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Ruans Limpopo Carp Session

Limpopo carp fishing by Ruan Erasmus

Ruans Limpopo Carp Session

Join the Fishing Pro Shop team in the nature-lovers paradise that is Limpopo. With Ruan Erasmus and colleague as he voyages out into the bush in search of those screamer carp. Carp fishing is really hot right now so you can use this informative and entertaining article for inspiration to get you out into the wild! Over to Ruan…

Limpopo: This time of year is definitely my favorite time to fish for big carp, with carp being close to spawn they are bigger in weight, and much more good looking than they would be in summer months. I am off to a farm dam in Limpopo Province, from past experience I knew that fishing here for big carp is not easy at all. With much excitement I left at 4 AM in the morning to be there as early as I can be, seeing that the fish tend to feed more in the earlier hours of the morning, than later in the day.


As we arrived in Limpopo, we could feel that it’s getting hot very early and first decided to pitch up camp to just to have some shade for the warm day that is upon us. After our feed was prepared it was time to get our lines in the water. As this venue can be really tough to catch decent carp, placing your baits in the right areas was crucial. From previous experience at the venue, this was the most important thing to get right. We spent a couple of hours on the water trying to see were fish was feeding and decided to place 2 rods in the deeper water close to the structure. The other 2 rods will be against the margins in the shallower waters. Our first night went without any fish, but an amazing sunset made us feel a bit more relaxed.

We had no fish during our first night, on 10 AM the morning of day 2, my fishing partner Herman Engelbrecht had a screaming take on his left-hand rod that was placed in the deeper water near the structure. We jumped on the boat to get to the fish before it could get any change of snagging his line, Herman landed a nice healthy 15.2kg Common Carp.

DB Baits

Herman bait of choice was a single DB Baits Tigernut ( Pineapple flavor) with a little piece of foam on top of the bait just to make the bait more buoyant. He used a standard lead core rig with a safety clip, tying a fluorocarbon D-Rig on a size 4 Korda Wide gap hook.
The rest of the day produced no fish for us, only that night at 9 PM, I had a screaming take on my middle rod. Herman quickly gathered the boat and in we went out again, just to make sure the fish don’t snag our line, after about 30mins on the boat I landed a Limpopo Common Carp of 16.95 kg.

My choice of hook bait, a DB Baits Spearmint tigernut, with a standard lead core and safety clip, my hooklink part was a combi blowback rig with a size 4 Fox Wide gap hook. My ground feed consisted out of just plain Tigernuts and Hempseed. This fish made it worth waiting for.

Morning of day 3 I caught another decent Common Carp of 14.0kg, the same presentation was used on which I caught the 16.95kg Carp on. This fish took us straight into the reeds before we could get to it by boat, Herman didn’t hesitate at all, and quickly grabbed the line and started to break of the reeds which the line was tangled on. By this stage Herman body was halfway in under the water trying to get the line loose. After a while, i could just see the fish is still on the line, and it came loose heading back to the deeper water again, you could see the relief on our faces. We landed the fish and headed back to our camp, a great result for us after all that happened.

Locating big carp

With the wind that turned from North to South East these fish were the last one for our session, but still a trip I would remember for a lifetime. One thing I learned over the years of Specimen Carp angling is that location is key. If you can locate the Carp, and target the areas that they are in, your catch rate will definitely improve.
Tight lines.
Ruan Erasmus

Thank you Ruan for that excellent and informative article. Sounds like Kwaggashoek is the place to be if huge carp are your game. Get in touch with Ruan at the Fishing Pro Shop for any advice or guidance you may need! Stand by for the next hot carp fishing destination!

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Fly Fishing Update: September

Charles Stewart of the Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria with a Natal Midlands Rainbow Trout

Fly Fishing Update: September

During this instalment of Fly Fishing Update – September with Charles Stewart of Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria we report on trout and yellowfish.

Charles visited Groenvlei Farm situated just outside of Belfast MP at the end of August.  At this time of year, the water temperature should start rising but was still hovering at about 11°.

It is well known that the ideal temperature for trout is between 15-17°, thus the slow fishing came as no surprise.…

The combination of cold and crystal clear water made for difficult fishing… Since then we have experienced some excellent warm days and the temperature should now be close to the ideal range for trout all across the country.

