“Re­trieval Tech­niques – Crankbaits (Part 5)”

SA Bass - - Contents - >> Roger Don­ald­son*

I go to bed at night think­ing about one par­tic­u­lar oc­ca­sion where mod­i­fy­ing a re­trieval ac­tion changed a day of fish­ing into some­thing in­cred­i­ble. I’m boil­ing over with sto­ries from past ex­pe­ri­ences out on the wa­ter, crankbait fish­ing for bass – Roger Don­ald­son

Igo to bed at night think­ing about one par­tic­u­lar oc­ca­sion where mod­i­fy­ing a re­trieval ac­tion changed a day of fish­ing into some­thing in­cred­i­ble. I’m boil­ing over with sto­ries from past ex­pe­ri­ences out on the wa­ter, crankbait fish­ing for bass. I’m go­ing to set­tle with you and ad­mit that tar­get­ing bass on a crankbait is amongst my top three strate­gies.

If you’re think­ing to your­self, “Hang on, surely you cast and re­trieve no mat­ter what crankbait I’m fish­ing?” Well you’re not en­tirely wrong, but there’s re­ally so much more you can do that turns your re­trieve from dull, to struc­ture spe­cific and re­ac­tion in­duc­ing. Here are my top three days I’ve en­joyed and the small dif­fer­ences which sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanced the days catch:

Renos­terkop Dam with a li­p­less crankbait

rec­ol­lec­tions, as shal­low fish­ing like this is quite un­usual. If any of my fish­ing friends are read­ing this I’m sure they’re grin­ning al­ready.

It goes with­out say­ing that the li­p­less crankbait is a per­fect tool in search­ing for bass around grassy cover. This time I had found my­self grav­i­tat­ing to­wards very shal­low wa­ter (2 to 5ft deep) and sparsely dot­ted with ten­drils of veg­e­ta­tion ris­ing up from the bot­tom.

Over the years, I’ve quickly learned that bass do not like a crankbait with hooks trail­ing any weed, or veg­e­ta­tion. You need to be vig­i­lant about fish­ing around the veg­e­ta­tion, or have the abil­ity to rip the hooks free dur­ing your re­trieve. With the hooks hold­ing any for­eign mat­ter, the lures nat­u­ral swim­ming ac­tion will be lost and you can­not de­liver an en­tic­ing pro­file for the bass.

In this sit­u­a­tion three im­por­tant points were prac­ticed. Keep your rod tip elevated to stay away from the silt on the shal­low bot­tom, guide your lure around the veg­e­ta­tion to pre­vent snag­ging, con­firm the baits nat­u­ral pul­sat­ing ac­tion in the tip of the rod and in your hands by keeping check with the pace of your re­trieve. Too slow - no feel, no bite.

Fi­nal re­sult: Ten fish in ten min­utes, in­clud­ing three fish over 2kg and one over 3kg.

Nan­doni deep down with a DD22

On the op­po­site end of the spec­trum, deep wa­ter (16 to 20ft) crankbait fish­ing is in a world of its own. I’m al­ways sur­prised by the qual­ity of fish that this tech­nique pro­duces.

Nan­doni dam pro­vides some truly spec­tac­u­lar, qual­ity, deep wa­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties en­hanced by flooded

tim­ber, shale banks, creek chan­nels, and un­der­wa­ter brush piles. It re­ally is a bass fish­er­man’s dream venue. On one par­tic­u­lar oc­ca­sion though I was go­ing to put the largest crankbait I owned to good use and probe the deep wa­ter just off the hard gravel banks.

Crankbaits with a very large lip and body are quite tax­ing to fish. Firstly, a long cast is very im­por­tant. This will en­hance your abil­ity to re­trieve the bait down to its de­signed depth and then work it long enough be­fore the lure starts ris­ing again at the end of your re­trieve. Sec­ondly, the large lip dis­places a sub­stan­tial amount of wa­ter com­pared to smaller ones. There­fore, you need to put in far more ef­fort wind­ing and hold­ing against the pres­sure in or­der to get the most de­sir­able swim­ming ac­tion. This will only be re­alised by a very prom­i­nent thump­ing feel­ing in your fin­ger­tips and through the back­bone of the rod. If the lure is thump­ing the bass will be jump­ing!

Fi­nal re­sult: First fish 3,8kg and the largest of the event. Al­bert Falls flats and the DT10

When the dam level is full, the flooded brush and young wat­tle trees out on Al­bert Falls Dam Ridge pro­vide for some ex­cel­lent hunt­ing grounds around the spring time. In this area I caught the most bass in twenty min­utes on a crankbait to date. I didn’t make a cast with­out land­ing a fish, but the re­trieval tech­nique was cru­cial.

The crankbait I rigged is de­signed to swim at a depth of 10ft. The day we were fish­ing the Ridge area the limbs and tips of the flooded struc­ture started at around 5ft and as we ven­tured off the plateau the depth would grad­u­ally in­crease to around 15ft – per­fect!

The key was also to vary the el­e­va­tion of your rod tip - high when shal­low and then low­ered grad­u­ally as the depth in­creased. The fish were mov­ing in to­ward the shal­lows us­ing the tops of the sub­merged struc­ture as their mi­gra­tory route. By skip­ping the crankbait nim­bly over the top it was the prime in­ter­sec­tion to en­counter our tar­get species, the large­mouth bass. Only, be­ware to al­low your fin­ger­tips to feel when your crankbait runs up against the out­stretched branches. Halt your re­trieve for a sec­ond or two and then slowly trickle the lure through and past.

Fi­nal re­sult: Catch­ing twenty fish con­sec­u­tively on a crankbait in a mat­ter of only twenty min­utes, each fish weigh­ing be­tween one and 2kg was ex­hil­a­ra­tion to fuel a life­time of mem­o­ries.

As we ap­proach the dead of win­ter I am sure you will be able to place these tech­niques well and use them to im­prove your cold wa­ter fish­ing strate­gies.

*Roger Don­ald­son is an ex­pe­ri­enced jour­nal­ist and knowl­edge­able bass an­gler who has en­joyed many en­light­en­ing hours with many of South Africa’s top, com­pet­i­tive bass fish­er­men. As a com­pet­i­tive an­gler him­self, he also en­joys shar­ing his ex­per­tise with fel­low bass fa­nat­ics in the hope that they find the same joy in this unique sport.

Tar­get­ing bass on a crankbaits can be un­for­get­table

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.