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.