Somerset Dam turned it on for anglers at the final qualifying round of the 2012 Smak Lures BASS Pro Series, with 340 bass hitting the scales for the 100 strong field.
Stepping up to claim his first BASS Pro win in his maiden season as a boater was 56 year old Sunshine Coast basser Barry Reynolds, who compiled a 6/6, 9.35kg limit to secure the win over a talent-stacked field of seasoned tournament pros.
For Reynolds it was a perfectly executed tournament, with the Somerset champ finding quality fish during the prefish, catching them in the first two sessions, then moving on to fresh, active fish early in session three when his first spot showed signs that it wasn’t going to fire, a move that many anglers didn’t make, or didn’t make early enough and paid the price for at the scales.
“I, like many anglers in the field, fished Queen Street flats first up and caught a heap of fish. It was red-hot in the first two sessions but in session three most of the fish vanished or became very tight lipped,” said Reynolds.
Choosing a lure and technique best suited to such a fickle bite pattern Reynolds opted for an ice jig and fished it with a lift and drop approach.
“I’d cast out the lure, let it sink to the bottom (25’-30’) then give it a couple of short sharp lifts then deadstick it. It was on the pause that most of the fish ate the lure. The takes were very subtle and it wasn’t until you set the hook and your rod loaded up that you knew whether you had an undersize or a big one,” said Reynolds.
The approach delivered Reynolds his limit in the first half hour of session one and two, and approximately 20 fish for each session.
Sitting in first place at the end of session one, and in second place at the end of session two Reynolds was focused to finish the event on high, more so for personal satisfaction rather than tournament success.
“I just wanted to finish the event with 6-out-of-6. That was all I really wanted,” said Reynolds.
And that’s what he did, but they didn’t come early and they didn’t come easy like they did the day before.
“I had nothing to show at Queen Street at 9am so I pulled the pin and ran down to The Spit, and to my surprise there was hardly anyone there,” said Reynolds.
Finding plenty of active on his sounder try as he might he could get them to bite.
“They were all lit up and look ready to eat, but they didn’t want to eat what I had. Matt Johnson was nearby and said don’t worry, wait, they’ll bite at 10am, they usually do,” explained Reynolds.
And that’s exactly what they did. Right on 10am they started to bite and within 20 minutes Reynolds had his two fish.
“I was so relieved when they started to bite,” said Reynolds.
Weighing in 2.26kg Reynolds took a 690g deficit and turned it into a 580g winning margin, in doing so claiming his best result to date on the BASS Pro Tour.
For event runner-up Wayne Blundell it was close to a near perfect tournament, with the 57 year old electrician and Legend Boats importer falling short of closing out the tournament after leading heading into the final session.
“That’s Somerset for you. You can’t rely on small fish to get you the win. You have to catch the big ones,” explained Blundell.
The action was red hot for the first two sessions, with Blundell fishing a 28-32’ deep flat at Queen Street with ice jigs worked with constant short sharp hops.
“They were quite active and they liked it when you kept the lure moving rather than slowing things down,” explained Blundell.
The approach produced 20 fish in the first session and 25 in the second session. While Queen Street delivered the numbers it was a late change at the end of session two that proved the difference.
“I made the move back down to The Spit to try and find bigger fish,” explained Blundell.
Fishing a rocky bank with an Evergreen blade it was two big bites late in the session that gave him the kicker fish he needed. Falling to a slow rolled presentation his 4.77kg limit was the standout bag for the session and jumped him from 5th to 1st.
Heading to Queen Street first up in session three, Blundell like most anglers fishing the area found the going tough.
“I picked up two small fish to fill my bag early, but I just couldn’t catch anything decent,” said Blundell.
Heading back to The Spit to try and find the quality he found the day before Blundell came up empty handed.
“I threw plastics, ice jigs, and blades I just couldn’t get the bites I need to stay in front,” said Blundell.
Weighing in a 2/2, 0.99kg bag for the session it was enough to keep him in the top two and secure a berth in the Grand Final. Post event Blundell was keen to divulge his latest addition to his boat and the role in played in the tournament.
“I’ve recently added a Hydro Wave to my boat set-up and at Somerset it made a huge difference. I’m positive it kept the fish biting longer and better than if I didn’t have it,” finished Blundell.
Newly crown 2012 Humminbird BASS Pro Non-Boater Angler of Year Ray Holmes finishing the BASS Pro qualifying rounds in fitting style, with the 24 year old Toowoomba basser claiming victory in the non-boater category at Somerset.
Fishing with Jason Shepardson on day one and Alan McNamara on day two Holmes fished Queen Street, The Spit and the Eagle’s Nest with a combination of Smak ice jigs and Jackall Masks to catch his over the two days of competition.
“The retrieve for the ice jig involved short sharp hops, while for the Mask I used a hop, followed by a slow roll, then a pause,” explained Holmes.
The approach delivered Holmes two fish for session one and four fish for session two. Two upgrades late in session two came on a peanut butter coloured ice jig near a rock wall at The Spit.
“It was hard fishing. There weren’t many bites, but you needed to be ready for them when they came,” explained Holmes.
Sitting into second place heading into the final session, Holmes needed two quality fish if he was haul in an in-form John Noble.
Fishing the outer edges of the angling pack at Queen Street Holmes picked up one fish on an ice jig before swapping to his big fish confidence bait of session one, a Jackall Mask.
“That’s what did the trick. I picked up my second not long after starting to use it,” explained Holmes.
Weighing in a 2.46kg limit for the session, Holmes had more than enough to claim victory, in doing so securing the non-boater Humminbird AOY title for 2012.
Attention now turns to the Smak Lures BASS Pro Grand Final slated for September 15-16. Visit www.australianbass.com.au to check out all the results and pictures. – ABT
Rod- 7’, 4-6kg Dobyns rod
Reel- Daiwa Steez 103 baitcaster
Line- 16lb Sunline Castaway
Leader- 8lb flurocarbon
Lures- Smak Glider (12g, colour- 02)
Reynolds was ahead of the pack in the final session, leaving a shutdown bite at Queen Street early to find active fish at The Spit. The move was spot on with Reynolds catching two quality fish and doing so before a host of other boats also hit The Spit and shut down the fish.
Rob March claimed the Big Bass Prize at Somerset with his 3.56kg fish caught on a black Bassday Range Vibe in session one. Caught at 9am it fell to an aggressively worked hop and paused retrieve in 32’ of water at Queen Street.
Top 10 Boaters
Top 10 Non-Boaters
|1||Ray HOLMES||6/6||9.22||G. Loomis GL3 Rod/Prize Pack|
|2||John NOBLE||5/6||7.68||G. Loomis GL3 Rod/Prize Pack|
|3||Jay GILLESPIE||6/6||7.58||Lox Yoshi rod/Prize Pack|
|4||Robert MARCH||5/6||7.25||Lox Yoshi rod/Prize Pack/$500 Big Bass|
|5||Shaun FALKENHAGEN||5/6||6.55||Ugly Fish Pack/Prize Pack|
|6||Warwick LYNDON||6/6||6.50||Ugly Fish Pack/Prize Pack|
|7||Greg MUNRO||6/6||5.72||Ugly Fish Pack/Prize Pack|
|8||Stephen MCLEAN||5/6||5.53||Prize Pack|
|9||Greg MITCHELL||5/6||5.28||Prize Pack|
|10||Arthur ALLEN||5/6||5.15||Prize Pack|