Rapala Shadow Rap

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The Rapala Shadow Rap series has all the moves that other lures only dream about. A horizontal struggle with a big kick, plus a vertical fade or a vertical rise on the pause perfectly mimics a bait fish in its last, quivering moments before the end. The kick, the snap back to life and the slow fading or rising all trigger fish to hit the Shadow Raps, and boy do they hit them hard! The Shadow Rap features a minnow or shad body style, flat sides and a metallic finish with textured scales. The Shadow Rap series of lures feature super sharp VMC black nickel round bend hooks and are available in 24 color patterns.

This fish was caught at Midmar Dam off a rock pile in 6ft of water on a Shadow Rap.

Shadow rap

The Shadow Rap is such a versatile bait. This bait can be fished in just about any area you can think of. However my favorite area to fish this bait is on rocky banks and rock piles. This is where I find it most effective. I have caught fish with this bait in almost every season too! From the spawn to it being late Autumn I have caught fish with the Shadow Rap. My favorite colour would have to be Ghost Shiner. Overall this bait is a must have in your fishing box!

Written By Gareth Potgieter.

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What is Right and what is Wrong

As the sun rises you are preparing to make your first cast for the day. Picking up your rod your eyes focus on the target, a small dark pocket under a tree. The first cast into any spot has a little excitement attached to it and is always done with an expectation of landing “The One”.

The rod feels comfortable in your hand; you have done this so many times, and still focused on the small pocket you are standing up behind the steering wheel. Putting your foot on the trolling motor is followed by a smooth and accurate pitch into the target area. Slow sinking plastic bumps and bounces of the limbs of the underwater tree and then stops; or did it? A slight pull and you step back on the deck, dropping the rod tip and setting the hook with everything the moment allows.

The water explodes under the tree and it is game on. Pulling, tugging and manoeuvring him out from under the tree. You see him for the first time and after swinging him onboard you look at him like it’s the first bass you have ever seen.

This is the reason why we leave home at 04:00 and drive the worst roads, sleep in some dodgy places and freeze our arms off. We need to be honest… we are addicted.

After pitching and casting that bank to pieces, the life jacket comes out and the outboard whisks you off to another hopeful spot. Grass flats and lily pads invite a long cast. A popping frog jumps over them to see what lurks below. A longer rod gets picked up and it “hisses” as a power cast sends a lure travelling through the air. You start retrieving as soon as the lure hits the water. Two, three, four lilies crossed before the water boils up and something jumps on your presentation. Now the fight is on. “Turn his head” someone shouts; reminding you how you have lost a similar fight before.

A great bucket mouth comes from under the grass and acknowledges that the fight is over. Photos are taken, short videos are made and stuff posted next to your wedding photos on Facebook and Instagram for everybody to see. That is what fishing should be. There should be excitement when reversing your boat into the water and walking up to a farm dam as the sun comes up, rod in hand.

So after reading all of this and remembering those great days on the lake, with friends or your kids you look at all the rods hanging on the wall. Strange how a rod has its own personality. Now before you think I’m crazy, think about it. Every rod bought and fished and broken sticks in your mind. Good reels seem to always find their way onto a favourite rods and the time spent together.

So, should that not be the way that you buy gear. Buying really cheap obviously will have its own problems and disappointments, but buying something that feels right for you should normally be perfect.

The most expensive is not always the answer. I brought in some rods from the USA a couple of years ago and they were supposed to be the only thing you should use when fishing tournaments. Spending way too much and after all the trouble, having to admit to myself that they were horrible, I realized that I am comfortable using my current rods.

So, when a rod pitches straight, or casts a mile it sounds like you have a perfect fit. Yes, it is very nice when you can feel the bottom or the expression on the crabs face that you are passing, but it is not everything. Enjoy your fishing.

I watched someone cast an in line spinner of a R130,000.00 bass boat and life was good again. Those baits used to catch many fish in the past and we ditched them for the latest and greatest releases from all over the world.

Do what you feel is right; cast where you want to; cast what you want to and get rid of the bassin’ rule book and just enjoy being out there.

Written by Colin Wilmer

String Theory

We have all stood in front of a shelf in retail store looking at all the different options; yellow, green and even invisible ones.

The packaging becomes even more overwhelming because every box is better than the one next to it and offers so much more than last year’s model. Feels like we are buying cars. As you walk down the shelf you read the different descriptions and advantages and notice the price differences between the seemingly same products. Well, there are differences and it may not be what you expect. (No brands or labels will be discussed in this article because it is not the point of all of this.)

The application normally determines the choice of “string” or fishing line we will be buying, but this has been discussed at length, to death. Let’s just speak about application, for a little bit as a refresher and then never again.

