Pflueger Fire for MegaBucks Supremacy
  |  First Published: November 2011


Steve Kanowski and Wayne Beazley from Team Pflueger claimed top honours in the Megabass BASS Megabucks at Queensland’s home of XOS bass, Lake Somerset on 20-21 September.

Hitting the lake mid week and the early stages of spring, anglers struck the fishing about as good as it gets at Somerset, with big bags, large fish and a new ABT record big bass combining to make the Megabass sponsored event one of the standout bass events of the 2011 BASS season.

Run on the popular skins format, anglers shared in the spoils over the two days of competition with seven out of the 23 teams picking up cash and prizes at the popular event.

Ultimate honours for the event went to Team Pflueger with Kanowski and Beazley compiling a 12/12, 20.81kg three session bag to secure the win, while event sponsors Team Megabass (Michael Starkey/Tim Morgan 12/12, 19.65kg) finished in second and Team Impact Tackle/PML (Dan Stead/Peter Morgan, 11/12, 17.82kg) in third.

Session 1, 1st Team Pflueger (Steve Kanowski/Wayne Beazley) 4/4, 7.67kg, $1500

Opening their account for the event in perfect style Kanowski and Beazley cashed in to tune of $1500 courtesy of the deep water multi lure approach. Fishing a stretch between Beams Creek and Pelican Point the pair focused on water 35-45ft deep and worked their lures at varying depths to catch their fish.

“The fish were all over the place, they were hugging the bottom as well as suspended half way through the water column,” said Kanowski.

With fish pin pointed with their sounder the pair used an assortment of lures, including soft plastics, ice jigs, spinnerbaits and blades.

“They were very active first up and would take most lures you swam past them. The suspended fish in particular were partial to an ice jig shacked and hung in front of their nose,” Kanowski said.

For the fish hanging closer to bottom it was constant slow rolling retrieve that did the damage. The multi lure approach was so productive that the pair had their limit by 8:30am and then closed out the session with a series of upgrades.

With a red-hot prefish under their belts, multiple locations to fish that were on all fire, and the opening session win theirs Killer and Beazley would be hard to beat as the tournament wore on.

Lures: Jighead rigged paddle tail grubs, ice jigs, spinnerbaits and 3/8oz blades.

Notes: Found very active fish, with many bass following the lure and taking it late in the retrieve. Only fished one out of the seven spots that they’re identified as go-to locations for the tournament.

Session 1, 2nd Team SEQ Fish

Less then half a kilo between Kanowski and Beazley was Matt Johnson and Steve Otto from Team SEQ Fish. Fishing further up the lake than the session winners Johnson and Otto started their session at Queen Street for no fish before switching to a flat near the power lines north of Kirkleigh.

With the boat positioned in 40ft of water the pair would cast their lure up into 15ft of water and work them back with two different retrieves. For Otto the retrieve of his TT Switchblade was a slow roll and pause while Johnson worked his Jackall Mask Vib with a lift and drop.

The approach was so effective the pair had the full bag in their first six casts. With their limit in the well they headed back to Queen Street at 9.30am in search of upgrades.

“We went for more of a soft plastic approach at Queen Street with 80mm Squidgy Fish in black and gold and gold shad coloured Keitech Swing Impact plastics the standouts,” said Johnson.

The retrieve was classic Somerset, a slow roll for ten winds, drop it back to the bottom, then roll again.

“Most of the hits came in the first or second wind after you’d drop the plastic back,” he said.

The return to Queen Street delivered the desired outcome with the pair adding two upgrades to their well and an increase in weight to bump them into second place.

Lures: 3/8oz TT Lures Switchblade (black and gold), Jackall Mask Vib (black/chartreuse), 5/8oz jighead rigged with an 80mm Squidgy Fish (black and gold), and 1/2oz jighead with a Keitech Swing Impact (gold/shad).