Charles adapted well to these challenging conditions by fishing deep and slow. He managed four fish fishing very deep that averaged out at about 1kg each.

Groenvlei is known for trophy specimens! Here at Fishing Pro Shop, we believe that this venue will be an excellent choice from Mid-September into November.

With the lifting of travel restrictions, these venues are accessible once again and should produce well.

Follow the link to the Groenvlei website.

Following Facebook, it is also clear to see that anglers making the effort to get out to the Vaal has had lots of fun with the smallmouth yellowfish.

At the start of the season, we always suggest nymphing a little bit deeper with the smallest fly that you can get down. Another top tip is to use thin tippet and leader as this cuts down on the drag,

Ideal tackle is 10ft 4wt fly rods, but the standard 9ft 5wt will also get the trick done!

Here at FPS, we have a group of passionate fly anglers that look forward to assisting anglers of all levels to get into fly fishing. We stock quality brands like Hardy, Greys, TFO, Xplorer, Rio, Airflow, and Sciflies.

Check out this short video by Hardy, the Czech Nymphing technique is perfect for fishing the Vaal River.

Please feel free to contact us on 012 809 3334 or follow this link to our online shop –

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How to tie a rotary drop shot rig?

How to tie a rotary drop shot rig?

How to tie a rotary drop shot rig? This is a question often asked here at Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria.

Pro angler Divan Coetzee, our resident bass expert will do his best to answer below.

Starting from the top and working our way down, the first order of business is to slide a gummy stop onto your mainline fluorocarbon leader (8-12lb). The gummy keeps the hook in place and prevents it from sliding up the line. Secondly, the hook is threaded onto the line facing upward, followed by a 3mm soft bead to protect the knot. Tie in a number 10 or 12 power swivel to keep everything in place. Lastly, tie in your sinker line at the bottom end of the swivel and attach your preferred size weight relative to the depth you intend on fishing. Standard mono flyfishing tippet with a low breaking strain is ideal to use as a sacrificial sinker line, this ensures that you don’t lose your entire rig if you get stuck on the bottom. The rotary setup also alleviates line twist and allows for more freedom of movement.

Or…you can watch it all on this well-shot video right from on the water!

Thank you Divan, that is excellent stuff, please keep it coming! Pop in store anytime to chat with Divan, Kirk, Ruan or any of the other guys about your bass goals and objectives.

Or you can just as easily click on over to where you can browse our best products for bass fishing and other fishing pursuits. Bass fishing is in our shops blood and you will see it clearly on the website where we list our best and most value products.

Shopping online with us is a very simple process:

  • load your shopping cart online and proceed to checkout
  • give us your details and send us the order with the click of a button
  • we will get back to you with confirmation that we have stock and an invoice
  • pay us by EFT (we do NOT do credit card bankster payments)
  • Courier Guy collects and delivers to you

This works for you anywhere in South Africa, and delivery is charged at R150 per parcel irrespective of it’s eventual size or weight. So…shop away!

The following is a catalogue of our online Bass fishing range of products:

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Sep 2020 Bass update by Divan Coetzee

Divan Coetzee Largemouth Bass

Sep 2020 Bass update by Divan Coetzee

Sep 2020 Bass update by Divan Coetzee: This has been the first proper winter we’ve had in a decade. Normally around this time, Loskop and Roodekoppies would be past their prime. Rusties, Arabie and De Hoop would be on. And Witbank, Bronkies, Middleburg would be in the pre-spawn/spawning stage. 

The old folks knew best when they said: “You can’t catch a blerrie fish during months that don’t have an ‘R’ in it” (sic). I’m beginning to think they were onto something… we’ve been spoiled with the Indian summers of late, being able to target certain species throughout the year was a privilege. The seasons seem to be back in sync, the August winds were on time and hopefully the first rains will also comply. So effectively, everything is delayed by about a month. 

Johan Wessels in the news again. This time a healthy bass!
Johan Wessels in the news again. This time a healthy bass!

