The third round of the Lowveld Bass Trail was hosted at Driekoppies Dam on Saturday 12 April 2014. Driekoppies, a 1870ha dam, was in the past known for its population of colossal lunker largemouth bass. During the past few seasons, however, these big fish have been on the decline, and the dam is teeming with small juvenile bass. Expectations weren’t too high, but despite the fact that the dam was 100% full, and quite stained overall, the 27 boats that entered had some respectable fishing.
Two bass over 3kg hit the scales during the weigh in. 126 bass were weighed with a combined weight of 46.114kg. The average weight was a mere 0.366kg, the lowest for the LBT so far this season, testament to the overabundance of undersized bass.
Above: The top three teams at Driekoppies.
The biggest bag and biggest bass were caught by Nicky Stapelberg of one-man-team Team Bullet with a fish of 3.475kg and a bag of 4.340kg. Charl Carey and Michael Cronje, of Team Angling & Outdoor, caught a five-bass limit weighing 6 pounds, 7 ounces (2.935kg) to finish third, bumping them up the overall log from 16th to 12th out of 48 teams, and back in to contention to fish the final at Maguga Dam, Swaziland, in October. Early in the morning, the team farmed an estimated 2.5kg bucketmouth hooked on a Natural Red coloured Spro Bronzeye Baby Pop. The bass annihilated the topwater bait as it was twitched over some floating grass, but seconds later it was off after a disappointing line break. Had the fish weighed, it would’ve probably pushed Team AOW’s bag to around 5.1kg. Heartbreaking, but that’s fishing!
Above: Nicky Stapelberg with the biggest bass of the day, 3.475kg.
LBT Results Top 15. Round 3. Driekoppies Dam:
- Team Bullet: 5 fish, 4.340kg, 11.340 points.
- Conway Marine: 5 fish, 4.255kg, 11.255 points.
- Angling & Outdoor: 5 fish, 2.935kg, 9.935 points.
- Bent Rods: 5 fish, 2.360kg, 9.360 points.
- Go Fa: 5 fish, 2.270kg, 9.270 points.
- Brayshaw: 5 fish, 2.145kg, 9.145 points.
- Hazyview Midas: 5 fish, 2.041kg, 9.041 points.
- Rugged: 5 fish, 2.040kg, 9.040 points.
- Visarend: 5 fish, 1.960kg, 8.960 points.
- Aligator: 5 fish, 1.893kg, 8.893 points.
- Long Tom: 5 fish, 1.880kg, 8.880 points.
- Pumba: 5 fish, 1.850kg, 8.850 points.
- Mattador: 5 fish, 1.680kg, 8.680 points.
- Bass Stalker: 5 fish, 1.575kg, 8.575 points.
- Ambassadors: 5 fish, 1.495kg, 8.495 points.
After the event, Michael Cronje commented, “We were hooking pecker snots all day, and must’ve boated at least forty. The key to catching the bigger keepers for us was throwing spinnerbaits with the correct skirt and blade combinations. We were catching them off shallow grass clumps in bays in the main dam. We were looking for reaction bites. Instead of soaking our baits in one spot for an extended period of time, we moved quickly to get dialed in on the bass’ preference.”
The next round is to be held at Kwena Dam, Lydenburg, on Saturday the 10th of May 2014. As the season changes steadily from autumn to winter, as of round 4, fishing will start at 7am with captain’s meetings starting at 6:45am.
Lowveld Bass Trail Log after Round 3 (Top 15 only):
- Pumba 30.305 points.
- Team Bullet 28.785 points.
- Midas Sport 28.015 points.
- Aligators 26.113 points.
- Hazyview Midas 25.051 points.
- Brayshaw 24.77 points.
- Chomp 24.375 points.
- Rugged 24.375 points.
- Sakkie Boerewors 23.12 points.
- Imbongolo 22.905 points.
- Conway Marine 22.365 points.
- Angling & Outdoor 22.129 points.
- Thermocline 20.44 points.
- Boeta 19.495 points.
- Go Fa 18.800 points.
Above: Michael Cronje with the two biggest fish of Team AOW’s bag.
Team Angling & Outdoor would like to extend special thanks to Angling & Outdoor World, Suzuki Marine SA, Netbait, Salmo, JJ’s Magic, Penetrator Hooks, Pro Tungsten, Goya, Seaguar, Halco SA, Lowrance SA, Big Bite Baits, Spro, Norman Lures, Strike King, Z-Man, Mustad, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Okuma and Rod Glove, whose products are making fishing the LBT this season a pleasure.