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Month: February 2020

FOUR HOT-SPOTS FOR BASS

Largemouth Bass by nature are creatures of habit and are often drawn to the same structure and underwater features in any lake

The larger bass will key in on the better sections of a pond or lake and become quite territorial about their hot-spots and so the pecking order will follow down the ranks to where the smaller fish are in the less productive spots of a dam. Knowing where to look for the larger specimens, could turn an unproductive day or even a day of many small fish into a great day.

1Points:
Any long, short, wide, narrow, steep or sloping point that juts out into a lake is likely to hold bass. Such points rimmed by shallow to moderately deep water that has any kind of structure (tree snags, fallen logs, stumps, rocks, weeds, etc.) is an especially great place to cast flies such as Eel Worms Streamers, Calcasieu Pig Boats, baitfish imitations and even top-water bugs such as Poppers and Gurglers. From August to November, depending on the geographical location of the dam in South Africa, feisty, fly-smashing largemouths will often spawn around such points and attack any critter that dares to pass close or through the nest. During Spring through Summer and often into Autumn one will also find the bass cruising the shallows and working the cover for baitfish, insects and other foods.

  1. Points
  2. Stream Bed / Channel
  3. Old Roads
  4. Islands

2Stream inlets and channels: Hungry bass often hunt near the mouths of in flowing streams, which concentrate minnows, crustaceans and insects. Casting flies at such spots during early morning and late in the afternoon most often should meet with success. When the sun rises and starts to warm the water during the summer months, move further out into the lake or pond and fish for the bass finning in and around deep river channels that one can locate using either old topographical maps, charts and even electronics. Channel bends are especially good spots to work jigs fly patterns such as Pfeifer’s Flying Jig and Pig, weighted Minnow patterns and other flies that get down and stay down are also effective in the deeper waters. Takes are subtle especially on a sinking line, often the take will feel like the line just gets slightly heavier, strike when in doubt you will often be surprised at a fish pulling back at the other end.

3Sunken roads: Check maps, charts and electronics for asphalt and gravel roads that were sub-merged when an impoundment was built. Flooded roads and accompanying ditches and bridges concentrate both baitfish and predatory bass. Biologists and bass pros find that largemouths will often cruise along old road beds when moving to and from feeding areas. Try to intercept these road runners with A Dhalberg Diver on a sinking line with a short leader it is often very deadly around such flooded roads, bass just can’t seem to resist the bug floating upwards between strips.

A floating bug on a sinking line, with a short leader has a very seductive action that Largemouth Bass just can’t seem to resist.

4Islands: Any island, and especially one surrounded by humps, gravel bars, drop-offs and the like, is a good place to find bass from spring through fall. Unfortunately most islands in large lakes or ponds are not accessible without a boat or other flotation device to get you within closer range. Drift your craft into position and fan cast bait-fish imitations, such as leech and worm patterns, at spawning or feeding largemouth bass. If there are some overhanging branches try casting a popper underneath or as close as possible and work it back slowly. Largemouth bass know that there is a potential food source in the branches and also are drawn to the shade and cover that the overhanging branches provide.

Next time you get on to your favorite bass pond or dam or even a new water, consider taking the time to scan the water and identify the most likely looking hot-spots, you might not catch a string of small bass, but you just might hook into that one special fish of the day.

TAP’S SPIDER

A BLUEGILL FLY THAT SEDUCES EVEN BANDED TILAPIA

Banded Tilapia can be found in nearly every stream or dam in South Africa, they are omnivores and will feed on any available food source from algae, soft plants, small insects and fry. They tend to be quite opportunistic thus won’t pass up on a fallen bug or small fish that happens to be in their vicinity. They tend to gather in shoals and because of this they often feed aggressively and they will readily come to the surface to nab a bug or insect. They’ll eat whatever bug they see and sometimes even try to eat bugs that can hardly fit in their mouths and they’ll eat it fast, before another tilapia can get to it. Like the Bluegill and even Canary Kurper they are quite underrated, yet they can provide hours of fun for youngsters starting out with a fly rod. As in most bluegill fly’s durability and other practical considerations are quite important and the same goes for flies designed for the tilapia species. Their abrasive mouths can wreak havoc on a delicate tied trout fly and often another tilapia will try to steal the fly out of the mouth of the hooked fish, thus tearing at the body of the fly

This is where the all-synthetic bluegill bug designed by William G Tapply known as the Tap’s Spider really shines, it’s a quick pattern to tie, it has that buggy look and the tilapia love them just as much as the bluegill do.

It’s practically indestructible and easy to make from inexpensive materials. The closed-cell foam body keeps it afloat all day (if it gets a bit waterlogged, just squeeze it dry), and it has that soft natural feel in a fish’s mouth that hard-bodied bugs lack. In white or yellow (banded tilapia like bluegill are normally not too fussy about the colour) it’s readily visible to the fisherman. The little burble made by the squared-off head attracts them, and even sitting motionless, the quivering legs and tail make the bug irresistible to the tilapia.

Materials
  • Hook: Dry Fly #10-14
  • Thread White 3/0
  • Tail:Rubber Leg Material
  • Body: Closed Cell Foam
  • Legs: Rubber Legs
Tying Instructions:
  1. Cover the hook shank with thread, ending at bend.
  2. Fold and tie in a strand of rubber-leg material for the tail, trimming it to the length of the hook shank or slightly longer.
  3. Cut a strip of 4mm thick closed-cell foam about 3cm long and 5-7mm wide.
  4. Lay the foam strip over the top of the hook shank with the front of the foam just behind the eye of the hook and the other end extending over the tail.
  5. Wind the thread forward, binding the foam tightly to the top of the hook.
  6. Tie two strands of rubber-leg material to the underside of the hook, about one-third back from the eye so that they form an X. Trim them so that each leg is about 1 inch long.
  7. Fold the remaining foam over the top of the hook, stretching it tightly, and tie off behind the eye. Whip-finish.
  8. Trim off the remaining foam, leaving a square head. Decorate the foam (and the legs and tail, if you’re so moved) with waterproof pens to suit your artistic bent. I usually colour the bug’s belly green or black, and I always leave the head white so I can see it on the water.
  9. Finish the head and the thread wraps along the underside with head cement.
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