Good catches are reported here and there, but the majority of the fish are still deep and staging. If the weather remains stable, fishing would improve drastically as the big females start to move shallow. It is of great importance to take care of the big brood stock females. Take your picture, put her back! With the respect and dignity she deserves! Avoid boxing fish to take pictures later. 

Come see us in-store for top self tips and advise. Call us on 012 809 3334.

Thank you for the bass update Divan!

Check out our new website online and operating right HERE right NOW: Browse our bass section online, on the Fishing Pro Shops all new e-commerce enabled website. Since we work on EFT only, and do not do credit card transactions (keep those cheeky banksters in their place), you can make an order, and add to it after we have had a chat. Once your order is requested, we will send you an invoice to pay with an EFT. You can then add to or modify your order and hey presto done deal!

The website is also chokka-block filled with content from the Fishing Pro Shop team and other great news sources from all over Southern Africa. There is a hot how-to section which is growing all the time. Check out the latest additions to the FPS Bassin’ Channel featuring Bass Pro Divan Coetzee…

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How to catch Trout in Winter

Charles Stewart of the Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria with a Natal Midlands Rainbow Trout

How to catch Trout in Winter

How to catch Trout in Winter is a question often asked here at Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria. Below Charles Stewart from Fishing Pro Shop will do his best to assist in a short article. All the staff at Fishing Pro Shop enjoy fishing for trout and will be happy to assist!

Trout prefer cool water with Rainbow Trout being most active between 14 and 17 degrees celsius. Brown Trout will be active at slightly colder temperatures.

Winter temperatures on the high lying areas of South Africa drop well below this level with water temperature below 10 degrees being common.

In these cold conditions, Trout will move to areas where the temperatures remain more stable. It stands to reason that with ambient temperatures below zero that shallow water will cool dramatically, but also heat up slightly during the day.

It is therefore practical to look for fish in deeper, more stable water. Fishing deep and slow at this time of year will be more productive.

As most waters are crystal clear at this time it is advisable not to employ flies with too much flash. Natural colors will work well with brown and black being some of my favorites.

The reason for this might be because the weed beds turn darker during the shorter days of winter?

The saying of, “Match the hatch” comes into play here and by matching the background the angler will be more successful.

The converse of this also applies as winter is spawning time. Even though trout won’t lay eggs in still water, they will still be staging. One will often see a female with two or three males chasing her in the shallows where gravel is present…

They are generally not interested in feeding, but this is where orange and pink comes into play. In a natural environment where laying eggs take place, after covering the eggs, they pick up anything orange that looks like an egg.

This is to prevent the exposed eggs from rotting and infecting the whole batch.

It, therefore, makes sense to tri flies like the Red Setter(Which is Orange), Egg flies, and Blobs. The latter two can be fished on sinking lines on the bottom. Some anglers are successful by suspending a Blob or Egg file from a big Dry Fly or indicator.

Trout may be slightly more difficult to catch in the very cold months, but by employing the right techniques a lot of fun can still be had.

Charles is available at Fishing Pro Shop on most days and would love to talk trout!

So pop in any time!!!

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How to catch Trout this summer

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How to catch Trout this summer

How to catch Trout this summer by Charles Stewart of The Fishing Pro Shop. in Graeme Rd, Pretoria.

”Where the trout are, it’s beautiful.” – Thomas Garrigue Masyryk.

Charles Stewart of the Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria with a Natal Midlands Rainbow Trout
Charles Stewart Midlands Rainbow Trout

Fly fishing in South Africa will put you into places where your soul needs to be. Especially after this difficult and tardy lockdown, it seems that ALL the answers lie in one place and one place only – deep nature. If you have the means and the time – and the friends or family – load up that car or van – and hit the road – to any of the many trout-infested towns hardly a few hours drive to the east of the Big Smoke.

There is no time like right now! And its smack bang in good trout fishing weather (read freezing cold) and conditions (near frozen streams). However, as we move towards another hot summer…

Spring is on the march and with summer close behind, Charles breaks down the summer rainbow trout fly fishing intricacies you can expect and plan for – in a neat post for us. At the end of the post you can browse into our Trout and Fly fishing section that carries all you will ever need to hunt down your bus rainbow too.

