Interview with Dave Beattie
Q. So Dave, well done on your name cropping up in the top end of the results a lot recently in Zimbabwe! While you have always been up there, what can you attribute your recent run of results to? Dave: Thank you, Clint. My recent positive results come from the fact that the lake conditions of the various venues have suited my style of fishing. The November win at Claw Dam was under summer conditions with warm water and prolific weed growth in the shallows. This weed growth brings the bait, and therefore the fish, into the shallows and that suits my style of fishing. Even though the water was very high at Mazvikadei, it was still warm and the fish were active in the shallows. Q. How do you approach a tournament like a classic or a national test? What preparation is actually done behind the scenes? Dave: First and foremost, all tackle must be thoroughly checked, cleaned, lubricated and in good working order. I will determine the colour of the water and base my bait selection on that. I carry a wide selection of finesse baits and power baits, i.e. pitching baits, frogs and spinnerbaits. I endeavour to have one day of practise in order to ascertain what’s going on with the lake, and also what stage the fish may be in by tournament time (spawn, post- spawn, etc.). This information should help you select what line size you need to use as well. It is important to cover water so that if you figure out a pattern, you know where to go to try and duplicate those conditions. Q. If you were to fish a “One Lure, One Rod” tournament on an anonymous dam, what would your set-up be and why? Dave: I would go with a spinnerbait and 17lb fluorocarbon line on a 6’6” medium-heavy casting rod with a standard Curado reel that has a 6.3:1 retrieve ratio. This would let me cover water and give me a chance to catch some big fish. If the tournament was in the middle of winter, I would choose to fish a 5” Senko on 15lb fluorocarbon on a 7’2” Crucial rod and a Curado reel. Q. Your recent victory at Mazvikadei - Can you share how you caught your fish? Dave: Yes. Basically, I used two rods. The first set-up consisted of a 6’6” medium-heavy casting rod, a standard Curado reel that has a 6.3:1 retrieve ratio and I was slow-rolling a ⅜oz small-profile Stanley wedge spinnerbait on 17lb fluorocarbon line. The second, and most important, set-up consisted of a G.Loomis GLX 7’5” fast-action pitching rod, rated 17-25lb, paired with a Shimano Castaic pitching reel with 65lb braid. On the terminal tackle side, I used a ¾oz tungsten sinker and a 3/0 EWG Superline hook from Gamakatsu. I was pitching a Berkley Pit Boss or a small Wild Thing in green pumpkin to chicamba weed points. The bite was mainly on the bottom in 6 to 8 foot water. The spinnerbait was used to cover the water between pitching areas and produced some nice fish as well. Q. Any words of wisdom for new anglers out there? Dave: My wife equates my success to a quote from the legendary golfer, Gary Player: “The more I practice, the luckier I get”. It couldn’t be truer. Like all sports, practise is essential. In order to win tournaments, you need to catch the big fish, not just a limit of keepers. The big fish are smarter and you won’t fool them with a poor presentation. Don’t worry so much about filling out your limit; figure out how to get the big fish in the live well. I strongly recommend that every time you visit a venue, write down what you glean from your visit. This includes time of year, water conditions, etc. As equally important, record what other anglers did to beat you. These notes will help you immensely in years to come. With regards to your fishing plan, you must be willing to be adaptable and versatile; if your plan is not working, try something else. If your area seems dead - move! Be prepared to try something different. Until next time, fish on Dad!