Young gun fires at BASS Electric Convention
  |  First Published: December 2012

Queensland’s Hinze Dam produced a nail biting finish in the final round of the 2012 Bluefin Boats BASS Electric Series with Brisbane BASSer Jeremy McConnell charging through from 14th place on the final day of competition to secure victory in the Blue Fin Boats BASS Electric Convention, 27-28 October.

In only his second year fishing the BASS Electric Series, McConnell finished on top of the tournament tree in the biggest event of the 2012 series, relegating a talented field of anglers to thoughts of what might have been, including 2nd place Dave Mann, and 3rd place Dean Thomson.

Victory for McConnell was a result of a calculated risk with the Convention champ making the long run (9km each way) to the eastern arm of the dam in search of bigger and less pressured fish.

“I knew the western arm would get a lot more pressure, so after a prefish on the eastern arm three weeks before the convention, where I caught a handful of good fish, I decided to make the long run in the hope of finding untouched water,” said McConnell.

The gamble paid off, in the end, but after a conservative day one McConnell wasn’t too sure.

“I was hoping for big fish but I only caught three fish for the session and my bag weighed 1.18kg. While I got my limit I was frustrated because I dropped a 40cm next to the boat,” said McConnell.

With a missed opportunity under his belt McConnell started the day in 14th place and headed off knowing that he was going to need big fish to bite if he was going to haul in the leaders and that’s exactly how it played out.

“My first came between 9 and 10am, then the second one came half and hour later. Thankfully they were both good fish,” said McConnell. His first fish measured 41cm and his second tipped the tape at 42cm.

“One good fish was nice but to get two was fantastic,” said McConnell.

His second fish nearly didn’t make it into the bag with McConnell having to electric after the fish to pull it out of the snag.

With the bites being aggressive hard hits and fights McConnell picked a lure and a reaction presentation best suited to the terrain that he was fishing and the mood of the fish.

“The banks were gentle sloping with spindly timber scattered over it so I fished to my strength, throwing spinnerbaits,” said McConnell.

With his boat positioned in about 3-4m of water McConnell would cast tight to the edge then slow roll the spinnerbait back to the boat.

“It was important to keep the lure in touch with the bottom and hitting the timber as much as possible,” said McConnell.

With a winning margin of 40g it was a narrow win and one that McConnell didn’t think he had.

“I thought I might have had enough weight on the final day to jump up into the top five, but when they read my name out as the winner I couldn’t believe it.”

Mann Swings from the Trees

While the final presentation was joyous for McConnell it was tinged with disappointment for day one leader and ultimately, event runner-up, Dave Mann. Weighing in a solid limit both days (1.97kg and 1.70kg), Mann was the most consistent angler over the convention, and was pipped at the post by McConnell’s kicker final day bag.

Fishing Ians Island close to the event start line Mann fished two specific trees (6m apart), alternating between them throughout each day. Keying in on the trees as the hot spots during the Friday prefish, it was the strong showing of fish on his sounder around each tree that held his attention.

“I’d tie up to each tree, let out some rope so I was a good distanced from the tree (34ft deep) then I’d fish directly to sounded fish (20ft deep) below the boat with soft plastics,” said Mann.

The technique that followed was very much typical NSW deep finesse fishing: sink the plastic to the bottom then slow roll the plastic back to the surface super slow.

“You crank the reel handle so it was just moving, you wanted to keep the lure in front of the fish as long as possible, yet still have the plastic beating away.”

While the fish were always there on the sounder, they didn’t always bite. Day one was the standout, while day two was tougher.

“I had my first fish on Saturday by 7.15am and my limit by 10.30. In total I caught eight fish for the session. While I got my limit early on day two I could only manage two for the day,” said Mann.

Mann’s fish management proved the key, with him leaving the fish anytime he caught one.

“Once I pulled a fish I’d rest the spot for 45 minutes to an hour. I found if I stayed and kept fishing they would shut down,” said Mann.

With the fish more often then not biting on his return it was his ‘leave em and return’ approach that definitely worked.

While his approach was well calculated so was his tackle selection and its modification. Fishing a camo coloured 3” Berkley Gulp Minnow Grub dyed black (a camo one dyed black still has the red fleck through it compared to using a manufactured black version), cut short and with a trimmed tail, Mann rigged it on a 1/4oz TT jighead coloured in with a black texta, then coated it heavily with Smelly Jelly. In addition, he soaked it in Bang after every second cast.

“Adding Bang to it every second cast may seem excessive but what it does is create a trail of scent right through the water column where the fish are holding. I think this helps encourage them to bite,” said Mann.

The remainder of Mann’s tackle included a Samurai Reaction 201 rod, Shimano 1000 Stella FE reel, 8lb Berkley Exceed PE, and a 15ft long leader of 6lb Nitlon fluorocarbon.

Mann’s result was his highest to date in a Bluefin Boats BASS Electric Convention, with the Danjeera BASS Electric Organiser securing some healthy ranking points and finishing his bass year on a high.

“It’s been a great year on the tour, the lakes have fished well, I’ve had some great results and I can’t wait to hit the water to do it all again next year.

Next year’s Bluefin Boats BASS Electric Series will kick off again in early 2013, stay tuned to www.australianbass.com.au or grab a copy of the 2013 ABT Tournament Angler Guide in January to see what’s in store for BASS Electric anglers in 2013.

Winning Ways

McConnell travelled an 18km round-trip each day to fish unpressured water. He fished a technique that would catch less, but bigger fish.

Winner’s Tackle

Rod: 6’8” Daiwa Redback spin rod

Reel: Daiwa Redback 1000 spin reel

Line: 6lb Berkley Fireline

Leader: 10lb Yamatoyo fluorocarbon

Lures: 1/2oz Impact Tackle S-baitz (smoke yellow colour)

Prize Bonanza

The headlining prize at the Bluefin Boats BASS Electric Convention was a Bluefin Estuary Pro Bass Electric tournament boat. Designed in collaboration between Bluefin Boats and ABT, the boat featured: all around casting decks, Flow-rite tuned 60L tournament spec livewell, tackle storage, rod locker and battery storage for up to six batteries. Value adding the prizes for the event were two MotorGuide electric motors, Lox rods, Uglyfish Sunglasses, and assorted Engel prizes.

PlaceAnglerFishWeightPayoutPro Cash

1Jeremy McConnell43.71Bluefin Boats 385 Trekker$170
2Dave Mann43.67MotorGuide 75lb Bowmount Electric Motor
3Dean Thomson42.97MotorGuide 75lb Bowmount Electric Motor
4Roy Souter42.91Duffrod Tournament Pro BassSTIX
5Glen Hayter42.89Prize Pack
6Shaun Falkenhagen42.83Prize Pack$120
7Adrian Wilson42.72Prize Pack$70
8Matt Johnson42.68Prize Pack$50
9Hans Jensen42.55Prize Pack
10Andrew Low42.49Prize Pack$50
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