish being killed in them. Some of the mesh was only 1cm in diameter resulting in even the smallest of bream being caught. An absolute disgrace to witness as one net turned into eight with a total of about 1000m of net being lifted before we were satisfied the area was clear. This netting was destroyed and hopefully the cost to replace is more than the poacher can afford. Packing up is never fun and having a tough trip home when we broke the axle on my Thunderbird did not make it any easier, but thanks to Mellett Electical from Cheredzi for the roadside repairs - we did make it home. Pictures of smiling faces and beautiful scenery soon hit Facebook accounts, along with a booking for August 2019 being made at this incredible venue. Until next time, remember it really is about the next generation. “On Dad”


Garmin’s new single-array transducer Ȋ:KHWKHU\RXȇUHGURSVKRWWLQJIURPWKHERZMLJJLQJRUȴVKLQJDGRFNWKH3DQRSWL[/96 GHOLYHUVDQHDV\WRLQWHUSUHWUHDOWLPHVRQDULPDJHVR\RXFDQVSHQGOHVVWLPHORRNLQJIRU WKHȴVKDQGPRUHWLPHFDWFKLQJWKHPȋ compensate for boat motion, so even in rough conditions, anglers will still see a steady sonar image. The Panoptix LiveScope LVS12 includes a trolling motor barrel and shaft mounting kit as well as a transom mounting kit. Currently, the LVS12 is compatible with Garmin’s new GPSMAPŽ 8400/8600xsv multifunction displays.

About Garmin


armin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. announced the Panoptix LiveScope™ LVS12 , a new transducer in the award-winning Panoptix LiveScope series that offers both 30-degree forward and 30-degree down real-time scanning sonar views. The single-array LiveScope LVS12 transducer is an economical solution for inland and near-shore anglers without the need for a black box. Garmin’s revolutionary Panoptix™ all-seeing sonar technology was the first to deliver live sonar images in real-time – forwards, backwards, and below the boat – even while stationary. Now, thanks to the active scanning capabilities of Panoptix LiveScope, anglers can see images and movement so clear and precise that it’s even possible to distinguish between species of fish. “Panoptix LiveScope is an absolute game-changer, and we’re excited to bring this live, real-time scanning sonar technology to even more anglers with the addition of the Panoptix LVS12,â€? said Dan Bartel, Garmin vice president of global consumer sales. “Whether you’re drop shotting from the bow, jigging or fishing a dock, the Panoptix LVS12 delivers an easy-to-interpret real-time sonar image so you can spend less time looking for the fish and more time catching them.â€? Like other Garmin Panoptix transducers, the LiveScope LVS12 features two modes in one transducer – LiveScope Down and LiveScope Forward – and can be installed on a trolling motor or the transom. Depending on the anglers fishing preferences and techniques, they can choose to view both modes simultaneously or each individually from the chartplotter without any manual adjustment of the transducer. Both views provide incredibly sharp, real-time scanning sonar images up to 200 feet down or away from the boat, even when the boat is stationary. The LiveScope LVS12 is also equipped with an attitude heading reference system (AHRS) that constantly adjusts sonar beams to

Garmin is the world’s leading marine electronics manufacturer and was recently named Manufacturer of the Year for the fourth consecutive year by the NMEA, an honour given to the most recognized marine electronics company for support of products in the field. Garmin’s portfolio includes some of the industry’s most sophisticated chartplotters and touchscreen multifunction displays, sonar technology, high-definition radar, autopilots, highresolution mapping, sailing instrumentation, audio, entertainment and other products and services that are known for innovation, reliability, and ease-of-use. Other Garmin marine brands include FUSIONŽ Entertainment, Navionics, a premier supplier of electronic navigation charts, and EmpirBus™. For decades, Garmin has pioneered new GPS navigation and wireless devices and applications that are designed for people who live an active lifestyle. Garmin serves five primary markets, including automotive, aviation, fitness, marine, and outdoor recreation. For more information, videos and images, visit

