New venues can be daunting with fish behaviour very much dependent upon a variety of factors. With research and planning, disaster can in most cases be avoided and if in the unfortunate event that disaster does strike, roll with the punches and solve prob
“New spot, now what?” New venues can be daunting with fish behaviour very much dependent upon a variety of factors – John Badenhorst
At the time of writing this article for the magazine, I find myself in the thriving metropolis of Tzaneen up near the top part of South Africa and as it’s been over 35 years since I’ve last been here, it’s been a real eye opener. As MC for the interprovincial tournament taking place, I get to chat to many of the anglers and teams and although many of these anglers have years of experience, there is always some sort of apprehension when it comes to their approach to a new body of water. For some anglers, this will be the first time to fish Tzaneen Dam and if you’re just like any other anglers, there is always some mystery coupled with a slight touch of fear and excitement of the so called unknown.
Having been in this exact situation a number of times over the last few years, and although daunting, fishing a new venue shouldn’t give you nightmares but instead should be remembered as another in your great adventures into the world of bass fishing.
When approaching a new venue, take some time to talk to other anglers that have gone and fished before you, get some basic information and spend some time with Google. Going through maps and articles related to the venue that you are planning to fish will help you a great deal in the planning phase of your journey. Check out prevailing weather conditions and past weather patterns. This is extremely important as you don’t want to spend almost a full day of driving and to get to a venue only to have bad weather for most or at least a good portion of the time you had planned to be out on the water. Research will also tell you basics about the venue such as structure, the type of
baitfish available, water clarity and average temperature. If I look at Tzaneen, the dam itself sits amongst one stretch of hills lush with vegetation and a typically tropical climate and yet, we are in the so called malaria belt of South Africa and caution needs to be taken. Something else that some anglers might not know is that the dam itself has a very healthy population of large crocodiles and even larger and meaner hippos. These creatures will make very short work of your boat and in all likelihood, send you on a hasty journey to the pearly gates. These are all simple things that should be taken into account before even getting onto the water.
Finding out about water levels and launching conditions will avoid potential headaches in your adventure. An incredible source of information about a venue would be to speak to the locals. Make no mistakes, they will not tell you about all of their sweet spots but they will in general share some basic information that will help you get a clearer picture of what you might be facing. At least in this current situation of interprovs, all the information gathering and research has been split up amongst members of the teams taking part in this event. As a social angler, some of this information can and will be extremely helpful indeed. Another source of good information in general happens to be from the local tackle shops, these guys and business owners rely on our support as anglers and will be helpful in identifying patterns, colours and types of baits that can be used to greater success at a new venue.
Although at the time of writing this, the rest of the country is gripped in a rather chilly spell, the average ambient temperature here is around 25ºC and then nights drop down to around 10ºC. Water temperatures are in the high teens to early twenties and yet one must not make the mistake in thinking that the fishing will be much easier since its warmer. The bottom line is that no matter where you happen to be fishing especially this time of the year, the fish are in winter feeding mode and slowing things down will greatly enhance your chances of having a successful adventure.
Always be prepared for the unexpected, whether it is adverse weather and wind or a vehicle breakdown or trouble with a boat motor. Your basic preparation will also negate what baits to cart along into the great unknown instead of dragging along enough to stock a brand new tackle shop or two.
New venues can be daunting with fish behaviour very much dependent upon a variety of factors. With research and planning, disaster can in most cases be avoided and if in the unfortunate event that disaster does strike, roll with the punches and solve problems as they come along.
The bottom line is to do some research, planning, more research and then more planning and then to go out there, enjoy the adventure and always remember to have fun.
A new venue shouldn’t give you nightmares but instead should be remembered as another in your great adventures