Singleton BASS Pro Ben Peperall did something that few
anglers have done on the Skeeter Boats BASS Pro Tour securing his second win in
successive years at St Clair to stamp his authority on one of the more popular
stops of the BASS Pro tour.
Fishing the same technique that produced the goods for him in
2010, Pepperall, like many anglers in the field, fished a super slow, deep
water soft plastic presentation to catch his tournament winning fish.
Compiling a 6/6, 4.58kg two-day limit to claim is first win
for the season Pepperall relegated a fast finishing Kylie Cornish to second and
Steve Richards to third, to now hold a commanding position (199/200) in the
best three-from-three rounds Skeeter Boats BASS Pro AOY race.
Victory for Pepperall was the result of a calculated game
plan with the St Clair bass gun fishing a pattern and lure that had been
consistently producing fish right up to and during the tournament.
“The bass had been
falling to vertically worked soft plastics for sometime, but that was no
secret. I made a couple of small changes to the approach though that seemed to
produced better and more consistent results”, explained Pepperall.
Fishing a cut-down 3″ Berkley Gulp Minnow Grub Pepperall
broke away from the pack that was favouring the camo colour and used black.
“The camo caught them but the black just seemed to work so
much better”, explained Pepperall.
The choice of coloured wasn’t the only point of different;
how he attacked the fish was also important.
“You could find the biggest concentrations of fish with the
sounder then sit over the top of them and work your plastics through them, but
to be truthful these fish are generally not the ones that are most active and
likely to eat your lure. It’s the ones that hang wide of the pack that are
doing the roaming and feeding, and these are the ones that you want to target”,
Electricing away from the masses Pepperall would drop his
plastic to the bottom then work it directly vertical through the water column with
an ultra slow, rolling retrieve. If a fish bit he’d just keep winding and wait
for the enquiring fish to take the lure and load up the rod.
The area with this all took place was near Carnels Corner in
Falbrook Reach, and featured a 40-45 feet deep flat that dropped off into the
old creek channel. The approach and location delivered Peperall his limit by
10am in session one, by 3pm in session two and kept him waiting until the very
end in session three.
“I got one early on the final morning then had to move
location and fish a similar location closer to the start line to catch my
last”, explained Pepperall.
The late change was spot on with Pepperall weighing in his
biggest for the tournament. A much needed measure to keep a fast finishing
Kylie Cornish at bay.
“It was a real grind this weekend. The fish were there but
you just needed to be patient and confident that you’d get them”, explained
The tackle he used to catch his fish included the afore
mentioned 3″ Berkley Gulp Minnow Grub rigged on a ¼ oz, size one TT Light Wire
jighead, fish on a 6’10” Millerod Bream Buster Classic rod, 2000 Daiwa Sol
reel, spooled with 6lb Sunline PE and 4lb Sunline fluorocarbon leader.
Cutting down the Gulp and painting the head of the jighead
were two steps that Pepperall believes were important for success.
“When you trimmed down the plastics you had more hook
exposed and this in turn allowed for a better hook-up rate. Painting them,
while less used when fishing the black tails, provided a motor realistic
profile and lure colour, especially when fish matched to the camo coloured
tails”, explained Pepperall.
With second event win in as many attempts and $3700 in event
winnings who could questions his rationale.
For event runner-up Kylie Cornish it was another solid
performance for the start of 2011 (10th at Glenbawn) with the Lochinvar
basser claiming her best result to date on the BASS Pro Tour.
Like Pepperall Cornish fished a deepwater soft plastic
approach to catch her bag each session, and fished a 45-50 feet deep flat just
on the inside of the 8 knot zone in the Carabrook arm of the lake. Her
technique was text book vertical bass fishing, so popular on the NSW bass
“I’d find the fish with my sounder open the bail arm of the
reel and drop the plastic to the bottom. It was then a matter of slow rolling
the plastic back through the fish, hopeful that one of them would it eat”,
While the action of the lure on the retrieve to the surface
was important, equally as important was how the lure behaved on the drop.
“Fish can be easily put offer by a plastic on the fall if it
spirals or sinks unnaturally”, explained Cornish.
To overcome this she used one of the Atomic Seekerz jigheads,
a design that sees the lure flutter and wobble on the drop.
The outcome in session was a limit by 8.30am and a 1.61kg
bag that had her sitting in 4th place heading into the second
session. Session two would prove challenging, primarily from a stress level
point of few.
“My electric motor stopped working and I was freaking out a
bit, thankfully my husband Jade came over, checked it out, diagnosed it as
unfixable and generously offer to give me his boat for the rest of the
tournament”, explained Cornish.
The boat swap had Cornish back on the water, refocused and
fishing. The outcome was another limit and 4th heading into the 3rd and final session. With a top ten finish on the cards Cornish was calm under
pressure, catching her biggest limit for the session (1.63kg) to leapfrogging
into second, in the processing securing the second of the two boater Grand
Final berths on offer at the event.