How to catch trout this summer

This is how to catch trout this summer. Trout are cold-water fish and become rather lethargic as water temperature rises. The warmer the water becomes the less oxygen it can hold and this explains the fish’s inactivity.

Optimum temperature for Rainbows is between 14 and 17 degrees Celsius and as temperature rises towards 20 degrees and above, the fish start struggling. Fortunately, trout in large Stillwater have an advantage in that some of the impoundments are fairly deep and the deep water remains colder. In the hot months one will often measure temperature of 21 or 22 degrees on te surface. If one measures the temperature 5 meters down we find that it is 18 or 19 degrees. It stands to reason that this is where the fish will be as this deep water is closer to their comfort zone. In flowing water that is more oxygenated, trout can tolerate slightly higher temperature.

To catch trout in the hot months one has two strategies. The first is to find the deepest sections of a stillwater and fish a fast sinking line employing a slow retrieve. Various flies are effective but it is recommended that smaller flies are used. Using a booby is a very effective method of fishing. The booby has closed cell foam eyes and is therefore buoyant. Using a fast sinking line and just a piece of tippet of about 35cm as the leader, the line is allowed to sink to the bottom. The booby now floats just above the bottom and can be left static or moved slowly with erratic strips.

The second technique required getting up in the dark and getting to the water before first light. The atmospheric temperature drops a lot at night causing the water in the shallows to cool. The fish have now moved into the shallows to hunt and can be taken on Dragons, Damsels and baitfish imitations. They will remain in the shallows till the sun peeps over the horizon when they will move back into deep water.

By Charles Stewart

Thank you ever so much Charles Stewart for penning up yet another informative fly-fishing article which collectively are forming up into an invaluable online resource for both budding and already proficient in stalking and catching trout.

And as promised, here you can learn all about fly-fishing (as we go), and see all the brands and their product lines, that we carry here at the Fishing Pro Shop. And with a host of fly-fishing gurus behind the counter and in the aisles in-store, pop in for a good chat with Charles or anyone else in the team, anytime we are open.

Fly-Fishing Products Page

As our site grows to encompass all the fly-fishing products we stock, you can start online by clicking along to the following link. This is the generic fly fishing section of the shop and it will soon come to you species by species aswell. But in the meantime, please check it out, and get in touch with any questions at all.

Online How-to-catch

If you live a little too far away to make it in-store to meet and chat in person, then you can click on over to our new website which is mainly is focused on being all the resource you ever need for your fishing outings, close or far. The new website is riddled with feedback forms conveniently placed in all the relevant sections and that will get your message or question to the right guys the FPS in a flash. And in a similar flash, one of the team will get straight back to you.

Trout or any species and waters. Give it try at The Fishing Pro Shop.

SSL secure website

At this point the all-new Fishing Pro Shop website works only on approved orders and EFT payments. This is to address the real security concerns with giving out your credit card or debit card details these days. Even Google was compromised recently so we are extra tight with security and are keeping the payment system manual EFT for the moment.

The website has SSL security and certificate, on top of the many malware and robot firewalls and fences we have out up to keep the bad guys out. Our web and online security is done by TLC in Cape Town, thank you guys! Great job!

At this stage, procedure is to shop online, go through checkout using the EFT or Invoice option, after which we will send you an invoice, and you can take it from there.

Catch you online at The Fishing Pro Shop.

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Juvenile Tropical Yellowtail on Ultra-Light!

Johan Wessels releasing another Tropical Yellowtail

Juvenile Tropical Yellowtail on Ultra-Light!

Juvenile tropical yellowtail on ultra-light tackle by Johan Wessels. Forming part of the Fishing Pro Shop’s How to Catch series of articles and videos. Enjoy the action-packed video of Johan tackling down to these fun baby tropical yellowtail on his trusty 10lb braid. Shimano Stella 3000. A custom Fishing Pro Shop Rod, an the eonderfully weird but wildly successful Gomoku Slow Roller jig.

All available in the Fishing Pro Shop online and in-store. Use the menu up above to get around.

