South­ern Di­vi­sion

Ju­niors

SA Bass - - Sa Bass / Sabaa News - >> Luke Klop­pers

My first prac­tice on Mokolo Dam was much awaited and was the only thing on my mind for weeks.

Mokolo is over­all my favourite dam and Ja­son Har­ri­son and I were pumped up to be on our way. On ar­riv­ing at the camp­ing site on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon the amaz­ing body of wa­ter that nor­mally in­vited us was re­placed with about 300m of sandy beach. The dam was about 5.5m low but it didn’t break our spir­its.

That night af­ter set­ting up camp, Ja­son and I tied our rods and put to­gether a plan for the morn­ing.

I could hardly sleep that night from the nerves and my ex­cite­ment showed in the morn­ing when I woke up al­most an hour be­fore my alarm went off at 4:30!

Our plan for the morn­ing was to get as far up the river as pos­si­ble in search of oxy­genated wa­ter and hope­fully schools of fish bust­ing in the shal­lows. (We were very op­ti­mistic!)

We found that the wa­ter ended about 200m past the is­land on the left as you make your way up the river and the wa­ter was dirty with 40cm vis­i­bil­ity. The fish­ing was not what we an­tic­i­pated.

We worked our way back to­ward the dam wall stop­ping at all the ar­eas that pro­duced in the past and the wa­ter got a lot cleaner as you moved closer to the main dam with 12ft vis­i­bil­ity in the main dam.

We were get­ting fish on ev­ery spot

we stopped at but our bag was only around 4kg. Al­most all the fish were keep­ers but sel­dom broke the 700 gram mark with non over 1.4kg, which is very un­char­ac­ter­is­tic of Mokolo. The shal­lows did not pro­duce as ex­pected with noth­ing size­able. All our bet­ter fish came a bit deeper on steeper banks… the steeper the bet­ter.

We caught fish on grubs pitched into gaps in the cliffs. We caught good fish on old rock­slides and pitch­ing trees with black and blue jigs. We caught fish on weight­less flukes and jerk­baits in a colour we found while match­ing the colour of the bait­fish that would get snagged on my jerk­bait as I worked it through a bait ball. We man­aged to put a good plan to­gether and were get­ting closer to 6kg bags.

On the last morn­ing Ja­son and I went out leav­ing my dad to start break up camp. We gave the shal­lows one last chance know­ing that if they did move up it would be a win­ning pat­tern. And they did! We landed an 8kg bag with two fish over 2kg and a 2.5kg kicker all in 3ft of wa­ter. (This was the morn­ing af­ter a sud­den thun­der shower).

On the comp morn­ing Ja­son and I both went to the shal­low area we found on the last morn­ing. Un­for­tu­nately the wind was pump­ing and made it im­pos­si­ble for me to fish the bank like I wanted to. I fi­nally aban­doned the shal­lows af­ter wast­ing an hour when the fish had moved deeper due to the cold front that the wind was bring­ing in.

I went straight for a steep bank in clear wa­ter where I was hid­den from the 40km/h gusts. The fish­ing was a lot tougher than I ex­pected and I had wasted the prime morn­ing hour on a spot with no fish. I had only one fish by 10am.

I moved to­ward the main dam in search of deeper wa­ter where I was hid­den from the wind (that would pull your line leav­ing your bait skip­ping along the sur­face). A good spot in prac­tice was a cliff in the main dam that was giv­ing good shel­ter from the wind.

On my first pass I caught one good fish of about 900g on a jerk but I could feel the fish look­ing at my bait. I just had a feel­ing about the spot so I per­sisted with a bait­fish coloured ju­nior fluke rigged weight­less. I made my casts against the cliff, left it to so sink and gave it small twitches in be­tween long pauses. In about half an hour fish­ing it on 8lb line I landed three fish of a kilo each.

This vastly boosted my con­fi­dence and I repli­cated this for the rest of the day while the fish­ing was dif­fi­cult. This got me an­other 700 gram fish and a 1.5kg fish near the dam wall. I went back to the cliff in the af­ter­noon and landed a 2.5kg fish on jerk and dropped a 1.2kg plus.

I ended up with a 7.44kg bag the first day leav­ing me 1.5kg ahead of sec­ond place.

The next day I ex­pected the fish­ing to be bet­ter with the wind dy­ing down and the cold front pass­ing. So I stuck with the jerk­bait the whole day in search of some bet­ter fish. I fished the same ar­eas and the dy­ing wind gave me a chance to fish my jerk­bait slowly. Apart from los­ing three fish of about 1kg, it got me a 4kg bag (keep­ing in mind that weigh-in was at noon) that put me in sec­ond place for the sec­ond day and about 1kg be­hind first place.

The fish­ing had def­i­nitely changed and by chang­ing my plan ac­cord­ingly it got me a first place for the com­pe­ti­tion and I felt I was per­fectly in tune with the dam. This com­pe­ti­tion def­i­nitely so­lid­i­fied my love.

I must give huge thanks to my dad, fam­ily and Ian Gel­dard.

My dad is al­ways will­ing to spend the time on the wa­ter with me and Ian Gel­dard or­gan­ised the en­tire sea­son with great suc­cess. He has re­ally brought South­ern Di­vi­sion to­gether and the bond fires and team braais are a high­light at ev­ery out­ing. We are a “fam­ily” and it is an ex­cel­lent en­vi­ron­ment to com­pete and most im­por­tantly have a blast.

Divi­sion­als has helped me grow in the sport and has shaped my pas­sion for it. I rec­om­mend it to any avid ju­nior fish­er­man that wants to take bass fish­ing to the next level.

Luke Klop­pers

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