NSW basser Peter Phelps broke through for his maiden BASS Pro win with victory in the G.Loomis presented 3rd round of the 2012 Smak Lures BASS Pro Series on the Hunter Valley’s Lake Glenbawn on June 23-24.
One of only four anglers to catch their six fish limit for the tournament, Phelps relegated last round winner Daniel Clancy to second place on his way to victory, in doing so adding his name to list of first time winners for 2012.
Fishing timber laden edges on the northern end of the Lake Glenbawn’s main basin, Phelps like many anglers fishing the tournament went soft, fishing jighead rigged soft plastics to catch his fish.
“We found the pattern in the lead-up to the event, with fish sitting in the tops of trees on the edge near the main basin,” said Phelps.
The technique to catch them was classic finesse bass fishing; throw a lightly weighted jighead rigged soft plastic tight to the edge then slow roll and twitch and shake it back out so it just touched the tips of the timber as it went.
His first spot on day one was near the area know as the Boat Harbour and it didn’t take long for the action to start.
“We caught them straight away and I had my bag within 15 minutes,” said Phelps.
With his limit in the well and the sun now on the water slowing the bite Phelps moved location and headed further up the lake to an area he had earmarked for possible upgrades. The move was on the money with Phelps catching an upgrade and finishing the session with a 2.27kg limit.
Heading out 4th in session two Phelps went straight back to his number one spot, and again found the fish. This time the outcome wasn’t as rosy, not initially anyway.
“The first fish I hooked got me back into the trees, so I drove over on the electric then spent the next five minutes trying to thread it back out through the timber. Eventually I cut my leader off and leant down into the water so I could weave it through the sticks and get it out. I was just about to give up on it and it came out, much to my relief,” said Phelps.
His patience was rewarded with the bass proving to be the kicker fish in bag (2.41kg) for session two. The standout bag for the session it leapfrogged Phelps into first and had him on track to claim the win. Another solid bag on Sunday morning and he would be heading home as the 2012 Glenbawn champ.
“I had a feeling the fishing was going to hard in the final session, and thought if I picked up another two fish I’d be in with a chance,” said Phelps.
Hitting his number one spot first up the action was instant with Phelps catching his limit within his first ten casts.
“It was a dream start. Once I filled my bag I then just focused on looking for upgrades,” said Phelps.
Like most anglers Phelps found the bite slow significantly on the final morning once the sun hit the water. But unlike many he found a solution to the problem.
“I just bank hoped, chasing the shade and moving once to another shaded bank when the sun got on the one I was fishing,” said Phelps.
His shade chasing approach worked, with Phelps catching multiple fish throughout the session including an upgrade at around 10am.
At the weigh-in tent his win was never in jeopardy, with second place Daniel Clancy and Phelps weighing in exactly the same bag weight of 2.21kg. With only one other bag in the field larger than theirs, it proved an easy win for the Branxston basser.
“I’ve dreamt of winning a BASS Pro event ever since I start to fish them, so to win my first, and do so on home water is very satisfying,” said Phelps.
One of the more consistent anglers in the Hunter Valley region, and a regular winner of BASSing NSW events at Lake St Clair Phelps has now pencilled his name in as an angler to watch at the Smak Lures BASS Pro Grand at St Clair in September.
Headlining the list of anglers of anglers to watch at the Grand Final is current St Clair BASS Pro champion Daniel Clancy, who continued his St Clair form at Glenbawn to claim his second podium finish in as many events.
Like Phelps, Clancy fished a jighead rigged soft plastic to catch his fish, albeit with a slight twist compared to the event winner.
“My best fish came from the banks that plenty of rocks of them, so I focused most of attention on these,” said Clancy.
Working the rock walls in and adjacent to the main basin Clancy’s technique mirrored that of Phelps. Position the boat a cast out from the bank, cast tight to the edge, then twitch and shake the plastic back to the boat.
“It was important to tickle the tops of the trees, but make sure you didn’t let the lure sink too much otherwise you’d snag up,” said Clancy.
