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BBass fishing is probably the most piscatorial fun you can have with your clothes on. That's because this good-eating fish is clever and quite able to survive anywhere there's water, including a roadside ditch. You'll find them in clear streams, muddy pools, dams and lakes – when it gets hot, they'll dive deep or hunt down a piece of shade to skulk in.
Bass are probably the most adaptable gamefish around, so they will snack on a fingerling, a frog, a lizard or a minnow, which makes baiting interesting. In fact, hanging around the fishing store and listening to bass fishermen probably sounds – to the rank outsider – like a couple of astronomers discussing white dwarves in outer space.
Silicone skirts on spinnerbaits, lures that look like worms, lizards and baitfish. Crank baits made from balsa wood and flashy neon inline spinners – local bass fishing has followed the American trend and become a whole outdoor lifestyle.
'I love to catch a bass – he's the most adventurous inland gamefish,' says Les Bush, veteran photographer, Cape country chef and leisure fisherman who now lives in the land of the large-mouthed bass: Theewaterskloof Dam, near Villiersdorp in the Western Cape.
Bass were imported from North America in the late 19th century and thrived in southern Africa. They are currently fished on a 'catch and release' basis. One of the biggest small-mouth bass ever caught weighed in at 3.23kg at the Kwaggaskloof/Brandvlei Dam outside Worcester in the Western Cape.
Bass fishing sells more fishing equipment than any other form of game fishing. There are rods, reels and lures for every circumstance, every size of water – your gear has to be as adaptable as the bass himself. Eventually, however, you just have to out-think him in the water.