Catfish on Hornets at the Vaal Barrage

10 May 2016
Author: Rudolph Venter

During the recent SAALAA Nationals held at the Vaal Barrage, I experienced great results on Salmo Hornets. During the second practice day, my dad and I decided to try for catfish at Cloudy Creek. Cloudy Creek normally hosts loads of catfish and it is the ideal place to catch catfish via trolling. This inlet of the Vaal Barrage has almost no structure in the main body which makes it ideal for the trolling technique as there is little chance of getting stuck while trolling.

An inlet is also a good place for trolling as the average depth is less than 2.5 meters (shallower water =   greater success via trolling). We use the outboard for trolling; usually just trolling at idling speed (4 to 6 km/h). Our lures were pulled about 30 meters behind the boat. I decided to use the 4.5 cm Salmo Rattlin Hornet in Green Tiger while my dad used a 7 cm lipless crank. Shortly after we started trolling I got a solid hit and went tight with a catfish.

After an enjoyable fight, I landed my first catfish for the trip. We took a few photos before releasing the fish and once again our lines were in the water as we continued trolling in the inlet. Soon enough I went tight again; this time it felt like a very small catfish. As I reeled it in I was surprised as it jumped out the water and tried to shake my lure – it was a good size bass! I was very chuffed to manage to species in a few minutes using this lure.

The next day, my dad and me, returned to Cloudy Creek to repeat our success of the previous day. Within 20 minutes my dad and I both landed fair size cats, with mine being a 5 kg job again falling prey to the 4.5 cm Rattlin Hornet and my dad’s being a bigger cat of 7 kg. During the second day of the Nationals, we returned to Cloudy Creek, but on this day we battled to get our catfish. Yet, after trying a few different lures, the 4.5 cm Rattlin Hornet in Hot Perch colour finally gave us the breakthrough by delivering two cats.

During the Junior Trials, John Biccard, the Junior whom I skipped, managed to catch his bass on both days using the 3 cm Hornet. On the first day of the trials John caught the size bass by casting it next to laydowns in deeper water and the bass took him on a steady retrieve. On the second day, he managed to catch his first size bass on the same crank by working it in a small inlet. I also managed to catch both my size bass of the Senior Trials by using the 3 cm Salmo Hornet and working it with a steady retrieve in small inlets. This lure is a good option if you need one or two keepers and you have limited time available as they just can’t resist this lure.

During my Senior Trials, I decided to fish the Taaibos inlet. This river usually has fewer catfish than Cloudy Creek and is a deeper river with an average depth of 3 m. I decided to use a 6 cm Salmo Hornet in Silver White Shiner colour which I also fished via trolling. I used a bigger lure for this river as the river is deeper and the 6 cm Hornet runs deeper than the Rattlin Hornet.

I had quite some faith in the lure as it was recommended by Protea Angler, Andre van Rooyen, to Marco Jordaan which managed to catch a catfish with this lure on the previous day by trolling it in the Taaibos. I was very amped when I went tight with a catfish after just 15 minutes of trolling! This quick catch laid the foundation for me to have a great day during the first day of the Trials as I managed to fill up with 8 species and cull some of my fish.

The second day didn’t go well, but I learned a few lessons which I will keep in mind for future competitions.