For cranking – it was always believed that monofilament or copolymer was the best option.
For top water action – same thing … mono or copolymer.
For soft plastic worming – the belief was always that fluorocarbon was the one for that job.
Braid – never sure whether if it was best for top water action or awesome for worming.

Well, time to explain some things about fishing line to keep in mind when buying or choosing the best line to use. The most important things about lines are trust and feel. Think about it; if it does not feel right on your reel you don’t feel comfortable in casting.

Spinning reels (coffee grinders)
Choosing a line that does not drive you into the cooler box to find your inner peace. Why do we always get a line that twists and never gives you the distance you are after? There are many reasons for all of this.
Spinning reels work best with 10lb line or lighter and in saying that, the box or packaging, becomes important. In the world of line manufacturing, Japan normally produces a very high quality line and normally comes at a different price as well. The advantage of this is that you could probably get away with casting a 7lb line instead of a heavier 10lb line… distance sorted.
A higher quality line comes of the spool easier because they tend to be rounder in shape and lies better on the spool of your reel. In other words it does not flatten out and will give extended life span which improves the affordability of sometimes more expensive lines.

Bait casting reels
These reels initially were developed to cast a heavier line without all the line twists because spinning reels just could not do the job. Unfortunately bass do not lie in open water with no structure so heavier line was a necessity. Control and accuracy was a by product of all this development.

So many times I have seen somebody spend thousands of Rands on a reasonable rod and reel combination but then try to go as cheap as possible on line. This will only lead to frustration.

Now let’s get to the technical stuff that will hopefully help understand what line is and where it can fit into your fishing arsenal. (Ware has a specific gravity of one – as a unit of measure)

Monofilament or copolymer
These two normally have a specific gravity in the range of 1.2 to 1.24. This means that it is slightly heavier than water. In other words the line would float and stay in the top part of the body of water in front of you. So think of casting a soft plastic worm at a tree. The first movement of that plastic will be in an upwards direction because your line is still fighting its way down. This could be removing bait out of the zone and reduces chances for that much needed bite. So, if casting monofilament or copolymer on a Mojo-, Texas- or even weightless rig, just be very slow in moving the bait for the first time.

Another interesting fact is that this line can stretch up to 14%. Think about a 30m cast… this could be a stretch of 4.2 meter. How many times have you set a hook and before you start winding that monster in, he is off? We then blame the hooks, rod and even the position of Mars in relation to the jetty we are casting at. Meanwhile, our line had something to do with it.

Fluorocarbon
A good quality fluorocarbon normally stretches between 7 to 9% and has a specific gravity of 1.75. This means a better sinking line with much more sensitivity because of less stretch. This line does have a harder feel to it because the composition inside is different.

Tournament anglers flocked to this line because for so many years they believed that it was invisible under water and fish rate was picking up. The fish rate was picking up because the bait was presented more effectively in the zone. Instead of going up and out of the zone it was now being dragged through the zone for a longer period of time; obviously leading to more fish.
Be honest, does your fluorocarbon really disappears under water?

Braid
Braid has a specific gravity of 1.15 and is the real floater in the pack. The advantages of this line are different but used in the right applications it can be very effective. With almost no stretch and a very direct feel with low diameter it can be used in many applications. There has been for many years a need for something strong and thin enough to go onto a spinning reel and braid was born.

The strange part of all of this is that nylon based lines, like monofilament, copolymer and fluorocarbon, have many enemies which we need to keep in mind. The worst things for lines are UV-rays and water.

I trust that this insight on fishing lines will help readers buy and use the best string in the right way.

Written By Colin Wilmer

How Long is enough ?

So many fish, so little time is what we are all thinking when we are on the water. I always wonder how many fish were really under the boat or in the reeds while pitching or casting at them.

This would be great info to have but not make it a fair game, if we had to know. The most of us only have limited fishing time and we always try and maximize our catches for the amount of the time we have next to or on the lake. This makes us do things we should not do, like rushing to the water or rushing lures through the water at great speeds.

We always want more time, more time casting or figuring out the pattern, instead of fishing what is in front of us properly. Many times I have watched guys on the boat with me just over doing the casting thing. Many casts don’t lead to many fish and many fish don’t always mean quality fish. Let me explain the theory of everything.

So many fish caught over so many years and never catching the fish I wanted to catch. It took a long time to realize that I was catching the wrong fish in the right areas. Looking at a potential area is easy when it is visible in front of you and how many times have you said to yourself “there has to be a bass in there”. The best part of that statement is that you were right but not the best fish was caught of it. So we cast and within a couple of casts or first cast, we load up on the first taker and feel successful in the process.