Juvenile Tropical Yellowtail on ultra-light: On a recent work trip down to the South Coast, I had an opportunity to stay at the Umzimkulu Marina and what a wonderful place to stay! Hidden away on the southern banks of the Umzimkulu River, this hidden little gem provides lovely self-catering accommodation right on the river.

Fortunately, we managed to get through the work and I am happy to report that Fishing Pro Shop now has an online shopping presence that should only improve in the weeks to come!

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On Thursday afternoon, Sean suggested that we head to see for a quick session to see if we can’t find a snoek or two and maybe a Geelbek for dinner. He did not need to ask twice!

I was not geared for serious fishing as this was after all a work trip and only had an ultra-light travel outfit with me!!! But so be it!

Let’s fish!!!

A lot of fuss has been made lately about shore jigging and fortunately, I had a few left from a recent trip to Sodwana Bay.

Digging through my bag I found a Storm Gomoku Rocker in 40 gram, the heaviest lure in my bag…

We were drifting in 40 meters and this simply had to do!

I tied a piece of 30lb leader to my trusted 10lb Sufix 131 braid and tied the tiny jig on and dropped her over the side.

It was immediately clear that this tackle was a bit light for the strong current, but the jig managed to find its way to the bottom… I clicked the bail arm of the little Stella 3000 over and proceeded with a slow retrieve, on the second sweep of the rod everything stopped and line started screaming of the little reel.

What have I managed to get myself into here? First thought turned to a little bottom fish. Maybe a Slinger or Scotsman???

But no, as I started getting line back I was surprised to see deep color and immediately realized that this must be a game fish of sorts… Big was my surprise when we realized that this was in fact a juvenile Tropical Yellowtail.

In a bright afternoon KZN sun, Johan Wessels meets his first of three little tropical yellowtail, taken an released, off Port Shepstone. Fishing with the Umzimkulu Marina’s Brian Lange aboard the Niteshift. Pic by The Sardine News

The fish was quickly released, knots tested and back down!

To my delight, I managed another two feisty little tropicals before losing my one and only “heavy” jig to the bottom. The sun was also setting and it was time to head back to the Umzimkulu Marina for supper and a cold beer!

I definitely plan to head back but will be better prepared to do some serious slow pitched jigging on these South Coast reefs. Might just be in for a few more pleasant surprises…

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How to catch a Shad

How to catch shad - With Fishing Pro Shop

How to catch a Shad?

How to catch a shad: Shad, also known as Elf in the Western Cape is an inshore sporting fish that frequents most of the South Africa coast with the exception of the cold west-coast.

They vary in size from a few centimeters to over 10kg in weight. We have a size limit of 30cm, a bag limit of no more than four shad per person per day, and a closed season from 1 Oct to 30 Nov.

Shad, especially the smaller fish swim in shoals and when they move into bays they can be easy to catch on light tackle.

They are excellent eating fish!

Shad also make excellent bait for other large predators such as Kob, Garrick and Couta and one might be tempted to take more than the four fish limit! However, please don’t! Let’s keep some for our children and grandchildren…

We prefer catching them on lures, flies, and if it has to on drift sardine. That is not to say that fishing with a heavy surf rod and fixed bait won’t be successful.

I would suggest a light, fast action spinning rod between seven and 11ft matched with a 3000 to 5000 sized spinning reel and a good quality braid between 10 and 30lb.

Shad will eat most lures when they are on the bite, but of late we have found Rapala style jerk baits especially effective. I would strongly suggest changing the standard treble hooks to in-line single hooks.

This aids with better hook-ups and makes it easier to release them.

Simply cast the Rapala out and slowly twitch it back as you would for bass. This imitates an injured baitfish that the shad can not resist!

Sometimes you will struggle for distance with these light lures, this will be a good time to consider a spoon like the white metal V-back or Toby style spoon.

Wind the spoon back at different speeds until you feel the spoon working…

We never use steel trace and find that you very seldomly get bitten off!

A top tip: Slow the lure right down as you reach the shore…

This often gets a following shad to commit!

At Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria, we love to talk about anything and everything fishing! Drop-in any time for any advice on all things fishing!

Check out this short video of Johan catching a shad on a Rapala Shadow Rap during the sardine run at the Sandspit, Port Shepstone.

