Matthew Mott, 6/6, 9.06kg, has finished off the 2011 BASS tour with a resounding victory in the season ending BASS Pro Grand Final.
Against a competitive field Mott eclipsed his nearest competitor by 1.56kg to cement his place in the record books as the only angler to win three BASS Pro Grand Finals. Having already secured the 2011 BASS Angler of the Year at the Lake Somerset qualifier, Mott’s overall focus didn’t waver, and testament to his tenaciousness he worked his way up the leaderboard to secure a deserved victory.
“I prefished the dam some time before the Grand Final to work out my locations and patterns. Come time for the Grand Final I knew where I was going to fish, so used the official prefish to check out my backup spots and see if the bite pattern was as expected. I made a number of small refinements and headed out for the first session confident in my locations and technique,” said Mott.
“I knew that there would be fish on the banks, and even though my focus was targeting fish in deeper water, I went to a location near the mouth of Leisegang’s Ledge.”
Mott’s location was a sloping bank with an adjacent underwater point. Sitting in around 7ft of water he cast a Smak Mini-Coop S spinnerbait into 2ft of water and retrieving the lure fairly fast. After dropping a fish on the first cast, his non-boater proceeded to boat two fish in quick succession.
“I eventually found two fish before moving to my key location,” said Mott.
“My key location was a flat with two adjacent underwater gullies near Pelican Point. Sitting in around 7ft of water I was casting into around 14ft of water. I used an Evergreen 3/8oz Little Max blade in clown colour. From my prefish experience the technique was to fish the lure vertically with lengthy pauses.
“While using this technique, I alternated this with long casts, soft lifts and a 5-6 second pause. This change resulted in two upgrades for the session, and I headed back in happy I had made a good start to the tournament.”
In session two Mott went to his key location, where he caught two fish fairly quickly. As the water heated up he progressively fished deeper and the bites continued to come.
“I made the decision to stay at the location for most of my remaining session time. The area was producing a good number of fish but they were of a similar size. I ended up catching around 30 fish for the session, before moving on around 3pm,” Mott said.
“I headed to the Stewart where I found fish in two of my alternate locations. The bass weren’t upgrades on what I already had, but as with the first session I was happy with my efforts.”
Heading out for the final session Mott was confident that he would find fish in the same locations from day one. There were two or three other boats fishing in the same vicinity, but everyone was giving each other their own space.
“I quickly boated two small fish before moving wider into deeper water. The fish were holding tight to the bottom, so much so that if you didn’t know what to look for it would be easy to drive over the top of them,” he said.
“Using my Humminbird 858 sounder I presented the lure vertically. I used the sounder to bottom lock and magnify the bottom image. With the bass holding so tight every little bump and contour was a potential fish. Through practice and persistence I knew what to look for.
“I channelled my energy into replicating a small, subtle presentation. Basically I was trying to get the lure in their face as close as possible.
Mott punctuated small lifts with 5-6 second pauses. In the gullies along the flats he found larger fish and first caught a 1.5kg upgrade. Then moving deeper, Mott found another 1.5kg upgrade. He stayed in the area and found a further two upgrades.
“Knowing I had 3kg plus in the livewell, I was confident that somebody would have to find some great fish to take the win,” he said.
“What made the difference, in my opinion, was the amount of time I have put in learning Lake Boondooma. I have made a conscious effort to practice when possible, in a variety of weather conditions. Making sure my preparation for each session was complete was also important; making sure my rods and reels had new line or leader, making sure my motor and electrics were working and fully charged. The small things can make a huge difference when it counts. At the end of the day you are competing against the best and the 1% differences can be the gap between winning and a mid field placing,” he said.
Mott used two identical outfits: a G. Loomis DSR 820 extra fast, which provided the right action for the lure he used and delivered just the right amount of flexibility and sensitivity. The rods were teamed with the new Daiwa 2000 Certate spooled with 6.6lb Fireline exceed in crystal colour and 12lb Sunline VHard leader.
The water was quite dirty so there was no need to go light with the line or leader. In the end the setup provided enough feel with the added strength to get the fish in the boat.
“I want to thank my family, friends, sponsors, ABT and all the competitors who attended the qualifiers and Grand Final. Special mention to the group of anglers I travel and camp with, the Hyenas, and to my non-boater John Ciancio. John was helpful, supportive and kept me positive throughout the session. Basically one of the best non-boaters I have ever had on the boat,” said Mott.
“The guys I travel with always keep the focus on what’s important, enjoying ourselves. They keep my grounded and we always have a great time. At the end of the day the key is enjoyment and building the sport. This can only be achieved through participation, and if people enjoy themselves they will want to return to tournaments or get others involved. Hopefully we can continue to build on what has been a great year, both personally and for the sport.”
