DES­TI­NA­TION

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

SA Bass - - Contents - >> John Baden­horst*

“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

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