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Bronkhorstspruit Dam Kaia Manzi
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Widely regarded as Gauteng’s busiest dam for recreational boaters, it is also the premier bass fishing dam the province has to offer, that is if you travel to the dam during the week. Situated some 60km east of Pretoria, Bronkhorstspruit Dam was for many years kept under the radar, but with year round fishing opportunities and fast developing infrastructure it has been difficult to keep anglers away.
Unlike many of the more remote dams Gauteng bassers are accustomed to fishing, Bronkhorstspruit resembles a typical American-style lake with luxury houses and numerous resorts lining its northern shoreline, while the rest of the shoreline remains almost undeveloped barring the nature reserve and farmlands surrounding its perimeter.
In most cases the local residents would be complaining that “their” picturesque dam was being destroyed by the housing developments, but for bass anglers the faster the developments around the dam have been erected the better the fishing has become.
Fishing the main lake at Bronkhorstspruit is all about focusing on man-made cover, which ranges from jetties, slipways, concrete pillars and even a derelict boat. Note the cover and shade angle when you catch a fish, as it’s often easy to duplicate a similar pattern when the angle of the sun shifts creating shaded areas.
The development explosion over the past 30 years has certain benefits, the first being the good security and excellent facilities afforded to the public, and secondly in a dam devoid of much natural cover other than sparse weed, nearly every home on the water’s edge has been outfitted with a fixed or floating jetty, which has contributed greatly to a population explosion of bass at Bronkhorstspruit. In addition the vast amount of rubble scattered into the margins by the builders because of the seemingly relaxed building regulations in the estates has created artificial rockpiles which is excellent habitat for the bass.
Bass have not always been resident in Bronkhorstspruit - never officially stocked it wasn’t until the mid-1980’s that it became a recognized target species after numerous farm bass dams upstream in the Wilge River broke their banks and released bass into the dam. For years the dam was kept under wraps by local anglers and it wasn’t until Charles Norman released his “African Fishing Annual” that Bronkies -as it is fervently known - became popular with bass anglers. In terms of the quality of the fishery, the dam has never been renowned for producing giant fish, but during early spring anglers have the opportunity to target quality fish in the 2,5kg - 3kg range, while the rest of the season produces numbers of fish in the 700g class with the odd kicker thrown in.
Above: The dam wall is also a popular target area, with bass positioned up shallow early in the morning and late in the afternoon, however as the shadow tide receeds the fish position deeper.
Senior writer Tyron Mortimer showing off a good quality bass taken up against a boat dock shortly after 6:00am in the morning.
Bronkhorstspruit Dam isn’t regarded as Gauteng’s most popular watersport dam for nothing – it attracts large crowds of boaters during the summer months and even plays host to Formula 1 powerboat races. With this volume of boat traffic on weekends and long weekends, it is best to visit it on a weekday to get the best out of the venue. Then there is far less boat boat traffic and wave action and the bass tend to be a lot less spooky. Indeed some of the best catches recorded at Bronkies have been taken when the crowds weren’t out.
Left: The popular nature reserve is a great area for bank anglers to target. The receedingwater level in the photo reveals what makes the area so good, namely the scattered rock and gravel close to shore.
Right: Both inlets into the dam offer a variety of cover inlcuding submerged brush, reeds and matted grass. Be careful when navigating the river sections by boat as they are very shallowe for most part of the year.by boat as they are very shallowe for most part of the year.
What makes Bronkies a relatively easy dam in which to locate the bass is that most of the fish-holding areas offer visual cues, even when the water level is up. These range from reeds in the river sections, to matted weed, brush piles and the man-made cover and jetties on the northern shoreline. Being a narrow dam with deeper drops off the river channel, anglers who are prepared to put in the time will find ridges, fences, old farm gates and a kraal which was flooded when the dam was built. Due to the fishing pressure the dam sees because of its easy access, the bass tend to hug the cover and hard objects, so accurate pitching is essential to entice a bite, especially towards the end of winter when the water goes gin clear.
Bronkies has never had a shortage of baitfish, although the dominant prey includes larger indigenous species such as Moggel, Mudfish, Ghielemientjies, Carp, Yellowfish and invertebrates such as crabs. The general consensus when matching the dominant forage is natural colours in the cleaner, shallower sections of the dam, and darker baits in the deeper or dirtier water.
Many of our larger public dams don’t cater to all forms of bass angling, but Bronkhorstpruit is one of the few dams which is conducive to boat, small craft and bank anglers in various parts of the dam without ever getting in each other’s way. The only exception is that in winter when the dam level drops the areas available to bank anglers are significantly reduced unless you have access to one of the estates.
All the resorts surrounding the dam are extremely strict on boating safety and you will be turned away if you don’t have all the necessary documentation to launch and skipper your boat. The SAPS Water Wing also does regular training on the dam and often implement spot checks during peak season.
Very Important Stuff:
The dam suffers from a fluctuating bass population, but with this season having seen a good spawn the next few years should see it returning to its former glory. It is however imperative to release all bass caught to ensure the survival of the fishery, especially when tournaments are hosted at the venue as the population seems to suffer high mortality rates.
5. Banana Top
Floaties en degies.
Pitte en backings.
Degies en backings.
Hengel afstand: 60 -130 meter. Baie vis vlak in die aand
1. Rhone, Lulu & Carma
2. Rhone, Escape & DCX
3. Carma/DCX & GeeBee/TFC
4. DCX & GTA
5. Spyker,Carma & GTA
Floaties: Vampire, Alm X, GeeBee, TFC, Medals, Banana X, FBI
Deeg: Alm X, Vampire, HLX, FBI, Skunk, Dudley
1. Fireball/Caramel Extreme
3. Yellow Activator/Ultraspice
Floaties: Fireworks, Caramel Extreme
Mieliepitte: Presto, Yellow Activator
Gauteng, Bronkhorstspruit. GPS: -25.8978996, 28.6961002
|Tel:||013 932 3140|
|Fax:||013 932 3751|
|Cell:||076 731 6477|