Footloose fishing lessons
Spending some time in The Big Smoke, working The Mydo distribution run…and being land locked presents a host of problems.
But there are always bass.
And so, a chunk of the Von Biljon family and I set out on Sunday, to Footloose Trout Farm. Which is not a trout farm. It was. Remnants remain from the bygone days when hatcheries and race tanks spawned gaggles of trout and anglers.
Now, the handful of well-kept dams are stocked with bass in the summer…and replaced by trout in the winter.
An all round cool spot with lovely grass and trees, jungle gyms, a kiosk and licensed restaurant..kids and families everywhere.
Water moves down from the top dams trickling through sluits down through the bottom ones. And they are each nicely populated with fish.
The bass dams at the top are the most picturesque and popular. The ponds are just the right size and are well maintained. Benches and shady gazebos dot the fishing spots – it is all very cozy and good fun.
Even when it all goes bad.
Andrew von Biljon had brought the A- team. His sons Dustin and Tristan. Johnny von Biljon brought his girlfriend Ansie. And I was the sole outsider.
In preparation, I spooled my Okuma Ceymar 30 with 5kg braid, and attached it all to a Sensational Adventure stick – the lightest model. Very nice feeling rig. Leaders and all.
I was fishing Mydo Buck Shot #1. Pearl white. A deadly offering that looked so good on my rig.
My first cast bought a cackle on as I overshot the end of the dam and squared the bull rushes. Vas!
But this happens to me a lot and usually a few solid strikes drawn from slack line shocks the ultra sharp hook through the grass, and free.
Snap, went my new braid. Guffaw, went the Von Biljons.
Being so supremely confident meant that was my only leader, never mind my Buck Shot. And there was no way I could fight my way over those particular bull rushes. Steep bank. Perfect bass spot.
I quickly tied on a #1 Mydo Luck Shot rigged with a 4 inch plastic. A few casts and I was feeling great. In with a shot as the Von Biljon team occupied an entire quadrant with floats and worms. Their previous visit had produced so many fish that the kids were super amped. So were the adults.
Then I hit the bullrushes again. Exactly same result. Phwaaaar! Went the Von Biljons.
Extremely embarrassed I was disclaiming with the ultra light braid (is there such a thing?). But I could bite through it so I took off all the used braid and started again all fresh. As I was threading the last eye, I saw the problem. The tip had been smashed, probably against the roof of the tackle shop I got it from. Half of the super hard tip eye insert, was a blade. And I only had to touch my new braid on it lightly to cut it clean through.
So, once again and for the umpteenth time, I had to bypass my tip eye. I went off in search of fishing solitaire.
When I got to the farthest dam, in stealth mode ace out, there was nobody around. Skirting the bank, polaroids on, I could very clearly make out some huge fish, in the next bay between the bullrushes. Very slowly I stalked in and soon clearly made out the shoal of carp. Maybe 10 of them. They were burrowing under the bank, rolling about, tailing…but not quite spawning, barely a metre from my face. They were big enough. 3 to 5kg’s. I flicked my lure out behind them, dragged it slowly across a dik carp’s nose, and woosh, they were all gone.
I threw the Buck Shot a few times but had to accept, especially with the featureless bottom contour, that this was a carp dam.
But set up this video shot of the shoal when they had reassembled, a few minutes after I spooked them.
So back on up to the “bass” dam zone, where soon the recent rain, floods really, took the blame for the no-bite. But being extra determined I finally ended up at the place I started. After a couple of casts I got some pressure back?! A tiny strike and I was elated to see both sets of lost braid tangled in my luck shot. What a luck. And this was still new braid, only broken because of the smashed tip eye. So together, I jerked hard a few times and bingo! Both my lures and all the braid retrieved!
Dustin and Tristan, chose to fish for barbel in a lower dam. Gillie Andrew was hard at work keeping it all under control, when team Von Biljon went two sticks away!
I had cashed out, stoked to have my two lures back, and arrived on the scene for some pics, as this went down. The only fish of the entire day, from everyone there.
Well done Dustin and Tristan!
Lessons from the day:
1. Rod eyes, tips especially, are clearly a weak link. Braid and it’s odd characteristics exacerbate it all. Check every time.
2. Weather plays an enormous role in fish activity. It was a complete different story last visit to Footloose. They were jumping on every bait – exact same dam(n)s.
3. Never give up! Fish your life away!