Of the 61 teams that entered the 2019 LBT, during the weekend of 5-6 October the top 21 teams were invited and hosted by the LBT to a prestigious, all weekend fishing shoot out at Driekoppies Dam to crown the 2019 Champions and win the R210 080 worth of prizes on offer.
The LBT once again offered the top teams on the log an all-expenses paid weekend at the Buffalo Hotel in Hectorspruit for the final at Driekoppies. Thanks are due to the staff at the hotel for the warm welcoming and good service during the weekend.
After a lovely meal and the opening skippers briefing on Friday evening it was down to business for the anglers and spirits were high as teams lined the shores of the dam, the Lowveld’s very own big fish venue. Pre-fishing sessions delivered good size bags consistently. Anglers were well aware that a solid 5-fish limit would be required on the first day to survive and stand a chance at claiming top honours.
Conditions had set up perfectly and as teams raced off to their various starting locations, they found a rather pleasant morning bite to fill their limits. The wind picked up throughout the morning and many teams managed to upgrade their bags targeting the vegetated shorelines. Fishing for the day turned out very well with team Supa Fly finishing their day at 12 o’ clock already having weighed in a massive 12.96kg bag that included the biggest fish of the day – a fish of 3.57kg, which is also a new PB for Charles Kerridge. This bag broke the record for the heaviest bag weight in LBT history. A truly blessed day for the team to have put such a bag together on the first day of their first finals.
Other teams also had good success with another 6 teams managing to weigh in a bag in excess of 9kg. Team Extreme Fishing Tackle was in 2nd place after the first day with a bag of 9.87kg, closely followed by team Salmo & Nichols in 3rd place with a 9.6kg bag. Frank Gottschalk weighed in the 2nd biggest fish on the day at 3.29kg and had them sitting in 5th place. Unfortunately 3 teams had to be disqualified for the day as they failed to have their tags on the tag board by the 4 o’ clock deadline.
But if there is one thing for certain about this sport, it is that conditions and fishing can change in the blink of an eye. Day 2 presented the teams with calm, slick conditions during the morning and a wind that had decided to change direction. Changing conditions and fishing pressure from the first day made fishing tough for the teams and it was a grind all the way to the 14:00 weigh-in to upgrade the bags. The fishing did improve slightly later in the day as the wind picked up, but teams that targeted new areas and covered waters managed to put together quality bags.
Frank Gottschalk made the most of the second day and again weighed in their kicker fish at 3.715kg during the late morning as they put together the biggest bag of day 2 at 9.365kg. This also ended up being the biggest fish of the event. Day 1 leaders, Supa Fly, struggled to find quality fish as they saw their lead slip away during the final weigh-in. And as the standings started to shuffle during the final weigh-in, it was 2019’s Angling Team of the Year, Team Thermocline weighing in a very consistent 9.3kg bag to take the lead and the 2019 Champions title.
Team Thermocline has dominated the 2019 angling season from the get-go and never seemed to give anyone a gap to catch up. Congratulations from the entire LBT field and organizers on a well-deserved victory and setting the bar very high for 2020.
During the final, 208 fish were weighed in over the two days, with a total weight of 268.6kg and a per fish average of 1.291kg, while 40 (95.24%) limits were weighed in.
A big word of appreciation and thanks to all our amazing sponsors that formed part of the success during the 2019 LBT season. And a very special thanks to those sponsors that keep sponsoring the LBT year after year. It would be impossible to host such a successful fishing trail on this scale without the generous donations, thoughtful hamper/prizes and input from our sponsors.
Sponsors of our 2019 Season included ACDC Nelspruit, Africa Spear Safari’s, Alan Hudson Motors, Amalgamate Air, Angling & Outdoor World, Arkansas Spur, Ashbourne Lodge Hazyview, Bass Angler Magazine, Bazlcon, BeliTelo, Bill Lewis, C&E Fertilizers, Clean a Carpet, De Goede, Dream Machines, Extreme Fishing Tackle, Hazyview Midas, Hi-Q Nelspruit, I’Langa Mugg n Bean, Induna Adventures, Instru Lec, Jock of the Bushveld Boskombuis, Laeveld Agrochem, LVM,Mafunyani Water Park, Malelane Toyota, Mazda, Moonlight Cabins, Nelspruit Ford, Nelspruit Trailer Parts, Nichols Lures, NTT Lydenburg, Nulani, Numbi Hotel, Pestana Kruger Lodge, Protect-A-Car, Riverside Mugg n Bean, Riverside Pharmacy, Riverside Spur, Rudamans, Sakata Seed, Simansi Farms, Solly’s Anglers Corner, Subaru Nelspruit, The Fridge Factory, Tripwired, TruVision Health, Wittus Angling, Wynn’s.
It was only with the help of the sponsors and our anglers that the LBT was able to hand out R634,450.00 (R 513,900.00 in 2018) worth of cash/hampers/vouchers during the 2019 season of which a total of R210,080.00 was handed out during the 2019 Final.
The LBT is fortunate to play a big part in the SABAA Super Final. The teams invited to the Super Final are as follows: Thermocline, Bucket Mouth, Extreme Fishing Tackle, Legend, Venom Lures Lowveld, Bass Wizzard, Dominate,Nuts For Fishing, Ambassadors, Imongolo, 5 Limit, Wittus Angling,Salmo & Nichols,Tripwired Bill Lewis, Awol, Supa Fly,Rapala and Pleasure Pink.
The LBT trusts that these 18 teams will be a force to be reckoned with during the 2019 SABAA Super Final. The LBT has a score to settle with the Gauteng Trail after having placed 2nd best during 2017 and 2018.
Congratulations to Charles Kerridge who has been elected as the chairman for 2020. All the best in the new challenges ahead and we wish you and your team all the best. Thank you for your commitment and we are sure you will be making a success of the 2020 season.
It has been a great year with many unforgettable moments. Thank you to every angler that contributed to the major success in 2019 and we look forward to welcoming everyone back on the shoreline of the Round 1 competition in February 2020.
A last word of thanks to our amazing sponsors already listed above. They have gone the extra mile this year and contributed massively to the success of the trail.