Notes: Their first spot (Queen Street) delivered no fish, but fired later in the session, producing two upgrades. The biggest fish (2.49kg) in the bag claimed the Megabass Big Bass Prize for the pair and delivered them an additional $350 and $250 Megabass Lure Pack.

Session 1, 3rd Team Megabass

Claiming the last cheque for the session Starkey and Morgan cracked a pattern that would deliver them money each session and a string of big bass over the two days of competition. Fishing the Pelican Point to Beam Creek stretch the pair positioned their boat in 45-50ft of water cast their up into 30ft and worked them down the slope into the path of waiting fish.

“The presentation was simple: sink a jighead rigged soft plastics to the bottom then slow roll it, pausing the lure occasionally to keep it in contact with the bottom and close to the fish,” said Starkey.

The lure for Starkey was a smoke/yellow core coloured Megabass Counter Grub rigged on a 1/4oz, 2/0 Seekerz jighead while Morgan fished a big bass coloured Atomic Paddle Tail rigged on a 1/2oz Impact Tackle jighead.

The retrieve remained the same regardless of the lure; keep is slow, constant and close to the bottom.

“If you got a hit you just kept winding, and waited for the fish to take the plastic and the rod to load up,” Starkey said.

Lures: Megabass Counter Grub (smoke/yellow core) rigged on a 1/4oz, 2/0 Seekerz jighead, and an Atomic Paddle Tail (big bass) rigged on a 1/2oz Impact Tackle jighead.

Notes: Slow rolled their plastics down the slope into deeper water, dropped the lure back to the bottom regularly during the retrieve to keep the lure close to the fish.

Session 2, 1st Team Impact Tackle/PML (Dan Stead/Peter Morgan) 4/4, 7.42kg, $1500

Like many of the money winners in session one Stead and Morgan fished the Beams Creek stretch to win session two. Focusing on water 25-40ft deep the Impact Tackle pair primarily used a slow rolled soft plastic approach to catch their fish.

“Pete picked up a couple of fish on ice jigs but it was definitely the plastics that did most of the damage,” explained Stead.

The technique involved making long searching casts, sinking the lure to the bottom, then slow rolling the lure back.

“The most active fish were on the bottom so it was important to stop the retrieve regularly, sink the lure back down, then start the retrieve again,” said Stead.

The action was slow and irregular, with bite windows opening and closing throughout the session.

“We only caught four fish for the session so they weren’t exactly biting their heads off, so you needed to stay focused and just keep on working the lure.”

Four fish was all they needed, with each bass pinned securely in the roof of their mouth.

“The sickle hooks we run in the Impact Tackle jigheads are super sharp and drive home on the hook up like nothing else I’ve used. I’m sure these played a part in keeping all our fish connect,” explained Stead.

If session two was good for the boys, session three was even better.

Lures: Atomic Ripperz Paddle Tail (big bass), rigged on a 1/2oz, 3/0, fine wire, Impact Tackle jighead.

Notes: Took 2.5 hours to catch their limit, with fish turning on and off throughout the session. The most active fish were those tight to the bottom.

Session 2, 2nd Team Megabass

Heading straight back to the where they’d won money in session one Starkey and Morgan didn’t have to wait too long to catch fish.

“The fish fired first up, but once the other boats started to move in the action stopped. We actually didn’t catch anything for the last three hours of the four hour session,” said Starkey.

The technique remained the same as the morning session. Sink the plastic to the bottom, slow roll it back, making sure it stayed in touch with the bottom. The technique delivered the pair the Megabass Big Bass for the session with Tim picking up the 2.49kg fish not long after the start on a big bass coloured Atomic Ripperz Paddle Tail.

Lures: Megabass Counter Grub (smoke/yellow core) rigged on a 1/4oz, 2/0 Seekerz jighead, and an Atomic Paddle Tail (big bass) rigged on a 1/2oz Impact Tackle jighead.

Notes: Fished shallower (20-35ft) than they did in session one, and caught all their fish in the first 45 minutes.

Session 2, 3rd Team Berkley/Smak

Hitting the Beams Creek to Pelican Creek area Mott and Munro fished an area and pattern they identified during the prefish the day before.

