This is so super cool sending this to Bill, the guy who designed the Spro Rat. Thank you so much for sharing my experience with this catch, I hope everyone enjoys the story.
Location: Letsibogo Dam, Botswana
> When I first received the BBZ-1 50 Rat I was surprised to actually see the size of the rat and never actually noticed the weight of the bait before ordering it, but I certainly looked forward to throwing the Rat.
> We arrived at the dam at about 11am in the morning. This was due to leaving South Africa at 4pm and arriving at the border post at 6pm. The next stretch of the road was bad, so we had to slow it down. When we got to our lodge we were staying at we immediately booked into our rooms and headed straight down to the dam where the boats were all ready packed and waiting for us to just jump on with our tackle and start fishing.
> The place we launched at was in a protected bay out of the wind, but with trees everywhere. The lake was at about 50% full at the time. We started working our way out of the bay fishing the new Big Bite Bait 5” Fighting Frogs and Jewel SwimSwim-it Jigs. When we got out of the bay we only had one fish that bit the Fighting Frog, but came undone when it got hung up in the submerged brush.
> We then decided to cut straight across the dam and fish a submerged ridge that was starting to show some trees due to the lower water levels. When we got closer to the ridge we slowed down and started to fish with crank baits. We could clearly feel the trees beneath the water, we didn’t have a sonar, but it must have been about 15-20ft deep as the Spro Fat Papa crankbaits we were using dived to 16ft. Fished these on 20lb TATSU Fluorocarbon Line.
> My friend must have made 20 casts when he hooked up with his first fish that weighed 5.42kg (11lb 15oz). Minutes after that I hooked up, also on a Spro Fat Papa 70, but unfortunately the fish broke me off due to diving right down into all the trees, also a decent size fish, well over 8lbs and that was the only one that broke off the whole weekend for both of us.
> While I was retying I told my friend that before I fish the crankbait again I was going to make a few cast with the Rat just to see how it swims. The first couple of cast felt a bit different than throwing normal size baits due to the weight of it, but I quickly got the hang of it. What amazed us both was the action of the Rat, I could not believe how well the Rat swam through the water and had an wobble action like I have never seen before. Even though we were in about 15 – 20 ft of water I could see some trees sticking out the closer we got to the side of the ridge that was starting to become exposed. The closer we got the faster my heart started to race as I was just waiting for a bass to come up and attack at any moment. I personally thought the bite would be closer to the exposed structure and shallower water, but that was not the case.
> We were still in deep water about 15ft when I made a cast towards a tree with some branches sticking out. I was just slow rolling the bait, the bait must have been about 4ft pass the tree when the water exploded and Mr. Rat disappeared in a shower of Largemouth spray. Thankfully with the 50lb Sunline FX braid I got a really good hook set and it was fish on. At that time my heart was racing extra fast and I must have been a few beats away from a heart attack, but the amount of adrenalin that was pumping through my veins must have prevented it from happing.
> After a few good minutes of fighting the bass my friend eventually netted the fish and I instantly went Ike on myself as it was definitely my personal best bass at the time. When we weighed the fish she weighed a whopping 4.92 kg (10lb 14oz). After taking the photos we immediately released her as it was extremely hot and we didn’t want to keep her out of the water too long. That night I could not sleep, just due to all the excitement and breaking my PB.
> That fish was not the heaviest of my fish for the trip as I also caught a 5.28kg (11lb 10oz) bass on the new Big Bite Bait 5”Fighting Frog. Even though that was my biggest it surely was not my best catch of my life. The Rat was just something else, it was a special catch and the most memorable catch to date of my life, I won’t trade it for anything else, maybe a bigger fish on a Rat and that’s all. The excitement and feeling I got from catching that bass on the Rat is absolutely indescribable and that memory will always stay with me.
> Raoul Overbeeke
> Bait: Spro BBZ-1 Rat 50
> Colour: Grey Ghost
> Line: 50lb Sunline FX2 Braid
> Reel: Shimano Curado 200G7
> Rod: New Shimano Crucial MH 7’11”
> Location: Letsibogo Dam, Botswana
> Weather: Really Hot and Sunny
> Time of year: 30 July 2015 Winter
> Temp: 30 Degrees Celsius/86 Degrees Fahrenheit
> Water Temp: 16 Degrees Celsius/61 Degrees Fahrenheit