Mark Reinbott, 6/6, 7.50kg, took out second place in the boater division. Reinbott produced consistent bags over 2kg to move progressively from 9th to 3rd and finally to 2nd place overall.
“I had the opportunity to prefish for half a day before the ban took place. I caught fish on blades both in the timber and schooled together. I also caught a number of fish on Jackalls,” said Reinbott.
But come the official prefish day, when trying blades, he had no luck.
“My plan B was to hit the edges with Jackalls, but I was concerned that this pattern wouldn’t hold up over the three sessions. As such I had to find a bank that had access to the main basin and would replenish between or throughout the session. I identified a bank east of Pelican Point. Around 200-250m long with a gentle slope, this area became my key location,” he said.
“I was sitting in around 12-14ft of water and casting into around 4ft. The lure was a Jackall in black market colour. I caught my limit early and proceeded to catch 3-4 upgrades. In all I had around 10 fish for the session.”
As the session wore on the bite became tougher, so Reinbott proceeded to go deeper. In around 18ft he caught two fish on a Jackall Mask Vib, which gave him confidence heading into the next session.
In session two Reinbott headed back to his key location and in the first 15 minutes he had his biggest fish for the session. Positioning himself about 70m from the bank in 18ft of water, he progressively moved closer to the bank by a few feet each cast.
“Cloud cover later in the session prompted a move to the edge where I had success using Jackall lures including a TN50 and Cubby in black market colour. Together with my non-boater we would have caught around 25 fish for the session. It was great to be on the water and having the fish respond made it a special session I won’t forget in a hurry,” said Reinbott.
The third session saw a repeat of session two.
“I lost a fish on my second cast and changed to a Jackall TN 60 in zaco colour. The fish continued to bite with around 10 fish being caught in the session. This included my biggest fish for the weekend. The bite slowed then stopped at around 10am and that was it for the tournament,” he said.
Reinbott’s outfit consisted of a 701 extra finesse Dobyns rod teamed with a Shimano Stradic CI4 2500 reel spooled with 10lb Sunline castaway braid and 10lb Sunline VHard leader.
“It was a great experience fishing the Grand Final, and I owe a big thanks to both my non-boaters Karen Fontaine and John Picton. Their confidence and support was second to none. Having great non-boaters takes the pressure off and makes the situation far more relaxed. At times it was like I was out social fishing such was their poise and helpfulness.”
Stephen Noble, 6/6, 6.21kg, took out the non-boater category in a count back from Peter Holmes. Such was the fierce competition that after three sessions both anglers were tied on the same weight. As such it fell to the largest bag to determine the overall winner and Noble’s massive session two effort of 2/2, 3.072kg came out trumps.
Fishing with Callum Munro for sessions one and two and Wayne Beazley in session three, Noble produced his limit each session to give himself every opportunity at victory. In the end it was a standout session two that produced the largest non-boater bag for the event that made the difference.
“Fishing with Munro our location was off a point near the Boyne arm, not too far from the main basin. I was slow rolling a Jackall TN60 in brown dog colour in around 25ft. The key was long casts and a retrieve that kept the lure tight to the bottom,” said Nobel.
“I could feel the lure moving over a distinct gravel patch, after which I was getting most of my bites. As the session wore on I cast wider, with the fish coming out of deeper water to take the lure. In all I caught five fish for the session with one upgrade.
“In session two we returned to the same location. We narrowed the stretch of water we were fishing. I had my limit fairly early, within one and a half hours. In the end I caught 6-7 fish all of good quality.”
In session three Nobel was paired with Wayne Beazley.
“We headed to a little bay off the main basin before heading down the Boyne arm about 1km. We were using spinnerbaits in the trees. My choice of lure was a Smak 3/8 Mini-Coop in IB colour. I was able to find my limit and in the end it was enough to tie for the lead. It was only once back at the presentation did I fully realise that I had done enough to take the win.”
Noble’s outfit consisted of a 6’6” Shimano raider baitcaster rod teamed with an Abu Garcia Revo inshore reel spooled with 16lb Sunline castaway braid and 12lb Sunline FC Rock leader.
“A big thanks to both my boaters. Munro is a great angler who has helped me in the past and is always generous with his time and advice. Beazley is an experienced angler who exudes confidence. This has a great flow on effect for those anglers lucky enough to fish with him. The Hobie kayak that I took away for winning will be a wonderful addition. The creeks around our home are ideal for this kayak. Additionally my son’s participation in BASS electric and other events is sure to give it a good workout,” Nobel said.
ABT would like to thank all of the sponsors who make the BASS Pro series possible. For a comprehensive list of all sponsors, up to date BASS information and the 2012 calendar (TBA) check www.australianbass.com.au. - ABT