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.
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!!!!
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…
We shall see you at The Fishing Pro Shop all day today and tomorrow until 1pm!
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.
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!”
This couta might have gone way over 30, or even 40kg’s. It was sharked whilst fishing out of Linene, just south of the Bazaruto Archipelago and park.
It ate a halfbeak in a skirt on the troll for sailfish. And was caught by Wickus Strydom, and ardent Fishing Pro Shop regular.
The waters outside of Linene are renowned for monsters, and this is the second unfortunate taxing that I have seen there recently. There are some distinguished pinnacles running along a north-south line, and jumping in, it really is refreshing, to see it teeming with fish. Gamefish and reef fish swim together top to bottom in this place. Which obviously means one thing…
Mainly highly spirited Zambezi models, being hustled from all angles by Bronze Whalers and other food chain competitors. They are aggressive and keen to pick a fight with anyone. They have been busting up tackle here for 50 years, and have really come to know the dinner bell. Whci goes off as soon as we slow down to fight fish. They come in from all angles in this place!
But ok, it’s a sign that this place is really healthy for now. But I am not sure how much longer it will be though?! Check out how foreign trawlers are raping this place, as we speak. Legally?! Government selling fishing rights.
And another couta sharked, at the same place…
And so the chances of getting these big couta out are quite dismal on lighter tackle, and even heavier tackle, as Dean Taylor pictured below, found out, fishing the same as area as Wickus was, for his fish. He was still on GT drag when his outsized monter was spotted by a guest flying in from the bow just uner the surface. Imagine seeing that! Dean’s dropshot was 3 metres under the boat at the motors when the huge fish slammed into his lure. Literally taking Dean with it, at GT drag! Luckily we held on to Dean and Dean held onto the fish, but it wasn’t 3 minutes and the line went slack, and Dean winched the head of the couta in.
It’s rather sad when this happens, but what can you do against that marauding pack of sharks, who, incidentally, follow us around when we troll lures for bait in this place, knowing that they are in for a free meal as soon as we hookup! We know this since we started trolling with cameras set in the wake to see what was going on.
It’s pretty scary!
And a final treat, some underwater footage of a pack of couta hammering away at a live bonito, in the same area, just a bit north.
Full underwater observation story can be read here, pics and all.
Considering colour in fishing: I’d like to revisit an article I wrote some time ago, it’s a great topic and evocative for many. Sentiment plays a major role in many cases, going with a particular colour based on previous experience even though the circumstances and conditions are different, or reverting to what you caught your PB on 7 years ago. Most of us are guilty of this in one way or another. The purpose of this article is to help simplify colour selection, especially for beginners or folks who need reassurance. My tackle box is unexciting, you’ll find Black, Brown, Green & maybe something June bug, Perhaps even a bit of white. I like to keep it simple. I have variations of these base colours but I don’t care much for glitter. The more you fuss over which colour glitter is best the less you focus on what could actually make a difference to your catch rate. Let me explain my reasoning behind colour selection: colour perception is relative to light penetration. When subjected to the depths, certain colours loose their integrity due to diminished light penetration. Scientists tell us that red is the first colour to be affected followed by orange and yellow. Green is next, followed by blue, purple and black. The latter three maintain their integrity at great depths, and still appear as their natural hue even as deep as 100ft depending on water clarity. At this depth, all other colours appear grey or a variation thereof. So in essence, if you were under the impression that you were fishing a Watermelon bait in 30ft guess again, It would likely be perceived as pale grey. An excellent example of this would be certain ‘red’ saltwater reef species, at depth they appear grey in colour, this is a camouflage mechanism. I’m sure everyone has seen some sort of underwater footage of reef fish. The three most common scenarios that you’ll face are, clear water, stained water and muddy water. My basic colour selection would be as follows, in clear water up shallow, I would start with Watermelon ( gold, red, purple, blue fleck – whatever) until I can no longer see the bottom, then I would switch over to Green Pumpkin, Black or June bug. For stained water, up shallow, I will start off with Green Pumpkin, and use Black and June bug as I move deeper. During low light conditions, I might consider a colour with good contrast against the dark water. Muddy water can be challenging so best ensure that your bait remains as visible as possible. It is recommended to use White (or counter shade) and black. It’s also one of the few scenarios where I prefer that my bait has some glitter. Scientists agree that the visibility of your bait is the overriding factor which determines whether a bass will actually commit to eating your presentation, not the shape or hydrodynamic signature of your bait. You can refine your approach in clear water by matching your bait colour to the immediate surroundings and cover. For example, if the area has lots of weeds then stick to Watermelon. If the area has rocks or timber , try Green Pumpkin perhaps. Keep in mind that any variation of the base colours will also do. With regards to hardbaits, if you consider what they are imitating, it’s simple. Any form of counter shade will do. If you are limited to only a few baits, I would recommend ones with a White belly and darker back. For stained and muddy water I might consider something with a bit of Yellow, Orange or chartreuse on it. Spinnerbaits are most popular in White in variations thereof. My clear water favourite is golden shiner and for stained water plain old white. For jigs, it’s just as simple – clean water calls for shades of Green pumpkin, crabs also happen to be brown in colour… for stained and muddy water, black/blue is hard to beat. If I’m swimming a jig, white is a great option. In fact, white is the most fool proof colour for any reaction bait whether it’s a hardbait, softbait or skirted presentation. Try not to overthink it, stick to the basic colours and be confidant in your choice. See you on the water!
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.
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!
