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KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021 – the water is cleaning up!

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021: Jonno and his Croc - officially the first couta of the 2021 Season

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021 – the water is cleaning up!

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021: It’s been a helluva end to any form of drought in this country after this rainy season!

And the plumes of stormwater runoff and erosion laden water have been extending for many miles up and down the KZN Natal coastline. And straight to sea. Luckily, this is a natural event that has been occurring since whenever and is vital to the balancing out od the oceans acidity levels. The runoff water carrying all that good stuff, is alkaline enough to do this vital job, every wet season each year.

Estuaries

The Sardine crew are the Umzimkulu Marina at the moment. And this is hard work, trying to catch gamefish, in such opaque water. Mostly by far, it is not pollution, but a pigment in the water, that comes from the mountains in the main catchment area. Its the same pigment that gives the Orange River its name. The two rivers start in the same area up top of the mountains somewhere. One goes south, one goes west. Same colour!

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021

The water is also flowing strong and sometimes it is difficult making headway, after strong rains! And it takes a good week or so, to slow down.

However, this onslaught of freshwater doesn’t affect the bait much. Prawns and mullet can still be netted easily enough. And we did catch this very nice perch. On a live prawn. In the Umzimkulu. It was healthily released by Marco and his two kids, aboard Sick Day. In the brown, up at the big hole. Check the dense brown flowing water behind Marco jnr.

Eels and barbels, and of course huge mangrove crabs, love this water. Some eels are a metre long!

As do turtles! They swim right up into the estuaries to rid themselves of fresh water intolerant parasites. We have been seeing a bunch since we have gone stealth mode with electrics. And a no-wake zone has been re-established to stop the all-too-often collisions with marine animals using the estuary.

The following three rock salmon were hard won in extreme conditions. Way down south, in secret locations! These guys fish all night when they go. Putting in many, many hours. Being beaten by many, many, large, large fish. Until finally it all comes together like these three trophy fish. ALL released to fight another day. These fish have just about reached sexual maturity. After some more time in the estuary, they will get restless, and head on out to sea. To the deep blue up north. To meet up and spawn with the rest of them.

Rock n Surf

All about the brown water again. But, wherever its blue, the spearos have been getting out there and klapping it. So we know that the fish are there, and also just have to follow the blue water, like the spearos do – all their lives.

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021
Tough conditions!

Difficult to work in these conditions. But the fish ARE there and we just have to work harder, and use smellier or more lively baits!

Other than a few giant kob being caught in secret that I know about, and a few garrick, it has been tough.

I saw a photo of an African Pompano caught off the piers at Durban.

Shad very sporadic and inconsistent.

Deep-sea

Dorado. Couta. Tuna. Yellowtail. And marlin!

Along the edge of the brown plume, a distinct line forms, and this attracts a lot of attention. There are boats having a fine time up and down this coastline, when weather permits. Every few days only! The winds have been busting all out all season. Along with the rain. Lightning. And thunder!

An amazing catch…

These two couta were actually taken on the 27th of November, in 2020! Making them the first two fish of the 2021 season by far! I wonder if anyone will ever catch another one (or two) before this date next year. I think we should offer a prize each year! And then I’ll try my best to win it myself ha ha. But with such good anglers on the water these days, it could be anyone’s next year (or this year still!).

Spearfishing

Well when you can dive down to 50m holding your breath, then you deserve every fish you shoot. This is Master Don Solomon and his mate Stephen Fraiser with some well-earned fish. These were all very recent when diving very deep to escape the brown has been an only option. Do NOT try this at home! Thank you to The Bear from The Master Matermen and Top Man, for the images.

KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021

Summary

So ok, we have just gotten through the worst of the brown water blues, and are flying through January as fast as possible, so we can then get through February, and into the good times. Sometimes it cleans up before, and then floods again, over and over. But by March it is plain sailing.

Get in touch with Sean on umzimkulu@gmail.com if you need assistance planning for your next fishing holiday. Come and join us here for a relaxing time. The whole family loves it at the Umzimkulu Marina, where are based for schmockdown.

By Sean Lange

Post by The Sardine News for The Fishing Pro Shop. Webwork by TLC for your Business.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel after watching it right here…

Please don’t forget to sign up to our up and coming weekly newsletter. And thank you to all those anglers who already have, and are waiting patiently for our first edition!

Coming soon!

And that’s all folks for the KZN Fishing Report Jan 2021!

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Fishing is our heritage – take a kid fishing!