For many years of tournament fishing I could not understand how the same guys came to the weigh in always weighing better bags. The answer is actually quite simple. These so called pro’s are doing what they are doing properly.

Some ten years ago I watched two Zimbabwean guys on Lake Darwendale, sitting in two wooden boats fishing for bass. I was on a bass boat behind them watching how they were fishing with the wrong rods and wrong line in the wrong spot and catching lunkers of 3 to 5kg. This stopped me fishing for about two hours just watching them, trying to figure this whole process. Everything we watched on ESPN and read was not being applied by these two guys but I would love to weigh those sorts of fish in a tournament.

They cast a 6 to 7 inch stick bait into a direction and then put the rod down on a wire bent rest on the front of their boats. They did this four times; yes four rods at a time were in the water, almost like carp fishing. They then proceeded to roll a very large newspaper and tobacco cigarette which they enjoyed for a half an hour or more before one of the rods loaded. Keep in mind, not moving or twitching or swimming to get a bite just leaving it in one spot. No weights or tricks, just patience.

The other experience I had was taking my wife fishing on couple of occasions and after a lot of trash talk on the way there I knew she would love to whip my behind. As with some ladies on the boat they fish hard till 10’o ‘clock and then start losing interest and just becomes too much hard work for a fish. They then start to do the following; after the boat has stopped in an area of your choice they cast next to you or around you. I would catch four fish out of an area, making twenty casts; they still have only made one or two casts. So many times the bigger bite comes on the slower fishing. Yes, they might lose the fish in the fight but she still got the better bite. I have driven back so many days knowing that the better fish were hooked, and sometimes landed, by my wife.

Slow the lures down to a standstill and work harder through the area. Everybody knows that if three guys on a boat catch fish, the biggest normally wins the day and bragging rights.

Guys are surprised when you tell them to leave the lure in the zone and some guys really struggle to “dead stick” a bait properly. Slowing it down means stopping it completely. Cast at the target, make sure you hit the bottom (whether fishing with plastic or a jig) and then just leave it. Bass are very inquisitive fish and it will take the bigger fish a little longer to react, but if they are there they will come and have a look.

A nice and easy technique to start this with is Texas rig, Mojo rig, or my favourite Shakey Head fishing.

Try it, it really makes a difference.

Written by Colin Wilmer

As Good as a Holiday

Maybe you’ve heard comments like: “I don’t through spinnerbaits or crankbaits because I just loose them”, or “I have never caught anything on them”.

These thoughts unfortunately lead to a mental block and sometimes stay forever. I have seen anglers cast the same baits over and over; no matter when or where they are fishing.
For example; conditions in the Vaal River change between seasons and water levels. “But last week (or in practice), I caught them on a fluke under that jetty and now there’s nothing!”
Yes but have you noticed that the water temperature has dropped five degrees and changed in colour?

Think about this for a moment …
Top water baits in the middle of the day in 25ft of water; is it possible or does it work?
Yes, because the water was clear, warm and bait fish where busting everywhere.

Fishing pink jerkbaits in crystal clear water at great speed; will this work? (Great speed means – if water runs over its back, you are going to slow). Watching Jerry Jooste win a Rust de Winter tournament with this technique made me doubt everything I thought I knew about bass fishing.

When last have you wacky rigged a Senko in 3ft of water, or maybe you have never fished a wacky rig before? That is like being a fly half that can only pass in one direction. Many bag limits were filled like this.

One of my favourite examples comes from a couple of years ago when anglers were preparing for national championships. The phones were ringing and the information turned into a great commodity. Only after nationals it was revealed that the most unlikely lure came back to shows its true value – the inline spinner.
The point I am trying to make is that the bass specie of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s were still caught.

So, thinking of this before leaving for a two day practise session a couple of years ago, I decided to remove everything that I normally use – all my trusty go-to-baits.
I only took spinnerbaits and left feeling so uncertain about what I was going to do. The interesting part of this is that for the first time I actually had to make it work because there was no other option. All of a sudden pitching accurately and retrieving speeds became a priority.
Some fish were caught and I had something new to “go-to” when things got tough. After doing this a couple of times I had confidence in this bait and couldn’t leave home without it.

I did the same using crankbaits, jigs and Shakey Heads with the same results. In fact Shakey Heads will now easily be the first bait I cast.

The one thing that does affect this mastering approach is when you are standing in front of the shelf in your local tackle store; how to decide which spinnerbait or crankbait to buy?

Spinnerbaits for example rely on good quality wire and swivels to make them function properly, so don’t buy the cheapest possible imitation and expect the same results.

