During each competitive season, we host multiple trials that count towards ranking points. This year was no different with the 2nd trials being a still water trial.
Everyone interested gathered for the event at one of the most pristine locations available to us, Lifton Lake at Sani Valley Lodge. In total 12 Anglers gathered for the event. As tradition would have it the Friday before the start of the trials cars were packed and the boys were on the road to the venue. Most anglers enjoyed a practice session on the Friday with mixed emotions and broken spirits they all gathered at the venue after their practice sessions.
Friday night was spent around the fire covering almost all conversations around fishing and techniques to be used during the trials. The hype of activity was around the boats as some had a few leaks that required attention.
Before everyone retired to bed the following day’s activities were discussed around start times of each session. Shortly after all retired to their respective rooms. The night had it’s own hype of activities with one late comer only arriving at midnight, trying to search for the room he was assigned to. After a phone call and directions, he was directed to room OR-1-B-1 (this caused an outburst of laughter in the specific room as it was actually pronounced “Oribi”).
Saturday morning saw everyone rising early to get to the showers and set up the kit for the day’s activities. They were spoiled with perfect weather with a slight southeasterly breeze. With all up and ready the newly created mobile app was put into use by doing the draws for the 3 sessions to be fished. Within 5 minutes all new who their boat partners were for the rest of the trials.
Everyone gathered at the dam to start the session. Eyes were glued to the water to spot any indication of fish activity on the water. Boats were inflated and kit packed. Due to the low light conditions and limited time the night before more repairs were required 10 minutes before the first session, guys were running around frantically to get glue and patches, some had to take pumps as a necessity on the boats. This saw the session being delayed by 15 minutes. With all hands on deck, an argument ensued on which side was port side and starboard of the boats as directions were given regarding the use of the newly developed drogues.
At exactly 9:15 all the boats were in the water and on their way to the first fishing spots of the morning. This saw boats being steered in all directions as most had other ideas of where to find the fish. The lake was split into two sectors and the first sector was decided by way of a coin toss the morning of the first session.
During the first session, fish was hard to find in total there were 4 fish that made it to the net. Some came out in the deep while others were caught on the edges of the lake. Marcel was able to get into a decent fish which ended up being the biggest of the trials as well. A Beautiful Rainbow Hen measuring 505mm.
Vian was in the lead with 2 fish to the net followed closely by Marcel with the biggest fish out of the batch of 1 fish guys.
The break in between ensured for its own entertainment as boats had to be moved from one sid of the 85-hectare dam to the second launch point of the day. Daniel and Vian assisted with the move and had the luxury of a trolling motor to assist with this task.
The second session saw 15 fish getting to the net and 1 angler retiring from the session due to medical issues. This left 1 angler without a boat partner and the decision was made to allow him the use of the trolling motor as rowing would have greatly affected his movability on the dam. This session saw more fish to the net and Daniel took the lead with 4 fish from the deep channel running past the dam wall. Vian came in second getting 2 fish to the net and Aubrey losing out on top spot losing 4 and landing 1 in the process, his strategy the second session was to target the shallows for cruising fish.
The third and final session on Sunday saw all anglers back on the boats and in full competition mode. It was a close race for the first places as the fish were few and far between. The third session also saw the opening of the lake to fish any where you would like. Most anglers opted to stay where they knew the most fish came out from the previous sessions. This session was even tougher with the gin clear water weed beds could be seen as far as 7.5 meters down in the water. The first fish of the session was landed by Jannie Jacobs an hour and a half into the third session. Followed closely by his boat partner Daniel Factor. Their strategy was to start in the shallows and give it 10 minutes to see if the fish would gulp a fly, they were chased away by 3 otters filling their bellies on the scrumptious trout. They moved to where they knew they could get fish and this strategy played well into their hands as Daniel managed 3 fish to the net in first place and Jannie managed 2 to take the second spot. The rest of the spots 3 anglers in total got 1 fish each and had to battle on size to get the third spot for the day. The third Session only saw 8 fish to the net.
In total throughout the 3 sessions, 27 fish was caught with 4 being a decent size, the rest was made up by stockies and the smallest being a 21cm rainbow trout.
The Final results for the Trials are as follows:
1st Daniel Factor
2nd Vian Ferreira
3rd Marcel Destombes
4th Kevin Goncalves
5th Marius Grobler
6th Ronald Smith
7th Jannie Jacobs
8th Dries de Bruyn
9th Berno Swart
10th Aubrey Ferreira
11th Conrad Jacobs
12th Ronnie Snr Smith