Kerry Symes claimed his first BASS Pro victory by winning the biggest prize in tournament BASS fishing – the BASS Pro Grand Final.
Kerry, a BP Reliance Manager, compiled six fish out of a maximum six fish bag limit for 10.055kg for the three session grand final event. Giving it to the big names, he outclassed the rest of the field and secured victory over runner up and AFC angler Harry Watson.
Choosing a tandem lure approach to fill his bag, Symes moved in to second place in session one and held his spot before ascending to the number one spot in the last session on Sunday morning.
“I cracked the pattern during the prefish on Friday, and I was confident that it would produce during the tournament”, explained Symes. The technique for the Kerry involved fishing a 17-19ft deep flat near Queen Street, and working an alternative presentation, swapping between a Jackall Mask and spinnerbait as the bite required.
“A couple of non-tournament anglers pulled up near us on the Saturday and nailed two quick fish on a spinnerbait”, explained Symes. “This was the tip I needed to start throwing a spinnerbait”, he added.
The retrieve for the Mask approach involved working the lure with two small hops then allowing it fall back towards the bottom on a tight line. “Staying in touch with the lure on the drop was important, as was keeping the lure close to the bottom where the fish were holding, it allowed me to feel the smallest of takes and keep the lure in the zone”, explained Symes.
The spinnerbait technique was equally ‘in your face’, with a long cast and a slow rolling retrieve with the lure ticking just above the bottom, the gun approach.
The consistency of the bite was typical Somerset, with an intermittent pattern dominating Symes weekend. “When they were on they’d move up onto the top of the flat and eagerly feed, then they’d drop back and scatter and you had to work a lot harder to get them”, said Symes.
His choice of tackle used to deliver his win included two outfit choices. A 7’ Shimano T-Curve Tournament spin rod, Shimano 2500 Aspire reel, 10lb Castaway mainline, and 14lb Stren Magna Thin when hoping Masks, and a 7’ Shimano Raider Dam Buster rod, Shimano Calcutta 200DC reel, 30lb Bass Hard line, and 20lb Water King leader when fishing a spinnerbait.
Symes’ choice of lures included the popular Jackall Mask in Tennessee shad colour, and a 5/8oz Smak spinnerbait in Kerry’s very own colour known as KS.
“This is my go-to spinnerbait and it fired over the weekend, delivering the majority of my bigger fish”, explained Kerry.
The other notable component to Kerry’s success was the application of the new Shimano S-Factor bass scent. “This was so important, turning lookers into keepers…I added it to the lure every four or five casts, and for me it was one of the keys to getting fish while others struggled”, Kerry concluded.
Post victory Symes was quick to divulge his mindset heading into the event. “Doing the Humminbird BASS MegaBucks two days before the Grand Final was a huge advantage. The social and open vibe of the event has us all in a good frame of mind by the time we reached Somerset”, said Symes. And the upside of this was that Kerry failed to suffer from nerves evening heading into the final session.
The winner of the Somerset BASS Pro Qualifier in August, Harry Watson lived up to his predicted form on the waterway, compiling a six out of six fish limit for 9.76kg and secured second place.
Fishing close to the area that produced the winning fish for him during his August victory, Watson worked an 80m stretch of water 25-26ft deep. Like many in the field Harry opted for a hoping Mask approach to fill his bag.
“It was a classic hoping Mask pattern”, explained Watson. “Involving working the lure through the zone and past the bottom hugging fish with a series of lift and drops”, he added.
Hitting the jack pot and bagging out early in session two Watson was back at the weigh-in tent within two hours left to go in the session. “There was no point staying out there as I wasn’t going to get any fish bigger than what I had”, explained Watson. With a 4.22kg limit, it was a safe and secure step to take and ensured that he didn’t loose any fish in the hot conditions.
Watson’s choice of tackle included a G.Loomis 8400 Popping Rod, 2500 Shimano Sustain reel, spooled with 8lb Platypus Superbraid and 12lb Siglon leader. Harry’s money bait was the ubiquitous Jackall Mask in two colours, a black chartreuse version, and the latest, yet unreleased grunter colour.
The battle for the Champion Non-boater title was a laissez-faire win with Paul Cooper winning the title by over a 3kg margin and a total of five fish for 9.31kg. Cooper fished with fifth placed boater, Craig Simmons on day one and Mike Creighton on day two.
Cooper cleaned up by hoping Jackall Masks to claim his first tournament win. “Keeping the lure in touch with the bottom was the key to getting the fish”, he explained.
Hitting the fish early on the final morning Cooper had two in the well and was back weighing in his limit by 6.30am. “The fish had taken the lure down deep and I didn’t want to risk the fish dying”, he said.
Cooper’s arsenal of tournament winning tackle included a 7’, 3-5kg Black Diamond spin rod, Daiwa TD Advantage reel, spooled with 6lb Berkley Fireline and 12lb Vanish leader.
Overall accolades go to Champion Boater Kerry Symes, who picked up the highly coveted BASS Grand Final Champion Trophy, and a trip to the USA to fish a bass tournament.
Information for the 2008 BASS Pro Series will be available in the 2007 Tournament Anglers Guide, mailed to all ABT members in 2007. Call ABT during business hours (07) 3268 3992 for more information. – ABT
BASS Pro Grand Final Boater Results
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BASS Pro Grand Final Non Boater Results
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