Sooty Grunter Winter League
  |  First Published: July 2014

Round 2 of the MTA Sooty Grunter Winter League was held at Eungella Dam on 24-25 May, 2014. Winds had harassed the region for three weeks prior to the comp. However, the wind started to drop on Friday afternoon and by Saturday we had light easterly winds and perfect sunshine and the sooties loved it. There had not been many opportunities to pre-fish the dam other than a few sheltered bays, so the fish hadn’t seen many anglers over the previous few weeks. In light of this lack of fishing pressure and the perfect conditions, the competitors anticipated a hot bite and they were not let down.

It is difficult to track how many sooties were caught for the event as only the best two fish are brought to the scales, however plenty of the anglers reported upgrades and several anglers reported double figure bags in some sessions. A total of 40.9kg of sooties hit the scales in the first session, with 11 anglers getting their full bag of their best two sooties. The second session saw 46.3kg of fish weighed in, with 13 anglers getting their bag, and the third session saw 48.5kg with 15 anglers getting their two-fish bag. A total of 135kg of quality sooty grunter was weighed for the event.

The water level for the dam was 100% and steady, and the water temp maxed out over the weekend at around 24°C and started around 20°Cs on Saturday morning.

Peter Behrens led the first session (8:30am to 12pm) with two cracking sooties for 4.09kg. He was closely followed by his fishing partner Nick Moore in second place with 4.03kg. Peter and Nick concentrated on the bays and points in the main area of the dam before the trees.

Michael Detenon held third place with 3.87kg. Mick concentrated his efforts in the trees around Homestead Bay with the 3” curl tail grub being his go-to lure.

One of the biggest sooty grunter we have seen in any of the MTA tournaments was brought to the scales by Paul Butler, weighing 2.75kg and measuring 54cm.

The second session started Saturday afternoon (1:30pm to 5:30pm) with Peter Behrens and Nick Moore strengthening their first and second positions with 3.92kg and 3.42kg bags respectively. Peter and Nick again concentrated on the same areas of the dam as they had in the first session. Mick Detenon held on to third spot with a slightly lesser bag of 3.28kg. Other competitors were close behind, and the top three anglers knew they weren’t guaranteed to hold onto their places.

They were right. The bays and points in the main part of the dam didn’t perform as they had on the first two sessions for Peter and Nick. Greg Thomas’ 4kg bag took him from fifth place to first, delivering him his maiden tournament victory with a total of 10.48kg for the three sessions. Greg concentrated in the trees in 25-40ft of water on the western side of the dam. His go-to lure was a Jackal TN60 in black with a red belly, with a count of between five and eight before slowly retrieving the lure. Greg’s tackle consisted of a Daiwa Finesse rod, Abu Garcia Inshore reel, 12lb Toray braid and 6lb Crazy Tail leader.

Neil Wilson maintained his form from the first round, getting a third session bag of 3.45kg to catapult him from fourth place to second with a total limit of 10.40kg (just 80g short of Greg). Neil concentrated his efforts in the trees around the island on the eastern side of the dam in 40-70ft of water with his most successful lure being a white Rapala clacking rap on a ten count drop before retrieve. Neil’s tackle consisted of an ACM Sooty Extreme rod, Abu Revo MGX reel, Toray jigging PE 18lb braid and 20lb Toray L-Hard leader.

Mick Detenon held onto third place with a 3kg limit for session three, bringing his total to 10.15kg. Mick concentrated his efforts in the western side bay of the dam behind the homestead, fishing the treetops with a 4” Swimming Mullet in white and 3” Swimming Minnow in chartreuse with a two count drop before the retrieve. His tackle consisted of a Samurai rod, Abu Revo Premier reel, 10lb Suffix 832 braid and 20lb Black Magic fluoro leader.

The biggest session prize was take out by Shane Snell from Blackwater on his first visit to the dam, with a very impressive two fish bag of 4.26kg in the third session.

Round 3 of the MTA Sooty Grunter Winter League will be fished on the weekend of 21-22 June at Eungella Dam. The first session will run from 8.30am to 12pm, the second session will run from 1:30pm to 6:30pm and the third session on Sunday from 7am to 11am. More information is available at

All tournament dates and other info can be found at www.mta.org.au. - MTA

1Greg Thomas10.480$280
2Neil Wilson10.400$200
3Michael Detenon10.150$140
4Nick Moore10.100
5Mat McFarlane9.940
6Peter Behrens9.080
7Geoff Newby8.900
8Geoff Busbridge8.040
9Paul Butler7.250
10Phil Lyons7.020
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