This is a special guest post by Bennie Wiese*.
It’s not every day that we get the opportunity to be the only, and first anglers on the African continent to fish a lure that has recently won an “ICAST” award. I’m referring to the SPRO BBZ-1 Rat Swim Bait that won an award at the 2014 ICAST show.
I followed the ICAST awards on the internet and after a few e-mails between Bill Siemantel and myself, a parcel arrived from abroad. On opening the parcel my heart beat started to go faster as I saw the two new BBZ-1 Rats. What a great feeling to be the first angler in South Africa to have the opportunity to fish these baits!
I immediately noticed how realistic the baits looked and I couldn’t drench the baits quickly enough and “tested” them in my swimming pool. The action was unbelievable and it looked like a real rat swimming.
Two days later my fishing buddy, Joe and I were at a venue to pre-fish for an upcoming event. When Joe saw the size of the bait he made a real serious bet I couldn’t refuse. He couldn’t believe that I would be able to catch a single bass on this new Rat. The challenge was on - I was to be the first angler to use and catch bass on this lure in Africa and losing the bet, he would ...
The venue we fished was under heavy fishing pressure and there were a lot of small fish around. It took me some time to master the art of casting the Rat but by the end of the day I was pitching the Rat into the pockets like a pro. We ended the day at an area where there was deep water next to cliffs. By this time Joe was very relaxed and confident that he was going to win the bet. So far I had no strikes on the Rat.
Approaching the cliffs, I picked up the Rat again and Joe stared at me with disbelieve and mumbled something I cannot repeat in writing. I made the perfect cast, right in a shady area next to the cliffs and stared the retrieve. The Rat did not even move five feet when I a saw a green flash and a bass hit the lure so hard - it was unbelievable. I was so surprised that I neglected to set the hook ... and the bass pulled the bait halfway to the boat. I saw her disappear into the deep water. I stood there in disbelieve and turned to Joe. He was stunned and very relieved! I could see he was glad not to lose the bet. On our way home it was the only thing that we could talk about.
Two days later my son Benjamin and I went fishing for an afternoon session on a small pond in an urban area. The venue is not known for any top water action. My goal was to spend some family time with my son. The fishing was extremely tough with only my son landing a decedent keeper. I took out the Rat to show Benjamin how to fish it parallel to reeds on a shallow bank that normally does not produce fish. Out of nowhere the Rat got hit by my first bass! This time there were no mistakes ... the hook set was perfect and the bass was quickly lifted into the boat. Mission complete – I was the first angler in Africa to use and catch a bass on the SPRO BBZ-1 Rat. In the following ten casts I managed to land two more bass of which the biggest was around four pounds.
Using this bait and seeing the action was unbelievable. The way the fish hit it was hard and very aggressive. The Rat provoked the bass to hit it hard, killing it. Because of its natural profile and knocking sound, it also triggers an instinctive reaction bite.
I have been fishing wake baits for many years and the SPRO BBZ-1 Rat is a cut above the rest. I can't wait for these lures to hit the South African shelves because our readers will really enjoy them. Of course there will be sceptics like Joe (who is still brushing his teeth to get the odour out of his mouth), but give the Rat a try – you will be quite surprised ... (Or, at least don’t make any silly bets).
*Bennie Wiese is the editor of SA Bass magazine and an experienced provincial bass angler.