“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