SA Bass - - Contents - >> Evert Laub­scher*

“Water­berg Fish­ing Ad­ven­tures” The ma­jor­ity of large fish­ing venues around South Africa take a lot of fish­ing pres­sure, and it is not un­com­mon to ar­rive at pub­lic wa­ter on a week­end to find a long queue of boats wait­ing their turn to launch. – Evert Laub­scher

The ma­jor­ity of large fish­ing venues around South Africa take a lot of fish­ing pres­sure, and it is not un­com­mon to ar­rive at pub­lic wa­ter on a week­end to find a long queue of boats wait­ing their turn to launch. The sport is def­i­nitely grow­ing at a rapid rate, and it seems that there are more or­ga­nized fish­ing events than ever be­fore. This is great for the sport, but un­for­tu­nately the ac­ces­si­ble fish­ing venues are not nec­es­sar­ily ca­pa­ble of han­dling the pres­sure. There­fore when a new venue be­comes known to the an­gling fra­ter­nity, ev­ery­one seems to flock to that venue in pur­suit of a change in scenery and vir­gin fish­ing wa­ters.

I re­cently had the op­por­tu­nity to fish in Lim­popo where I met Al­bert Eras­mus. Al­bert is a busi­ness man and very pas­sion­ate an­gler from Lepha­lale. He is the owner of Twin River Is­land camp on the Zam­bezi River, and he also re­cently started man­u­fac­tur­ing alu­minium fish­ing boats. Due to our sim­i­lar in­ter­ests we im­me­di­ately got along well and Al­bert men­tioned that he would in­vite me to come and fish the Mo­gol River be­low Mokolo Dam in the near fu­ture. Al­bert stayed true to his word, and two weeks later I re­ceived a phone call from him ex­tend­ing the in­vi­ta­tion. The date was set for the end of Au­gust.

Our group con­sisted of Ru­dolph Ven­ter, my wife, one of her friends and me. We ar­rived at the lux­ury ac­com­mo­da­tion on the Fri­day evening, with the wood fire al­ready lit in the boma area and Al­bert and Bez Bezuiden­hout wel­com­ing us. The rest of the evening was spent dis­cussing the wa­ter we were go­ing to fish over the next cou­ple of days. The stretch of river was 12km long and about 1.5m deep on av­er­age, with some deeper holes of about 4m deep. The ma­jor­ity of cover in the river was wa­ter veg­e­ta­tion (lily pads, reeds, snot­ter­belle and chi­camba weed). All the land on ei­ther side of the river is pri­vately owned, which makes this venue im­pos­si­ble to fish with­out per­mis­sion from the own­ers. One of the farm­ers along this sec­tion of the river has granted Al­bert per­mis­sion to run his op­er­a­tion from his land, and this was also the farm where we stayed for the week­end.


We woke up well be­fore first light the next morn­ing full of an­tic­i­pa­tion for the day ahead. The plan for the day was that Al­bert and I were to fish of his boat and Ru­dolph and Bez were go­ing to fish of an­other boat. We had a fif­teen minute drive from the ac­com­mo­da­tion to the launch, and as the sun started to make its ap­pear­ance it re­vealed the blan­ket of clouds above us. The out­side tem­per­a­ture was def­i­nitely a lot cooler than we ex­pected for this part of the coun­try. The boats were launched with­out any is­sues and we were ready for ac­tion. I started off fish­ing my trusted jerkbait while Al­bert fished a buzzbait over the shal­low veg­e­ta­tion. We couldn’t get any re­ac­tion in the first half an hour so I changed to a li­p­less crank. I was soon re­warded with my first Mo­gol River bass, as it smashed my lure on the drop next to some chi­camba weed. The fish was short and fat, and most cer­tainly in a very healthy con­di­tion. At around 9am the gen­tle breeze es­ca­lated into a strong wind and we de­cided to seek some refuge in a calmer bay. Luck was on our side as we found a few big­ger fish in this bay. All the fish gave a good ac­count of them­selves, as river fish so of­ten do. We quickly got on to a pat­tern of tar­get­ing iso­lated veg­e­ta­tion in deeper wa­ter with Texas rigged plas­tics. The bass were def­i­nitely look­ing for more move­ment, which made grubs and crea­ture style baits very ef­fec­tive. We met up with the other boat at around mid­day to find out how they were do­ing as the bite had slowed down a bit. They also had a very pro­duc­tive day at that stage, land­ing a few fish around the 2kg mark, and Ru­dolph drop­ping a big fish of over 3kg right at the boat. The bite picked up again later in the af­ter­noon, and we landed about 25 bass for the day on our boat alone. The wa­ter tem­per­a­ture re­mained around 17ºC through­out the day, which ac­cord­ing to Al­bert was rel­a­tively cold for the Mo­gol River at that time of the year. That evening we made use of the great fa­cil­i­ties at the ac­com­mo­da­tion, and en­joyed a real bushveld braai. The ladies also had a great day, be­ing treated to var­i­ous spa treat­ments and just re­lax­ing around the pool. Be­ing on the wa­ter and know­ing that the ladies were be­ing looked after was great.


We woke up very early again on Sun­day, hop­ing to see clear wind­less skies, but un­for­tu­nately the weather was even worse than the day be­fore. This didn’t get us down, and we were on the wa­ter at first light. Ru­dolph and I fished to­gether and Bez fished alone on his boat as Al­bert had other com­mit­ments. The fish­ing was def­i­nitely a lot tougher than the pre­vi­ous day, but we still man­aged to land some good fish on the same pat­tern as the pre­vi­ous day. We called it at around 12pm, and headed back to the lodge.

Al­though the fish­ing was ex­cel­lent by any stan­dards, th­ese wa­ters have so much more to of­fer. It is not just the qual­ity of bass in the wa­ter, but also var­i­ous other an­gling species that can be tar­geted here. Some of th­ese species in­clude red­breast kurper, blue kurper, ca­nary kurper, makriel, bar­bel and pa­per­mouth. The big­gest bass caught in this stretch of the river weighed 5.4kg, which is truly amaz­ing! It was truly a priv­i­lege to fish in th­ese wa­ters and I have to com­mend Al­bert on run­ning a very good op­er­a­tion, and for cre­at­ing this op­por­tu­nity for an­glers to fish un­pres­sured tro­phy wa­ters. Though the fish­ing was the main rea­son for our visit, the feel­ing of be­ing in the bushveld and see­ing many dif­fer­ent wild an­i­mals through­out the day just added to the ex­pe­ri­ence. The ac­com­mo­da­tion was also ex­cel­lent, of­fer­ing on-suite rooms with air-con­di­tion­ing and DStv. Self-ca­ter­ing was a breeze as the kitchen and din­ing area had all the nec­es­sary uten­sils and much more. *Evert Laub­scher is a well known name in the an­gling world and a pro staff an­gler for Salmo Lures.

The au­thor with a bass of 2.3kg that couldn’t re­sist a Texas rigged grub

Ru­dolph show­ing the healthy con­di­tion of the bass in this sys­tem

Al­bert Eras­mus with a healthy Mo­gol River bass

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