Mackenzie Nel and her trophy catch and release GT in the Umzimkulu

Fishing is our heritage – take a kid fishing!

If fishing is our heritage, then best we take the kids fishing!

Because this might happen…this very past weekend!

Little Mackenzie promises that she will never, ever, stop chasing GTs.

But the real shout out goes to Mackenzies grand dad Mr. Ant Nel, from Port Edward. For taking the time to take his grand daughter out on the water. Preparing and launching his stealth cruiser. For tying on her little green fluke. And steering her in the right direction. And for taking such an amazing video. That has me on the edge of my seat every time I watch it through. And for taking that incredibly cool photograph! And then for letting the trophy fish go back.

The video features Granddad coaching and guiding Mackenzie along as she grapples with this bad-mannered GT. At one point there is the inevitable tangle as the live bait rods got mixed up with the head shaking kingfish. And the video dips out a while. The blank screen with audio makes for a thriller movie type scene.

The fish might have gone 5 or 6kgs or more and put up a great fight. Mackenzie was huffing and puffing before she got the GT to the net and into the boat.

Where it was quickly photographed, and set free again.

Granddad has instilled conservation ethics in young Mackenzie right from the word go. The fish swam off irritated but spirited and having learnt not to pick on little girls!

And so with an inspirational story like that, take ’em fishing!

If fishing is our heritage, take 'em fishing!
If fishing is our heritage, take ’em fishing!

Don’t forget to swing by the Fishing Pro Shop and tackle up on your way! You can also glean useful information and advice on safe and cool places to fish in your area.

Saltwater or fresh, you will find out all you need to know at FPS.

We are on Facebook right HERE and we run a fish filled YouTube channel right HERE.

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How to catch Trout this summer

Specialising in all facets of fishing, we stock the widest variety of fishing gear. Fishing. Tackle. Pretoria East. Lynwood Road. South Africa. Bass. Carp. Offshore. Trout. Deep Sea. Rock and Surf. Clothing.

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.

https://fishingproshop.co.za/product-category/fly-fishing/

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.


We are on Facebook at HTTP://facebook.com/fishingproshop.pretoria/

Post prepped by The Sardine News for The Fishing Pro Shop.

We run a bunch of video channels too, on YouTube – right here is a fly-fishing list of carefully sifted video that is going to be growing flat out over the next short while…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9x3LJ5X4rQ&list=PLzTX1fwVYeILFKeRj67roCtHBJuEtpr8

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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!

Check us out on https://fishingproshop.co.za.

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…

We are on Facebook at HTTP://facebook.com/fishingproshop.pretoria/

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…https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9x3LJ5X4rQ&list=PLzTX1fwVYeILFKeRj67roCtHBJuEtpr8

SEO by The Sardine News.

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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.

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Black Friday with The Fishing Pro Shop

Black Friday with The Fishing Pro Shop

It’s Black Friday with The Fishing Pro Shop and this is what is going on!

Firstly, we will match any advertised price on Black Friday and the following, Saturday if we have the stock in hand.
And if we believe it to be a genuine advertisement.

Then, we have a bunch of really top-spec Shimano rods that we will be doing a less 20% off marked price.
Everything with a yellow dot is less 20% and we have over R300 000 of this stock on the shop floor!

All this is clearly only while stocks last!

Rapala X-rap box with the real deal colors.

Rapala X-Rap available at the Fishing Pro Shop R150 Black Friday while stocks last
Rapala X-Rap available at the Fishing Pro Shop R150 Black Friday while stocks last

A whole shelve of top popping and jigging rods on special!

Kaibutsu R2599 less 20
That will be a lot of rod for R2080
Got 8 different ones!

Top spec shimano Oceas popping rods – Oceas range from 3995 to 5750 less 20 percent
That is a hell of a deal!
15 different shimano oceas models to choose from.
Got some shimano terez rods at 2290 less 20.
And some awesome Shimano talus too.

Shimano grappler jigging rods at R2995 less 20
Even found two wild romances in the store at 2795 less 20
On the lighter side we have some ‘green’ Trevalas at 1595 less 20
That is r1280 for an awesome rod.
Even being naughty with some Curado rod models at 1995 less 20

Shimano fireblood… they go for 6k… we are doing them at R3995 less 20.
That is R3200 a rod!!!!
We have a bunch of Techniums at r1250 less 20.
That is a 1000 bucks for a top-spec Shimano rod!

