“SABAA Ju­nior Na­tion­als – Vaal River 2018”

Vaal River 2018

SA Bass - - Con­tents - >> John Baden­horst*

Ar­rival day saw en­trants com­plet­ing their regis­tra­tions and tak­ing part in the rit­ual ini­ti­a­tions with slop pa­rades and tak­ing a dunk in a rather chilly river fol­lowed by the oblig­a­tory wel­come din­ner and skip­pers brief­ing – John Baden­horst

Ar­rival day saw en­trants com­plet­ing their regis­tra­tions and tak­ing part in the rit­ual ini­ti­a­tions with slop pa­rades and tak­ing a dunk in a rather chilly river fol­lowed by the oblig­a­tory wel­come din­ner and skip­pers brief­ing.

Prac­tice day on the Vaal for the 2018 Ju­nior Na­tion­als started off on Fri­day with thick mist and a de­layed start of al­most two hours. Brown wa­ter with a temp of 23ºC greeted an­glers on that first morn­ing. Ex­cite­ment and ex­pec­ta­tions were high as some an­glers as young as ten were com­pet­ing to be the next Ju­nior Protea Team and with only thir­teen slots to fill, the pres­sure was on. Un­be­knownst to or­ga­niz­ers and an­glers, Vaal Dam man­age­ment had opened eight sub-sur­face valves on the dam wall re­sult­ing in wa­ter that sits deep and is much colder to flow into the river sys­tem. Although the over­all wa­ter lev­els on the river dropped over 3ft dur­ing three days, the influx of wa­ter re­leased through the valves and not the sluices as nor­mal saw an over­all wa­ter tem­per­a­ture drop of al­most five de­grees in a mat­ter of eight hours.

An­glers quickly fig­ured out pat­terns on prac­tice day but due to the sud­den drop in tem­per­a­ture, this

changed dra­mat­i­cally. Day one of the tour­na­ment saw yet an­other de­layed start due to mist sit­ting on the wa­ter mak­ing vis­i­bil­ity a se­ri­ous hazard.

Once it was safe, an­glers roared off to their re­spec­tive spots that worked the pre­vi­ous day in prac­tice.

On day one, over forty per­cent of an­glers blanked while a few man­aged one sin­gle fish with two an­glers get­ting two, one young­ster get­ting three, an­other an­gler get­ting four and only three an­glers out of the en­tire field man­ag­ing a five fish limit. A tough day on the wa­ter in­deed.

On day two and the fi­nal day, an­glers got the all clear to launch with an in­cred­i­ble sun­rise greet­ing ea­ger com­peti­tors who were keen to make up for lost op­por­tu­ni­ties from the day be­fore.

The wa­ter level had dropped even more overnight and this would once again prove to make an al­ready tough tour­na­ment even harder.

Two of the an­glers that pulled a five fish limit from the pre­vi­ous day headed straight to their se­cret spot only to have their hopes dashed as their spot from the pre­vi­ous day had be­come a crime scene. So, it was off to an­other spot in the hopes of reach­ing the same re­sults as the day be­fore.

The day dragged on for these an­glers and at 4pm all tags were on the board.

Dur­ing the fi­nal weigh-in, it was ap­par­ent that things on this river can hum­ble any­one.

An­glers that on the pre­vi­ous day had blanked, now man­aged to at least get one fish and no one man­aged a five fish limit on the sec­ond and fi­nal day.

Some an­glers that got one fish the pre­vi­ous day, once again man­aged one while for oth­ers; it was time to draw a to­tal blank.

Dur­ing prize giv­ing, the new Ju­nior Protea Na­tional team was an­nounced:

Big­gest fish for the two day tour­na­ment came from ten year old Dian Coxen with a stun­ning 2.68kg fish caught on S-Bend us­ing a Stretch 40.

Many young­sters head back to their homes with bro­ken dreams and a de­ter­mi­na­tion to come back next year and get the green blazer while oth­ers go home tired, yet happy with their ef­forts.

A huge thanks must be given to the or­ga­niz­ers, par­ents and of course the skip­pers who not only give their time freely to host these fu­ture leg­endary an­glers but who, through their ef­forts en­sure that the sport of bass fish­ing stays alive and keeps grow­ing.

All prov­inces wrap­ping up a tough tour­na­ment on the Vaal River

Big­gest fish of the tour­na­ment

Easterns - the win­ning team for 2018

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.