|Hi guys, well was an interesting and tough weekend but good fun at the end of the day. Here is my report, hope you enjoy.
I awoke to a sunny durban day (For a change) and thought this is a promising sign of things to come. Till that is, i dropped my carefully packet tackle box taking it to the car and destroying all the time i spent organising it. So maybe no the best start,lol. I had a relaxing 600km drive to Wesselbron where i met up with Cheetha and Dorsal. After buying some Platties from a local who saw our rods and came running, we set off along the farm roads till we arrived at Kommando drift. After chatting to Hester the owner we where told to fish the area by the bridge, as this is where the bigger cats live. Upon arriving at the bridge we saw Hennie and Skuim already having a small scout of the water.
The spot looked really promising, and the weather not to bad, out of the river bank walked, this was the area with the most surface activity and lots of bait fish jumping and cats rising. Right time to set camp and set up our rods.
Dorsal was the first one with bait in the water, and set to work getting small carp for the evening session, with a carp head also placed close to the the bridge. Dorsal scouted the water a bit with the finder and we found we where in decent water with a depth of around 4,5m to 5m, if i remember correctly. He landed a couple of 250g to 500g fish and one close to a kg. These where quickly snapped up by all of us and we set to work preparing bait. This is where skuim came into his own, i have never seen any one take such care and detail in a bait presentation. Very impressive to watch, and as you will see in the following pics, what the end result is.
Cheetha set himself up with his usual carp bait, one we are n0t allowed to mention on the forum, but lets say it was a carp that may not have seen the end of its days yet. This went out past midway in the river, dorsal also set to work placing baits around the bridge looking for holes. Skuim placed half a carp just off the bank as the water dropped to 5m with in 2m of the shore. Hennie wanted to try whole chickens, something he hasnt done before, and also opted for them close to the shore. I myslef took one of dorsals small carp and prepared it as follows, ( excuse the lack of pics on bait presentaions, we had alot of rain and not a good idea to take pictures in down poors.) I killed the carp by cuttin just behind its head, this goes through the spine and all the major veins and arteries. I do this also as that small cut will also let alot of blood out into the water, aids me in my scent trail but kills the fish instintly. I cut off all the fins as usual, but have taken to cutting the pectoral fins off in a chunk, this servers to open a small whole into the gut cavity, again aiding in a slow release of scent. I also removed one gill plate and sprayed it with dead red. I used a 12/0 super circle through the head. Dorsal kindly place the bait out me. I had the bait placed in what i assume to be a channel built up by the middle pylon of the bridge. I was about 60m or more away from the bridge.
Unfortuneatly rain and cold strong winds plagued us for most of our trip, as soon as we started to do anything mother nature grabbed its chance to make life and fishing very hard for us. We battled for a good portion of the night, but half way through eating the lovely potjie cheetha had prepared i had the first enquiry on my bait. The fish was lightly picking the bait up, mouthing it than spitting it out. This went on for about an hour, until he picked it up and started to run slowly. I picked up my rod, i clicked off the rachete and left it on freespool with my thumb lighlty on the spool. After this fish being fussy and frustrating the hell out of me, i let it run for about 30m or more beofore i flicked the switch reeled down on him and than pulled to the side setting my circle. FISH ON. I fought the fish to the shore, where seeing Dorsal waiting with the TeamCatfish Lip grip he gave a couple strong runs until we finally got him to Dorsal's waiting hands. Small fish about 7KG. Got to break the ice some how.
Shortly after this fish we had another bout of rain and wind, and went to sit next to Dorsals and Cheetha's rods. About 12pm cheeths swimming carp got hit, and hit hard. The fish tore off for china, but unfortuneatly we missed the hook up, just a sign of the night we where having thus far. But knowing that patience is the key to success cheetha calmly left the fish out there and it wasnt long before he got hit agian. Cheetha fought the fish for a couple mins, before it headed straight towards us and the bank. This is often th sign of a bigger fish as it went straight for an obstruction not 3m from our waiting net. This is where the fish stayed, fish lost. We stayed up awhile longer but no luck on the rods.
Waking up the next morning we finally saw sunlight, this ended with anouther bit of rain and wind but cleared up nicely for us. The temp was rising the pressure was also on the increase and clouds where not threatining. Things where most certainly looking up. After the wind died we made our breakfast and than set to work setting a couple barble lines and we all set to work getting our bait for that night. Hennie cuaght some lovely mudfish and grassie's, Dorsal, cheetha and Skuim also got some nice small carp while i, being the worst carp fisherman on the planet, had a short crash course from cheetha. This resulted in me landing 2 yellow fish, being about finger size. . It wasn't long before dorsal was out on the water again having a quick scout and dropping his bait in a very promising area. We sat for most of the morning with out anything on the barber lines. Than all off a sudden, BANG, Dorsals swimming carp got hit, and again hard. The fish pulled the hooks and we were left on the shore scratching our heads as to how we could turn our luck around. 3 runs and only one fish out, what were we doing wrong. But Dorsal, who i must say impressed me the whole weekend and is certainly an angler to keep your eye on in the future, just got striaght back to work and rigged another death challendged carp and dropped it almost on the same spot. It wasnt 10min later that his reel screamed again, this time the fish had met its match, and the hooks where set and the fight began. Dorsal handled the fish away from the bridge and fought it to the shore, i missed the first attempt with the net, but unfussed Dorsal fought the fish to me again and we had him. 9KG fish. Not bad in the conditions, not bad at all.
This fish boosted the spirts and confidence again and with improving weather we set to work again with bait. We all started to prepare our baits and again The surgen Skuim made an imaculate Half carp, this we do have pics of for you. Ill let skuim go through his procedure for this rig. We managed to get most of the baits out and BANG, we got hit by yet another storm and wind. This died down and we managed to get all bait in the water. We sat talking and eating a fantastic braai prepared by henni with the temp and pressure dropping . We started to get activity on cheethas rods and had a couple of runs from small fish. Again the fish where not feeding aggresively and the bite was slow, as is to be expected in a dropping pressure. It was now that we bacame thankfull that the classic was cancelled, as Bloemhof must have been a nightmare to fish with these cold fronts pushing through both nights. We than saw what can only be described as the mother of all storms way off in the distance, and sat there praying it didnt get to us as the fishh seemed to be getting hungry. It wasn't half an hour later that the wind picked up to a gale and with the storm we knew was coming sent us all running like school girls for cover. The storm hit and hit hard, destroying cheeths camp in its wake. ( picture of thhat to follow, funny for us, not so amusing for cheetha and his gazzebo) This was the end of the fishing for the night as lines where blown into trees, baits where dragged down river by the current and wind.
We awoke to a fantasticly sunny day, as if the storm from hell never happend, Dorsal awoke to a huge run on his bait, and from the feel of him the fish of the weekend. But just to prove to us that no matter how much you know or how hard you fish nature and the fish is always in charge, a small issue on drag tension saw that fish also pulling the hooks and irritating Dorsal to no end. This was the final kick in the teeth to an otherwise enjoyable weekend.
The one thing we can say is that no matter how good you are, mother nature is always better and we do need to be reminded of this from time to time. But one thing i can say is that im proud we got the fish and the runs we did in such trying and tough conditions. It shows that a bit of thinking when it comes to bait placement and perseverance and patience will pay off for you, never give up the fight and never give up the hope.
( Pics will follow as soon as Skuim has the all and is ready to post)