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We run a bunch of video channels too, on YouTube – right here is a saltwater list that is going to be growing flat out over the next short while…

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Skipping 101: skip cast with Divan Coetzee

Bassin with Divan - the Skip Cast

SKIPPING 101: skip cast with Divan Coetzee

Being able to skip cast a bait properly is a necessary skill for competitive bass anglers. Getting your bait into difficult places that the average angler struggles to reach will most certainly give you an edge over the rest of the field. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts to mastering this skill. Dedication and practice are the only two factors that will get you there. I’ve watched numerous tutorials of late to try better explain the motions or actions of a good cast, to no avail. Having Gerald Swindle explain it in plain English also didn’t help the cause much, the key is to get out on the water and practice. Take the time to watch a few videos on guys skipping, take note of the swing power and arc that the rod follows.

Featuring this, our first video – in a series on casting by Divan. Looking forward to the whole series!

Common mistakes would include setting the reel too tight which forces you to swing harder. The line should ‘easily’ come off the spool. Another mistake is not keeping your eye on where you want the bait to go. Most folks are focused on where the bait initially hits the water as opposed to where it should end up. The old adage of ‘keep your eye on the ball’ , in this case the spot you intend on hitting. Holds true.

Certain baits do skip better than others, it’s relative to the profile. Skirts and oversized appendages create drag and tends to ‘bite’ the water, this causes the bait to roll and not skip. Typically not conducive to good distance. My recommendation would be to start with a bait that traditionally skips well – a Senko type bait, and then progress on to the more difficult baits like jigs. Remember that good technique will serve you better than brute force.   

My preferred setup for skipping would consist of a 7ft MH rod, in this case the Duckett Incite Series DFIC70MH-C paired with a high speed reel 7.5 ratio to recover line quickly.

Tackle used (click to see in the online store):

Duckett Incite rod DFIC70MH-C

Lews Classic Pro CP1SH 7.5 ratio

Berkley vanish 17lb .38mm

Swampers 9/16oz flipping jig.

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We run a bunch of video channels too, on YouTube – right here is a saltwater list that is going to be growing flat out over the next short while…

We have a jam -packed bass fishing action channel too at that is also growing all the time. If you have any cool videos you might like to contribute, please get in touch via our Contact page.

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Presentation in bass fishing

Bassin' with Divan Coetzee of the Fishing Pro Shop article series 2019

Presentation in bass fishing by Divan Coetzee

Understanding presentation in bass fishing: In last months issue we covered location, how to locate bass in different seasonal stages. Now we will cover presentation. Presentation has two aspects; what are you presenting? and where are you presenting it to? The “what” refers to bait selection and the “where” refers to structure or cover. Choosing the correct presentation to cover a specific structure type will improve success.
The right presentation will eventually lead to a good pattern, a good pattern allows you to catch lots of fish; it’s a beneficial skill to recognize the subtle hints from fish. The smallest adjustment can make a big difference. Let’s start by looking at structure and cover.

Presentation in bass fishing
Presentation in bass fishing

Bottom structure or contour lines are often the “go to” in the absence of cover. The Presentation will depend on what depth the fish are holding at. Multiple presentations could be effective on any given day. Lots of baits have limitations so always choose the most efficient tool for the job. In the absence of cover, it’s safe to assume that they are deep. Text book deep water presentations include, but are not limited to: dropshot, deep diving cranks, football jigs, Carolina rig, big swimbaits and jigging spoons. All of these presentations have solid reputations. It’s recommend to start with what you have most confidence in, for me, if for arguments sake I’m catching the same quality fish on a Carolina rig, that I am on a crank, I’m choosing the least labour intensive option. Single hooks have better conversion rates, are less inclined to foul, thus the Carolina rig becomes the smarter option. Unless the area is very rocky, getting your weight snagged every second cast, and having to re-tie constantly is an inconvenience, then the crank would be the smarter choice. It’s all about choosing the most correct option, as there are no wrong answers in bass fishing. Remember, fish will respond to multiple presentations on the same piece of structure or cover.

