WHEN THE GO­ING GETS TOUGH

SA Bass - - Sa Bass / Basics - >> Hen­drik

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?”

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