And you know, we don’t play… we don’t advertise a special and then only have two or three rods at that price. We have stock… R300 000 worth for black Friday and we will run it for a bit… but when it is gone it is gone…

And so the sale is ON! Today and tomorrow Saturday!

Have you ever seen a Red Terez?
At R1895 less 20….

You know the sketch… we are possibly the only shop in Gauteng that has reel servicing people and rod builders on site…
And one of the widest selection of Shimano reels

For the deep sea fanatics…

Pakula, black Bart, ilander, bahama, pulsator, marlin magic…


And lets not forget the carp guys!!!!

Carp crazy at the Fishing Pro Shop this Black Friday and Saturday

Lets not forget the baitcasters…

And widest range of duckets you will find on this continent…

And still the widest selection of fly tackle…


Did we mention costa?

Buy a set of costa sunglasses and get a costa cap for free…

And so!

We shall see you at The Fishing Pro Shop all day today and tomorrow until 1pm!

Post prepped for the Fishing Pro Shop by The Sardine News.

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Mike Long – a fallen icon – by Divan Coetzee

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

Mike long: a fallen icon –by FPS Pro Angler  Divan Coetzee

Mike Long – a name synonymous with Big Bass catches, America’s “best” trophy hunter, exposed as a fraud! Wow! I’m still trying to wrap my head around the audacity of this guy. The allegations against him are insane! From snagging trophy fish and claiming false lake records to secret live wells and intimidation.

Mike Long
Mike Long

Kellen Ellis, owner and administrator of SD.FISH.com, come forward with some compelling video evidence and a 40 page article labeled “The dark secret of America’s big bass guru” covering the entire career of this once revered angler. It’s an interesting read, the full article can be viewed on Ellis’ page. I’ve taken out snippets from the original article to give you some perspective on how this guy (Long) operated.

Ellis states: “Back then Long was the undisputed heavyweight champion of big bass fishing. He caught the ninth heaviest bass of all time in 2001, a 20.75-pounder. He owned five local lake records for bass and made claim to having caught several hundred more bass over 10 pounds. “Sowbelly: The Obsessive Quest for the World-Record Largemouth Bass” by Monte Burke had hit bookstores a year prior and Long was prominently featured in the book as the leader of the pack when it came to the chase for the world record. He was the guy that the other players in that quest chased. And he was annihilating San Diego’s other top bass anglers in local team (2-person) tournaments, many times doing it without a partner in the boat.

There was some controversy surrounding his success, particularly with his lake records and the tournament wins while fishing solo — but anyone questioning Long’s prowess at this point was met with resolute resistance from his supporters — myself included. I sincerely regret that.”
Ellis broke ties with Long in 2010 after suspicious and circumstantial evidence presented itself. Ellis was left with the only conclusion; that Long was a fraud! Ellis lacked any concrete proof on the subject. Big Bass legend Bill Murphy, shared Ellis’ sentiment with regards to Long, and would let his true feelings on Long be known before he passed in 2004. Ellis goes on to say: “Murphy absolutely thought he was a cheater. I had breakfast with Bill Murphy a few months before he died, he thought not only was he dangerous, but he was a cheater, and that he was spawning a bad element in bass fishing in San Diego County,” Zieralski told me in a phone interview this May. “He did not respect Long. He feared him. He feared the element that Mike was bringing into the sport.”

Meanwhile, Long would dominate local tournaments and attain several lake records, the latter being a big deal in the U.S. The incentive to be on top was there, in the form of financial reward. Ellis states: “Mike Long would proceed to DOMINATE the Big Bass Record Club. In 1999, the club’s first year Long would take home $28,400 after taking first, third and 10th in the contest that year with bass weighing 17.95 pounds (Lake Murray), 15.19 (Lake Poway) and 12.44 (Lake Poway)”

In light of Long’s success, the format was charged the next year. There was effectively no way to properly dispute an anglers claim. In 2001, Long came out tops with a fish of 20.75 from lake Dixon. The specimen became known as “dotty”. In hindsight, I think it’s fair to question the legitimacy of the catch. All Long had to do was pass a polygraph test. He failed… he would later be allowed to retake the test.

