SA Bass

CLASSROOM

Barometer App - The blue squares on this barometer App show the pressure. Note the sudden drop in barometric pressure. So, the Thursday morning would be the ideal time to have been on the water

- >> Len de Kramer

“Can You Handle The Pressure?” Whenever I buy a fishing magazine, I always go straight to the “readers go fishing” section. I love looking at pictures of everyday people catching quality bass – Len de Kramer

Whenever I buy a fishing magazine, I always go straight to the “readers go fishing” section. I love looking at pictures of everyday people catching quality bass. Don’t get me wrong, photos of the pro’s catching are always exciting! However, when I see Oom Jannie and Tannie Sannie catching, it makes fishing seem more realistic for me. If they can catch big bass, then so can I!

In an old May 2016 edition of SA Bass magazine, I saw a couple of pictures from a family that went fishing at Little Long Creek near Vrede in the Free State. There were photos ranging from little kids through to grandparen­ts with their prized fish. It seems everyone was catching that weekend. A quick search on Google showed Little Long Creek was a private dam on a stud farm. It was stocked with Florida bass and offered very reasonable accommodat­ion. Without delay, I phoned my mate Abrie and booked a weekend stay at the dam. We wanted our wives to get into fishing, so we dragged them along too.

The venue was great; a large farm dam and only us staying at the cottage. The whole place to ourselves!

The Saturday morning Abrie and I were up early due to the prospect of good fishing and headed down to the water.

Unbelievab­ly, Abrie was on with his second cast. He was still landing his fish when my first bass struck. We were both next to the water for under five minutes and both pulling in our first fish. The next cast held another fish. The next one again. It was some of the most intense fishing I had ever done. We landed just under twenty fish in thirty minutes. We were so spoilt, that we started changing our lures to see which ones were more effective. If a fish did not bite in three casts, then that lure was cast aside and another one tried. We wanted to get the best combos for when

the girls woke up and joined us. This would be the day they got hooked on fishing!

A steady breeze picked up and we headed up towards the house for breakfast. Then that breeze grew into a howling wind that did not abate until we left Sunday evening. We never caught another fish that whole weekend. No matter what we tried, we could not coax another bite. We used a boat with a fish finder, tried structure, deep water (9m in places) and shallows. Not a single bite. Needless to say, the girls were not too impressed.

This really bothered me and I started wondering why the fishing was so good and then suddenly so bad. A lot of research in this topic suggests that it all has to do with the barometer. Fish feel the bad weather approachin­g by sensing the drop in atmospheri­c pressure (barometer). They feed in a frenzy to gorge themselves and then wait through the passing storm.

How does air pressure work?

When air is cold, it sinks. So, a cold front is a high pressure system. Lots of cold air molecules descend from up high and cause an increased atmospheri­c pressure. Cold fronts are usually cloudless blue sky days. While these days are fantastic for photograph­y and boat rides, they are not great for fishing. This is because fish have a swim bladder that reacts to the atmosphere pressure. These changes in pressure make the fish lethargic and disturb their eating patterns, much like a middle ear infection in humans.

When we think of a cold front, we think of clouds and rain, but in truth, this is not the cold front. This is the low pressure system that always precedes a cold front. Before a cold front hits, the pressure drops as a low pressure system moves in, and then this gets replaced by a cold front.

A low pressure system, also known as a depression occurs when the weather is dominated by unstable conditions. Under a depression air is rising, forming an area of low pressure at the surface. This rising air cools and condenses and helps encourage cloud formation, so the weather is often cloudy and wet. While the air rises, the pressure is lifted and becomes low. This fall in barometric pressure is the golden time to fish as this is the time when bass are at their most active. When the front arrives, there is a sharp rise in pressure as the cold air settles in and pushes down on the earth. Once a cold front has been around for a couple of days, the fish will come back on to the bite because they are able to adjust to the new high pressure in the area. Unfortunat­ely, barometric pressure cannot be predicted like normal weather can. However, it can be monitored. There are many barometer apps available for smartphone­s as well as actual barometers that you could get your hands on. So what does this mean for the average weekend warrior fisherman like you and me? If you are planning a fishing trip, keep your eye on the weather prediction­s. Watch SABC news and pay attention when they show the different fronts moving towards your fishing spot. Had Abrie and I known about the effects of barometric pressure before our weekend, we would have woken the girls up at 05:00 on the Saturday morning and gotten three good hours of unbelievab­le fishing in before the front hit. If you know a cold front is going to hit, try your best to fish just before the weather turns sour as this will maximize your fishing experience and help you catch more as well as bigger bass in a shorter period of time. Remember that you are not necessaril­y looking for an extremely low barometric pressure as this is not ideal for fishing either, but rather a falling pressure because this indicates an approachin­g front. Goodluck and Happy New Year!

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa