FLW SA RECORD

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SA Bass - - Contents - >> Bryan Lep­pan*

“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

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