With all the controversy surrounding the failed polygraph, Long laid low for awhile with regards to submitting catches. Instead, he teamed up with an old school buddy and highly proficient angler by the name of John Kerr. Kerr says the following about Long: “He was catfishing off a point and I was done bass fishing for the day so I went over and started catfishing near him. We got to talking and he told me he was getting into bass fishing,”  This would be the start of Long’s tournament career, he and Kerr did fairly well and managed many respectable finishes including several AOY titles. Kerr being the backbone of the team and Long contributing nothing but his name. In fact, Long on several occasions listed Kerr as his partner for the day, but ended up fishing alone. Long would end up with a winning percentage of 75% when fishing alone, and 25% when fishing with a partner. Kerr became suspicious, Ellis states: “Kerr was sceptical of Long’s success. What he saw from him as a teammate didn’t match the results that Long was generating as a competitor. And he had witnessed Long pull some things with lake record claims that made him question the man’s moral compass. Long’s lake records were especially dubious, and Kerr was far from the only one who doubted their validity.”

Kerr and Long eventually parted ways after an incident in 2008. From there, Long would take even bigger risks in order to stay on top.

Ellis writes: “In Jan. of 2009, Mattson took a call from Long inviting him to go fish Lake Hodges on a day the lake was closed, and told him he had waterdogs that they could use for bait. Waterdogs have been illegal to use as bait in California since March of 2001, but Long, working for a rebar company, had been on a job in Yuma, AZ and was able to purchase them there. Mattson declined, saying he didn’t want anything to do with throwing waterdogs or fishing illegally. He again suggested to Long that he shouldn’t be doing anything illegal given all the scrutiny he was under.

But Long apparently didn’t heed his advice, and left Mattson a voicemail later stating that he had fished Hodges and caught a 13-pounder. “He was super stoked about it, I could tell in his voice that he legitimately caught it, you could tell when he did something legitimately, which was few and far between, but it wasn’t really legit because the lake was closed and the bait was illegal,” Mattson said. “I called Johnny [Kerr] and told him Mike got a 13 out of Hodges, and Kerr said there was an upcoming tournament at Otay, and he thought he would weigh it in during the tournament. I said, ‘you think so?’ He said, ‘he’s going to get a 13 in the tournament, and I bet he says he gets it on a swimbait.’”

“I go, you know what, if that happens, I’m 100% sure that he’s cheating,” Mattson recalled.

On Jan. 24, 2009 Mike Long weighed 25.93 pounds in the WON Bass Tournament at Lower Otay, fishing by himself (though he put John Kerr down on the entry form as his partner). His nearly 26-pound limit was anchored by a… you guessed it, 13.2-pounder. He collected $4,990 in prize money”.

This is truly a fascinating article, I urge you to read all 19 000 words of it. It took Ellis 10 odd years to compile all his data. The video footage that accompanies the article is just as shocking. I urge folks to keep their side clean. There is no place for snaggers and cheats!

Post by Divan Coetzee of The Fishing Pro Shop.

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Lazarus Bank dream fishing trip

Lazarus Bank dream fishing trip: Andre Kelbrick, avid angler and patron at the Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria East, recently went fishing. BIG!

Enjoy the story by Andre…

I recently rewarded myself with a once in a life time deep sea fishing experience.
After countless hours of researching charted fishing trips, trying to determine whom is the best of the best, I was introduced to Lucky Strike Fishing Charters. They offered me the opportunity to accompany them on a trip to the pristine waters of the world renounced fishing location, Lazarus banks in Northern Mozambique, Pemba.

Geared up and ready to go, we started our adventure in Pemba. We set out on the yacht called Bom Dia, and tackled the journey to Lazarus Banks. At first I was nervous to journey 150km into the sea, but my mind was quickly set at ease when I observed the capable and professional staff on the yacht.  I knew I was in safe hands seeing as safety was the captains first priority. It was clear from the get go that this is definitely a well-oiled seasoned fishing charter.

Catching monsters was the aim of the game and Lazarus did not disappoint. We gave it our all every single day, utilizing every fishing method including popping, jigging, trawling and light fun on our flick sticks. At the end of the day the knowledge and experience of the captain is the factor that made the big difference. We hooked the giants as was promised. We were almost pulled overboard by some big Dogtooth tunas. I stood astonished trying to proses what was happening. I never thought I would see a rod snap like it was a toothpick or a Shimano Stella being spooled to the point where the real was too hot to touch. Unfortunately the monsters were victorious as I was not physically nor mentally prepared for this immense battle. We were all speechless realising what monsters were lurking below us.

We managed to land some fish most people can only dream of. Some of my favourites included the nice sized GT’s and extraordinary Wahoos. The Yellow fin tuna’s was everywhere we looked. We also encountered a pack attack of Dorado’s. Over the course of the trip we had a tally of 16 different species of fish. Definitely any fisherman’s dream.