SA BASS 45 February 2019


>> Anthony Hawkswell*

America’s best

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have been ranked as among the very best in America for their in-store customer experience, according to a new national survey. As part of the 2018 Retail Reputation Report, 4.7 million online consumer reviews posted on Facebook and Google detailed experiences at nearly 30,000 locations owned by 88 retail store chains. Bass Pro Shops ranked among the highest alongside The Disney Store and Costco, outranking respected retail brands that included Neiman Marcus, IKEA, L.L. Bean and Ace

Hardware. Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s also led the sporting goods category outright. “We strive to offer our customers genuinely friendly service, quality products and exceptional value every day in a shopping environment unlike any other,” said destination retail pioneer and Bass Pro Shops founder, Johnny Morris. “We are honoured to receive this distinction from our customers, which is a reflection of our remarkable team and their efforts every day.” Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s have consistently received significant recognition as a leading retailer. Earlier this year The National Retail Federation named Bass Pro Shops as the number two ‘hottest retailer in America’. In 2017, Forbes named Bass Pro Shops as one of ‘America’s Most Reputable Companies’ in recognition of the public’s trust in the organisation. Bass Pro Shops bought Cabela’s in a deal said to be worth $4 billion in September 2017.

Costa sunglasses

Costa Sunglasses, an award-winning brand at fishing tackle trade shows across the world, has picked up another accolade. The Florida-based manufacturer returned home from the Outdoor Retailer Winter Show in Denver, Colorado, with the first-ever Innovation Award for the new Baffin frame from its The Untangled Collection. The win follows previous successes at the ICAST, EFTTEX and AFTA shows. The awards, presented by Capitol One Spark Business and A+E Networks, recognises products in areas of design,

innovation and achievement within the outdoor industry. The Untangled Collection is made from recycled fishing nets and was one of 12 winners. “Innovation has always been at the core of our industry and is driven by the desire to make the outdoor experience more joyful and to encourage others to participate,” said Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer Vice President and Show Director. “The 12 winners took that inspiration and created something that can transform an outdoor experience and improve our relationship with the environment.” Holly Rush, Costa Sunglasses CEO, said: “We are truly honoured to receive this year’s Innovation Award. The opportunity to create a collection of products that so closely ties to our broader mission of protecting our oceans and waterways, while raising awareness of plastic pollution and giving our consumers the opportunity to be part of the solution, has been such a rewarding experience for the Costa team.”

A legend returned The man behind a number of America’s top bass boat brands is returning to the sector with a new company backed by $30m of investment. Earl Bentz, founder of the Stratos and Triton fishing boat brands, has launched Caymas Boats. Based in Ashland City, Tennessee, the new company is expected to start production of freshwater and saltwater fishing craft in February. A 27ft bay boat will be its first model with bass boats up to 21ft also in the pipeline. “All of us at Caymas Boats are thrilled to bring fibreglass 46 SA BASS February 2019

boat building back home to Ashland City,” said Bentz. “I am especially proud that many craftsmen in the area, who formerly built Stratos, Javelin and Triton boats, have already signed onto the Caymas workforce. “These loyal and highly skilled men and women already have decades of boatbuilding experience, ensuring that Caymas Boats will lead the marine industry in quality and innovation.” Bentz, a member of the Bass Fishing Hall of Fame, added that the new venture is expected to create 280 jobs.

Another record year for Johnson Johnson Outdoors’ flagship fishing division, which includes the likes of Humminbird and Minn Kota, helped the group deliver record results for the second year in a row. Strong demand for its products, and those in the company’s diving brands, propelled an 11% increase in sales. Operating profit for the year grew 38%. “Unprecedented growth in our fishing business has driven record results for the second year in a row on the strength of revolutionary consumer-driven innovation. Our goal is consistent, bigger, better new product success like this across our entire brand portfolio,” said Helen Johnson-Leipold, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Importantly, deeper, richer consumer understanding is at the core of everything we do. Going forward, our ability to connect with more consumers in new, more meaningful ways will enable us to fully leverage and maximise investments in digital transformation, marketing sophistication and e-commerce to enhance performance in all segments and channels.” The company also reported that its Watercraft Recreation business, which includes its fishing kayak brands, saw declines across all segments which had a negative impact on its revenue. It has also been announced that a former CEO of sports

