Somerset Dam played host to the 2013 Megabass BASS Megabucks event. Given the reputation of Somerset Dam the expectation was high that the event would produce quality fish. Combine this with a no-holds-barred skins format and large payouts, all the signs pointed to an exciting two days on the water. Ultimately the weather and fishing did not disappoint and delivered one of the 2013 BASS season highlights.
The skins format rewarded the three highest placed teams each session as well as the session Big Bass. This format gave all teams an equal chance each session to take home the great cash prizes on offer. Throw in Megabass rods and reel prizes and you had the perfect recipe for a high adrenaline, no-holds-barred battle royal.
During the event prefish Silvester noted that the fish weren’t responding to traditional patterns. By applying erratic twitches and shakes to his retrieve Silvester was able to get the bass to respond. Using this knowledge Team Quantam/Lowrance hit Pelican Point to begin their tournament.
Finding no fish, the team made a move to Bay 13. Using an Ecogear Power Shad in eel colour rigged on a 1/2oz TT Tournament Series jighead the team were able to quickly land four bass and fill their tournament limit. Fishing in 35ft of water the anglers deduced that the smaller fish were holding tight to the bottom while the bigger fish were sitting suspended in midwater, around 15ft deep. By 9.30am this separation had become more defined and the bass duly responded to the team’s lures.
Silvester explains, “The size difference between the smaller bass on the bottom and the larger suspended fish was huge. Using a retrieval technique that incorporated an initial twich, steady retrieve and freespool pauses, we were able to secure the bigger bites.”
Team Impact Tackle/Pimp My Lure caught their fish in Bay 13 using a ultra-slow rolled 70mm Squidgy fish in silver fox colour rigged on a Impact Tackle 1/2oz Headz jighead. Stead explains the choice of lure.
“The lure profile works well, especially with fish on the bottom. It is a classic case of big presentation equalling big fish.”
Fishing in 28-30ft of water the team would employ a slow, yet constant, retrieve to generate bites. When bites were forthcoming, but not hooking, the lure would be stopped and dropped back to entice a strike.
“In all we caught 10-12 legal bass. The majority of our fish came when the field moved away from the area and there was less pressure,” said Stead.
Team Nexgen Lures fished two main locations, Bay 13 and Eagles Nest. Sitting in 32-36ft of water Nexgen Lures would target bass sitting outside the main school. Upon finding more active fish they then targeted them by slow rolling plastics (Ecogear Power Minnow in rainbow colour rigged on a 1/2oz TT jighead and Lunker City Grubster in goby colour rigged on a 1/2oz Nitro jighead) through the school.
Short strikes saw the team add an additional trailer hook, which improved the hook-up rate. Also of note was the tandem approach employed; one team member would constantly slow roll a lure through the school while the other would slow roll then drop the lure back to entice any following fish. This latter technique accounted for the team’s largest bass through the session.
Mike Connolly of team Fishing Monthly caught the Big Bass for session one. The bass came from Pelican Point in 35ft of water. The 3.79kg bass fell to a Slider in baby bass colour rigged on an Impact Tackle 1/2oz Headz jighead. The 61cm total length bass was a personal best for Connolly.
Session two saw team Quantum/Lowrance return to Bay 13. Immediately they noted the increased number of boats fishing the area and realised they would have to adapt in order to land fish during the session. Silvester explains their approach,
“It was a matter of finding patches of active fish. Once a fish was caught the school would scatter and it was a matter of finding another active patch of fish. Generally we would try and stay about 50-100m away from other boats as the pressure made the fish less responsive. Occasionally when the midwater bites died we would target fish on the bottom as this often brought on the bigger bass again.”
Team Quantum/Lowrance again found fish in midwater, and were able to secure their tournament limit. A move was made in the last two hours to a ridge opposite Bay 13. The team changed presentations to a Squidgy Fish in silver fox colour rigged on an Impact Tackle 1/2oz Headz jighead.
“The goal was to secure bigger fish. The larger lure profile and slightly larger jighead hook helped us to get the bass to respond and keep them on.”
The team used the same retrieval technique used in the first session and found the larger fish required to capture the session victory. Their largest fish, 2.73kg, went on to take out the session Big Bass.