This was truly a great experience and I urge every fisherman looking for the fight of their life to join me on my next trip with Lucky Strike Fishing Charter. I pledged to return to these untouched waters to show I am worthy of the true Monsters of Lazarus.

I’m looking for more avid anglers to join me for my next, If you would like to join or want further details, feel free to contact me.

Tight lines. Below are some photos of our trip and other monsters lurking in the depths of Lazarus. 

Thank you Andre Kelbrick for the story and inspiration! – Xona

Lazarus Bank GT Lazarus Banks Dogtooth! rptnboz Another Lazarus Bank Wahoo Lazarus Bank Wahoo Facebook Twitter Google-plus

Once again, thank you Andre for putting in the effort and submitting your story and photos!

Please visit our online tackle store at the link in the main menu above.

Join our new website as a subscriber, and we will keep you right in the loop on all things fishing, and you might get the odd lucky surprise, as our online promotional activities commence.

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Bass fishing with Divan: Seasonal changes and effects

Divan Coetzee puts Bass fishing and social networking into perspective

Bass fishing with Divan: Seasonal changes and effects


To help the reader better understand Bass and Bass fishing in general, we need to look at the basic fundamentals. Finding them first. I enjoy analogies! Let’s start with one; most of you reading this have probably hunted an animal of sorts, so when you went to shoot the animal, did you start firing random shots Into the Bush hoping that you might hit something? I don’t think so, so why do we apply the concept to fishing then? Back to business! We could categorize the basic understanding into two divisions namely: location and presentation. First, we’ll discuss location and in a later issue, we’ll cover presentation.
Location in itself can be broken down into two subdivisions; small ponds or farm dams and larger reservoirs. The obvious difference between the two is their size. Due to the different dynamics of each, they can’t, and shouldn’t be seen as one and the same. This was abundantly clear when I first made the transition from farm ponds to larger impoundments. If I have to be honest, it took me a full season to truly understand the whole concept of fish movement and positioning. Even if someone had taken the time to try and explain the whole business to me, I still doubt that I would have understood the concept without actually being faced with it. The only way for me to learn and retain that information was the hard way, trial and error so to speak.
Let’s do small waters first; This is where everyone starts off… a pond on the family farm, commercial venues or whatever. These waters vary in size from tiny mud holes to impressive irrigation reservoirs the size of 2 or 3 Rugby fields. On these types of waters, I place heavy emphasis on cover, to a lesser extent structure and bottom composition. Cover is the presiding factor that will determine where, and how bass position themselves. Obviously certain criteria comes into play here; the 3 C’s – cover, comfort and chow. Ask yourself: is there cover?, is the water a comfortable temperature at the target depth? Are baitfish relating to that area? If you can tick all those boxes, great! You’re on the money! Bass will relate to the entire depth column in ponds for the majority of the year.
Winter bass fishing is tricky, bass need stable water to retreat to during Winter, deep water offers stability, most farm ponds aren’t that deep… do you see where the old adage “ bass don’t bite in Winter “ comes from? Without sufficient depth to retreat to, bass will effectively become dormant, unresponsive and unwilling to waste any energy until optimum conditions presents itself. Bass have a preferred temperature band that they like to operate in relative to the area. Northern and coastal waters will differ from highland reservoirs due to the average daily temperature difference.
So in essence, bass don’t migrate to the full extent of the word in small waters. Decent holding areas are limited on small waters and a fish might become resident in an area or on a specific piece of cover and, will be reluctant to give it up unless conditions force it to do so. How it’s positioned on or in said piece of cover depends on many factors: light penetration, depth, water clarity, fishing pressure, water temperature etc. Daily movement is something to consider, but this happens on a smaller scale and won’t have a profound effect on success. It may come down to a morning or afternoon bite depending on conditions, they seldom move far, but they definitely switch on and off (feeding vs feeling sorry for themselves). This is the case with the Florida strain especially. Thankfully we have the Northern strain to fall back on.
The majority of farm ponds are small enough to cover in a few hours. If you’re having difficulty getting a fish, take it on the chin and change what you were doing. There’s always one that’s willing to eat somewhere. Often in the past, I would throw baits that I enjoyed fishing with, instead of baits that I know would be better suited for the scenario, but took more effort to present. Don’t get stuck in your ways, be flexible!
Larger bodies of water have a different dynamic. The annual cycle obviously has four seasons. Three of these seasons have blurred lines with the exception of winter. What I’m saying is: you can be in 1ft or 30ft on the same body of water and still catch them through all three seasons. Let’s get more specific… were currently in Winter so that’s where we’ll start. Winter starts with fish migrating to deep stable main-lake areas. Old river beds, main-lake points, defining landscape features if you will. When I say fish I’m referring to the majority of the population, not rogue fish or lost pockets. They will remain deep until the days start to grow longer. When conditions allow, male bass will start moving shallow and can be caught in great numbers. The bigger females remain slightly deeper whilst waiting for the males to start construction on bedding sites. Under precise conditions, the female moves onto the nest, they conduct their business and the female moves off whilst the male stays behind to guard the nest. The female doesn’t go far, she needs to recover and start feeding so she’s not just heading straight back to deep water, she’ll stick around for a couple of days. We’ll cover the spawn in more detail in a later issue.
Now the blurred lines… when the majority of fish are done spawning, they return to business as usual. This entails the obvious: cover, comfort and chow. With this being said, know that you might still find fish in all three stages of the spawn, ex: pre spawn staging fish, bedding fish and post-spawn recovering fish. The staging and recovering fish use the same lines or areas to operate in, condensing them and making them easier to find. These areas are normally the first dramatic depth change or definitive cover break. These areas don’t pertain to the spawn specifically, and Bass use these throughout the year if conditions are favourable.
When summer arrives in full fury, fish tend to avoid super shallow water in the absence of cover. Cover, in turn, offers comfort and chow. Remember I’m referring to the majority of the population, and depth counts as cover! For example, on Loskop: fish avoid the shallows in high summer and early winter due to lack of cover, but Rust de winter has enough shallow cover to keep them from shifting off to the real deep parts. One has to have perspective here! Deep on Loskop is 50ft, deep on Rusties is 15ft. So, in reality, one can fish the same zones from early spring to early winter and still be presenting to the bulk of the population. Deep winter is the only time that fish will make a noticeable shift in location. If you want to be successful, you have to follow them deeper or suffer the embarrassment of an empty sack come weigh-in. If you find them stacked up, the bite can be more prolific than the best early season days.
I hope this has given the reader a better insight into bass fishing and fish movement. Don’t sweat the small stuff! Put a bait where they live and the rest will take care of itself. See you on the water!

