STRATE­GIES Sen­sa­tional Sum­mer Strate­gies

We’re into Jan­uary and the heat in most parts of South Africa is peak­ing, with warmer wa­ter tem­per­a­tures than any other time of the year. It’s time to con­sider our sec­ond part of this se­ries on strate­gies for tar­get­ing sum­mer bass.

SA Bass - - Strategies - >> Roger Don­ald­son*

Bass are an in­cred­i­ble species and their move­ments are largely de­cided upon ac­cord­ing to sea­sonal weather pat­terns. The ex­treme tem­per­a­tures of mid-sum­mer can help us lo­cate bass with­out too much con­fu­sion and a ba­sic rule of thumb is that old story of fish­ing the shal­lows be­fore dawn and around sun­set. There is good the­ory in this and it is sim­ply this; the very warm wa­ter tem­per­a­tures with harsh sun­light will drain a large por­tion of oxy­gen from the shal­low depths and this in turn makes it in­tol­er­a­ble for bass to spend their time in this zone be­tween the hours of dawn and dusk. There are ex­cep­tions of course, in­clud­ing the hours just be­fore a rain storm (gen­er­ally windy with in­ter­mit­tent sun­light pen­e­tra­tion), as well as those wel­come windy af­ter­noons where the wa­ter sur­face is rip­pling and oxy­gen is churn­ing through the up­per wa­ter lay­ers. Don’t for­get these two ex­cel­lent op­por­tu­ni­ties to rush into the shal­lows and take full ad­van­tage of the ac­tiv­ity that takes place dur­ing these ob­vi­ous, yet of­ten over looked weather events.

For the ma­jor­ity of our sum­mer day though we should pre­pare our­selves for many warm hours with lit­tle to no wind at all, still sur­face con­di­tions and ris­ing wa­ter tem­per­a­tures. These are the times of the day where fish­ing and find­ing bass are go­ing to be test­ing.

A great ex­am­ple of events over­looked was dur­ing a tour­na­ment on Rust der Win­ter Dam. At around midday we had agreed to have the events cam­era crew join us on board our boat. My fish­ing col­league, Peter Pot­gi­eter and I had been tar­get­ing deep, iso­lated strings of chi­camba weed just off the deep edge of an abun­dant, dense veg­e­ta­tion line. The sum­mer air was thick with hu­mid­ity and ev­ery now and then our po­larised glasses would sud­denly fog up as an in­di­ca­tion of chang­ing weather con­di­tions. The wa­ter sur­face was mostly very still and we were re­ally hav­ing a jolly old time prob­a­bly boat­ing a fish on ev­ery cast!

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