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
The KZN Natal summer gamefish season is almost upon us. And after a reasonable sardine season, and plenty baitfish about right now, we’re looking forward to the annual visit of wahoo, king mackerel, dorado and billfish. And other suspects.
Early adopters of the warm summer conditions are the dorado and billfish. It is actually smack bang in the middle of the big black marlin season right now. Although sailfish and blue marlin will also be popping up all over, it’s mainly about the big blacks. The big mommas. 1000 pounds is the magical mark. Every attempt is made to release these fish by true conservation minded sport anglers. Even though the commercial fleet is catching and NOT releasing, we need the information gathered from the tagging programs urgently. The magnificent and angry striped marlin usually come only in February or later. These exciting billfish swim together hunting in shoals?! Beware the double or triple header!
As soon as the rains hit Natal, and hard enough to bring the ever-important brown water down the rivers and into the ocean, where it’s alkalinity helps balance the acidity of the sea, the dorado arrive. It’s like clockwork, as soon as that clear line between the brown and the deep blue forms, it’s on. Especially after or during a stiff southwester. The same conditions that bring the sailfish and marlin. It’s quite a spectacle from up high on the cabin roof, looking down as shoals of dorado swim past and into the spread, annihilating everything in their path.
Still later into summer, and actually almost into winter, come the ‘couta. We used to get the first fish in November. Now they have moved their visit way to after New Year. Sometimes they only pitch as late as April. Their spawning season here, bringing the huge crocodile couta that the KZN coast is famous for. Some of over 50kg’s have been taken over the recent years. This is most certainly the breeding stock of these prized fish, and the amount of ‘sport’ fishing events through the season targeting these fish, is really worrying. All these events should be, could be, run in the name of conservation and sport, rather than killing fish for prize money.
The baitfish like shad and mackerel can be found marauding around the inshore reefs all up and down this fish rich coastline. They move around all the time so as long as you are in the right area, they will find you. Chuck one of these precious items on a decent live bait trace, set the drag to about 2kg’s, and wait for that sound!
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!
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!
The Fishing Pro Shop News channel is firing up! Last week we had Divan Coetzee, FPS Pro, relating his experiences with bass fishing and social media. Check that story out right here. This week we have ongoing commentary all the way from Nicaragua, where another Fishing Pro Shop Pro, our own Johan Wessels, is chasing…tarpon! Really big tarpon.
So stay tuned as we keep you up-to-date on the seasons, the fish, and the antics of the Pro crew – working at the Fishing Pro Shop, right here on this channel. For now, it’s back to Ecuador…
They are having a great time all the way over there in those fish rich waters. But fishing for those punishing brutes takes it’s toll, physically, mentally, and on your gear and tackle. They are extremely dogged in a fight, cunning and strong, as they change direction in milliseconds. Coming flying up and out of the water in cascading spray and drama. Or diving down deep and sitting vas, breaking the angler’s already broken back. You have to fit and strong to tackle these beasts. Physically, and mentally.
The mighty tarpon in Nicaragua . Nicaragua is a place in the world where huge tarpon still thrives, not just survives!
Johan left a few days ago, flying all over the planet, to get to his final destination. His first few sessions were interesting indeed, many big fish lost, but some small ones (?!), as in the pic below, did make it boatside.
Many hooks were straightened or bent. Traces broken. Egos bruised by these legendary fighting fish.
But, many lessons learnt too.
Some commentary from Johan…after his first day out there, very early morning…
[02:12, 13/10/2019] Johan: Right… so we got here and fished for tarpon for two hours… [02:12, 13/10/2019] Johan: Before the light caught us… [02:13, 13/10/2019] Johan: And i can say that i have been humbled by the silver king… Jumped 2 fish. The guides say one was 80lb and the other a 100lb… [02:14, 13/10/2019] Johan: My friend ben landed one of 130lb. Awaiting pics… [02:15, 13/10/2019] Johan: Both fish screwed up my best laid plans with gamakatsu and mustad hooks…. [02:15, 13/10/2019] Johan: I think the saying is true… [02:15, 13/10/2019] Johan: You get tarpon and then everything else.. [02:16, 13/10/2019] Johan: Now. These are the smaller fish of this area….
However things improved very fast for the FPS representative Johan, as he changed tactics and this next script arrived in my inbox!
[13:11, 15/10/2019] Johan: And so starts another fishing morning on search of tarpon… Yesterday was a tuff game chasing the tarpon, but we did manage two. One of 80 and another of 120lb… [13:13, 15/10/2019] Johan: Live bait and deadbait has been the way, but did hook up again on the bucktail yesterday… The bighest challenge has not been getting them to bite, but to get the hooks to stay in their bucket mouths….
As of this point in the adventure, Johan and crew have been battling the available bandwidth over there, in the sticks, to get the videos and imagery to us. Stand by though, it’s definitely going to be hotting up!
Then it came, the news we had been waiting for.
Finally, proof of tarpon! This action packed gallery just filtered through the airwaves, and was worth the wait for sure.
And so, barely a few days into the Nicaraguan tarpon mission, the highly prized benchmark 150lb dream fish made it boatside. Tamed by Johan Wessels after many attempts and many near misses. This was one of quite a few fish Johan was able to get to the boat. Many of the hooked fish never came near the boat at all!
They guys are fishing live bait and dead bait. And lures. The bucktail jig that Johan had some good success with, features in this next gallery, of action packed imagery.
This will mark the end of Part 1 of our coverage of Johan’s adventure chasing and taming tarpon in the wild waters of Nicaragua . I am pretty sure the team is hard at rest now that they have had their fill. Or have they?
So stay close for the next instalment or two, all the way from south America.