Read Divan’s previous story right here – Bass fishing and Social Media.

SEO by The Sardine News: Check out The Sardine News for how-to, fishing reports from all over, weather and conditions, places to fish and see, all over Southern Africa by clicking right here.

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Fishing Nicaragua: the Jungle Waters

Fishing Nicaragua with Johan Wessels and the Fishing Pro Shop

Fishing Nicaragua: Jungle Waters

Introduction to fishing Nicaragua jungle waters

Johan Wessels of the Fishing Pro Shop in Pretoria East, got himself as far-flung as possible last week, in his quest to catch that tarpon. All 150lbs of the beast fish!

But it wasn’t ALL about the flash tarpon fish that Johan and crew were after. The jungle waters of Nicaragua teem with the most pretty of species.

Over to Johan’s running commentary…

[21:42, 17/10/2019] Johan: Been out fishing the jungle and throwing small spinnerbaits and rapalas at the submerges trees…
Here are some pictures
[21:42, 17/10/2019] Johan: Rainbow bass on small spinner bait
[21:42, 17/10/2019] Johan: Bluegill sunfish on small rapala
[21:42, 17/10/2019] Johan: Also managed this snook
[21:42, 17/10/2019] Johan: Here is a short video of the jungle
[21:42, 17/10/2019] Johan: Lots of small fish, amazing fishing in all that flooded structure and easy to see why it holds so many fish

After the team took a well needed break they started preparing for another day in the wild jungle. Fishing Nicaragua style!

[14:05, 19/10/2019] Johan: So the fishing is done and we start heading back this morning.
Yesterday’s jungle fishing was a bit of a dud fishing wise, but the jungle is indescribable… we would be travelling on a small creek, hardly big enough for a small johnboat to travel through and then it opens up into a lake big enough to rival most of our inland waters….
We did set out for a last tarpon session and i finally hooked up on fly and staying hooked up for 10 m before straightening yet another hook…
The take was ferocious and i have blisters on my fingers to prove it…
[14:06, 19/10/2019] Johan: So from here it is Cesna back to costa rica, followed by an afternoon flight to London and the tomorrow evening home to Jozi…

What a trip! Not to mention two days of travelling home!

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Written by Sean Lange and Johan Wessels.