Pretty fly for a young guy
  |  First Published: June 2015

Queensland’s Dave Young broke through for his maiden BASS Pro win with the 31 year old tournament veteran claiming a comprehensive wire-to-wire win to secure the Spotters Sunglasses Lake Somerset BASS Pro title for 2015.

Securing the event win by over 3kg Young stood out on a tough Lake Somerset, an event that saw only 35 bass weighed in for the tournament, and many of the big names of the sport failing to deliver a fish to scales for the event.

For event winner Young is was a fly blown event with the EJ Todd sponsored tournament pro fishing it old school and opting to fish slow and deep with fly for the event.

“With the rain last week and the fishing being incredibly tough during the prefish I thought fly would be the way to go,” said Young.

With his technique of choice locked in Young started at Pelican Point, an area that he had found the fish in the lead-up to the tournament, and began fishing fly to fish that he found in 25-30’ of water.

“Fish would regularly come through on the Lowrance but they were far for active and willing to eat with any great regularity. I fished fly and occasionally threw a Jackall Mask Vibe, but it wasn’t until late in the first session that I keyed into exactly where the active fish were holding and what they wanted to eat,” said Young.

Moving shallower and into 18’ of water and now positioned right on Pelican Point rather than wide or off it, Young pin-pointed fish holding hard on the bottom and it was these that he began tareget. With 15 minutes left in the session Young picked up his fist fish, and two or three casts later he soon had his second.

Weighing in a 2.81kg limit for the session Young was now dialled in on the fish and all ready to pick up where he left off heading into session two. He didn’t have to wait long to add another fish to the well, and 5-6 casts into session two he had his first fish for the session. His second proved a lot tougher to find and it wasn’t until the last half hour of the session that he finally caught his second and final fish for the session.

With an extended lead heading into the final session Young was confident, confident that he could eke out just two more bites to complete his 6-from-6 limit for the tournament. Returning to Pelican again ,Young remained focused and committed to the task, but it wasn’t until halfway through the session that he picked up his first fish.

“It was a lot tougher. There weren’t as many fish on the sounder as the day before and they were incredibly tight lipped. I missed one other bite and that was it for the session,” said Young.

In the end the missed fish didn’t affect the result and Young’s extensive lead heading into the final session was never overcome by any of his challengers. With close to a 3kg winning margin over his nearest challenger, event runner-up Paul Gillespie, Young’s victory can only be described as comprehensive, a win that’s been 16 years in the making, and a win that’s been predated by multiple 2nds, and top tens.

Young’s victory is a return to the winner’s for deep fly, a technique that dominated 10 years ago, but in recent years has failed to make the impact it once had. Young’s tournament winning technique was textbook deep flyfishing for bass. A long cast followed by a long wait (60 second) for the fly line and fly to sink to the bottom, followed by a couple of short sharp strip to make the fly dart of the bottom, then and a pause.

“It was important to be slow and methodical, and be patient in what you were doing,” said Young.

His patience wasn’t just restricted to the sinking of the fly and its retrieve but also to how he reacted to the fish when he got a bite.

“The bites were incredibly tentative. Most came on the pause and often you’d just feel a slight pressure when you went to make the next strip. When this happened I’d just let the fish mouth and play with fly and gave it plenty of time to eat it. In many ways it was like waiting for bream to eat a bait. It was far from electric fishing and was a real test of patience,” said Young.

The win finally adds Young’s name to the list of BASS Pro winners, a list that includes many former fly fishing champions, and former winners who I’m sure would be more than pleased to see fly re-emerge as a tournament winning technique.

Gillespie gets big bite for second

Standing next to Young on the podium was event runner-up, 52 year old Big River Bait and Tackle employee Paul Gillespie of Hardwood Island, NSW. Fishing his beloved Bassman Spinnerbait for the weekend, Gillespie fished to his strength throwing a 1/2oz white spinnerbait to the edges to catch his fish.

“Were found out during the Friday prefish that the fishing was going to be tough, so I thought if I’m only going to get a few bites for the weekend I better try and make them good ones, and I thought the edges would probably be the best place to get those bites. It’s also what I love to do,” said Gillespie.

Fishing a series of locations for the weekend, Gillespie had two standout banks, the first being a location not far from the event start line that he’d fished in the past and the other a bank closer to dam wall that featured laydown timber. With nothing to show for his efforts in session one and with only 15 minutes to go, Paul hit his money bank, and 4-5 casts into fishing his last hurrah bank for the session he came up tight on a fish.

“It was a typical spinnerbait retrieve. Cast it tight to the edge, slow roll it out for ten cranks then let it sink back to the bottom, then start cranking again,” said Gillespie.

While he only caught one fish for the session, what he lacked in numbers he made up for in size, and his lone 2.26kg fish had him sitting in second place.

Back hitting his run of banks and throwing his white Bassman spinnerbait again Gillespie was working a steep timbered bank near The Spit when a big fish bit.

“This thing nailed the spinnerbait as I was working it out from a laydown, then turned and powered back towards the snag. I had two choices let it go or try and stop it. I muscled it as much as I could and eventually the hook pulled,” said Gillespie.