Fishing a lighter 1/8oz jighead compared to Phelps’ 1/6oz, Clancy’s choice of plastic was the same, a 1 1/2” Slider Crappie Grub in trout colour.
The lure and approach delivering Clancy ten legal fish in session one, another ten fish in session two, and the same amount again in the third and final session.
Landing every fish that he hooked, Clancy capitalized on every chance that he had, in his endeavour to secure back to back wins.
“Every fish that got me in the sticks I managed to pull back out. I didn’t miss anything, I just didn’t get the big bites I needed to go one better than Phelpsy,” said Clancy.
With a first and a second to his name in the AOY race Clancy will be looking for another top ten results at the final BASS Pro round at Somerset in August.
“I had a bad result at Somerset (40th) last year, and I have a 40th from the first round at Boondooma this year, so I’ll be fishing hard to drop the Boondooma result and make my third result for the year a good one. Hopefully it’ll all come together,” said Clancy.
Dalby Tacklestore Manager Dylan Mott claimed his maiden BASS Pro win at Glenbawn thanks to a perfectly executed soft plastic and ice jig approach.
Fishing with Ian Wratten on day one Mott targeted deep fish, catching fish on Smak Ice Jigs in 30-50 feet, and on jighead rigged 3” Berkley Gulp Minnow Grubs in 15-30 feet.
The retrieve for the ice jigs involved short sharp lifts of the lure off the bottom while for the Minnow Grub it was a dead-slow roll.
“You had to be patient with the retrieve and make sure you worked the lure correctly to get the fish to bite,” said Mott.
The approach delivered Mott five fish on day one, and had him in 4th place heading into the final day.
Fishing with Bill Schloss on day two Mott’s approach was the same, fishing ice jigs and soft plastics methodically down deep to catch his fish. Fishing in the 8 knot zone in the upper reaches of the lake, Schloss and Mott stayed away from the crowd and as a result reaped the rewards.
“There wasn’t too many boats that made the long drive up into the eight knot zone, so we very much had the place to ourselves,” said Mott.
One of only three non-boaters to weigh in two fish for the session, Mott’s 2.37kg bag rocketed him into first to claim his first BASS Pro Non-Boater win.
Mott’s win has seen him move from 10th to 3rd in the AOY rankings, and with a 1st and 2nd in his score and one more AOY qualifying round to go for the season Mott is firmly positioned to be in contention for the Non-Boater AOY crown.
The final qualifying round of the season sees the tour head back to Queensland for the TT Lures Lake Somerset BASS Pro on August 25-26. Visit www.australianbass.com.au for your event information and results. – ABT
Rod: Daiwa Sol Type II, 701MLFS
Reel: Daiwa Sol 2000
Line: 3lb Berkley Crystal Fireline
Leader: 6lb Sunline FC Rock flurocarbon
Lure: 1 1/2” Slider Crappie Grub (trout colour) rigged on a 1/6oz, size 2, TT Jighead, scented with S-Factor and crawdad scented Spike It. The trail wrist of the plastic was trimmed to allow the tail to wiggle on the drop.
“The key on the retrieve was to pause it occasionally and allow the lure to sink back down. It was on the drop that 90% of the hits came ,” saidPhelps.
Boater Top 10
Non-Boater Top 10
|1||Dylan MOTT||5/6||5.39||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Spotters Prize Pack, Prize Pack|
|2||Luke PARSONS||5/6||4.94||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack|
|3||Andrew MCBRIDE||4/6||4.72||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack|
|4||James REID||3/6||3.38||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack + $500 Big Bass|
|5||Deborah KOWALCZYK||3/6||2.88||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack|
|6||Luke MULHOLLAND||3/6||2.61||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack|
|7||Dylan GLOVER||2/6||2.27||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack|
|8||David HEDGES||2/6||2.16||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack|
|9||Malcolm DRAPER||2/6||2.12||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack|
|10||Greg ESLICK||2/6||2.11||G.Loomis GL2 rod, Prize Pack|