Rudolph's Reel Adventures

The Good, The Cats & The Ugly – Part 2

Venue: Barberspan

Date: 12th to 14th December

After struggling to launch our boat due to residing water levels, we eventually made our way to our first spot. Everyone was keen to see what day 2 would deliver after catching an 18.3 kg beast of a catfish on the first day.

We pulled out our boat on the shore and quickly secured it; after which we grabbed our calling rods.

Calling setup for Catfish:

  • Blue Marlin Big Shot 13 ft Calling Rod
  • Penn Fathom Star Drag 12 reel
  • Berkley Whiplash 100 lbs. braided line
  • Lumé Lures Madpumkin Large Fast Sinking (different colours)

It wasn’t long before everyone caught a few, including a triple up by Chris, Koos and Victor. I hooked-up with another big catfish, but just like the monster of the previous day, it immediately threw my hook after setting the hook.


The morning went slow with only a few small fish coming out. I decided to switch over to trying for some of the tailing carp I saw on the close-by flats. Must say this was not one of my best carp sessions as I had a few hook-ups, but nothing seemed to stick. I cast to plenty of feeding fish with no luck, seems like these carp just showed zero interest in the leadhead I presented to them.

We moved around a bit with little success until we came across a small submerged island. On this island we caught several small catfish on calling, but no monsters. We decided to leave the island and head to the opposite bank which looked very promising. On our way to the bank we came across large shoals of Moggel. They were lying dead still below the surface with only their mouths opening and closing. I have never caught one of these elusive buggers before – finally, here was my chance to add a new species to my life list! As I set up my carp dipping rod to try and dip a few of them, I heard Koos excitedly calling me as he just landed his first Moggel and it was hooked solidly in the mouth! (Moggel are usually foulhooked, rare to catch one in the mouth).


Moggel on dipping setup:

  • Mitchell Privilege Pro 13 ft. Telescopic Rod
  • Abu Garcia Revo S casting reel
  • Berkley Fireline 20 lbs. line
  • Wolf Lures Small Carp Leadhead

I saw a smaller Moggel lying suspended within casting distance. With our Minn Kota trolling motor I moved closer on a low speed to ensure that I don’t spook the fish until I could reach the Moggel. With an accurate dip I placed my leadhead in the Moggels mouth; the Moggel then took the lure and after I set the hook it gave one short pull before surfacing. Chris netted the fish and I was super stoked to catch my very first Moggel on my first attempt for the day – with this new species added to my life list I know stood on 67 freshwater fish species caught on lure in Southern Africa.


The Moggel didn’t fight much which was a surprise to me. Must admit that this was one ugly fish, not really soft on the eyes! We saw several other Moggel hanging around; some were dark while others were a pale white colour with orange spots on them. I pretty sure some of them were spawning as I saw some of them earlier that day, which were swimming in circles after one another. Chris had some bad luck with the Moggel, only managing to foulhook one by accident.


The sun was heating up the water nicely by the afternoon and the wind subdued; we saw a few shallow bays explode with fish activity – hundreds of carp tailing in ankle deep water all over! Chris took this opportunity to target some of them on fly and he was very satisfied as he caught more than 10 of them in as little as two hours. Some of the other guys also enjoyed catching them on fly.



Victor managed another better size catfish (11 kg), while Koos got schooled by a monster that ran him on the rocks before coming off.

That afternoon the wind picked up again, it was blowing quite hard and all the dirty mud stained water was pushing up directly on the area we were fishing. We decided to call in the brown stained water as we weren’t very keen on tackling the waves to fish another spot. Koos and Victor waded down the one side of the bank, while Chris and I took on the other side. Everyone got a few hook-ups with small cats of up to 8 kg. I missed one big boy three times; with the third hook-up it once again threw my hook! Same thing happened with Chris which was a darn shame as it was his first hook-up with a solid cat.