There are also so many cranks that look alike with great paint jobs, but do they last, or do they really wobble, or roll like they should? This will influence your catch rate and could put you off throwing a specific type of bait forever.

Your tackle box, like so many other tackle boxes, has some “old timers” rusting away. Remember why you bought them in the first place. Maybe because it was the greatest thing to have then. Just replace some split rings, trebles and have a second look at the old faithful dying to go for another swim.

The worst part of fishing is when you know some anglers always get fish, no matter where they are. They go to your local waters and catch the fish you only see on social media. So, start over and trust your instincts.

Written by Colin Wilmer

Storm Arashi Flat 7

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This has become one of my favourite cranks lately. It offers everything I look for in a crank. But the most important thing, it is exactly what the fish want. My favourite colour is Tilapia. It resembles our baitfish accurately and looks so life like in the water. I also like the way it casts and doesn’t spiral into the wind. So overall I’m super chuffed with this bait and I look forward to catching many more fish on it. These are just some of the key features this bait offers:

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  • MULTI-BALL RATTLE SYSTEM tuned for mid-depth cranking delivers a variable pitch of both high and low frequency sounds
  • ROTATED HOOK HANGERS nests the hooks close to the body for improved action, preventing hang-ups and allowing larger hooks
  • SELF-TUNING LINE TIE is a free-moving design that keeps the lure tracking true, ensuring non-stop fishing action
  • CIRCUIT BOARD LIP starts right away at slow speeds and quickly reaches maximum diving depth. Extremely thin with superior strength and durability

 

My choice of tackle is a G.Loomis Cranking rod CBR 843C rod paired with a Curado 200I PG. I use 10lb Monofilament line or 10Lb Flourocarbon in most situations. The rod is a moderate action and allows forgiveness and this maximises hook-ups. This setup along with the Storm Arashi Flat 7 is really an all-round fish catching solution.

Written by Darryl Quinton.

 

Shimano Crucial Rods – Bass

 

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The new Crucial series is one of the most versatile rod series ever created. It has both split grip and full grip handle designs. These rods feature Shimano’s C4S-HM blank which delivers unbelievable strength with extremely light weight. Each rod was tested to cover a wide variety of today’s best fishing techniques.

OVERVIEW

CASTING

Crucial C 1Crucail C 2

 

SPINNING

  Crucial Cast 2Crucila Cast 1

As seen in the pictures these rods are not just great fishing rods to use but they are great to look at to! Just to run you through the rod: Shimano Crucial rods have always had a really good reputation for being tough rods from when they first came out about sixteen years or so ago. The new Crucial has been built not to disappoint this long standing reputation. The new Crucial is lighter and stronger than the previous model. On average it’s 28% lighter and yes you are hearing me correct it’s also 22% stronger on average! How is this possible? Well the new Crucial C4S-HM blank is made from carbon which is what the C stands for in C4S-HM and the 4 is for the four layer process. The S stands for slick carbon tape which is used on the inside and outside of the blank which is what plays a huge role in strengthening the rod but still being able to use minimal material to keep the rod lighter. The new Crucial has returned to cork handles as the earlier models had which more anglers preferred. It also has a custom reel seat to minimize the weight of the rod. To end off the overview the new Crucial has Fuji Alconite Guides which finish off the rod! All in all the new Crucial is a beast of a rod that’s not going to let you down!

Crucila A 1 Crucial A 2Crucila A 3

My Rod Selection

  1. 2x 6.8ft Medium Extra Fast- My light worming rod (8-10lb line)
  2. 1x 7.3ft Medium Extra Fast- My medium worming rod (10-12lb line)
  3. 1x 7.3ft Medium Heavy Fast- My medium-heavy worming rod (12-16lb line)
  4. 1x 7.11ft Medium Heavy Fast- My heavy worming/pitching rod (20-25lb line)
  5. 1x 7.2ft  Medium Heavy Extra Fast Spinning- My drop shot, wacky rod (10-20 braid leader with 6-12lb leader)
  6. 2x 6.10ft Medium Heavy Fast- My reaction bait (small cranks, jerk baits, underspin and small spinnerbaits) rod (10-12lb line)
  7. 1x 7.6ft Medium Heavy Medium Fast- My reaction bait (medium-deep cranks, 1/2oz lipless and bigger spinnerbaits) rod (10-14lb line)

*Fluorocarbon line used on all above rods

Personal Experience

I personally have a full set of these new Crucials and have fished for more than a season now with them. I have caught large mouth, spotted and small mouth with these rods and they just don’t disappoint! I have fished six consecutive days with these rods and because they are so light you really don’t get tired of using them! The feel of these rods are just great. Pulling fish from cover is made easy! Feeling reaction baits and detecting bites because of its sensitivity is also incredible. If you’re in the market for new rods I would highly recommend the new Shimano Crucial range. You will be pleasantly surprised!

