The weekend threatened rain and the dam level was low, but spirits were high at the kick-off of Queensland’s newest family tournament.
The first round of the Daiwa Bassin Qld Series at Lake Somerset on February 25 and 26 saw 72 boats stream out from the starting gate.
Interest in the new series had been building prior to the opening round, and despite the menacing looking weather 138 competitors took up the challenge, including 25 juniors and sub-juniors, with 19 full families fishing together.
While the roll included some very familiar names from the tournament circuit (Kanowski, Green, Mott, Mullins, Delisser, Johnson, Black and Creighton to name a few), it was the new names and faces that made the event a success.
Designed to be a family event to nurture and develop new entrants into the sport, the Series lived up to its reputation. With a wide range of lucky draw prizes, encouragement prizes, certificates and goodie bags for all sub-juniors – anyone could take home a prize!
Conditions at Lake Somerset were tough even for the best of anglers. The many fish schooling up on the flats, near The Hump, or on drop-offs near Red Rock and across from Pelican Point were unresponsive.
By Saturday night Dale Mullins was holding first place with a bag of 3.965kg. His technique was one that extended amongst the competitors as the friendly, sharing nature of the event spread the word.
“I used Jackall 60mm Mask Vibs in olive ayu and tennessee shad colours at full cast length, then left them to freefall to the bottom. The second stage involved competitors aggressively hopping and ripping Mask Vibs about 4-6ft off the bottom and then letting them freefall whilst concentrating on the slightly slack line for strike or hit indicators as Mask Vibes are constantly hit on the drop,” said Dale.
One of the core features of the Daiwa Bassin Series is the Saturday night Bassination Session. Rather than quickly hiding their successful lures and heading back to their own camps as happens in some tournaments, everyone gathers together and discusses the day’s fishing. The top anglers give descriptions of where, when and how they got their fish and offer tips to newcomers and old hands alike.
By 7pm there was a small sea of camp chairs and they weren’t disappointed. Lucky draw prizes from the tournament’s many sponsors were also drawn and there were some big smiles as the gear was distributed.
A great moment was when Dale Mullins donated his lucky prize back to the competition so a newcomer would have a chance at a prize. This was followed up on Sunday with Greenie donating part of his prize, getting a great response from the juniors and sub-juniors.
The concentrations of fish were more scattered and mobile for the final session, and many competitors were adding a shrug to their friendly waves as they passed each other.
It was great to see the spirit of the Series continue on the water with those who had cracked a fish giving advice to others throughout the session.
Trolling was a more popular option on Sunday as competitors tried to cover more ground seeking out the scattered fish.
Some big bags started to emerge at the weigh-in. Juniors Casey Blundell and Dylan Mott secured bags of 1.64 and 1.905kg respectively. Casey’s bag was big enough to secure her first place amongst a great field of juniors with a total catch of 3.270kg.
A new rising star may have been born at this tournament. Nine year old Zoe Stoddart grew as a series tournament angler and presenter over the weekend. Leading the pack on Saturday night Zoe won a few hearts when she was too shy to talk through the microphone. On Sunday she proved her competitive spirit with a second fish securing her lead and at the presentations she proudly told the crowd how she did it after receiving her prizes and certificate.
The lead kept changing as the senior bags continued rolling in: Welsh 1.920kg, Black 1.710kg, Mullins 2.005kg. It was an amazing 3.515kg bag from David Green that finally secured the top spot with a total weight of 7.420kg.
“I had been using SMAK spinnerbaits, but switched to trolling Sliders on #14 Nitro jigheads. It was most important to locate the fish on the sounder and then change the jighead to suit the depth as the fish were suspended at 14-18ft in 50-70ft of water,” David explained at the presentation.
The Big Bass went to Tracy Johnson with a 2.095kg thumper he picked up on a SMAK Spinnerbait.
Encouragement awards were also handed out. Matthew Mott represented evaKOOL iceboxes and presented the top encouragement prize to newcomer Linda Morgan, topping off the Morgan family’s weekend in a fantastic way.
If you have missed the first round don’t panic! The series takes your best four results out of the six rounds to determine Angler of the Year, and every round has great prizes.
Check out www.bassinqldseries.com.au for full tournament results, entry information, and the Bassin forums to discuss the series and all things Bassin. – Bassin Queensland
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