At this stage, I realized that we need to critically look at the way and tackle that we use for these big cats as we were losing too many big ones. Like they say, the itch has started. Little did I know that the itch would need to get much worse before I really addressed the problem. (As mens dom is moet jy sukkel, soos my pa altyd sê).

We ended the day with a new specie added to our tally, a number of carp caught between the other guys and a lot of cats – with each of us losing a big one (Big Catfish 5 vs. Us 0).

The next day wasn’t much eventful. We woke up to windy weather and noticed that it was also colder. We decided to fish the river inlet and here we only managed to catch several small catfish; biggest being 8 kg. I had a few big cats which came to inspect my lure, but no takes. Chris was happy to add Moggel to his tally after he managed to dip on in the mouth and I also caught a slightly bigger one.
































The river was covered with schools of them. Everyone also managed to catch a few carp on this day on fly which was a lot of fun.


































And so another trip came to an end…I would need to visit Barberspan again as I had a score to settle with all the big cats we lost during this trip.

3 thoughts on “The Good, The Cats & The Ugly – Part 2

  1. Werner Nell

    Hi Rudolph, hoekom dink jy het die groot snorre so baie los gekom? Wat dink jy om anders te dien om dit te probeer voorkom? Dit spook darem by ‘n man as mens ordentlike visse verloor!

    1. Rudolph Post author

      Hi Werner. Ons het weer Barberspan besoek na hierdie trip en met hierdie volgende trip het ek sommer drie monsters in een dag verloor waarvan twee die hoek gegooi het en die derde een se hoek losgekom het na so 10 minute se geveg.
      Ek skat hierdie drie babers tussen 15 tot 22 kg. Na ek hierdie drie verloor het was ek verpletterd. Die goeie ding is dat ek wel al baie gedink het oor hoekom ek die vis verloor. My gevolgtrekkking is dat die drie angel hoeke se buig nie wyd genoeg is om die dik bek van hierdie groot babers te penetreer nie. Onthou dat hierdie monsters se bekke geweldig dik is en baie hard is, dis dink ek sukkel die drie angler hoek om hulle bekke te penetreer. Dis as die baber sy bek skud (wat gewoonlik gebeur sodra jy hom hak – hy gooi mens sommer soos ‘n bass), kom die hoek los. Ergste van alles is dat my Lumes alreeds groot drie angel hoeke op het (ek vang met die moerse hoeke wat op die Extra Large pumkins is). Ek het dis vir Louis gevra om vir my pumkins te maak met groot sterk enkel hoeke wat ek baie graag by hierdie venue sal wil probeer – ek glo dat ons ‘n beter landing rate sal bewerkstellig met hierdie verandering.

      1. Arno Davies

        Hi Rudolph, ek moet se ek stem saam met jou redenasie.

        Probeer om bietjie van Mustad/Owner se “In Line hooks” in die hande kry. Ek het die hoeke op my Mad Pumkins met dit verruil en ek moet se ek verloor bitter min van die groter (8+ kg) vis waarheen ek vroeer baie gemis het of met geslukte trebbles gesukkel het. Alhoewel ek moet bylas, day die wyer buig van die hoek beteken dat ek ook nog glad nie weer ‘n vis onder 3kg gevang het nie. Ek dink die hoek is net te groot.

        Die hoek se oog is met 90 grade gedraai, wat beteken dat jy dit op die huidige splitring kan sit sonder om nog ‘n split ring hoef by te las. Die hoek “sets” is ook amper altyd in die hoek van die bek. Maak die lewe baie maklikker as om met geslukte trebbles te sukkel.

        Neem net in ag dat ‘n slow sinking madpumpkin sal dryf as die hoek te lig is. Ek het ‘n size 3/0 gebruik om die trebble op my “small size” madpumkins te vervang en dit werk soos ‘n droom, sink nou net daai klein bietjie stadiger as gewoonlik

        PS. weereens ‘n puik stuk lees stof! Geluk met die moggels! Snaaks dat hulle nie geveg het nie? Eks gewoond aan die stoom tryne wat hulle gewoonlik is!

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