“HBC Annual Mteri Trip” What words does one use to describe a dam that is just a fishing heaven? Mteri in the Zimbabwe Lowveld is still producing bass that any angler worldwide would call a trophy and yet at the same time is producing fish numbers that make it the perfect place to take even the most inexperienced angler and guarantee them “fish on” – Clint Skinner
What words does one use to describe a dam that is just a fishing heaven? Mteri in the Zimbabwe Lowveld is still producing bass that any angler worldwide would call a trophy and yet at the same time is producing fish numbers that make it the perfect place to take even the most inexperienced angler and guarantee them “fish on”
Harare Bass Chapter did their annual trip to Mteri in August. The dam was sitting at 99.2% but had spilled for the first time in four years in the preceding rainy season. Yet again Harare Bass proved their commitment to junior angling with almost every boat having at least one youngster on board and there is no better place to learn about bass in Africa than Mteri! Theses junior anglers certainly put the seniors to the sword throughout the tournament and showed that they are indeed the future of Angling in Zimbabwe. A special mention of thanks to the parents and skippers for taking the time to take these kids fishing.
With the moon having just been full there was a lot of expectation of large females and sadly this was proven to not be the case. While a beautiful 5.3kg fish was taken by Richard Collyer pitching a six inch Senko to a tree in 6ft of water the average fish caught over the three days of tournament fishing was in the region of 1kg. But when one considers that every angler was catching their limit many times over throughout the day one could hardly complain. With the dam being full the bream life was an incredible sight to behold. So much so that I questioned why the bass would want to eat anything other than live bream! Every bass that did come out was fat! Little rugby balls in fact. To the extent that one of the 2lb fish I caught did not make the minimum 300mm length because of his round body. Interesting to note was also the fact that the fish had very small mouths in comparison to their bodies… no doubt the sheer volume of fish had caused very quick growth. This meant that smaller than usual baits for Mteri were the way to go and some of the bigger fish were caught on junior flukes and four
and five inch Senkos. Lighter line also found its place as a result and those that were brave enough to throw 8lb and 10lb line caught more than those throwing the heavier tackle.
Very few fish were found in the trees, most were gorging on bream in the shallows and dead-sticking a bait was producing the numbers leading to hours of fun for most. As the week progressed those that persisted in the trees or found things the others did not in the grass got the bigger fish, proof that one needs to never stop trying something different.
The grass bite was an interesting one. The bream were moving into the shallows and lying on their sides to mouth the stems of the grass as they fed. This often turned the bottom silver around you and seemed to be done on que. One second, nothing and the next, just bream all around. Long casts with smaller baits either produced a fish in the first second or one had to leave it on the bottom for some time. The thought process being the bass would move in and with the lure being the only thing not swimming away would eat it… made for a lot of fun and many anglers were catching their limits within minutes of the day starting.
The bream fishing in Mteri can also be incredible. Many a tale to be told of stripped reels from three plus KG bream. Several were caught during the tournament on a swim jig or fluke but it was after the tournament that some of us found time to throw a number three or four inline spinner at them. More fun could not be had than chasing these schools around Palm bay, waiting for those fins to break surface, putting that cast a few metres behind the school and then holding tight as one turned the blade. While not getting a fish every cast, the adrenaline rush when one does hit is just incredible.
Some Harare Bass Chapter members stayed a few extra days after the tournament and time was spent assisting the Hippo Wildlife team in removing bits of net from trees as well as lifting some of the recently placed illegal nets in the dam. While there were not many it is sad to see that poaching just cannot be stamped out. The Hippo team is really in need of a small boat and outboard as currently they paddle out in a canoe to lift nets. If anyone out there has the ability to donate towards their efforts please make contact with me on email@example.com
The catered lodges were constantly busy with boats on the water from all around Zimbabwe and many South African boats out. Speaking to these South African guys, they had all had a reasonably easy trip up from the border to the dam itself and while also not finding the big fish easy to catch, everyone was enjoying themselves and all indicated the trip was worth it. So, if Mteri is not on your bucket list it should be! I for one believe the dam will be fishing better and better again over the next few years after filling this season so get planning.
Until next time, “Fish on Dad”.