Whenever possible, always fish down hill – it reduces hang up’s. The only thing a fish has to relate to is the bottom, so ensure that’s where your bait spends most of its time.
Onto cover, this is a more diverse topic! Trees, brush, laydowns, jetties, surface grass, submerged grass, grass lines, reeds etc. Once again, numerous presentations will elicit a response from the same piece of cover. In other words, the same bass that ate your frog probably would have eaten a number of presentations due to its aggressiveness, but would you have been able to present another bait as effectively as you would a frog in thick matted grass for instance? Again it boils down to selecting a presentation that would be best suited to get the job done.

The lesson here is to select a bait at falls within the criteria of what the fish are responding to, and along with its unique benefits, maximize results. One has to be mindful of the fact that different class fish could respond to different presentations in the same area. For example in a grassy area, you could be catching a bunch on a weightless presentation, but the moment you start throwing a spinnerbait the quality of the fish improve, but the rate goes down. It’s a trade off for quality vs quantity, it depends on your objective. The same system can be used when selecting cover; if you get the same quality fish inside the grass, and on the rocks – choose the option that suits your style or preference, but not at the expense of results. If you are a tournament angler, you have to separate what you want to do, from what is needed in order to do well. What I throw when I’m out with my wife differs vastly from what I’ll throw when I’m tournament fishing with my regular partner.

Let’s look at how presentation in bass fishing and patterning come together. We recently fished a venue that we had last fished during the summer when the water temp was still in the high 20’s. We found the good ones along a very specific depth corridor; the margin for error being a foot either way in terms of depth. It’s a gradual sloping bank so the band was about 4 to 5 meters wide. As long as we hugged that line we got 2 kg plus fish. Little off to the side would result in undersize fish on both the deeper and shallow end. The bait didn’t seem to matter, the fall rate of a ½ oz tungsten on a Texas rig was the key. They would eat it on the drop before it even hit bottom. If there happened to be n bit of grass, you were pretty much guaranteed a good bite. it’s mid winter now and the water temperature was 14° in the morning. We found the fish again in the same area at the same depth, only this time they wanted a different presentation. The ½ oz was a bit aggressive on the fall, they would only eat it once the bait had sat still for a few seconds. So the pattern was the same, the better fish were still in 10ft relating to isolated grass patches but preferred a different presentation. Same area, same rig, different time of year – slight adjustment did the trick. The moral here is, if you are running a solid pattern; bait and color selection become less critical because all that is needed is to get a bait in the right area.

Bait and color selection is a contentious issue. Folks get emotional about it. It took some time for my thick head to come to terms with the fact that one actually fishes pattern by means of presentation, and not a bait persé. This has allowed me to streamline my tackle, which in turn makes bait and color selection easy. In terms of plastics, I have a maximum of 4 variants when it comes to color: black, brown, green and purple… with the odd white models mixed in here and there. These colors cover the entire spectrum. If you feel the need to have an entire box of Green pumpkin baits with so and so glitter then I suggest you reconsider your approach. The same goes for bait styles, no-one needs 7 different types of creature baits. I’ve recently committed to a specific brand and model in 2 different sizes and 4 color variants each. This is my “go to” bait for flipping and pitching, it’s literally the only creature/craw I own. It took me awhile to decide on it, but it came down to simple logic; the 3″ version sits perfectly on my preferred straight shank flipping hook. The shape of the bait allows it to penetrate the grass with ease. The size of the bait allows me to play around with rate of fall without changing the profile too much. The same goes for the 4″ version. My choice had nothing to do with available colors or the fact that it was designed by n prominent U.S. pro. It’s all about the fact that it does what I require it to do within a certain set of circumstances. Horses for courses if you will.
Long story short, if you have determined where they are, and found a presentation they respond to, you effectively have a pattern. Within that pattern, you can then fine tune bait type, size and color selection to maximize your results. I hope that the reader will see the bigger message in this article. No amount of tackle can improve your success unless you understand the basic principles. I’ll leave you with a quote from Gerald Swindle “ if you got 40 rods stacked up on the deck you ain’t versatile, you’re confused!”

See you on the water!

Post written by The Fishing Pro Shop‘s Pro Angler Divan Coetzee.

Post prepped by The Sardine News.