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.

SA Bass - - Contents -

“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.

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