I was in Heaven and Hell at the same time

2011-03-16 12:23:12
Pongolapoort Dam, KwaZulu-Natal - Freshwater Fishing Report
Mike Laubscher

After some trailer problems we eventually got to the Pongola Nature Reserve and set up camp. I love this place and it is like a little piece of heaven, but boy o boy was it hot as hell with temperatures reaching 49deg. C. You cannot cool down, everything melts and the heat from the ground is slowly cooking you and there was no wind to speak of making it virtually unbearable. Even at 23h00 at night when it cooled down to about 39 deg. C it was still unbearable and I simply could not bear being inside my tent and rather opted to sleep under the stars with only some insect repellent protecting me.

We would launch every morning at about 04h00when it was still dark to try get in on the early morning action and stayed on the water till after dark, the water was hot averaging 29 deg. C. It was really nice to be on Jozini again after chasing off-shore Gamefish for the past few months and I enjoyed the change.

The fishing was tough and the fish scarce, and the only action that we found was in heavily weeded and grassed areas where the fish were taking cover, there was mostly smaller fish around and we each averaged around 6 fish in the morning and afternoon sessions which was about 24 fish per day, most were small and we got a few in the 1-2Kg range, we also lost a lot of fish on the jump which is always a problem on the smaller fish as they have no weight behind them for the hooks to set properly. We had many fish following our lures and not committing.

Because the fish were so small we had opted for light tackle and were fishing with 6'8" ML (4-8lb) rods and small 1500 size reels spooled with 8lb. As I never fish bait or live bait for Tigers and only use lures we had chosen my method of fishing weightless soft plastics as this is virtually snag free and was what we needed for the thick cover. In the early mornings and late afternoons the fish wanted an ultra fast jerking retrieve using minnows and during the day a more subtle steady retrieve using small paddle tails.

On Day 4 we got found a large group of Barbel (Cat Fish) in a feeding frenzy with some very large Tigers around them and we got stripped and broken off by some big Tigers and Barbel until we had no more rigged rods left, by the time we re-rigged it was all over leaving us excited and frustrated.

Late in the afternoon on the 3rd day after a heavy SW wind blew we had each got a hit from big fish which all came off in the structure and then eventually we had a really big fish on and with me shouting instructions we successfully landed and released a 4.5Kg (10lb) Tiger fish on the light tackle. This is a trophy fish for Jozini, and what made it even sweeter was that we landed it on such light tackle and using lures.

This fish is also now the official record for my clients breaking the previous record of 4.2Kg.

Fish Species: Tiger Fish
Bait Used: Lures
Tackle Used: Shimano, G. Loomis
Method Used: Light Tackle Spinning
Water Depth: 2-4m
Water Temperature: 29 deg.C
Wind Direction: NE & SW
Wind Speed: Mostly light
4.5Kg (10lb) Tiger Fish from Lake Jozini
4.5Kg (10lb) Tiger Fish from Lake Jozini

Mike Laubscher

About The Author: Mike Laubscher

Company: Blue Water Charters - Durban

Area Reporting: Durban. KwaZulu Natal, South Africa

Bio: Have been fishing since the age of 7 with more than 30 years experience. Fish in both Saltwater & Freshwater Disciplines. Fly Fishing Specialist, Artificial Lure Specialist, Light Tackle Specialist. Love Fishing, completely addicted to fishing.

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