BIG BASS

The definitive South African trophy Bass fishing site

 

PHOTOS OF BASS FROM SOUTHERN AFRICA

This is Jannie Steytler with the current SA record 6,045kg (13.3lb). This monster was caught in September 1997 at Witbank Dam, Mpumalanga on a Zara Spook and released alive. That's the way, Jannie! Imagine what this baby weighs now! 'Bye, I'm off to Witbank Dam ...

Witbank Dam in Mpumalanga, Albert Falls Dam or Inanda Dam (the latter two both in KwaZulu-Natal), are expected to produce the next record. Albert Falls and Inanda have officialy produced 4 - 5kg specimens in the past and there are rumours of 7kg monsters from Inanda!

An old cover of a popular South African fishing magazine. This 4,2kg (9.24lb) Northern strain Bass was caught by Poen Oelofse in 1973 in Rietvlei Dam near Pretoria on a small sinking Rapala Countdown. A similar Bass of 3,9kg (8.58lb) was caught about half an hour earlier in the same spot by another angler!

This record stood for many years (until 1987, in fact). It was only after the stocking of Florida strain Bass by the former Natal Parks Board which imported the first Florida strain fingerlings in 1979/ 1980, that the record books were rewritten on a rather regular basis.

In 1987 this 4,2kg fish was replaced as the reigning SA Bass record by a 4,575kg (10.065lb) specimen, a Florida strain fish caught by Bobby Flaxman.

This is Bobby Flaxman with that Florida strain Bass caught at Goedertrouw Dam in KwaZulu-Natal. This fish probably started the "Florida revolution" in South Africa and since then, the SA record has regularly been broken. As these fish can gain approximately 1kg per year under favourable conditions and an abundant fodder fish base and can live for up to 12 - 15 years, a new South African record which will exceed even Jannie Steytler's current record Bass shown in the first photo on this page is imminent!

Goedertrouw Dam is probably the only public dam in Southern Africa which has only pure Florida strain Bass with no Northerns or hybrids (F1s) whatsoever! The pure Florida strain Bass in the photo clearly displays the very dark dorsal area and the black-edged tail fin "trim" on the outer edge of the tail which is characteristic of the Florida strain. For further details on identification of the Florida strain, click here and scroll down.

Just to give you an idea of a similar trend in Zimbabwe to show how the Bass records were rewritten after the introduction of Florida Bass in the late seventies (some sources say "late seventies" while others set the true date at 1980/1), check out these statistics:

Year

ZIM Record Bass weight

1977

4,040kg (obviously Northern strain)

1987

4,290kg

1989

4,947kg (from 1989 onwards, obviously Floridas or hybrids)

1990

5,150kg; 5,500kg; 5,610kg (record broken 3 times in that year!)

1994

6,275kg

1996

6,500kg

1998

7,295kg

2001

7,995kg

2002

? A 9kg Southern African Bass is starting to look like a distinct possibility!

Also see this article by "Ant" Williams

Here is a pic of that 7,995kg (17.6lb) Zimbabwe Bass (the current Zimbabwe and All Africa record)! The angler is Danyal Patel who was fishing at Gungwa Weir, Triangle Sugar Estates with a chartreuse Ark buzzbait on 17lb test line at noon in early August 2001. The Bass was caught in a storage dam no larger than three rugby fields in total area with an average depth of 5ft! Danyal, who has caught and released several Bass over 10lb, including one of 14.8lb, decided to keep his 17.6lber to mount as a trophy. The pic is courtesy of "Ant" Williams, African Fisherman Magazine and the photographer is Moosa Ismail.

 

This is Namo Mkondo with a 7,295kg (16.049lb) Bass, the previous Zimbabwe and All Africa record, caught at Lake Manyame, Darwendale. By the looks of it, this Bass was also not released alive. Come on you Zim Bassers, be prepared for photos and weighing at the point of capture and, if at all possible, release these big ones to grow even bigger to challenge the World Record!

 

Here is another big Zimbabwe Bass which was definitely released! Patrick Driscoll took this 7,2kg (15.84lb) beauty at Lake Manyame (near the mouth of the Gwebi River), Darwendale on 14 July 2001.

This Bass struck a 1/2 oz white and chartreuse spinnerbait with copper blades (Willowleaf and Colorado) made by Ark Lures at 12h00 in 4' of water in thick oxygen weed. It regurgitated two palm-sized bream and one a little smaller. As can be seen, the Bass was in excellent condition as are the majority of fish caught from Manyame in the past few years. The Bass was released into a private dam near Bromley.

 

The current Zimbabwe Junior Bass Record holder, eight year old Mark Worsley-Worswick with a 5,440kg (11.97lb) lunker caught on 25 August 2001 on his father's dam in Marondera in 8ft of water. Mark was fishing from the bank casting a junebug Texas-rigged lizard. Amazing fish for such a young angler!

 

Another Lake Manyame (Darwendale Dam) Bass! This 13lb8oz beauty was caught by Rob Vanstone. No other body of water in Southern Africa has produced the size and quality of Bass to compete with Lake Manyame in recent years!

 

Rob, again, this time with a 13lber also from Lake Manyame. The lure? A Super Fluke!

 

In South Africa, Goedertrouw Dam (situated between the towns of Melmoth and Eshowe) was stocked with Florida strain Bass in 1981. By the mid 1980's 3kg plus fish were regularly taken there. One wonders how the Bass are doing there now. Does anyone have a report about recent conditions and catches at Goedertrouw Dam? Please post details on the Forum.

Since 1981, the influence of the Florida strain has slowly, but surely spread from KwaZulu-Natal to the Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, the Free State, Northern Province and also Namibia (not necessarily in this order!). Unconfirmed rumours point to Floridas in certain parts of the North-West Province. If anyone knows of Floridas in the Western Cape, please let us know!

Gauteng Basser, Mark Nurse, with a nice early season catch for 2001 taken at Hartbeespoort Dam, North-West Province. Way to go, Mark!

Mark reports that the current average size of Bass taken at Hartbeespoort is over 1kg with larger fish of 2kg plus coming out regularly. Rumours are that the Florida strain has been introduced into Hartbeespoort Dam. That would offer some explanation for the improved Bassing at Hartbeespoort ...

 

Rod Walmsley with a 3,925kg (8.635lb) late February 2002 Bass from Wriggleswade Dam, Eastern Cape Province. Wriggleswade is the premier Big Bass water in the Eastern Cape and contains the Florida strain.

 

Shandon Hawman, active Basser on the SA Bass tournament circuit, with a 4kg (8.8lb) Bass caught in June 2001 at Lake Mteri, Zimbabwe, on a fluke in 3ft of water.

 

Shandon, again, this time with a 4,37kg (9.614lb) Witbank Dam beauty caught in September 2001 on a spinnerbait in 1 ft of water. This Bass took big fish honours in the Bass World Tour competition that day!

OK guys (and gals!) where are the pics of those Big Bass? Send them in with details of the date, venue, weather conditions, tackle and lure or bait used. Please mention if the Bass was released or not.


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