By Sensational Angling Supplies
Since the middle of November I started hearing the odd report of Kurper starting to bite, but it wasn’t until the beginning of December that I managed to get to the water. Good reports had been coming from Roodeplaat Dam with plenty of quality fish being caught. One afternoon I couldn’t resist the temptation any longer and headed off to the water.
Arriving just after midday I soon had the Sensation Stiff Line Rod in the water. I was quite exited to try out a new toy, the speed rod stand. This ingenious product is truly amazing. The rod butt is simply placed in the holder and once you strike the mechanism releases the rod immediately.
Maroek was mixed with popcorn to create a feeding area. Maroek on its own doesn’t bind very well. What I do to overcome this is to make a 50/50 mix of popcorn feed and maroek. First mix the maroek with the dry popcorn, then add the water and mix thoroughly. For best results I prefer to let the mixture stand for at least 15 minutes so that the popcorn feed can soak up the water. What you are looking for is something similar to a mealie bomb mix. Once this is ready you can make balls which won’t break up when you throw them.
Typically when fishing from the side water from 1-1.5m is deep enough. Often it is possible to make feeder balls and throw them in by hand. About 30 balls the size of a grapefruit were soon in the water. The balls were fed at about 30m from the side and we settled down to wait for some action. Often it takes a while for the kurper to move in on the feed, anything up to half a day.
After a fruitless hour and a half, with the worms coming out half drowned, I decided to rig a float rod and see if the fish were maybe feeding off the bottom. I often see anglers using strange floats, from porcupine quills to the red and white bubble floats. There’s more to a float than meets the eye, especially when fishing from the side. Casting distance is often a factor and you need something which is heavy enough to cast at least 30m. For me many of the floats just don’t cast this far and I prefer to use a more specialized waggler type float.
A waggler float, when rigged correctly will show the slightest bite indication. In order to do this the float must be weighted by adding splitshot on the line with the eventual aim of pulling most of the float under the surface so that only 1-2 inches protrude above the surface. To do this correctly, thread the float onto the line and then add one splitshot above the float and a couple below. Cast the float out and see if it stands upright (cocks). Keep adding splitshot below the float until the stem of the float is protruding 1-2 inches above the surface. Refer to the diagram showing the split shot position below the float.
The Sensation wagglers, TF8001, come in two sizes, 6g (4+2) and 8g (4+4). Essentially this means that there is 4g of weight for casting fitted in the float and an additional 2 or 4g is required for the float to be set properly. The additional 2 or 4g are added by crimping splitshot on the line.
When fishing for kurper it is important to have both a float rod and a bottom fishing rod. Since the introduction of the Sensation stiff line rod last year, this has become my weapon of choice when fishing on the bottom. For float fishing I prefer a rod like the Sensation Sloppy or Hornet, but not too short, 7ft is the ideal length. Why you might ask, well it’s difficult to cast a float where the drop is more than 1.5m from the float to the hook. A shorter rod makes this almost impossible unless you are fishing just below the surface.
Once the depth has been determined you can now decide whether to fish off the bottom or on the bottom. In this case the stiff line rod hadn’t produced anything so I set my float so that the hook would be 20cm off the bottom. First cast I had a “skelm” bite which just dipped the float slightly. I struck and missed, but I knew I had found the fish. The next cast exactly the same thing happened, but this time I gave a two count before striking.
The rod dipped as I set the hook and then a dogged fight began. I knew it was a decent fish and the kurper started to boil on the surface as he came nearer. A couple of minutes later a beautiful blue of 1.2kgs was in the net. I now knew the fish weren’t feeding on the bottom, not yet anyway.
I baited up again with a big bunch of kariba worms and let fly. The float had just settled when I noticed a slight sideways movement. The float leaned over slightly and I struck as the rod bowed again. I was confident that we had found the depth the fish were feeding at and while I played the fish I was already imagining the bag of fish we were about to catch.
Another nice blue of about 1.5kgs came to the net with much resistance.
An hour later I hadn’t had another indication, obviously the fish I had caught were just a school moving through. I decided to give the stiff line rod another go, maybe they had moved onto the bottom. 10 Minutes later the tip gave a slight twitch and then slowly bowed over. Big kurper are notorious for the gentle bite and the stiff line betrayed this fish as he slowly sucked on the bunch of worms.
The fish seemed to be coming out in pairs because things went quiet again. The weather was turning and a mass of huge cumulus clouds signaled the intention of the weather. I decided to try the float again and after two fruitless casts I moved the float up the line so that the bait would lie on the bottom. First cast produced a good fish of 1.4kg. It seemed that the fish wanted a more delicate presentation from the float.
The wind started to gust and as the first drops started to fall we headed back. Being prepared to catch fish on the bottom with stiff rigs and up in the water had given us the flexibility to carry on catching fish. I had only seen one other kurper being caught along the bank, so we had done fairly well. Putting the odds in your favor can turn a bad days fishing around, using the right tackle with a bit more thought will give you the tools to catch more fish.