Some 20 anglers from as far away as South Australia’s Mt Gambier and Melbourne’s suburbs made the journey to Bullen Merri, along with a few locals.
Situated in Victoria’s southwest, about a 2.5-hour drive from Melbourne is Camperdown, nestled on the side of an extinct volcano crater, which is now filled with water. The lake is over 120m deep and supports a thriving population of stocked Australian bass along with four species of stocked salmonids.
More than 100,000 bass have been released into the lake over the last decade, and after a relatively slow start, anglers are starting to take advantage of a unique fishery that’s producing bass to 1.6kg during summer.
At 7am competitors left the starting arena for a 6-hour session. Most boats headed to the often productive Potters Point although it was pleasing that others charged off to The Caves, The Corals at the north ramp, Kilsby Bay, Wurrong Point and the aerators.
With a rising barometer, a light northerly wind and a surface water temperature between 20 and 22 degrees, all things looked good for a productive session.
Once again though it turned out to be a difficult venue with a number of boats fishing within a small area for the duration of the session. A 20-minute bite left competitors with a very limited window to achieve their bags.
At 1pm anglers returned to the weigh-in area and began to share stories of their morning on the water. 39-year-old Allan Moore from Montmorency in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs took first place with a 2 fish bag of 1.8kg. Allan’s bag included the Big Bass award for a fish of 1.1kg.
Allan’s successful outfit consisted of a Daiwa Procaster Z 6’10 rod, a Team Daiwa Sol reel spooled with 8lb Berkley Fireline, an 8lb Nitlon leader and a 1/8oz round Gamakatsu jighead rigged with a Berkley Gulp Sandworm in camo.
Allan’s successful method was simple but effective. He made long casts and let the lure sink to the bottom in depths ranging from 4.5 to 11 metres. Once on the bottom, short twitches with many pauses saw most interest from the bass. It was during these pauses that fish would eat the lure.
In second place was last year’s winner, 33-year-old Mark Gercovich from Warrnambool with one bass of 1kg. Mark’s outfit consisted of a Shimano 7′ Squidgy spin rod and a Shimano Altegra reel spooled with 4lb Berkley Fireline and finished with 12lb Berkley Vanish leader. Mark’s choice of lure was the same as 2005, a 65mm Squidgy Fish in Gary Glitter fished on a 1/8oz jighead. His retrieve was a simple lift and drop.
In 3rd position was Taylors Lakes’ resident Spiro Spiropoulas with a bass of 850g. Spiro fished with victor Allan Moore and also found success with a 6″; Berkley Gulp Sandworm.
With 20 anglers from 2 states fishing the 2006 event, and more fish caught than last year, interest in competitive bass tournaments is growing. Let’s hope that the Lake Glenmaggie event on 5 March is also a success.
A special thanks to the local DPI Fisheries staff for their attendance and their willingness to keenly talk with competitors about the fishery.