WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH
Right now rain is in a big demand and we can only pray for grace. The drought is making things tough for every one and it doesn’t seem that it will be getting better anytime soon. The drought will impact all our lives in more than one way. Prices will soar on everything, food, fuel, luxuries and it might even impact the prices of admission at our favourite fishing waters. It will impact absolutely everything!
This drought has been one of the worst I can recall and in the last couple of years it was brutal. I really have compassion for our farmers and people with no access to running water. As everything else we as anglers have been hit just as hard, our favourite dams are at their lowest water levels. Apparently Rhenosterkop Dam is at 14%, and the Vaal Dam is almost at a critical 25% - not to mention the other dams in our country.
(The water level displayed as a percentage can be very misleading; deduct from this given number the amount of sludge that has washed into the dams; also deduct an estimate volume of the remaining fish population - then you will really be alarmed! – Ed)
So what is the impact to bass fishing you might ask? For starters it is going to make fishing more difficult. The heat and the dropping water levels are forcing bass to move much deeper and they will suspend much more often than normal. The baitfishes are going to scatter to cooler waters and the bass will follow which in return will make them more difficult to find.
This is now where your situation awareness is going to kick in. You will have to track down the bass in areas where you have never fished before. Having good electronics will improve your chances because when fishing dropping water levels you will have to rely on your electronics to find fish. On locating bait fish try and find nearby structure where the bass might be hiding. If you can’t find any bait fish; don’t even bother fishing the area.
Tough fishing conditions made technology a “must have”. Any type of equipment like the ones that generate bait fish sounds will come in handy. I have one and must admit that it boosted my number of fish in these tough conditions dramatically. Using the device will attract bait fish and activate the bass given the right circumstances, especially when the bass are lethargic.
I have also resorted to using my Lowrance 7 Chirp with Down-Scan to locate individual fish and target them. This Down-Scan has helped me to distinguish between fish and structure which improved my much needed success in the last couple of months. With this device you can see exactly what’s going on beneath your boat.
When fishing vertically I will use a drop shot rig. With the help of your electronics you will be able to see what dept the fish are or if they are suspended. By keeping the boat in position and dangling the bait right in front of the bass will make it very hard for them to ignore the scrumptious little morsels. It will even draw the nearby bass in. Target isolated fish at different depths and keep your eye on the fish finder. Your chances are very good to catch that bass.
In my experience I have found that it is more worthwhile spending time in locating bait fish than to fish familiar spots where the bass used to be. Yes, it will not be easy but think of it this way; you will gain more experience and learn a few new tricks.
The most important thing when fishing tough conditions – it is all about your attitude.
A prayer for rain:
Our Father in heaven; the earth is thirsty for rain and we wait for you to refresh the land and all its creatures, the rivers and lakes, the crops and gardens. Send us abundant rain, we pray, and teach us to be better stewards of all the blessings you provide; in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Our country is stricken by one of the worst droughts ever and the question is: “When will it rain again?”