Lit­tle baits — big bites

MID­MAR: Good fish­ing in the sum­mer­time shal­lows

Weekend Witness - - Sport - GRANT HE­WITT In­for­ma­tion bass

AS the rain has abated, the heat has come with a scorch­ing pas­sion, rais­ing water tem­per­a­tures to lev­els that nor­mally shut bass down. For­tu­nately, the fish have had more rea­sons to stay shal­low than to turn and head off to the break-lines in search of deeper, cooler water.

I fished a Preda­tor Bass Club com­pe­ti­tion this past Sun­day at Mid­mar, a venue I have fool­ishly not fished for many months. I pulled up to my first shal­low area in the hopes of at least catch­ing a lone ranger or two, and was un­der­stand­ably con­tent when not long af­ter that my brother Craig and I both had five fish lim­its. The fish were no giants, but were a re­fresh­ing re­minder of good fish­ing in the sum­mer­time shal­lows. I man­aged a sec­ond place fin­ish, with the top spot for the day go­ing to Shaun Botes from Aqua Marine — well done Shaun. We caught all our fish on two baits — a horny toad, which is no new­comer to the ranks and a new plas­tic bait called the lit­tle spanky, which is cat­e­gorised as a pad­dle-tail swim-bait. At a com­pact 10 cen­time­tres and de­signed for max­i­mum ac­tion from min­i­mum bulk, it is a true win­ner. I rig it on a 2/0 swim hook and peg a 1/16oz tung­sten weight on the front. What you now have is a stream­lined, weed­less swim-bait that can go any­where and will ap­peal to fish in any mood. This rig is as close as you will get to im­i­tat­ing the preva­lent bait­fish. All you have to do is match your colour to the bait­fish and you are ready to go. The best part about this rig is the sim­plic­ity in its ap­pli­ca­tion. It is a straight­for­ward chunk and wind process, in which I keep the bait just a few inches be­low the sur­face and main­tain a steady re­trieve. If you do not tempt a bite on a likely look­ing piece of cover, you can eas­ily “kill” the bait and let it drop into the zone, which of­ten “force feeds” the fish. That throbbing tail is ex­tremely en­tic­ing on the fall and is a sure-fire way to de­mand bites from un­der­ac­tive fish. Most lo­cal tackle deal­ers should al­ready have stock of this magic lit­tle bait, and trust me it is a def­i­nite per­ma­nent ad­di­tion to your plas­tic bait se­lec­tion. On the colour se­lec­tion, en­sure you have a com­bi­na­tion of nat­u­ral, lighter hues as well as darker pat­terns. The nat­u­ral colours will ob­vi­ously do the busi­ness in cleaner water and the darker colours will cre­ate a more vis­i­ble sil­hou­ette in dingier water. With the ever present schools of bait­fish, pre­sen­ta­tions like this are a ma­jor pro­ducer of shal­low water bass, which have more rea­sons to stay shal­low than head deep.

Al­bert Falls has also been pro­duc­ing a hand­ful of good qual­ity fish, while the fish­ing at Inanda has taken a turn for the worse, largely due to the be­lieved ef­fects of the chem­i­cal spray­ing of the in­va­sive water hy­acinth. Although the chem­i­cals do not kill the fish, the added el­e­ments def­i­nitely dis­turb the fish and send them far off-shore — I would pre­sume to evade the un­nat­u­ral ad­di­tions to their en­vi­ron­ment. I would not worry, this sit­u­a­tion nor­mally turns it­self around and the fish­ing should re­turn to nor­mal in the up­per half of the dam in due course. If you do head to Inanda, I would sug­gest you con­cen­trate your ef­forts in the cleaner dam wall side of the im­pound­ment where the ef­fects are less.

So re­mem­ber to re­lease your catch alive to pro­long the sus­tain­abil­ity of our re­source. E-mail me with re­ports, pic­tures and ques­tions at zorthe­witt@hot­mail.com

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Lo­cal an­gler Zu­naid Buck­rood­een with an awe­some fish caught at Al­berts on a swim­bait re­cently.

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