The 2012 Jackall Australian Yellowbelly Championships series kicked off in fine form in early February with Lake Keepit hosting the opening round.
Amid the widespread flooding there were fears the comp would not go ahead but the floodwaters subsided for a dry and enjoyable weekend.
Sixty teams attended and 319 yellas averaging 387mm were brought to the marshals.
At the end of the three sessions, Stephen Schradar and Daniel Finn of The Scrub Boys team came out on top with an impressive bag of 15/15 fish and a total length of 6122mm. The Forbes boys owed much of their success to pre-fishes when they located areas of submerged fish-harbouring structure.
They targeted fish holding close to the bottom with Ecogear ZX40 blades and Jackall Masks in dark colours with 10lb main line and leader, picking up $1500 and a grand final spot for their efforts.
Second was father-son team JMH Spinnerbaits, Jamie and Harry Hardman, whose 15-fish limit measured 5993mm. The Moree pair vertically jigged Ecogear ZX40 blades, focusing heavily on one snag opposite Corrigans Camp on the eastern side of the main basin.
Jamie went light to get the bite, fishing with 4lb Power Pro, while Harry, 6, used 10lb. They won $1000 and a grand final place.
Loomzy’s Fish & Fix picked up the $500 third prize. Paul Brown and Jamie Loomis secured 15 fish for 5912mm. jigging a point on the western side of the main basin.
Kylie and Jade Cornish ran in at fourth place and took home a pair of Dobyns Rods, courtesy of EJ Todd. Team Magabass scored 13 fish for 4927mm.
The Mullet Gut Marine big yella award went to Mitchell Cone from Clown Attack, who pinned a 540mm lunker on a black Mask Vibe in the second session.
Round two at Lake Burrendong was held in early March, when the 40-team field faced rain, wind and some surprisingly good fishing. Organisers were forced to cancel session one due to dangerous conditions but competitors were compensated with an extended second session.
JMH Spinnerbaits’ 10/10 yellas for 4644mm got them over the line. Jamie and Harry cast Jackall Chubbies over recently inundated foliage in 5’-8’ of water in a sheltered bay up the Cudgegong Arm.
Jamie also secured the Mullet Gut Marine Big Yella award with a 586mm cracker caught on a TN60, picking up another $1500.
Team Hardman finished second with a 10/10 4418mm. Garry Hardman and Michael Anderson worked a different bay with Jackall Chubbies and Squirrels to bag a grand final qualification and $1000.
Float n Tradies, Kurt McNamara and Nicko Spicer, bagged 10/10 for 4347mm and $500, while Kylie and Jade Cornish of Megabass were fourth, backing up a solid Keepit performance to gain second place on the tournament leader board.
There were 168 fish measured for an average of 414mm.
Four events remain in this year’s qualifiers for the Grand Final at Copeton Dam in December, so there are still plenty of chances.
AYC comps are fully insured and loads of fun, visit www.yellowbellychampionships.com. – Chris Frith
AYC POINTSCORE AFTER ROUND 2.
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(GF) = qualified for Grand FinalReads: 1546