UPCOMING EVENT: Costa FLW Series - 2019 - Santee Cooper

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Italy Leads World Championships

Italy Leads World Championships

VANDERBIJLPARK, SOUTH AFRICA (Oct. 5, 2017) – Competitors in the XIII Black Bass World Championships awakened this morning to a different South Africa. A damp, cold rain pelted anglers at the launch ramp, and the steely skies forbade a lingering frontal system. Anglers who practiced under warm, sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s faced changing weather, changing patterns and a high temperature of 62 degrees.

Today marks the official launch of the southern Africa rainy season. The rains come ritualistically, every year in mid-October. Drab landscapes change to verdant green, and nutrients trickle into the waterways. Every living creature in Africa awaits the rains … man, beast, fowl and fish. Precipitation renews life.

The importance of rain for African waterways cannot be understated, but it also creates challenges for anglers. Sudden frontal systems bring pressure changes and water temperature fluctuations that can deconstruct an established fishing pattern. Especially on the Vaal River, a fishery known for its instability.

The team that was best able to weather the changes on day one was the crew from Italy. The European team of three two-angler pairs corralled 15 fish with an average weight of 2.24 pounds, giving it the lowest number of penalty points at 28 (see tournament format information below for more details). Team members remained mum on their specific pattern but indicated they worked hard despite the soaking rains and will continue to fish the same water on day two.

South Africa earned a second-place day-one finish with 15 fish that averaged 2.19 pounds, awarding them 29.5 penalty points. Team member Darryl Quinton says the entire team remains glued to a great pattern and maintains confidence for a strong finish.

Zambia, another African team, finished day one in third place with a full bag averaging 2.15 pounds and penalty points of 33.5. Zambian team members have spent many hours on the Vaal system, and their experience propelled them to a top ranking.

Germany rose to fourth position at the end of day one with a full limit of fish averaging 2.07 pounds and 38 penalty points – a surprising finish considering there are no largemouth bass in the European country. German bass anglers travel to distant countries to hone their skills.

Namibia, one of the favored teams in this event, struck a fifth-place finish with a full bag averaging 1.93 pounds and 50.5 penalty points. Namibian anglers have spent an extraordinary amount of time learning the river system, and their placement holds no surprise.

Team USA rounds out the top six. The American pros pulled a full limit of 15 fish with an average weight of 1.91 pounds and 52 penalty points. Spectators flocked to the weigh-in to see the celebrated U.S. anglers, who were expected to feature easily in the top 10. This is new water for the Americans, who had only two days to pattern the river.

The rest of the field is as follows:

7. Spain - 57

8. Swaziland - 61.5

9. Zimbabwe - 68.5

10. Croatia - 69

11. Portugal - 86

12. Russia - 100

13. Mexico - 106.5

“If we had had sunshine it would have been a different story for us. We couldn’t see into the water and work our pattern,” says Lionel Botha, who’s concerned it will take another full day of good weather before fish return to the team’s targeted areas.

“It was so dark we could not see to pitch much of the morning,” adds David Fritts.

A total of 182 bass were weighed among the 39 international teams competing on behalf of 13 countries with an average weight of 1.82 pounds. The largest bass brought to the scales weighed 4.66 pounds. Thirty-three two-angler teams weighed a full bag of five fish. Only six teams failed to limit.

Forecasts for day two indicate a sunny outlook and warmer weather. Look for the USA team to weigh bigger bags. Every day on this new piece of water makes the Amerians stronger.

Complete results

Tournament format

American team pairings for the first day consisted of Scott Martin and Scott Canterbury, David Fritts and Lionel Botha, and Mark Rose and Dave Dudley. James Watson and Fred Roumbanis sat out day one but will fish the following round.

To understand results, spectators near and far must take time to familiarize themselves with the unique international scoring system called a Reverse Grand Prix.

Each country remains represented by six anglers – two anglers in each of three boats. At the end of each fishing day, each two-man team will present the weighmaster with a five-fish bag. The weight of the bag will determine placement among all 39 teams. As an example, the heaviest team bag will be awarded one point (called a penalty point). The lightest bag will be awarded 39 points. Penalty points for each of the three country teams are added for an aggregate country score, and each day’s score gets added to the tournament total. The team with the lowest number of penalty points at the end of three days of fishing will be awarded a gold medal.

Among the U.S. anglers, the team of Martin and Canterbury checked in the strongest finish in 11th place with about 10.69 pounds, followed by Dudley and Rose in 18th with about 9.61 pounds and Fritts and Botha in 23rd with about 8.38 pounds.

Complete results

 

Additional photos

Tags: george-robey  article 

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