Elite Se­ries

SA Bass - - Front Page - >> Justin de Souza

My prac­tices con­firmed my ini­tial con­cerns of how tough Har­te­beespoort Dam can be in sum­mer. Added to this, with the dam sud­denly reach­ing full pool, it would make the dam even more chal­leng­ing to scratch out a limit on both days.

Af­ter my first prac­tice, I now dis­cov­ered that five fish over the whole week­end would be chal­leng­ing! I be­lieve, that given the sud­den rise of the dam, the bait­fish pop­u­la­tion ex­ploded and scat­tered the bass, mak­ing them very dif­fi­cult to tar­get. Add to that, enough fod­der for the bass to gorge them­selves on, con­vinc­ing them to eat your im­i­ta­tion would be even more chal­leng­ing. En­sur­ing that the colour and pro­file of my pre­sen­ta­tion, to match the fod­der, as well as the right ar­eas would be crit­i­cal for me go­ing into the tour­na­ment.

My next prac­tice con­sisted of try­ing to de­ter­mine bait pro­files, colour and the ar­eas. This was a painful ex­er­cise, but, it had to be done, and I did find three ar­eas where I could coax a bite, al­beit a grind to en­cour­age these fish to bite.

Lead­ing up to the tour­na­ment, my plan was to start at the zoo walls with a crank. In one of my prac­tices I caught a de­cent fish off this area that re­acted vi­o­lently to my pre­sen­ta­tion. Given that fish, it was a no brainer to start there and cover the area with a crank. I was so con­fi­dent in im­ple­ment­ing this plan, that I had six crankbait rods rigged for the tour­na­ment.

Af­ter the zoo, my plan was to spend to an hour at the yacht club, fishing in ap­prox­i­mately 15 to 25ft of wa­ter with a drop-shot. Af­ter the yacht club, my plan was to then head off to the right hand point be­fore the road bridge, where I had had a bite in prac­tice and dis­cov­ered an area where I could grind it out for the rest of the day, fishing sloooowly cov­er­ing depths, cover and struc­ture.

My game plan was done; all I needed to do then was to ex­e­cute it and cap­i­talise on any bites I may be for­tu­nate enough to get. By the way, my ex­pec­ta­tion for my per­for­mance for the week­end was to scratch out four, maybe five fish and hope­fully make it into the top ten.

Fri­day night I ar­rived for the reg­is­tra­tion and cap­tains meet­ing and had a good catch up with the guys. Dur­ing the cap­tains meet­ing, it was an­nounced that the zoo area was out of bounds. This re­ally frus­trated me, as I would have liked to have known that in­for­ma­tion be­fore the prac­tise so that I didn’t waste time work­ing the area out, nor rely upon it as part of my game plan. Af­ter calm­ing my­self down, I de­cided that there was noth­ing I could do and I just had to stick to the rest of my plan and let “the chips fall where they may”.

Day 1

On the Satur­day morn­ing, leav­ing in tenth po­si­tion, I drove straight to the yacht club. Af­ter an hour or so of try­ing to con­vince the fish in the area to bite to no avail, I de­cided to check out the Kos­mos jet­ties. Af­ter half an hour at Kos­mos, with not even a touch and the sun start­ing to make its pres­ence known, I ran to the point near the road bridge. I must say that I was sur­prised to not see an­other boat in the area, as a mat­ter of fact; I had the area to my­self the whole day.

Upon ar­riv­ing at the point, I made a cast onto the point into about 5ft of wa­ter and dragged my Mojo rigged crea­ture through the de­bris and rock. I con­tin­ued to do this for over an hour with not the slight­est touch. Not even the bream were at­tack­ing my bait. I de­cided to make a long par­al­lel cast along the point to­wards the bay. At this stage a steady breeze had picked up and was blow­ing onto the bank I was fishing. I felt the weight bounc­ing along the rock, and

Justin de Souza with his fish on Day 2

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