“This will be my first Grand Final and I just can’t wait to
do it”, explained Cornish.
The tackle she used to secure her spot in the GF included a
Samurai Reaction 203 rod, Megabass Luvito 256 reel, spooled with 6lb Unitika
Power Jigging PE, and 4lb Unitika fluorocarbon leader. The money bait that did
the damage was a 3″ Berkley Gulp Minnow in camo colour rigged on a 1/4 oz, size
1/0, Atomic Seekerz jighead.
Fishing her fourth season as a boater Cornish is now seeing
the rewards was time on water over the last few months.
“I’ve been spending at least one day a week, every week on
the water working on my fishing, so it’s good to see the results coming”,
explained a very satisfied Cornish.
Claiming top honours in the non-boater division was 19 year
old Bronte Bartlett of Bathurst.
Fishing with Danny Robinson on day one Bartlett
fished deep for his bass, targeting bass in 30 feet in the lower reaches of the
lake with a slow rolling Gulp Grub approach.
The technique was simple, sink the plastic to the bottom,
slowly wind it back in, and if a fish bit keep winding until the rod loaded up.
The approach was spot on with Bartlett
catching his limit in both sessions on day one. Catching the last one on
Saturday afternoon proved a real challenge.
“I only had one fish in the well with and hour to go so I
swapped from the camo coloured Gulp Grub I had been using to a watermelon one
and it worked. I picked up my second fish on my second drop with the new
colour”, explained Bartlett.
Fishing with Glenbawn Kiosk Proprietor Peter Fogarty on
found the fish less numerous and active.
“Day two was a real grind and I only managed to catch one fish,
thankfully it was enough to get me over the line”, explained Bartlett.
Claiming his second top ten result for the season Bartlett is building as one
of the anglers to watch in the non-boater Angler of the Year race. With round
three at Boondooma the next event on the horizon Bartlett will be hoping his good form follows
The Big Bass Prize for the event went to session one leader
Mark Lennox with the Armidale angler catching the $500 prize fish on a black
Heddon Torpedo off a weed edge in Carabrook arm of the lake not long after the
start on day one.
Attention now turns to the first of the two QLD rounds of
the series, with anglers hitting Lake
Boondooma on the 18/19th June.
With recent floods changing the lake markedly and Boondooma the
venue for the end of season Skeeter Boats BASS Pro Grand Final anglers will be
keen to get the place wired and strike a pattern that will set them up for a
solid back-end to the season. Visit www.australianbass.com.au to see how it all unfolds.
|Sufix Lake St Clair BASS Pro- Boater Results|
|Place||Angler||Pro||Club Marine||Skeeter/ E-Tec||State||F1||W1||F2||W2||F3||W3||TF||TW||Payout|
|1||Ben Pepperall||Yes||Yes||NSW||2||1.52||2||1.46||2||1.6||6||4.58||$3200 + $500 Club
|10||Mike Connolly||Yes/ E-Tec||QLD||2||1.69||1||0.94||1||0.62||4||3.25||$450|
|11||Toby Wilson||Yes||Yes||Yes||NSW||2||1.44||2||1.51||4||2.95||$450 + $300 1st Pro|
|14||Mark Lennox||Yes||NSW||2||1.84||1||0.89||3||2.73||$500 Big Bass
|19||Bill Schloss||Yes||Yes||Yes/ E-Tec||QLD||2||1.03||1||0.63||1||0.79||4||2.45|
|25||Peter Jenkins||Yes||Yes/ E-Tec||NSW||1||0.44||1||0.49||2||1||4||1.93|
|29||Dean Silvester||Yes||Yes/ E-Tec||QLD||1||0.84||1||0.71||2||1.55|
|41||Glyn Barkhuizen||Yes/ E-Tec||QLD||1||0.81||1||0.81|
|50||Mike Creighton||Yes/ E-Tec||QLD||1||0.54||1||0.54|
|55||David Lane||Yes||Yes/ E-Tec||NSW||0||0|
|Sufix Lake St Clair BASS Pro- Non-Boater
|1||Bronte Bartlett||NSW||2||1.41||2||1.43||1||0.63||5||3.47||Duffrods Spiralstix
2-5kg baitcaster rod, Prize Pack
|2||Luke Novak||NSW||2||1.24||1||0.73||2||1.43||5||3.4||G.Loomis CBR853C rod, Prize Pack|
|3||Karen Fontaine||NSW||2||1.56||1||0.83||1||0.73||4||3.12||G.Loomis Spin Jig rod, Prize Pack|
|4||James Reid||QLD||2||1.24||1||0.56||1||1.15||4||2.95||Austackle Camo Stick CSP 2100 rod,
|5||Dave Harrington||NSW||2||1.99||1||0.72||3||2.71||TT Lure Pack, Prize
|6||Walter Scifleet||NSW||2||1.77||1||0.68||3||2.45||Spotters Sunglasses,
|NSW||2||1.48||1||0.77||3||2.25||Ugly Fish Eyewear
Pack, Prize Pack