COVID-19 is forcing changes
The first round of the Cyprus Bass Fishing Championship took place last weekend. In many ways, this competition was unusual.
- First of all, this stage was not only the beginning of the new 2021 season but also the final stage of the 2020 season, which was interrupted due to restrictive measures related to the spread of COVID-19. So it was particularly important to perform well. For me personally, the last season was quite a bumpy ride. I have already lost my chances for the first or second place, so the main goal was to secure the 3rd place.
- Secondly, it was a 2-day event taking place on two different reservoirs, Kouris and Kalavasos, respectively. The 5 largest basses caught in both days were taken into account. The official results have not yet been published, but, apparently, the second day at Kalavasos played a bigger role, since the average size (length) of bass there is now better. Interestingly, a bass of the same weight from Kalavasos is longer than from Kouris, which is important for the Cypriot bass fishing championship since the points are counted by fish length rather than weight).
- Thirdly, due to COVID19 restrictions, the organizers had to make 3 starting/finishing points, and limit the number of participants at each of the points (no more than 7 people in each). In addition, the participants had to finish at the same point where they started. Because of that, some adjustments had to be made to the tactics. For example, I did not get a place at the point where I wanted to start, so I had to change my plan of action.
- Fourthly, since big gatherings are not allowed, everybody had to leave right after the competition without the usual award ceremony, and without the traditional meal in one of the local taverns. So, unfortunately, we were left without one of the most important components of the process – small talk with fishing buddies, the latest fishing stories, etc. Sad, but what to do? COVID19 makes it difficult for all of us.
Day One – Kouris
Based on the recent visits to this reservoir, it seemed that it would not be difficult to catch the 5-fish limit, but it may be difficult to catch a bonus-size bass. Recently, for some reason, there is a lot of bass 35-38cm in Kouris reservoir, and specimens larger than 40cm are much less often caught. From my personal experience, in the lower part of the reservoir, near the dam wall, the chances to find a bigger bass are better. Additionally, this part of the reservoir is less pressured by fishermen, especially the so-called “the other side of the moon”. So, I decided to start at the dam wall.
I started fishing right on the dam wall in the corner under the spillway, where I caught 2 large basses a week ago. And what do you think? Got a 43cm bass on the very first cast! This was a good start. At the same time, catching a fish on the first cast is known to be a bad omen, which unfortunately prooved to be true this time. As a result, the day went rather bad. I did catch quite a few basses above the limit size, but none of them was more than 40cm. This was clearly not enough for good standings. In frustration I went home to collect my thoughts and prepare an action plan for the next day.
Day Two – Kalavasos
Having worked on the mistakes from the previous day, I decided to devote a little more time to the dam wall itself, hoping to come across larger females who have not yet spawned. And the plan paid off. Literally, a few minutes after the start, I saw one of the competitors catching a 44cm bass right in front of my eyes. Soon I caught a 46cm bass myself. This is the size I was hoping for, so I decided to stay at the dam wall a bit longer and eventually ended up spending the whole day there. I saw bass males cruising along the bank in search of spawning grounds. In this kind of situation, females, which are usually larger than males, are somewhere nearby. Those females were my main target.
The plan of action was as follows – methodically fish every inch of the dam wall with top-water lures or jerk baits, constantly moving along the bank. Bass was not active enough to attack fast-moving baits, but they showed themselves up by following for the bait. And then I used a more subtle soft bait with a very realistic enticing fall, which the bass could not resist. This way I managed to catch 4 basses over 45cm, ending the day with 272 points, which appeared to be the highest score that day. But based on the combined score from both days, I, unfortunately, ended up in the second place.
We are waiting for the announcement of the official results. I think that the scores will be very tight this time, as many anglers have managed to catch a limit of 5 fish 40-44cm long.
March and the first half of April this year were relatively cold with extremely unstable weather. Heatwaves with sand storms from Africa and sudden cold fronts with heavy snowfall in the mountains were following each other. As a result, by mid-April, the major bulk of the bass had not yet begun to spawn. A few days before the competition, the weather leveled off and a notable warming trend started. In addition, the full moon was coming soon. In other words, there were the perfect conditions for the bass to start actively prepare for spawning. Some males have already settled down on the nests, especially in the upper, shallower part of the reservoirs. In the lower part, closer to the dam wall, the process was progressing with some lag, i.e. there were fewer basses on nests here, and therefore the chances of meeting here a pregnant BIG MAMA were higher in my opinion.
This time I used two setups
- Spinning rod Zetrix Ambition-Z 732MH + reel Daiwa Prorex V LT 3000-C + braid line #1.2 + fluorocarbon leader #4 for fishing with hard baits (top-water and jerk baits) and weightless or lightly weighted soft plastic jerk baits
- Casting rod Major Craft K.G.Lights 7102H + reel Shimano Curado 201E7 + fluorocarbon line for fishing jigs, spinnerbaits, and Texas-rig.
Lures that made the difference this time
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to the event organizers – the Cyprus Freshwater Angling Association, who managed to obtain permission to hold this event.
The sponsor of the event was the online fishing tackle store Dima’s Outdoors.
Looking forward to the next event, which is planned for mid-May. Hopefully, COVID19 will not ruin the plans.
Here are the official results, just published