SA Bass - - Contents - >> De­wald Viljoen*

“Top­wa­ter Ac­tion!” I al­ways im­age that Shake­speare was talk­ing about an African sum­mer when he said: “I speak of Africa, and golden joys.” – De­wald Viljoen

I al­ways im­age that Shake­speare was talk­ing about an African sum­mer when he said: “I speak of Africa, and golden joys.” Sum­mer­time on our con­ti­nent is truly a golden time and so much more so when one hap­pens to be a bass an­gler!

Abank an­gler might be for­given to think that the sum­mer­time ex­ists purely to pro­vide him with good sport, and with good rea­son. Firstly, most bass start to feed in ac­ces­si­ble ar­eas at pre­dictable times, thereby rad­i­cally in­creas­ing the suc­cess ra­tio of the pre­pared bank an­gler. Sec­ondly, the long sum­mer days pro­vide us with much more fish­ing times and those more pre­dictable fish­ing times now fit in nicely be­fore and af­ter of­fice hours. When it comes to tech­niques and lures it is also a great time for you to ex­per­i­ment with a num­ber of things and to build some con­fi­dence in some of the lures you may not be so fa­mil­iar with. In gen­eral though, the low light and warm wa­ter con­di­tions of the prime fish­ing times is per­fectly suited for sur­face lures. Whether you like hard or soft baits, this is usu­ally a good time to throw them! Be­fore we talk about lures though, let’s dis­cuss a bit of bass be­hav­iour.

To im­prove your suc­cess in sum­mer a bank an­gler needs a ba­sic un­der­stand­ing of two key fac­tors in na­ture that af­fects a bass dur­ing sum­mer. These fac­tors are light and tem­per­a­ture. As the long days of sum­mer roll on, the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture steadily in­creases and a chain re­ac­tion is started that af­fects our slimy green friends in a num­ber of ways. As the tem­per­a­ture rises, the me­tab­o­lism of all the or­gan­isms in the wa­ter in­creases with it. This higher me­tab­o­lism means that the bass starts grow­ing and needs fuel to sup­port this growth. For­tu­nately most of our indige­nous tilapia and barb species also start breed­ing pro­fusely around the same time, prov­ing the bass pop­u­la­tion with an end­less sup­ply of food. Since most of these species usu­ally nest in shal­lower wa­ter and rel­a­tively close to shore, it works well in favour of the stalk­ing bank an­gler. Un­for­tu­nately the bright light con­di­tions that usu­ally go with the long sum­mer days means that bank an­glers have two rel­a­tively short win­dows of op­por­tu­nity ev­ery day to re­ally jump on some proper fish. It works like this: imag­ine you are stand­ing out­side on a bright day at noon. If you were to look at your

sur­round­ings and take in how much de­tail you are see­ing right then, you have a rough idea of what a bass can see at first light in the morn­ing! Now imag­ine star­ing into the sun at noon try­ing to spot a bird fly­ing around it, well that is what a bass in a clear body of wa­ter has to con­tend with from about 8am to 4pm! Bass have no eye­lids so to get away from the sun dur­ing the day they have two op­tions, ei­ther go find a hid­ing place in the shade or go sit in deeper wa­ter where the light is less in­tense. Un­for­tu­nately for bank an­glers, warm wa­ter holds less oxy­gen too so most bass will rather opt for the deeper, cooler wa­ter choice, which more of­ten than not take them out of the range of bank an­glers. Be­cause of these fac­tors, sum­mer­time bassing for bank an­glers is an early morn­ing and late af­ter­noon ex­er­cise. Dur­ing the low light times, ag­gres­sively feed­ing bass are of­ten found mov­ing around in rel­a­tively open wa­ter, chas­ing down schools of bait fish. Throw­ing a sur­face lure around is of­ten a very good and very ex­cit­ing way to get ac­tive fish to re­act.

Pop baits

A prop bait

A pen­cil bait

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