Under a backdrop of cloud caped mountains, 67 boats and 131 anglers headed off in pursuit of their quarry and a possible full tournament limit. One angler though shone through in the inclement conditions, compiling a 6/6, 8.41kg, tournament limit to secure victory and the number one spot on the podium.
For Jay Morgan, the 25 year old Tackle Store Manager from Brisbane it was his first win in a BASS Pro event, with his 6/6, 8.41kg tournament limit providing him with the perfect start to his 2005 BASS tournament season, and the rest easy contentment that comes with qualifying for the Grand Final so early in the season.
Snapping close at Morganâ€™s heals was last yearâ€™s Grand Final winner, and event runner up David Green, who compiled a 6/6, 7.31kg tournament limit, to secure second place and the $1500 prize cheque that accompanies it.
Victory though belonged to Morgan, who spent his tournament time fishing the lower reaches of the waterway, targeting schooled and scattered fish located in one of the expansive bays on the eastern side of the dam.
Focusing his attention on areas that varied in depth from 40- 45 feet deep, Morgan pinpointed fish with his sounder, identifying showings that ranged from small pods of scattered fish, to larger active schools.
Once located, Morgan would present his jighead rigged soft plastic to fish, free falling it past the fish before retrieving it back past them with a slow rolling retrieve. The exact position in the water column varying with the position of the fish, that ranged from either right on the bottom, to suspended on the thermocline at around 25 feet.
â€œFor the fish on the bottom it was simple, Iâ€™d drop the plastic to the bottom, slow roll is back through the fish, maybe ten turns of the reel past where they were, then drop it back down and do it againâ€, Morgan explained.
The simplistic, yet hugely successful approach paid dividends, generating for Morgan a 2.61kg limit in session one, a 3.3kg second session limit , and 2.5kg lead consolidating limit in the all important third and final session.
While many anglers used soft plastic throughout the tournament it was perhaps Morganâ€™s choice of brand, model and colour that played and important role in his success and subsequent victory.
With Ecogear his choice of brand, Morgan found the most success model to be the medium sized Grass Minnow, with the stand out colour being colour code 111. Silver topped and red bottomed in colour, he rigged it on Â½ oz TT 4/0 Light Wire jighead, that was sweetened in its appeal with the application of garlic Slim It.
Morganâ€™s rod and reel outfit included a 7â€™ Pflueger Trion rod, matched to a Pflueger Medallist 035 reel, spooled with 6lb fluro green Fireline and finished of with 10lb Yamatoyo flurocarbon leader.
The prominence of deep water caught fish throughout the tournament provided Morgan with his share of worrying moments, with the faltering state of his 3.3kg second session limit, and the terrifying thought of them not surviving until the end of the session, seeing him return to the weigh-in site two hours early.
Event runner up David Green showed equally prowess in the effectiveness of soft plastics on the deep water St Clair bass. Also targeting schooled and scattered fish, Green fished within site of the boat ramp focusing on areas up to 60 feet deep, where he presented soft plastics to suspended bass holding at around 20 -35 feet.
Largely identifying single and small groups of fish, Green more often than not opted for a vertical presentation. Feeding the lure down the transducer beam Green would count the lure down and past the fish, before slow rolling it back through the fish in the hope of inducing a strike.
Like Morgan, Green also used Ecogear soft plastics to compile his limit each session, opting instead for a 3â€ Power Shad in Rainbow Trout colour. Used to great effect, he rigged them on Â½ and 5/8 oz Nitro Jigheads, and presented them with a rod and reel outfit comprised of an Angler Stealth DCX 841, 7â€™, 1-2kg, rod, matched to a Team Daiwa Advantage 1500 reel, loaded with 6lb fluro green Fireline, and finished off with 10lb Yamatoyo flurocarbon leader.
When quizzed post event Green attested much of his success to applying the principle of not staying to long in one place and not persevering to long with an unproductive technique.
â€œIâ€™ve done this in the past and itâ€™s been to my detrimentâ€, Green explained. â€œI stuck strongly to this approach in last years Grand Final and it paid off. I did the same thing again this weekend and I got the result I was after, so Iâ€™m pretty happyâ€, he further added.
While the event saw a host of impressive fish delivered to the weighmasterâ€™s scales one fish clearly stood out. Easily claiming the Daiwa Big Bass title, Danny Robinsonâ€™s 2.70kg specimen had the gathered crowd gasping in awe. Providing Robinson with a Team Daiwa Advantage 150 H baitcaster reel and $500, it was due reward for a great fish.
The Yamaha BASS Pro Series continues on its tour of the east coast travelling to Lake Glenbawn (30th April â€“ 1st May) for the second qualifying round of the year. For more information visit www.australianbass.com.au or phone Simon Goldsmith (07) 3268 3992 (b/h), 0427 32 64 64 (b/h).
|41||Jorg VAN HUSEN||NSW||1||1.4||1||1.07||1||1.13||3||3.6|
|54||Malcolm John MILLER||NSW||2||2.09||1||1.13||3||3.22|