“Callum and I, like a lot of people found a good concentration of fish here during the prefish and found them willing to take a few different lures,” said Mott.

The pair caught fish early in the session on ice jigs then switched to Evergreen Little Max blades later.

“The retrieve for the ice jigs was straight forward, find the fish on the sounder, drop it on their nose and give it a shake and pause.The Little Max came into its own on the most active fish with the bass eating the lure on the drop,” said Mott.

“They were aggressive takes with bass hitting it hard as it fluttered back down.”

Lures: A white Smak ice jig, and an Evergreen Little Max blade in colour 230. A colour similar to baby bass (aka big bass).

Notes: Fished 25-40ft depth range, caught fish on ice jigs early, and on blades later in the session when the fish were most active.

Session 3, 1st Team Impact Tackle/PML (Dan Stead/Peter Morgan) 4/4, 8.70kg, $1500

Saving their best bag for the end Stead and Morgan caught the only 8kg plus bag for the tournament and blew the field away in the final session. With the fishing at its hardest and suffering from all the angling pressure the pair went wider looking for fresher water and fish more inclined to bite.

“We moved 40-60m away from the main pack and fished the 20-25ft depth range,” said Stead.

The move paid off with the Impact Tackle pair filling their bag, the standout fish, an absolute monster that went on to rewrote the ABT Big Bass record.

“The third fish of the day was the big one. It took the plastic then screamed off so hard that we had to chase it down with the electric. It took us close to five minutes to land it,” said Morgan.

The retrieve for the Megabass Big Bass for the session was the same it had been for all the bass the pair had caught during the tournament. Sink the plastic to the bottom, slow roll it back, and make sure it stays in contact with the ground and the active fish down deep.

“We caught seven fish in total for the session but nothing was bigger than the first four we caught,” Stead said.

Driving back to the weigh-in the pair were confident they’d do well.

“We thought we might have had over 8kg, if we were to get knocked off then someone was going to have to have done something very special. But on Somerset that’s always possible,” said Stead.

The special performance belonged to Stead and Morgan though with the pair adding another $1850 to the event winnings for the session win and Megabass Big Bass Prize.

Lures: Atomic Ripperz Paddle Tail (big bass), rigged on a 1/2oz, 3/0, fine wire, Impact Tackle jighead.

Notes: Picking up two fish early on small underwater pinnacle them moved wider to find fresh fish. Took 2.5 hours to catch their limit, with fish turning on and off throughout the session. The most active fish were those tight to the bottom

Session 3, 2nd Team Pflueger

Grabbing another cheque to go with their session one win, Kanowski and Beazley followed a similar to the one that had delivered them so much in the first session.

“We fished the same location and just modified the technique to suit the bite,” said Killer.

Eating only ice jigs and plastics the pair dropped blades from their repertoire and for good reason.

“The fish were sitting on the bottom and were nowhere near as active as they had been so you needed more finesse presentations to get them to bite,” said Kanowski.

The similar between this morning session and morning session the day before was evident with the pair weighing a bag that was only 20g lighter, a testament to their consistent and the quality fish on offer at Somerset during the tournament.

Lures: Jighead rigged paddle tail grubs, and ice jigs.

Notes: Had originally planed to fish one location for half the session them move to another, but the fishing was so good they never left.

Session 3, 3rd Team Bass Bounty

Using a black and gold coloured Evergreen Little Max blade, the pair went vertical to catch their fish, dropping them directly below the boat before working them with a single hop/pause retrieve.

“They’d grab the lure on the pause and then power off to deep water,” said Reynolds.

The approach delivered the pair a limit by 8:30am and a total of seven fish for the session.

Lures: black and gold coloured 3/8oz Evergreen Little Max blades.

Notes: Made vertical presentations to the fish while most other teams used more horizontal searching presentations.

The Victors

The ultimate accolades for the tournament go to the overall champions Team Pflueger, with Kanowski and Beazley overjoyed with the result and just as enamoured with the fishing they had during the tournament.