giant Nike has been appointed to its board. William Perez was also President and CEO of S.C. Johnson & Son, the $10b sales household cleaning supplies multi-national, from 1996 to 2004. After leaving to join Nike, he then became President and CEO of chewing gum maker, Wm. Wrigley, from 2006 to 2008. He was also a senior advisor at New York Investment banker, Greenhill and Co., from 2010 until last year. In 2017 he founded FamGen, a firm specialising in consulting family-owned businesses on strategy, planning and global expansion “Bill is a proven business leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise in all facets of running a global company,” said Johnson-Leopold. “We will benefit from his insights and counsel as we develop new strategies to enhance value to our market and consumers.”

Brent Chapman to spearhead US sales Award-winning Scandinavian fishing tackle brand, Westin Fishing, has boosted its US team with the signing of one of the country’s most accomplished bass anglers. The partnership with former Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year, Brent Chapman, comes as the Danish manufacturer continues its push into the US with the forthcoming opening of a distribution centre in Wisconsin. “We are excited to have Brent on board,” said Thomas Eldor Petersen, Westin CEO and owner. “He will be a key player in our development in the US bass market. His experience as an established and skilled tournament angler will be crucial as an active member of our strong product development team.” Chapman added: “Most people align themselves with a company that is already in the market and established. With Westin I had the chance to come in from the ground and help it succeed in the US bass market. When I first saw its lures at ICAST, I could tell that the quality is there. Now we are going to take that quality and make some really cool baits.” Westin’s North America General Sales Manager, Barry Stockaus, added:” To me, it’s extremely important to have a guy of Brent’s calibre working with us long-term.

*Anthony Hawkswell is the editor of Angling International since 2013

His reputation in the bass fishing world is phenomenal.” With over $1.8m in tournament winnings, Chapman is part of an elite group of anglers to top the million mark by catching bass. SA BASS 47 February 2019



DESTINATIONS As a service to readers Fishing Resorts and Lodges are invited to place their information in this section. Readers who discover other destinations are invited to place the information on this page. Each entry consists of one photo plus no more than 200 words. Om ons lesers ingelig te hou word Hengel-oorde en Lodges uitgenooi om hul inligting in hierdie afdeling te publiseer. Lesers wat nog bestemmings ontdek word uitgenooi om die inligting op hierdie afdeling te plaas. Elke inskrywing beslaan een foto plus nie meer as 200 woorde. Stuur aan:

Bivane Dam Resort Leave your worries behind the mountain Hidden away in the ancient hills of Northern KwaZuluNatal, the magnificent diversity of nature sets the stage for a water wonderland, namely the Bivane Dam. The marriage of the water, hills and a high level of plant diversity has produced an idyllic natural space within which, with sensitive handling, it has proved possible to accommodate both active recreation and the serene experience of nature. It provides a sustainable water supply for the local irrigation scheme and secures primary water for the town of Pongola and surrounding communities. Situated about 55km from 48 SA BASS February 2019

Vryheid, Bivane Dam is easily accessible and nestles near the centre of a triangle formed by the towns of Vryheid, Pongola and Piet Retief. It has become a sought after destination for water activities such as bass fishing, boating and skiing, while the turbulent waters below the dam wall are ideal for canoeing and river rafting. The resort offers first class caravan and camp facilities, comfortable chalets with inspiring views and a bush camp.

For more information please contact their office on 034–413-1314/5 and for bookings send an to info@

R16 900










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SA BASS Feb-19  

FEATURES: “Topwater action” – Dewald Viljoen “Crankbaits in the heat of summer” – Roger Donaldson “5 Basic paddling points to maximize effic...

SA BASS Feb-19  

FEATURES: “Topwater action” – Dewald Viljoen “Crankbaits in the heat of summer” – Roger Donaldson “5 Basic paddling points to maximize effic...

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