Team Gamakatsu caught their bass at the eastern end of Pelican Point, fishing the edge of the old creek bed. The team positioned themselves in 30-40ft of water before making long casts to the bass.
Melchior explains, “The fish were sitting in the 15-20ft deep section of the water column. We would cast and let the lure hit the bottom before making a quick retrieve. The fish came straight on as soon as we arrived. The bigger bass seemed to follow the lure until it was halfway back to the boat before striking.”
The team found success with a 2 1/2” Atomic Big Bass paddletail rigged on a 1/2oz jighead. The lure was repeatedly scented with garlic Megastrike.
Team Samurai Reaction/TT’s fished off Pelican Point in 30-35ft of water. The team targeted a ridgeline that dipped into deeper water each side.
“The bass were holding on the drop-off. They were scattered as opposed to schooling up so we decided to drift over a large area of around 500m to maximise our chances of hooking up. The key lure was a 70mm Squidgy fish in silver fox colour rigged on a 1/2oz jighead. The technique was a slow roll punctuated with pauses where we would open the bail arm. It was about keeping the lure as close to the bottom as possible. Most of the bites came immediately after we began winding the lure in,” said Glyn Barkhuizen.
The session Big Bass (2.73kg) was caught late in the session from a ridge opposite Bay 13. The bass was caught on a Squidgy fish in silver fox colour rigged on a Impact Tackle 1/2oz Headz jighead.
In the final session team Quantum/Lowrance headed back to Bay 13. They sounded big fish sitting midwater and attempted to catch them using the techniques applied in sessions one and two. Finding the fish unresponsive the team moved to Pelican Point and the ridge opposite Bay 13 with little success. Eventually, with one fish in the livewell, the team settled on Bay 13 as their location.
Sitting wide in 40ft of water the team sounded up fish and proceeded to target them using a combination of the Ecogear Power Shad in eel colour rigged on a 1/2oz TT Tournament Series and the Squidgy Fish in silver fox colour rigged on a PML/Impact Tackle 1/2oz jighead. As the session wore on the suspended fish became more responsive and the team consistently increased their limit throughout the session.
“The fish were under a lot of pressure with most of the field in the general vicinity. It was a case of getting a bite followed by the fish scattering, then having to find them again. This process was repeated throughout the rest of the session,” said Silvester.
Team Tonic/Evakool fished in Bay 13 to secure their tournament limit. The team positioned themselves in 30-35ft of water and cast towards a ridge in 25ft of water. Once on the bottom the lure was slow rolled back to the boat. This technique allowed the team to fill their limit before they made a move out wider.
Once relocated in 50ft of water the team cast back into 30ft using a tandem presentation. The lures used were a Slider in white colour rigged on a 5/8oz Bass to Barra painted jighead and a 70mm Squidgy fish in silver fox colour rigged on a 5/8oz Bass to Barra painted jighead. The retrieve was slow and constant. Persistent bites resulted in the angler freespooling the reel to entice a strike.
“The sounder was the key to staying in the right area. When bass were directly below the boat we would mix it up with an ice jig to get the fish biting. We used a Smak 12g priceless darter in silver colour,” said Matthew Mott.
Team Yamba Pro Prawn Blades fished two locations in Bay 13; a sloping bank that dropped into 35ft of water and suspended fish sitting in 35-45ft of water.
Lennox said, “Initially we hit the sloping bank where we found bass. The technique was to cast up shallow and work the lure down the slope. We would give the reel five slow winds then let the lure fall naturally to the bottom. This was repeated all the way down the slope.
“The suspended fish were larger than those on the sloping bank so we positioned ourselves in water between 35-45ft deep. The fish were holding in 15-25ft deep. We would cast out and count down the lure for 12-15 seconds before slow rolling it back to the boat.”
The key lure for the team was a 65mm Squidgy fish in silver fox colour rigged on a 1/2oz Gamakatsu flathead jighead. The lure’s tail was coloured with chartreuse dye and a stinger hook was added to convert short strikes.
The session Big Bass went 3.6kg. Caught from a drop-off at the end of the Spit the bass fell to a slow rolled Slider in baby bass colour rigged on a Nitro 5/8oz jighead. The bass was caught with only 10 minutes remaining in the session.
