SA BASS SPY
I thought it was most appropriate to let you in on some crucial tactics which seasoned anglers use which give them that profound edge on the next angler.
“Secrets of South Africa’s Pros Scouting (Part-2)” I thought it was most appropriate to let you in on some crucial tactics which seasoned anglers use which give them that profound edge on the next angler. Scouting – The Bass Spy
I n my competitive days I would remind my wife that the weekend ahead was my weekend for practising in preparation for an upcoming bass fishing event. No matter what the event; a monthly Cast-for-Cash event, or national annual open tournament the need to assess the fishing environment prior is critical. I could never really get my point across to my partner, but the reasons become very evident when you arrive at the water’s edge and consider all the possible environmental factors which impact your fishing.
Scouting is an immense effort to understand the challenge ahead. This section is intense and will take me a few months to describe to you in detail exactly what I am looking for in my scouting efforts. I intend to do as thoroughly as possible for you and it should take the next few issues to get it all on the table, so let’s start at the beginning.
Mapping your fishery
This will apply both to boat and bank anglers alike. Bass fishermen can make a tremendous amount of decision about where the bass will locate to just by looking at Google Earth, or a topo map (topographical map). Some of the following can be highlighted just from maps: - Tributaries, or rivers Islands and humps River channels, points and drop-off’s Boat or yacht mooring areas, docks and jetties Dam walls, steep and shallow embankments Trees, vegetation and soil substrate Deep water and shallow water areas - Old flooded structures, including cattle kraals, dam walls, air strips, trees and stumps, fences, excavated areas, rock piles, and erosion channels are some examples.
One of my favourite past times is spent on Google Earth rewinding and then forward winding the timeline to view the different maps as water levels change across the years. This can reveal some pretty exciting stuff, including many of the above mentioned.
I have numerous dams which I would like to use as examples. Two of my favourite examples of the effectiveness of using Google to scout a fishery are Nandoni Dam and Rhenosterkop Dam. If you’re willing and able try opening Google Earth quickly, type in Nandoni Dam, Thohoyandou. Now zoom in to the south east embankment between the camp site and the wall area - a whole lot of water. Now click on historical imagery – it’s the little clock icon at the top of the screen with the green arrow. A scale will pop up. Now drag the scale back to the year 2003. Zoom in enough and you can highlight copious amounts of wonderful structures which are now flooded. If you’re smart you can overlay your saved place marks on to your GPS.
Unfortunately this little strategy does not work with all dams as there simply isn’t sufficient mapping data available, but I would highly suggest you try it before visiting your next fishing venue. I spend hours looking into all that detail and have enjoyed many fishing days reaping the fruits!
Of course, heading off to your favourite fishery around a drought would also be a very clever way to scout and I am sure my fellow Capetonian’s took full advantage of this recently. If you haven’t perhaps there’s still a little time though before the much needed rain has been.
If my example was fun for you maybe try Rhenosterkop Dam and now. I don’t want to give everything away, but head off to the western end, where the river channel starts winding its way into the dam. Play around with the Google Earth features to rewind and see what you can highlight from my list of structures and features to consider.
Obtaining and sifting through topographical maps is a very old strategy which bass anglers used to understand their fishing grounds. You can still use the technique to highlight many of the features mentioned earlier, including where rivers enter the dam, channels, points, humps, dropoffs, steep and shallow banks, as well as deep or shallow water areas.
Of course, after all the scouting I am sure you will want to know why we are looking for all of these features and they can help us find bass. That is the great adventure and we will learn all of this right here.
*The Bass Spy has fished alongside and been exposed to the secrets and tactics of many competitive bass anglers on waters throughout the continent. This column is dedicated to all fanatical bass enthusiasts looking for the inside track and an edge on their favourite past time.