A field of 70 anglers, 36 boats, Eungella Dam, some great weather and big sooties combined to make the Tackleworld Sooty Championship on 19-20 May a big success.
Entrants started to report in shortly after midday on Saturday and received their key tag number, Tackleworld bag and a copy of the rules. The boats hit the water around 1.30pm after the briefing.
The first boats that returned around 3pm had a few 300mm fish, and at one point per mm the scores started to mount.
He fished a pumpkinseed Gulp super slowly, hard up against the stumps in shallow water. Ivan later returned to the same area and was rewarded with another two fish to take his afternoon tally to four fish and a total length of 1478mm.
Plastics were not the only lure of choice for the anglers, with plenty of fish falling to spinnerbaits and small minnows.
Linda McKenzie fished in the heavy timber and was rewarded with four good fish for 1446mm on spinnerbaits. Her total pushed Linda into second place for the Saturday afternoon session.
Ray Schneider from Home Hill presented several fish at the weigh-in including a very solid 465mm specimen.Most of the fish were caught in relatively shallow water, which may be a result of the recent influx of water taking the dam to just over 60% capacity for the first time in four years.
By end of the Saturday session, 67 fish had been presented to the weigh-master. All these fish were over the 300mm minimum size limit. There were some hard luck stories about straightened trebles and smashed plastics indicating some really solid sooties were on the prowl.
After a quick refresher on the rules the boats headed off at daylight, and we did not have long to wait before the first fish were bought in.
The Schneiders' both upgraded to four fish with 440mm and 425mm fish taking them up to 3rd and 4th on the leader board. A better average class of fish seemed to be caught in the early morning session and several other anglers were able to upgrade their fish. Most of the fish on Sunday morning were falling for plastics with a few on minnows.
Wade Inskip upgraded on Fat Raps and poppers and momentarily moved into 4th place. Clay Dale weighed in his fifth fish to give him the lead for best four fish (1547 points) but this did not last long.
The lead altered every 30 minutes as anglers continued to upgrade. All fish were kept in MAFSA’s above ground pool so that everyone could check the quality of fish being caught. Some great 450mm sooties were in the tank and the kids from the various camps had a ball watching the fish being measured and released into the pool.
Ray Schneider was still clinging to the largest fish prize, and for most of the morning session he looked to have it in the bag.
Big improvers on the Sunday morning included Simon Goldsmith, Bruce Biddle and Dave Creffield. Although the last of the progress scores were not entered on the boards it was obvious that the competition was very close and a good fish upgrade could secure the win.
Finally stumps had to be called and all boats reported for the final weigh-in. The tension built as more and more fish were weighed in with upgrades to quite a few anglers.
Finally the computer spat out the results and the presentation began. MAFSA Chair Jeff Eales thanked the competitors and MAFSA workers for all their efforts over the competition.
Prizes were awarded from 20th to 1st and each score was read out with the angler’s name. The scores were really close with 12th place scoring 1505 and 5th scoring 1551.
Ivan Baulch’s 1680mm scored him first place, Mick Schneider was second with 1594mm and Simon Goldsmith was third at 1563mm.
Ivan used Gulps to fish shallow water around stumps and lay downs. Most fish were caught in less than 3m and two were even landed in 450mm of water. He used 10kg braid over a baitcaster with fluorocarbon leader. Ivan also took out the award for the most fish presented to the weigh-master (8).
Ray Schneider’s 465mm fish was pipped by son Mick’s 470mm in the last minutes of the competition.
51,256mm total length of sooties was presented, with an average length of 339mm. 151 fish in total were presented and 75% of the competitors presented at least one fish.
All agreed it was a great tournament and it looks set to become a regular event. Special thanks to Tackleworld Mackay for their sponsorship and thanks to all the volunteers who made the event run smoothly.Reads: 497