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What's happening?

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What's happening here?

We all know that Kwaggas and Clanwilliam are the two prime Smallmouth fisheries in South Africa. Both of these dams also have a fair amount of Largies in them.

If I look at the reports from both dams over the last couple of months it seems to me that more and more Largies are being caught.

Am I wrong with my assessment or is something strange happening here?

It is a fact that Smallies spawn earlier than Largies – could it be that Largies are eating too many fry at an early stage.

What is the effect of competitions like the Winter Classic at Clanwilliam (end July) on the spawning of the Smallies?

A lotta questions? What say the wise men?

Paul I think the largies have always eaten the smallie fry in the past, but there were always enough smallies spawning.
My personal belief is that the winter classic should be held in June or end August.
Hundreds of smallies(full of eggs) are being released up to 20 km from their spawning grounds.
Some of the SAABA guys tell me that the bass find their way home very quickly.
Tests that my dad and myself did showed the opposite.
Also remember that if you target largie areas then you are going to catch largies.
I catch more smallies than largies as I target more smallie type areas.
Foof for thought - Years ago (15 +) Middelburg Dam (Rondebosch) was withought doubt a PRIME smallie's dam until largies were inroduced - today NO smallies are caught whatsoever period and believe u me us Middelburgers know that dam backwards.Dont be surprised with Clan etc - the rot has set in - and there's no stopping it.Sad STORY INDEED :blue-evil:
According to Bob Lusk, the well know US fishing biologist, the problem of diminishing smallmouth populations in dams where both species are present, is more problematic in smaller dams than larger dams. I am not exactly sure what his take is on a smaller dam but I would imagine that he means small farm dams.

I do not think that it should be a problem with both species in a dam like Kwaggas (174 mil m³) and if you combine Kwaggas and Brandvlei it gives you a total of 450 mil m³.
Clanwilliam is 121 mil m³. Middelburg dam, Tornado mentioned, is rather small at 45 mil m³. But as he suggests, there is a problem.

CBC, I think you make a valid point.....

Who knows what the real reasons are?

I have also experienced the drop in smallie numbers at Clan and Bulshoek, especially over the last summer. I don't fish specifically for smallies but can say for certain that in areas that I used to catch smallies I now catch mainly largies. Although my fishing technique has changed during that time, I fish more plastics now than I did last year when I was more into cranking. Quite possibly that could be a factor, I hope so, it would be a pity if the smallies disappeared.
The gods do not deduct from a man's allotted span on this earth the hours spent in fishing ~Babylonian Proverb
Ok, I have fished ebenezer my whole live. It used to be that you anly catch smallies, then it slowly started turning. Then you started catching largies in the wood, and later in the smallie areas. I kept a very close eye, I have no scientific efidence apart from what i read. The last time the smallies in ebies took a serious knock was with very low dam levels. Now smallies grow slower and lay less eggs than largie(read it somewhere) so all I can think is that after a drought that the largies outproduces them on the reproduction and growth front. So after a drought the largies and smallies are on level terms(lets say size and #) but with filling water levels the largies population recovers quicker than the smallies. Thus slowly overpowering them. Put a few bad rainy seasons in a row and the smallies never recover.
I have found that after a drought the smallies are always less than largies, and in ebies, the last time they took up to two years before we started seeing fingerlings again.
The reason why this could happen to a lesser degree in the cape could be due to the rainy season being in winter and not summer, i dont know why it would have and effect, could be that dams in the north are low during spawn while the cape dams are full. I dont know. just something to think about
Thats my 2c
One fish can change it all.....

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