Crocodile crashes, hot bait mishaps, lost rods and 8-pounders, Golden Bass, World Records, World Champs, DIY Spybaits, Glides, cease and desist letters – that’s just a few of the hundreds of behind the scenes highlights from the past 7.5 years. As we embrace our new home on For Anglers here are a few of my favourite highlights that didn’t always make it into the print edition.
Nile Croc Knockout Punch
“Holy smokes, that’s one way to test the Fortrex’s shaft,” chuckled Tyron Mortimer from the bow of the Crackleback, as the big croc death rolled on the surface behind us. “You hit that thing square on the diff, did you see it jump?” I asked while trying to regain my composure. The 4m-plus amphibian was likely sunning itself in the shallows when we came around a submerged acacia and smashed right into it. I’m not sure who got a bigger fright upon impact, but that big boy or girl didn’t need to find a change of underwear afterwards. As the saying goes amongst our team –T.I.A – This Is Africa!
Lost Rod Surprise
What happens when you troll a 7-inch hitch-coloured Big Dipper Swimbait around Loskop during the prespawn..? Exactly what you’d expect. Our MD, Werner Lubbe was multi-tasking to capitalize on the last hour of a trip to the monster bass fishery, casting a big Senko while running the big bait trap stick under his right foot. A directional change on the trolling motor and he lifted his foot off the rod for a split second when a big bass struck, ripping the rod overboard, running into a snag and throwing the lure on the surface for good measure. Werner did his darndest to get the rod back even going for an impromptu free dive (Loskop does have crocs – Ed). Attempting to help the cause I picked up a big Bomber Fat Free Shad and made a long cast parallel to a steep, rocky wall trying to snag the combo. Halfway back to the boat I felt something spongy at the end of the line and leant into it, even commenting on how easy that was – but the 8-pounder coming clear out of the water wasn’t what I was expecting, although it was a damn side better than a kick in the teeth! Unfortunately however we never did get that rod back…
When we first ran the story on Letsibogo’s Golden Bass rumours abounded about this “new strain”. The term was actually coined by our Ed, Eugene Kruger who joined us on that pioneering expedition and noted that the fin colour exhibited a unique golden hue, likely a colour adaption to the chocolate milk-coloured water at the time. The title of “Golden Bass” stuck with local bassers sharing the story of this genetic adaptation found only in Letsibogo. Even more humorous was the Costa Sunglasses’ GEOBASS TV series on Animal Planet that dedicated an entire show to it!
Understanding the dynamics of how spybaits actually work would have been handy in our “underwater prop bait” feature from issue #2. We fashionined our own versions from the now discontinued Dying Flutter baits, which we crudely drilled open and popped in a few split shots. The results were mixed although we landed some good fish on a Fire Tiger version at more than a couple of venues. Who were we to tell bass not to bite them!
Swimming with bass
On occasion we’ve been known to dabble in some friendly competition, the bets are usually small like the losing team buys ice cream for the entire crew or picks up the bar tab at the lodge. On one such trip the lodge owner partnered with Werner Lubbe, and photographer Ruaan Lubbe and I paired up to catch the biggest 5 we could get our hands on. By 1pm I hadn’t had a bite and so it was decided to switch to finesse tactics. Moments later I hooked into a feisty keeper of about 1,5-kilos that buried itself in the base of a brushpile, and with blanking not an option it called for desperate measures. “Hold my phone,” was all Ruaan got out before he descended into the depths, surfacing a few seconds later, with bass and the entire brushpile in hand. All he could muster was “tonight we’re not buying beer”!
Stay tuned to Dock Talk as I bring you more regular updates, the latest from my fishing escapades and all the latest from the bassing world.
Catch you on the water.