Ruing his missed opportunity and returning fishless for the session Gillespie was determined to make amends in the final session. Fishing multiple locations on the Sunday morning, including the two banks where he’d hooked fish the day before, it was his big fish bay from session one that once again produced.

“I didn’t get the big bites like the day before but I did get the two bites that I needed to catch my limit, and that was what I was looking for,” said Gillespie.

On a measly Lake Somerset it was Gillespie’s final session 2/2, 1.97kg limit that held off a strong finishing Warren Carter (3rd) and Craig Simmons (4th), and ultimately booked his ticket for the Toray BASS Pro Grand Final in October.

Shaun Burns to win

Redland Bay’s Shaun Falkenhagen once again showed his talent as a bass angler with the Queensland tournament gun fishing a burn and kill, and deep crank approach to claim another non-boater win on the Toray BASS Pro tour. Fishing with Anthony Thorpe on day one, Falkenhagen, like many anglers in the event, fished Pelican Point to catch his fish.

“We fished in about 30’ of water in session one hoping Mask Vibes through the showings of fish we picked up on the sounder. The first session was incredibly hard and unfortunately I caught nothing for my efforts,” said Shaun.

Heading into session two and determined not to go fishless for another session Shaun mixed it up and tried a few things differently.

“I added a 1/2oz Jackall Deracoup to the lures I was throwing and started to work them with a burn and kill retrieve in the hope that something a bit more aggressive might fire up the fish that were acting very lethargic,” said Shaun.

Having moved shallower and now fishing in 18’ of water Thorpe and Falkenhagen soon found better concentrations of fish, and fish that were actually interested in eating. Using a 10-12 crank and pause retrieve, Falkenhagen soon picked up his first fish, then his second. Delivering a 2.02kg limit to scales Shaun quickly grabbed the lead and sat in the number one spot heading into the final day.

Fishing with Mark Reinbott on day two Shaun used a different approach to catch his fish, using an OSP Blitz DR and long lining in 28’ of water at the bottom end of Pelican Point. With the 200m of line out Falkenhagen would slowly crank his lure back to the boat.

An approach that he would repeat over and over throughout the five hour session, the technique paid off with Shaun catching and delivering a fish to the scales to claim the event win. His second BASS Pro win in as many starts, he also won the Toray BASS Pro Grand Final at Lake Wivenhoe last year, Falkenhagen once again showed he’s the gun angler at the moment on the non-boater side of BASS Pro angler draw. In claiming another tournament victory Falkenhagen had a few people that he wanted to thank.

“I’m fortunate to have some great sponsors that help me out greatly. Barrabass rods, Fish Tec Solutions, and NexGen Lures allow me to use to the best products available and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

The next stop of the Toray BASS Pro Series sees the bass tour head south to Hunter Valley’s Lake Glenbawn in July (4/5th). Slated to take place in the heart of winter it’ll be an event that’ll test anglers’ ability to handle the cold and handle the challenging cold weather bite that Glenbawn is famous for.

For more information on the Toray BASS Pro Series visit www.abt.org.au or phone ABT during office hours on (07) 3387 0888.

Austackle Big Bass

Event runner-up Paul Gillespie valued added his 2nd place winnings by picking up the event’s Austackle Big Bass. Caught on a Bassman Spinnerbait in colour 29 (white with blue and black fleck strands) it was Gillespie’s first fish for the tournament and fell to 10-crank-pause retrieve fished on the edge not far from the event start line.

Winning Ways

Young’s key to success was patience. Patience to allow the line and fly to sink to the bottom, and patience in waiting for the limited bites to come.

Winning Tackle

Rod:#7wt TFO BVK
Reel:Snowbee Onyx 5-7
Line:#7wt Scientific Angler sinking line
Leader:10lb Sunline FC Rock twisted leader
Lure:Black Wolverine fly (tied by Gavin Dunne)
Extras:Lowrance HDS 12 sounder and Insight Genesis Social Map, Tonic Youranium Copper lens glasses


Boater Results


1David YOUNG5/67.20$2,300
2Paul GILLESPIE3/64.23$1350, Austackle Big Bass, Spotters Big Bass
3Warren CARTER3/63.75$950, Duffrods Big Bag, Spotters Big Bass
4Craig SIMMONS2/62.27$850
5Dan STEAD1/61.93$650
6Barry REYNOLDS1/61.72$450, Spotters Big Bass
7Mark LENNOX2/61.43
8Tony THORLEY1/61.40
9Joe ALLAN2/61.14
10Michael THOMPSON1/60.88

Non-boater Results


1Shaun FALKENHAGEN3/62.80NS Black Hole, Spotters Big Bass
2Brett HYDE1/60.7913 Fishing Omen Black rod, Spotters Big Bass
3Jason MARTIN1/60.64Bassman Prize Pack
4Luke DRAPER1/60.56Spotters Sunglasses Prize Pack, Spotters Big Bass
5James REID1/60.54Spotters Sunglasses Prize Pack
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