The Megabass BASS Megabucks brings to an end the 2013 ABT BASS Pro season. A big thank you to all the sponsors who made the series possible, and to the anglers who attended the events throughout the year. ABT looks forward to seeing you on the tournament trail in 2014.
|Place||TEAM||Boater 1||Boater 2||F1||W1||Payout|
|1||Quantum/Lowrance||Dean Silvester||David Green||4||9.89||$1500, $450|
|2||Impact Tackle/Pimp My Lure||Dan Stead||Peter Morgan||4||7.32||$1,100|
|3||Nexgen Lures||Matt Johnson||Dean Thompson||4||7.29||$700, $150|
|Place||TEAM||Boater 1||Boater 2||F2||W2||Payout|
|1||Quantum/Lowrance||Dean Silvester||David Green||4||10.05||$1500, $450, $300|
|2||Gamakatsu||Steve Otto||Adrian Melchoir||4||8.45||$1,100|
|3||Samurai Reaction/TT's||Glyn Barkhuizen||Simon Barkhuizen||4||8.06||$700|
|Place||TEAM||Boater 1||Boater 2||F3||W3||Payout|
|1||Quantum/Lowrance||Dean Silvester||David Green||4||8.12||$1500, $450|
|2||Tonic/Evakool||Matthew Mott||Dylan Mott||4||7.84||$1100, $150|
|3||Yamba Pro Prawn Blades||Ian Wratten||Mark Lennox||4||6.36||$700|
|Place||TEAM||Boater 1||Boater 2||Fish||KG|
|1||Quantum/Lowrance||Dean Silvester||David Green||12/12||28.06|
|2||Tonic/Evakool||Matthew Mott||Dylan Mott||12/12||21.65|
|3||Gamakatsu||Steve Otto||Adrian Melchoir||11/12||21.26|
|4||Samurai Reaction/TT's||Glyn Barkhuizen||Simon Barkhuizen||12/12||19.56|
|5||Nexgen Lures||Matt Johnson||Dean Thompson||12/12||19.41|
|6||Berkley/Abu Garcia||Callum Munro||James Munro||12/12||19.13|
|7||Yamba Pro Prawn Blades||Ian Wratten||Mark Lennox||12/12||17.38|
|8||Fishing Monthly||Peter Legget||Mike Connolly||10/12||16.32|
|9||Bass Brothers||Dave Young||Gavin Dunne||12/12||14.76|
|10||Impact Tackle/Pimp My Lure||Dan Stead||Peter Morgan||10/12||14.61|
|11||Unitika||Craig Simmons||Wayne Gordon||10/12||14.41|
|12||TT Lures||Kris Hickson||Daniel Brown||12/12||13.81|
|13||Tackleworld Bundy||Shane Anderson||Jack Gold||12/12||12.47|
|14||Suzuki||Barry Reynolds||James Reid||9/12||10.63|
|15||Pure Fishing/Duffrods||Mal Draper||Luke Draper||10/12||10.48|
|16||Atomic||Aaron Sharp||Steve Eldred||9/12||10.19|
|17||Tennessee||John Brider||Gavin Sticklen||6/12||9.23|
|18||Secret Creek||John Picton||Jody Vernon||7/12||8.75|
|19||Grain Traders||David Reynolds||Noel Griffiths||8/12||8.43|
|20||Tackleworld Toowoomba||Jason Shepherdson||Tracey Johnson||6/12||8.34|
|21||BarraBass Rods||Simon Saint||Rory Saint||6/12||8.27|
|22||Samurai Reaction Rods||Rob March||Tristan Taylor||9/12||8.15|
|23||SAS Braid||Mark Reinbott||John Kennedy||6/12||8.00|
|24||Fish 'n' Bits/Warwick Outdoors and Sports||Jamie Facer||Michael Thompson||7/12||6.49|
|25||Lowrance/Duffrods||Tracey Mammen||Alan Britcliffe||3/12||6.45|
|26||CJR||Greg Mitchell||Todd McCormack||6/12||5.83|
|27||Busy Fishin||David Hedges||Velinda Hedges||5/12||5.22|