SA Bass teamed up with Jannie Steytler from Sensation to investigate some new techniques at Rhenosterkop Dam. Every Gauteng angler knows how well soft plastics can work but we wanted to test the effectiveness of alternative lures and tactics on our favorite home water…..
Dam Wall section: 09:30am – 11:45am. Jannie starts by working the edges of the grass in the dam wall section of the dam. At this time of the year, bass like to pack up in schools on the deeper edges of the grass. The wind was blowing a stern 10km/h from the east so we picked the southern points of that section. Searching for reaction strikes, Jannie held the boat approximately 20-50m off the grass lines and threw crankbaits and rattletraps at the edges.
Tweaking the grass: The idea is to approach the grass where it is a little sparser and cast a little longer with a shallow runner. As you reel back slowly you only need to keep a slight tension on the crank with a higher rod tip and it will “tweak” through the grass without hooking. If you feel a gap in the snags you can jerk it down harder for a reaction strike.
Controlled flutter: Throwing a rattletrap at deeper edges of the grass and allowing it to flutter down. As soon as it has fluttered for a few seconds you pull it in a few feet and allow it to flutter again especially if you feel some contact with the grass patches.
Rods: Sensation Pro-Elite 741 (Medium Extra Fast Action Baitcasting)
Reel: Banax Infinity 6.2:1 Baitcaster
Line: Gamma 14lb Copolymer & Fluorocarbon.
Lures: Sensation Megacrank. Bomber Fat Free Shad & Fat Free Shad Jnr. Damiki Tremor rattletraps.
The tactics employed definitely take time to learn and perfect but Jannie was already sharp to them. We immediately began taking fish from the grass edges at the dam wall and pretty much every point on the southern side of the dam as we made our way north-west. I explored the edges with a Mojo plastic but this proved most unproductive by comparison to the hard bait strategy. It appeared that the presentation of a crankbait or rattletrap to the edge of the grassline with a few sharp turns would produce a fish more often than not. If it did not, fluttering a rattletrap back to the boat would also produce strikes and we easily caught more than 30 fish in the 2 hour period we picked on the points. The average size of the fish was a steady 1 – 1.5kg so we decided to move around to another section and look for a better quality fish.
Sensation’s new Crankbait Series
Sensation’s new Mega Crank SD4 crankbait series comes out in awesome colours such as carp and bream. We tested the shallow running series and found that it was quite maneuverable around grass and other objects. Teamed up with other gear such as the Pro-Elite series of rods and Gamma line, the bait is definitely worthy of tackle box selection on a trip to Rhenosterkop.
As the name would imply the vibration of this bait on the fall leaves nothing to be desired. It was designed with the controlled flutter in mind and accomplishes just that. It would seem largemouth bass are highly susceptible to the fluttering falling action of this bait and it allows for an outstanding option to the angler out of ideas.
Bomber Fat Free Shad
The regular and junior versions of this bait are winners. The conventional message of avoiding grassy areas with your crankbait falls on deaf ears with this bait. It easily tweaks round grass stems and with its slender profile and shape is engulfed deeper in the mouth, meaning easier hook-ups.
Main Dam: Northern Banks. 12:30pm to 17:00pm. After looking in several shallow areas and attempting some sight fishing we decided to settle on an area that would be traversed by bass as they made their way between the deeper and shallow water. The reeds on the northern banks are often used as a hunting ground for Rhenosterkop bass so we strategically placed our boat outside the cover lines and worked from the deeper water. At first Jannie continued with the crankbait strategy but with one small change, as we were fishing deeper water he used a steady roll retrieve. As the afternoon wore on we drifted into the shoreline and switched to Sensation’s new Bass Buster swim bait.
The Steady Roll: The easiest way to fish a crankbait and indeed the first way we all fish it. Long casts followed by a steady medium paced reeling action with no rod movements. Keeping your rod tip a little higher will generally provide a saver retrieve from snagging. This retrieve really puts the design of the bait to the test as it relies solely on the natural swimming action of the bait.
The Slow Roll: This tactic is best used with swimbaits. Sensation’s new Bass Buster, as with most swimbaits is designed for the most natural but attractive swimming action possible in the tail of the bait. So natural is that action that swimming the bait slowly past structure is all that needs be done for effective fishing. A faster geared bait caster will will achieve a beautiful slow roll on a swimbait with more energy conservation for the angler.
Rods: Magma 731 Microguide. (Medium Heavy Fast Action Baitcasting)
Reel: Magma 7:1 Baitcaster
Line: Gamma 14lb Fluorocarbon
Lures: Sensation Bass Buster, Bomber Fat Free Shad, Sensation Shallow Runner
While it was still midday and early afternoon it was apparent that the majority of the fish were stacking up in the deeper zones. We definitely made a good choice about the interception points as we moved up and down and the spots would replenish themselves. A steady roll on a shallow running crankbait was bringing in heaps of fish but as the afternoon wore on the fish moved a little shallower and got a little bigger in average size. In the late afternoon we had moved right up into the reeds and slow rolling a Bass Buster swimbait was the key strategy. It was easy to execute and the fish loved the carp and bream colours so we began catching more and more fish until we had lost count. The ease of fishing and the aggressiveness of the attacks lead me to conclude that this was definitely the ultimate strategy on the day. The fish would engulf the bait and its sleek profile, soft body and single treble hook configuration meant that you would get the fish solidly inside the mouth but it was also relatively easy to unhook and release in good shape. This tactic got Jannie our best fish of the day of 2.1kg.
Sensation Bass Buster Swimbait
New on the shelves for your fishing pleasure this holiday. Sensation has outdone themselves with the unique design of this bait. Prototyped multiple times they have refined it to everything a local angler wants out of a swimbait. It has a soft body but firm skeleton so it can be fished in two ways. It can be twitched and fluttered and the soft body will have it looking like a feeding baitfish on structure or performing a dying flutter near the surface. It can also be slow-rolled and the skeletal rudders keep the bait upright and natural like a baitfish swimming along unawares. The colour range mimics small carp and kurper and the results would certainly attest to the effectiveness of that colour selection. Any way you would like to fish the bait it was the most productive on our trip to Rhenosterkop.
NEW SENSATION BASS LURES
NOW AVAILABLE IN STORE