Venue: De Hoop Dam
The morning of the comp arrived and we amped to take on the bull by the horns! In a rush we packed our boat and soon enough we were waiting in a queue to launch our boat. While most guys waited in the queue for their turn to launch, two arrogant fools decided to skip the queue and push in front of us. I must say that I was enraged with this behaviour, so much for sportsmanship! After the two fools launched everyone went on their turn and soon we were more than 30 boats on the water.
The atmosphere was filled with excitement and I couldn’t wait for the pull-away, as I was super keen to fish my first bass comp. Before the comp begun we quickly took a few snapshots of the two Salmo Lures teams who would participate in the Bass Bandits Social Comp on this day. On the one side we have Evert Laubscher teamed up with Francois Nel who would fish under the name; Team Salmo Slider, on the other side, Koos and I were teamed up as Team Salmo Hornet.
As we pulled away, Koos and I decided to head to the area where we spotted a few decent size bass the previous day (our only real bass spot lol – so much for pre-fishing!).
I started off with a heavy tungsten Texas-rigged fluke. We pitched against the deep-submerged trees with no luck. We then decided to move deeper in to the brush where we spotted the bass on our last visit to this spot. I decided to use a weightless rig as the bass we saw were holding high up in the water column. Ironically, I decided to rather use one of my spinning rigs for this situation as I know that it would be much easier to make accurate long casts with this rig rather than struggle to cast this light setup with my casting rig. Must admit this was the first time in ages that I fished a plastic on a spinning rig – nevertheless, the combination worked like a charm as I could flick my lure with ease in to every nook and cranny, working it with a fast paced action close to the surface.
Weightless Fluke Rig:
- Abu Garcia Veritas 6.6 ft MH spinning rod
- Penn Clash 2500 spinning reel
- Berkley Fireline Crystal 20 lbs. line
- Hayabusa size 4 Round Shank Bass Hook
- Culprit Floozy Watermelon Gold
It wasn’t long before the first keeper smacked my lure – our account was open for the day! We continued fishing in between the thick brush and Koos managed to catch a small rat while I missed a keeper.
We moved around from spot to spot with no success except for a few embarrassingly small bass which we would rather not take to the scale. Eventually we moved back to the spot where I landed our only keeper earlier that morning. We decided to try a few different tactics. I decided to fish with a tungsten-rigged brush hog next to deep standing trees, while Koos rigged a small strikingly white sinko which he worked weightless through the submerged tree tops. Koos had some bad luck as he got snapped by three keepers – seems his spinning rod wasn’t up to fishing for these strong bass!
The up-side of losing these fish is that we now knew that the bass were holding in the branches of submerged trees in 4 m + water and that they were holding relatively high up in the water column. I swopped over to my Veritas with a weightless fluke and as I worked it at a fast pace through one of the submerged tree tops I picked up another keeper. Unfortunately, we were now standing on only 2 keepers and a bucket load of rats which we refused to weigh as part of our bag. It was around 13:00, so we only had 3 hours left before we needed to have our tag back on the board at the weigh-in. I decided to give Evert a call to hear how they were doing. After an informative chat with him, I was ready to try our luck again to at least full up our bag! Evert managed to land a solid 2kg fish by fishing the outer rims of trees in deep water with a light Texas-rigged 5 inch Damiki Loach in Junebug colour and their bag was full.
I decided to mimic what he told me and lucky for us Koos had one packet of 5 inch Damiki Loach’s in Junebug colour. I added a small splitshot on my rig and swopped my fluke to one of these Loaches. We moved on and looked for deep submerged trees on points; didn’t take long to find one. As we approached the point on our sneaker motor we heard a disturbance – some local kids were swimming in the shallows. I made a long cast towards one of the trees on the point; a perfect cast as my lure fell right next to the tree and I left it to sink. I turned to Koos and told him “I think those kids in the shallows might be the only action we see for today”. My words weren’t cold before my line was yanked hard; a solid fish was swimming with my line! After a short hard fight I managed to land our biggest bass of the day, estimate it around 1.8 kg. The next hour was pretty insane as I managed to catch four more keepers all around 1.3 -1.6 kg and Koos also landed a nice keeper! Within a few minutes we moved from only two fish in our bag to culling our bag to only the biggest fish – what a lekker feeling the two of us experienced as we were super pumped! Most of the bass here took our lures on the drop as our lures sunk next to the submerged trees.
We moved on to a next point which didn’t produce any fish and then decided to head back to the launch and weigh our fish to prevent one of our fish dying. At the end of the day we had a difficult day on the water, but it was still very educational and a lot of fun! Our bag weighed in a 5.84 kg – thus, allowing Team Salmo Hornet to end 15th out of 33 teams. Evert and Francois as Team Salmo Slider ended in 23rd place with a bag of 3.91 kg (unfortunately they could add a few bigger keepers to complement their lunker). Massive congrats to Team Go Fish (Buks and Brian) with their win of the comp and their awesome bag of 8.99 kg – was lekker to catch up with them over the weekend!
Well done to Tania Goldstone of catching the biggest bass of the event; a 2.48 kg lunker which won her an awesome Salmo Lures hamper as well as an Ugly Stick sponsored by AFSA. In the pic you can see her husband receiving the awesome prize.
Thanks for all the guys that made us feel welcome at the comp as well as Louis Cooper for helping us out with some heavily needed cold beers after such a hot day on the water – super thankful bud! Looking forward to the next event in 2016!
Lastly, big thanks to Andre van Staden and his team for all their hard work in organising this comp for us – you did well, the comp can only improve from here on further!
On Sunday Koos and I smacked the kurper again, we caught so many that we eventually got bored! Seems like the kurper, catfish and yellows just loved scavenging under the nesting fowl, as they devoured anything we offered to them.
Spinning rig for kurper and yellows:
- 7 ft Abu Garcia Veracity Medium action spinning rod
- Penn Clash 2000 spinning reel
- 12 lbs. Berkley Nanofil line
- Size 12 Mustad Hook with a small piece of Berkley Powerbait Wiggler (Pink) rigged with a small splitshot weight about 15 cm above the hook
Evert and Francois found a promising bass spot where they got stuck on several lunkers in the 1.3 kg to 1.8 kg range – they filled up a 8 kg + bag in just a few hours! After an entertaining morning session we went back to Die Ou Staalwiel where we packed up and hit the road back home with a few new stories to share!