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Spring is a wonderful time to fish with art lure. The season has changed and its like the fish suddenly woke up. We anglers of course cant wait to cast a line out!
What makes spring special is the of course the start of the spawn season. All of the big fish is suddenly in the shallow water where lure anglers fish most of the time. Different from bank angling in spring, where fish is slow to respond, they are quite aggressive. Aggressive fish are always easier to catch on lure because the fish prepare to spawn they will not tolerate intruders.
It is right after the first rain that the barbell and carp will start spawning. These fish waits for rising water levels before they start spawning. The barbell and carp will then move into these new water covered areas to lay their eggs in the grass.
Tilapia and bass will move to gravel or sandbanks to nest and spawn. Blackbass usually spawns first during August. Tilapia waits for September and even up to November before spawning. Barbell and carp will prepare for spawning during August while waiting for the first rains before actually spawning.
There are techniques to successfully catch each one of the above mentioned species. Forthwith I will discuss each method to catch these species.
Early in August, barbell starts gathering in shoals close to the water surface. This is the first signs that they are preparing to spawn. They actually are hanging like a bunch of bananas in the water, vertically and with open mouths just above the water. All you see is their whiskers! These barbell can be caught but are usually not interested and scare easily. Use your call rod with a small loodkoppie to dip between them. They will move away but you still have a chance to catch one.
After bunching together like bananas they start swimming in small groups like one female followed by two males. They will swim on the surface or in between the grass and you can catch them by dipping your loodkoppie on their whiskers. Its important to dip on their whiskers because they will not turn around to take bait. You can also use a casting rod with a slow sinking lure like a Lumé Mad Pumpkin. Barbell is more aggressive once in swimming mode. Spring is a very good time to better your PB because the big ones also comes to the waters edge and it is an exciting way to get them in this fashion.
The first signs of carp preparing for spawn season is when they gather in large numbers. They usually do not feed much during this state and are therefore not easy to catch. To successfully land carp during this time is more difficult than catching barbell. Carp are very much set on spawning. As soon as they move into the grass your chances improves greatly to land one on a lure. What a sight to see all these carp spawning ,it looks like they are fighting with each other. One seldom catches a carp during spawning. However, there is always a few taking a break and feeding in the shallows. You can target these ones with a loodkoppie. Dip your loodkoppie just in front of its head where he feeds on the bottom. You may also find barbell feeding on the carps eggs which makes for a great opportunity to catch one. You are looking for trouble if you use your carp rod for the barbell as well..it may not be able to take the strain and might break.
It is usually the males that starts nesting in water anything from 0,5m up to 3m deep. It is only when these nests are completed that the females will move in and start laying their eggs. The little ones hatches soon after and is guarded by both parents. Plastic lures like creature baits, works very well in catching them on their nest. The lure must be thrown into their nest, preferably out of sight. If they saw you they tend to be less aggressive. If that happens to you, walk away to return a bit later then. Bass do not allow intruders and will attack very aggressive.
Bloukurpers and rooiborskurpers also make nests where you can target them. You need a lot of patience when fishing for kurpers. They can see very well and if they saw you they will simply swim off. Some of them will stay behind and you can try them on a 9 wght flyrod and reel. Your line strength must be sufficient to catch kurpers.My personal choice would be 12 lb-Berkley NanoFil. Braid tends to get stuck and does not dip as easy.’A small jighead, ½ oz with a Curlytail of creature bait works well. White or any bright color will work because you can easily see it. You dip your lure many times to aggrovate and tease the kurpers. This may take up to 15 minutes. At long last the kurper will take the bait and you must then quickly set the hook. You can also use the casting method where can cast out into the nest.If they do not see you they will take the bait easier. For this casting method I will use a no 10-hook with a Curlytail.you must be sarp and ready for action. They are renowned and makes for a lot of fun on light tackle.
The impact of anglers on kurper are minimal.Remember to practice catch and release.
The writer with a beautiful Black Bass caught in Doorndraaidam.
Rudolph Venter from Tight Lines with a beautiful Boukurper caught at Loskopdam
Michael Marden with a nice Carp that he caught at Roodekopjesdam.
A variation of art lure.