The weekend threatened rain, the dam level was low, but spirits were high at the kick-off of Queensland’s newest and freshest family tournament.
The first round of the Daiwa Bassin Qld Series at Lake Somerset had a launch speed belied by the 6 knot zone that saw 72 boats stream out neatly in single file from the starting gate.
Interest in the new series has been building leading up to the opening round, and despite the menacing looking weather 138 competitors took up the challenge, including 25 juniors and sub-juniors, and 19 full families fishing together.
While the roll included some very familiar names from the tournament circuit (Kanowski, Green, Mott, Mullins, Delisser, Johnson, Black, Creighton, to name a few), it was the new names and faces that spelled the success of the event.
Designed to be a truly family event that helps to nurture and develop new entrants into the sport, the Series lived up to its reputation. With a wide range of lucky draw prizes, encouragement prizes, and certificates and goodie bags for all sub-juniors anyone could take home a prize.
Conditions at Lake Somerset were tough even for the best of fishos. The many fish schooling up on the flats, near the hump, or on drop-offs near red rock and across from Pelican Point were unresponsive at best. Most every competitor pulled a few things from the dusty bottom reaches of their tackle boxes trying to find something different to turn them on.
By Saturday Night Dale Mullins was holding first place with a bag of 3.965 kgs. His technique was one that spread amongst the competitors as the friendly, sharing nature of the event spread the word.
“I used Jackall 60mm Mask Vibes olive ayu and tennessee shad colours at full cast length, then left to freefall to the bottom. Second stage was to aggressively hop and rip them about 4-6 ft off the bottom and then let freefall whilst concentrating on slightly slack line as strike or hit indicators; as mask vibes are constantly hit on the drop.”, stated Dale.
Tournament regular David Green was only .06 kgs behind Dale at this stage, and there were many competitors within a fish or two of taking out the lead. So Sunday was to be a shoot-out for the top spot.
The Bassination Session
One of the core features of the Daiwa Bassin Series is the Saturday night Bassination Session. Rather than quickly hiding their successful lures and heading back to their own camps as happens in some tournaments, everyone gathers together and discusses the days fishing. The top anglers give descriptions of where, when and how they got their fish and offer tips to newcomers and old hands alike.
By 7:00pm Saturday there was a small sea of camp chairs and they weren’t disappointed. Lucky draw prizes from the tournament’s many sponsors are also drawn on Saturday night, and there were some big smiles as the gear was distributed.
A great moment was when Dale Mullins donated his lucky prize back to the comp so a newcomer would have a chance at a prize. This was followed up on Sunday with Greenie donating back part of his prize getting a great response from the Juniors and sub-juniors.
There was a great rush of excitement to end the session as boaters drew a lucky ball from a barrel to decide their order of departure for the all-important Sunday session.
Sunday – The Decider!.
The trademark beginning of the final session saw the boats again streaming out orderly in single file through the 6 knot zone through beautiful calm waters. As with all things in the series, the organisers have put the highest priority on safety and the start is remarkable for the absence of the choppy hectic departure which characterises non-family oriented tournaments.
The concentrations of fish were more scattered and mobile for the final session, and many competitors were adding a shrug to there friendly waves as they passed each other.
It was great to see the spirit of the Series continue on the water with those who had cracked a fish giving advice to others throughout the session.
Trolling was a more popular option on Sunday as competitors tried to cover more ground seeking out the scattered fish.
And the winner is!..
Some big bags started to emerge at the weigh-station. Juniors Casey Blundell and Dylan Mott securing bags of 1.640 and 1.905kgs respectively. Casey’s bag was enough to secure her in first place amongst a great field of juniors with a total catch of 3.270kgs.
A new rising star may have been born at this tournament following in the footsteps of the Motts, and Blundells. Nine year old Zoe Stoddart grew as a series tournament angler and presenter. Leading the pack on Saturday night Zoe won a few hearts when she was too shy to talk through the microphone. On Sunday she proved her competitive spirit with a second fish securing her lead. And at the presentations she proudly told the crowd how she did it after receiving her prizes and certificate.
The lead kept changing as the senior bags continued rolling in: 1.920kgs – Welsh, 1.-710kgs Black, 2.005kgs – Mullins. It was an amazing 3.515kg bag from David Green that finally secured the top spot with a total weight of 7.420kgs.
At the presentations David explained his technique to the gathered competitors, “I had been using Smak spinnerbaits, but switched to trolling Sliders on #14 Nitro jigheads. It was most important to locate the fish on the sounder and than change the jighead to suit the depth as the fish were suspended at 14-18 feet in 50-70 feet of water. I trolled using my Minn kota electric motor at about a slow walking pace using Diawa rods and reels.”
Dale Mullins success also came with a change in tactic,” The fish had moved but were located about 600 mtrs away in 15-25ft. I couldn’t get a bite on a mask vibe; 1st cast on 5/8 oz advocado and pearl Bassman spinnerbait with tandem silver blades…result ..first bass yee ha!!! Then they shut down…
Then while moving to the start of the drift, trolled with a Minn kota maxum electric motor, a smoke blue gill Slider on a Nitro 5/8 oz blue jig head with clear gamefish Spike-it, (easy as that) – I wish! This was one hard session to fish!”
Ian Black’s 3 rd place finish came on much the same technique as Greenie’s except he was using 65mm Squidgies on his Diawa Procaster and Capricorn.
The sponsors had outdone themselves with prizes for the first 15 seniors and some top gear spread out amongst all the competitors.
The Big Bass went to Tracy Johnson with a 2.095 thumper he picked up on a Smak Spinnerbait.
In addition to all the great prizes for the winners the encouragement awards were also handed out, and Matthew Mott represented evaKOOL iceboxes and presented the top encouragement prize to newcomer Linda Morgan which topped off the Morgan family’s weekend in a fantastic way.
All in all, a great weekend was had by all despite the truculent Somerset bass. The organisation, professionalism and smoothness of the event is a credit to its organisers, and the camaraderie, friendliness, and helpfulness was a credit to all competitors.
Thanks to Daiwa and all our sponsors, to Paul and Nancy Sparks at the Lake Somerset Holiday Park, and to Dave and Kaylene Hislop for putting together such a great event.
Bassin Qld Series
Live it! Learn it! Love it!!!
For full results, see
FISHING MONTHLY GROUP
YALLAKOOL TOURIST PARK
GO SO ADVENTURE WEAR
EAST COAST SIGNS
EAST COAST AUTO ELECTRICS
BASS TO BARRA MARINE
YALLAKOOL TACKLE AND CAFE
SHANE MURPHY’S VIPER LURES
LAKE SOMERSET HOLIDAY PARK
LAKE BOONDOOMA CAMPING GROUND