TAC­TICS

If there is one ques­tion that ev­ery an­gler has had to face at some point in his fish­ing ca­reer it is this:

SA Bass - - Contents - >> De­wald Viljoen*

“Com­pact Angling: Tackle Man­age­ment for Small Craft” If there is one ques­tion that ev­ery an­gler has had to face at some point in his fish­ing ca­reer it is this: How much tackle do I take with me? – De­wald Viljoen

How much tackle do I take with me?

It is a ques­tion that is of par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance to small craft an­glers, where a lack of space is the driv­ing fac­tor be­hind the de­ci­sion, but the an­swer could proof valu­able to any trav­el­ling an­gler.

I am not say­ing that my choices, or sys­tem is the best, or fi­nal word in tackle choice, but it is rather in­tended to demon­strate a thought process in tackle man­age­ment. Clearly as a kayak an­gler I am rather lim­ited in the amount of tackle I can carry with me, but I have found that my kayak­ing tackle choices have spilled over into my other fish­ing choices.

While my kayak can eas­ily carry in ex­cess of 60kg in tackle the prob­lem is ac­ces­si­bil­ity. Kayaks have lim­ited deck space (ob­vi­ously!) and while most modern kayaks have plenty of in hull stor­age, ac­cess to these stor­age spa­ces of­ten re­quire the an­gler to dis­em­bark. Clearly not the ideal op­tion.

My sys­tem is quite sim­ple. I should be able to carry ev­ery­thing I need in a sin­gle trip to the car! This of course meant that I had to put my tackle “needs” un­der se­ri­ous re­view! The un­com­fort­able truth about us as bass an­glers is that we are tackle ad­dicts. We buy and ac­quire tackle with any se­ri­ous thought to our ac­tual needs or habits. Yes, I said habits. As much as we are ad­dicts that buy tons of new stuff, we tend to be crea­tures of habit that fall back on only a hand­ful of tech­niques and lures for 90% of our fish­ing.

So here is how my ap­proach works. It re­quires a hard and hon­est look at how you as an an­gler ap­proach your fish­ing. The first thing you get out of the way is the idea that you are go­ing to use ev­ery rod you own on ev­ery trip you take. Years of sur­veys and polls, from all over the bass fish­ing world shows that most an­glers tend to use be­tween three and six tech­niques to catch the bulk of their fish. Per­son­ally, I think that six rods are more than enough in most cases and of­ten on the kayak I take only three or four. Ev­ery an­gler has a favourite tech­nique, no ex­cep­tions! This is the first rod you pack. Fol­low­ing this method, se­lect your next favourite rod. If you are any­thing like me, your back up tech­nique is usu­ally your

favourite, up or down scaled. If this is the case then take two rods for a sim­i­lar tech­nique but limit your­self to your most con­fi­dent four or five rods. Now pick your last rod. I usu­ally try to pick a tech­nique that I am ei­ther try­ing to learn or a gen­eral pur­pose rod that can be pushed into ser­vice at mul­ti­ple tech­niques.

The next choice to make is ter­mi­nal tackle. Ob­vi­ously this is heav­ily dic­tated by the tech­nique choices you made but it is im­por­tant to be re­al­is­tic about catch rates and tackle loses. Re­mem­ber that ev­ery sin­gle item takes up space and weight, no mat­ter how small or light. Also keep in mind that even on an ex­tended trip you only spend one day at a time on the water. So only take what you will need for a sin­gle day. Let’s make some ed­u­cated guesses to prove the point. I am sure that it is safe say that the av­er­age soft plas­tic lure is good for at least two fish per lure (de­pend­ing on brand and rig­ging method it could be much more!). That means that a packet of ten lures is good for twenty fish! A good days fish­ing in any­body’s books! A hook is good for ten fish so even with a 50% tackle loss rate, ten hooks should last the av­er­age an­gler more than two days. Same goes for weights, bob­ber stop­pers, beads etc.

When it comes to lures we all have our pref­er­ences too. Most of us will do more than half of our fish­ing with a par­tic­u­lar lure in a par­tic­u­lar colour. This is the first lure you should pack. Then pick your next two favourites and stick to it! You will very sel­dom need more than three colours of your favourite tech­nique, and if you are fa­mil­iar with the wa­ters you are fish­ing you will prob­a­bly only need one or two! I stick to two full pack­ets of bait per full days fish­ing and I al­most al­ways come home with a few lure left over even on a very good day! This se­lec­tion process works for all baits! Once you go past your top three con­fi­dence tech­niques and lures you catch av­er­ages drop dra­mat­i­cally any­way, and once you get into that ter­ri­tory it is a slip­pery slope and you will rapidly fail at mul­ti­ple tech­niques!

All that is left now is to pack your cam­era, scale, sun­block and sus­te­nance. Like I said ear­lier, this is my own ap­proach. It is merely an in­sight on how I as a kayak an­gler think about tackle re­quire­ments. Hope­fully you can find some use from it and ap­ply some of it in your own fish­ing and trav­els. Un­til next time, stay dry and safe on the water!

*De­wald Viljoen is spon­sored by Ca­noe & Kayak Cen­tre, the owner of Hot Reels Ser­vice Cen­tre, part­ner and de­signer at AfriBaits.

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