Written By: Gareth Potgieter

 

Shimano Curado 70

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Shimano Curado 70 XG

The Shimano Curado for 25 years now, continues to be the go-to bait casting reel for bass. It is now offered with a new compact Hagane body and a new model size perfect for light pitching, light flipping and throwing smaller baits, the Curado 70 also features an enhanced SVS Infinity braking system designed for finesse and light flipping techniques. X-Ship Technology provides even more smoothness and durability – just as anglers have expected from Curado reels for more than two decades.

Overview

Curado70XG-1 

Features…

  • 5+1 Bearings
  • 10lb Drag Power
  • 6.5oz Weight Range
  • 28-32 Inches Retrieve Range
  • X Ship Technology                                      Curado70XG-1-2
  • Paddle Handle (Like the Aldebaran)
  • Hagane Body

 

 

 

The new Curado 70 XG also has a new braking system. Which means…

  • Easier To Use
  • Smoother
  • Quite
  • Less Maintenance

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The Curado 70 XG is one of my favorite reels in my reel collection. The reason being is that it’s just so light and has a really great feel to it. I use it as my light rig. I use 8lb line on it and use weightless and very light weights using this reel. The smoothness of this reel is incredible. This is a high end reel priced really affordable!

Written By Gareth Potgieter

 

Rapala DT Series Crankbaits

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Over the past 8 years I have received many samples in the Rapala DT range. There is not another Rapala product that has received as much water testing time as these range of crankbaits for me. “Field testing” included some of my most testing tournament situations. Those who know me will tell you that it is no secret that the Rapala DT10 is my favourite hard bait for targeting bass. Over the years it has contributed to many of my tournament wins and it has also accounted for more fish over the 4kg range than any other crankbait I have ever thrown.

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Other popular DT models for me is the DT6, DT14 and DT20. “DT” stands for “Dive To” while 6, 10, 14 etc. stand for the depth in foot it can reach. The reason for the DT range being my favourite crank is simple:

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  • It has better cast ability than any crank I have ever thrown and it does not spin or “helicopter” when you cast
  • It has some fantastic colours in its range that is well suited for SA conditions and closely resembles our bass fodder fish
  • On a long cast and with the right tackle it is the smallest profile crank to reach the deepest in my arsenal of crankbaits
  • It catches lots of bass and big ones too

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My favourite colours are Bluegill and the whole “Ike custom” series. Caribbean Shad, Old School and Smash have been particularly good. I am very excited to hear that there are a “natural” range of colours on the horison and cannot wait to take them for a test drive.

Written By Martin De Kock.

 

Sufix 832 Superline

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Sufix 832 Superline is the strongest, most durable small diameter braid on the market. It was rated as the “Winner of Best Fishing Line at the 2010 ICAST Show”. Those that know will tell you this is no easy feat at this prestigious annual event. What is just as remarkable is that this product has continuously grown in popularity for the past six years.

Constructed from 8 fibers (7 Dyneema plus 1 GORE Performance Fiber) at 32 weaves per inch, Suffix 832’s R8 Precision Braiding and advanced fiber technology deliver superior strength, roundness and line consistency. The Gore Performance Fibers (from the makers of GORE-TEX) improve abrasion resistance, increase casting distance and accuracy, and also reduces line vibration, while the Dyneema fibers provide increased strength and sensitivity, as well as, superior hydrophobic protection and a smaller diameter.  It is also offered in Lo-Vis Green, which blends in nicely with bass habitat.

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This product has seen some extensive field testing from me in the punching heavy Texas rigs and frogging front. The following features really stood out for me giving it the edge on other brands of braided superlines:

  • It takes a knot very well and is not weakened by this
  • Its lifespan is incredible and it retains its roundness and colour well
  • No continuous retying is required, as the abrasion resistance is exceptional (For those who have tried, it is no fun trying to tie a snell knot on your punching outfit when the wind is blowing!)

My latest application for this product is to fish surface walking baits (like the Storm Arashi Top Walker) with it. I tie it directly onto the bait with a loop knot.

I will never go back to using monofilament for this application for the following reasons :

  • Added casting distance with braid.
  • Superior hooking capabilities at the end of a long cast due to virtually no stretch.
  • Strength – I can now fish a line that has 6lb diameter, but 20lb strength.

Written By Martin De Kock