Venue: Mogol River below Mokolo Dam (Waterberg Fishing Adventures)
Date: 25 to 27 August 2017
Isn’t it strange how things sometimes find a way of coming together?
Early in the year Evert Laubscher and Anton Bouwer set a date to spend a weekend at Mokolo Dam during the same time period as their visit there from last year. Coincidentally, this same date which they planned months in advance, turned out to be on the same weekend a Mokolo Bass Trail comp was taking place at the dam. So, there plans changed from going on a social trip to competing in the comp.
Anton and Evert did pretty well at this comp and managed to take a third place finish. Competing in the comp allowed Anton and Evert to get to know some of the locals that compete in the MBT comp and so it happened that Evert met Albert Erasmus or as many of his friends know him “Alla”. Soon after meeting Alla, a trip was being arranged to fish some of the pristine waters which Alla have access to in the Mogol River. Evert invited me to join him on this trip and so it came to be that we found ourselves en-route to fish this promising venue for a weekend.
Alla created a company, Waterberg Fishing Adventures, which gives anglers the opportunity to fish a few different sections of the Mogol River. All of these sections form part of farms and are therefore inaccessible to the public. Though Alla has managed to open up these fantastic fishing opportunities to keen anglers like ourselves. The advantages of restricted venues like this is that it often boasts incredible fishing due to the low fishing pressure it receives. Alla said that less than 10 people fished the area we would visit the next day in the last year – now that is low fishing pressure! Another cool thing about this water is that is has clear water with good visibility most of the year.
These pools boasts high numbers of fat, super strong bass, big kurper as well as a number of other species. There are plenty of bait fish around and a variety of different habitats that range from reeds, sand banks and drop-offs, overhanging trees, grass and snotterbelle carpets etc. Another reason we were excited to fish this venue was the fact that it had produced a bass over 5 kg and plenty of 2 to 3 kg models to date. As many anglers know, Mokolo Dam has its fair share of lunkers, so it would be expected that the river below the dam would also hold big fish.
The venue also boasts trophy redbreast and canary kurper as well as plenty of makriel. When it comes to accommodation, anglers get to stay in the bush in a luxury lodge with well furnished chalets, fully equip kitchen and a flippin lekker lapa with a donga where you can share fishing stories after a day on the water while enjoying a lekker braai. The lodge also has a swimming pool for those hot days when you need to cool down (as the river is not an option due to crocs and hippos). The cherry on the cake is that you can bring your wife/girlfriend with so they can enjoy the spa facilities while you nail the fish on the water.
We arrived at the lodge late on Friday evening and then enjoyed a braai with Alla and his good friend Bez. The plan was to hit the water at first light the following morning. I would fish with Bez from his boat, while Evert and Alla fished together on Alla’s boat. Bez threw a Zarra Spook to start of the day as the venue normally produces well on top water lures. I decided to try out the new 5.5 cm Rattlin’ Hornet.
The stretch we were fishing formed large part of the river that has been dammed up by two weirs. There were easily enough water to handle three boats for a day and we were amazed with all the different options of cover and structure which the river boasts. Ironically, we were met with a cold front on this day (after a week of hot sunny weather). It was going to be cold windy day with overcast weather, but we were still positive that we could catch some quality fish.
One would think that the bass would smash top water baits with the overcast weather, but strange enough, we didn’t experience any action on them that morning. I managed to hook up with a good size specimen on my Rattlin’ Hornet, but it threw my hook at the boat. I estimate it to be around 1.5-1.8 kg range. The fish gave an incredible fight, much harder fighting than the specimens from the dam.
Bez caught a nice lunker a little later with a jig which he worked on a drop-off next to a submerged sand bank. Nice 2 kg football-shaped bass. Meanwhile, Evert and Alla discovered a pattern that put them on numerous green ones. Off-shore cover in deeper water did the trick. Casting big ribbon-tail worms on a light mojo rig next to grass patches produced the goods. Most of the takes were on the drop or with the first pull, close to the structure. Natural colours such as watermelon green was the preferred colour at this time. We joined up with them a switched to similar baits and soon carnage followed as each of us went tight every few casts. The fish were all good sizes, over 1 kg.
The bite was very good for the cold conditions. We moved down further down the river and came across a promising looking carpet of snotterbelle. I made an accurate cast to place my ribbon tail worm as close as possible to this structure and let it sink to the bottom. I waited a few seconds and then saw my line shaking. Immediately I set the hook – I could feel this was a solid catch! It pulled of the line from my reel with such ease as I was trying to maneuver it away from the structure. The beast then jumped we confirmed both Bez and my expectations – 3 kg job! I pulled it close to the boat, but this fish had no intention of giving up yet! It continued peeling off the line from my reel and in the heat of the moment my line went slack…it snapped my 14 lbs line. Eish, never lekker to lose big fish.
We continued working down a stretch a found a nice lay down next to the river. Here Bez and I went tight with two small rats. We didn’t want to work down further as we were afraid of meeting the local hippos that stay there and therefore commenced working back up in the river.
In the mean time Evert and Alla caught several more good fish including two fish over 2 kg. At one spot we found some grass carpets in relatively shallow water. I got stuck in the carpet and trying to pull my lure out with force. As the lure shot loose out of the structure I saw a big swirl behind my lure – a bass tried to take it as it shot passed them. I made another cast over the carpets and decided to bring in my paddletail on the surface (as you would work a Horny Toad over the carpets). Again as my lure came over the edge of the carpet, I saw a big swirl behind my lure. I made another cast and repeated this technique. As I reeled in the lure over the grass, I saw a big swirl once again and this time my lure was gone! I set the hook and was once again treated to a fair size bass and a good fight. On top water of all techniques.
I decided to change to a Horny Toad and try to repeat my success, but had no more success with this.
We moved to a narrow channel where Bez caught his biggest bass for the day with a jig and worked this area hard again. Bez hooked up with another big bass on jig soon after and I caught a solid one on my Salmo Rattlin’ Sting jerkbait. The take of this catch was quite unique as it took my jerkbait on the pause with small vibrations jumping up my line instead of the usual smash-and-on bite.
I didn’t catch any more fish with this jerkbait, though Bez caught another one this technique. At this stage our boat’s battery was flat as we had to battle against the wind for most of the day and we decided to call it a day.
At the end of the day, we had an extremely good day on the water when taking the cold crappy weather in to consideration. Between the four of us we landed in excess of 40 bass (only 3 bass under 1 kg) with both boats catching 8 kg bags (5 biggest fish). All fish were released in a strong conditions.
That evening we enjoyed a great braai at the lodge and caught up with the ladies who was thrilled with their spa day.
The next day we only fished a short session. The weather was much better, but the fishing was off. Seems like the effects of the cold front only hit now. I landed a solid one on worm and Evert caught some on Rattlin’ Sting and flukes. Bez also caught a few on flukes.
We look forward to fish these great waters again when the weather is hotter, then we can catch some of the other cool species available. Thank you Alla and Bez for your hospitality; we enjoyed our stay and the privilege to fish these untamed waters.
If you wish to fish this venue, contact Albert on 082 927 4370 and look up there page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/waterbergfishing/