FLW SA RECORD
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“FLW SA Record Size Bass” With all the competitive bass fishing I’ve been doing I decided to head away from the crowds and have a quiet, relaxed session with my son Kyle and my good mate Charles... and what an amazing day it turned out to be. – Bryan Leppan
We headed off to Nagle Dam, a small dam just outside Cato Ridge in KZN, which incidentally is the same venue that I caught my previous PB of 4.90kg. There are good size bass around this time of year so I thought why not let’s give it a bash.
My game plan was to target pre-spawn staging females off points, ledges and drop offs... Starting on areas that get morning sunlight first as water temperature was still cold as we trend out of winter into spring.
We fished a ledge first, casting towards the bank, the ledge drops from six foot down to eighteen foot... we got some decent fish around the 900g to1.5 kg mark on Carolina rigged lizards in Junebug and Missile Baits tomahawk in Green Pumpkin Flash, 3/8oz tungsten Carolina weight, approx 400mm leader, on 17lb Sugoi fluorocarbon. Presentation wise, slow drag of the rig about half a meter at a time. The tungsten weight is much harder than the lead version, so through the fluoro it transmits an incredible vibration which allows you to feel the bottom so well. I would drag till I felt I harder bottom, like rock or shale and then just pause it there for about thirty seconds at a time. They were either eating it during the pause or immediately as I started to move the bait.
As the bite slowed I switched to a Strike King Series 5 crankbait to entice a reaction bite. Fishing this with twelve pound Sugoi and G_Loomis crankbait rod. The trick here was to make long casts over the ledges and points and then a slow retrieve allowing the crank its full wobble as appose to winding it in quickly where it gives off more of a vibrating action as appose to a wobble. I fish it on a high speed gear ratio reel. I don’t believe in slower ratio reels, I have lost to many fish on them because they can’t keep up with a big
fish that swims towards you, the fish manages to get ahead of you, gets slack into the line, jumps and its often that they are able to throw the bait. I have spent time learning how the bait feels thru the rod at its perfect cadence and I thus I fish crankbaits by feel. With the high ratio reel I can just wind it slower or faster, it’s very simple. It is also way less tiring when fishing cranks for long periods as there are less turns of the handle needed on high speed reels.
I got a few keeper size fish that on the crank and the bite slowed in that area. It was sunny and hot - bluebird skies, so I moved across to a rocky point that was shaded... it looked very bassy... the boat was in 25 foot of water so there was nice deep water close by. I started just before the point and got a keeper on the crank right off the bat... a few casts later I made the cast across the point. The crank slowly wobbled, and bumped off the rocks on the bottom... a few moments later and bang it got hammered... and the fish just took off. Stripping line immediately... moments of chaos, hysteria, panic and excitement set in between Kyle, Charles and I as the big bellied female broke the surface!
What great excitement as I got the fish into the boat a few moments later! What a special fish with my 3 year old son Kyle on the boat, who had been saying all morning “I want a big fishy daddy”... A 4.54kg beauty did the trick!
What a great experience and setting the target for the FLW South African record, making this an unforgettable experience. Big thanks to my buddy Charles for a great morning and taking awesome photos that will last a lifetime. *Bryan Leppan is the Cast-for-Cash KZN organiser, a provincial angler and pro staff angler for Bass Warehouse.
Bryan Leppan and his son, Kyle, with an FLW SA record size bass