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USA Bass Team Earns the Silver at the Black Bass World Championship

Fishing unfamiliar water is every bass angler’s toughest challenge. Successfully figuring out the bite, consistently finding quality fish and making the right adjustments when conditions change are the hallmarks of champion anglers — it’s what separates them from the field. Now imagine fishing unfamiliar water, in a foreign land, in a different hemisphere during a different season, in an ecosystem that no American bass angler normally faces … welcome to the Vaal River in South Africa and the home of the Black Bass World Championship. 

The USA Bass team took on the challenge and clawed their way to the medal stand with a furious day-three run that finished with all three USA Bass teams in the top ten (2nd, 5th and 9th places) with a 13.32 KG (29 lbs 6 oz) total, the best one day team finish for the entire tournament. After landing in the middle of the pack with 6th place on day one, the USA Bass anglers made the adjustments as rain and cold fronts piled into the area to move into medal contention with a 4th place overall rank on day two. The incredible final-day run propelled the USA Bass team into the Silver medal position, finishing just ahead of Italy. South Africa’s home water advantage was just too much to overcome as their anglers consistently finished in the top ten all three days to take the Team Gold medal. They finished with a 7 lb 9 oz lead in the standings over the United States over the three days of fishing. Congratulations to South Africa on their World Championship.

Since it was spring in the Southern hemisphere, the largemouth bass in the Vaal River were either getting ready to spawn, spawning or moving to current related areas to feed after the spawn The most successful techniques focused on locating pre-spawn, bedding and post-spawn areas and figuring what lures to use to get big bites.  The entire team commented on the number of bass they caught each day but also talked about the difficulty of getting quality bites from large fish.

“We caught fish on jerkbaits and a ton of fish wacky rigging  5-inch Gary Yamamoto Senkos,” USA Bass Team member James Watson said, “After Fred and I caught a limit, we moved to flat areas looking for cover where a bigger bass might hide.”

 “James Watson saved the day with a huge bass just shy of six pounds,” Fred Roumbanis said,  “He caught it out of a shallow water lay down on a brown and orange jig late in the afternoon of the final day.”

The Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB USA Bass team will now be preparing to fish the 2018 Pan American Black Bass Championship on Lake Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida, in February, and the 2018 Black Bass World Championship in Mexico later in the year.

“South Africa was a great first step for USA Bass.  It showed just how competitive the sport has become. USA Bass will continue to field teams representing the USA for years to come,” U.S. Angling Vice President, Tony Forte said, “This path will lead to the United States hosting the Black Bass World Championship at Lake Murray in Columbia, South Carolina, and hopefully convince the International Olympic Committee that bass fishing belongs in the Olympics!”

The Silver medal win is a great start for this talented team. Congratulations to our Silver Medal World Champions: Lionel Botha, Fred Roumbanis, David Dudley, Team Captain – Scott Martin, Scott Canterbury, Mark Rose, James Watson, David Fritts and Team Manager John Knight.  

Thanks to the USA Bass supporters that made this trip to South Africa possible:

Gold “Title” sponsor: Capital City/Lake Murray Country RTB

Silver sponsors: Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits, Hidden Bay Graphics, Regional Jet Center and Bay Rat Lures 

Bronze sponsors: Kid Casters, Careco TV, Bass Kickin’ Tackle, Uranus Fudge Factory, Bob’s Machine Shop