“Beaze and I had a blinder of prefish. We found active schools everywhere and caught a heap of fish. We both agreed if that was all we were to get for tournament we were more than happy. To come out and win two cheques and pick up the overall win just caps off the event,” said Kanowski.

The Rewards

Cash wasn’t the only reward on offer for anglers at the Megabass BASS Megabucks with each angler receiving two Megabass Smatra lipless crankbaits at the briefing, and a $250 Megabass Lure Pack going to the Big Bass winner each session. The Megabass spoils didn’t end with the lures with two Megabass Destroyer rods and a Megabass Jaggler reel randomly drawn and won by two lucky teams.

With the sensational Somerset fishing and the tackle laden Megabass experience combining to make the 2011 Megabass BASS Megabucks one of the highlights of the tournament calendar, anglers will be keen to sign up for the 2012 event. Visit www.australianbass.com.au in early 2012 to find out all the information.


Final Results

PlaceTeamFishWeight (kg)
1PFLUEGER (Wayne Beazley/Stephen Kanowski)12/1220.81
2MEGABASS (Michael Starkey/Tim Morgan)12/1219.65
3IMPACT TACKLE/PML (Dan Stead/Peter Morgan)11/1217.82
4DAIWA/ATOMIC (David Green/Dean Silvester)12/1216.71
5SEQ FISH (Matt Johnson/Steven Otto)12/1216.64
6BERKLEY/SMAK (Callum Munro/Matthew Mott)12/1215.35
7BASS BOUNTY (David Reynolds/Dylan Mott)12/1215.11
8DOBYNS RODS (Mike Connolly/Sean Pallent)9/1211.60
9BARRABASS RODS (Jason Shepherdson/Rory Saint)11/1211.30
10BERKLEY/LEGEND BOATS (Mark Mangold/Wayne Blundell)8/1210.24
11BLACK & WHITE SHEEP (Barry Reynolds/Joshua Evans)10/129.91
12QUANTUM (Matthew Anderson/Ashley Sims)12/129.68
13CJR INDUSTRIES (Greg Mitchell/Terry Allwood)10/128.49
14GAMAKATSU (Steve Eldred/Aaron Sharp)8/128.48
15DUFFRODS/TT (Wayne Reed/Darren Borg)7/128.31
16LOWRANCE/SECRET CREEK LURES (Jody Vernon/John Picton)8/126.66
17TREEWHIZ (Mark Lennox/Mark Reinbott)10/126.62
18UNITIKA (Craig Simmons/Kris George)8/126.46
19EVOLUTION (Steven Richards/Matt Hawkless)8/125.97
20DUFFRODS (Stephen Duff/Alan Britcliffe)7/125.77
21SOOTA (Paul Cooper/Darryl Langton)5/124.69
22FISHING MONTHLY (Peter Leggett/Steve Morgan)6/124.39
23BASS SQUAD (Malcolm Draper/David Hyndman)5/124.35


Session 1 Top 3

1PFLUEGER (Wayne Beazley/Stephen Kanowski)4/47.67$1500
2SEQ FISH (Matt Johnson/Steven Otto)4/47.20$2175
3MEGABASS (Michael Starkey/Tim Morgan)4/46.72$942


Session 2 Top 3

1 IMPACT TACKLE/PML (Dan Stead/Peter Morgan)4/47.42$1500
2MEGABASS (Michael Starkey/Tim Morgan)4/47.04$2175
3BERKLEY/SMAK (Callum Munro/Matthew Mott)4/46.57$942


Session 3 Top 3

1IMPACT TACKLE/PML (Dan Stead/Peter Morgan)4/48.70$1850
2PFLUEGER (Wayne Beazley/Stephen Kanowski)4/47.65$950
3BASS BOUNTY (David Reynolds/Dylan Mott)4/47.30$1525

*All payouts include prize moneys, Megabass Big Bass and Pro upgrade

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