After a dismal performance at our first CFC event this year at Rhenosterkop, I needed some much needed confidence restoring fish catching. So I decided to get in a few hours at my local dam, at the same time giving me another opportunity to test drive my new ALX rods further and experiment a bit more with the new baby Uber shads from Xcite baits.
My rod of choice this time was the “Speed Fury” model. This rod is perfect for light line applications with finesse baits. The rod is a 7.5” medium with a fast action and weighs a mere 3.95 oz. or 112 grams. Yes that’s CORRECT only 112 grams for a 7.5” rod. And yes I know, most of you are thinking 7.5” is a very long rod for finesse applications and at first I was also a bit sceptical.
But after using it for a few weeks now, I have to say, the extra length makes a huge difference with casting distance whilst also aiding in achieving proper hook sets at distance and due to its extreme light weight, the rod feels totally comfortable and not cumbersome at all. In addition, the Hydra SFD (scrimless fibre design) blanks make these rods super sensitive with plenty of pulling power and allow you to feel virtually everything that’s happening on the bottom. Something which takes a bit getting used to if you are not accustomed to rods which are as sensitive as these as you will end up striking for every bump you feel initially as your lure comes through the structure.
Now for the baits. Ever since I was introduced to Xcite baits, I have been just more and more impressed with their quality and designs. The baits are top quality, super soft and all baits are pre inspected before packaging to ensure every packet which ends up in the consumer’s hands are perfect in colour and construction. So when their latest offering, the Baby uber shads hit our shores, I could absolutely not wait to give them a bash. Especially since we had a hand in the design recommendations. By this I mean, we asked for a finesse bait which would be small enough to entice weary bass but still have a profile which would appeal to larger fish. Having fished with Jr. sized baitfish imitations for many years, they always seemed to catch a lot smaller bass than larger ones for me. So we wanted something that would still fill the live well but with better quality fish.
The result was a bait which has a 3 inch body like a Jr. Jerk bait but with Xcites unique tail which gives this bait its unique action and larger profile. It can be fished in a number of ways from weightless as a deadly jerk bait to an excellent Texas rigged pitching bait for violent reaction strikes to even that of a swim bait when rigged with a weighted swim bait hook giving it an irresistible wounded baitfish action on the fall and therefore makes it one of the most versatile baits I have used to date.
Now for the fun part, putting all the theory to practise. We got to the dam at just before 6am and wasted no time in getting to my favourite spot near the inlet. The water levels were lower than expected and the more popular haunts were now only in a foot of water. This meant that we had target the deeper channels a bit further out which called for longer casts. This is where the longer rod gave me an advantage as I was able to fire out the Baby ubers quite comfortably, some 30 plus meters away. My third cast in and I felt the lightest of ticks on the line as the bait sank. I set the hook and was immediately on with a decent fish. She dived and tried to run into the nearby grass when I applied maximum pressure and managed to keep her out, I continued working the fish and despite me using only 10lb line, the rod handled superbly by doing all the work for me. I was surprised at the amount of backbone or pulling power the rod possessed being so light, whilst the soft tip caressed the surging dives of the fish as it continuously tried to get into the thick cover, allowing me not to snap the light line as I applied maximum pressure and kept the fish coming towards me.
I eventually managed to land a decent 1.2kg specimen which gave a pretty good account of herself and kick started the day’s session to a great start. We took a few quick photos and released her back safely. We continued fishing along the banks and ended up catching quite a few fish ranging from around 800 grams upwards with the biggest remaining the 1.2kg I got first. All of them caught on the Baby Uber shad in Green Pumpkin Magic colour fished weightless.
We ended the session at 10am and were pretty satisfied at the results. Both the ALX and Baby Uber shads did not disappoint and continue to impress me every time I get to fish them. All products featured are available on www.bluewatergear.co.za