After dropping 2m since the last ABT tournament, Lake Boondooma was a challenging arena for round five of the BASS Pro Series.
The 76 competitors managed to find bass scattered in a variety of areas including flats, drop-offs and weedy edges. With the fish spread so widely, there were plenty of options to explore.
It was Brisbane-based, Gavin Dunne, 33, who managed to fish his way to victory. The Queensland and NSW EcoGear tackle rep took the lead in the first session. He continued to produce quality fish in the second round, giving him an 800g lead on the closest competitor. Dunne managed to hold his position and claimed victory with a smaller bag in the last session. The six bass he presented to the weigh master totalled 6.32kg.
Gavin resorted to one of his most successful techniques - deep water flyfishing. The master of the fly, he located numerous fish holding in 7-10m of water around 200m west of The Islands. Dunne would drift along until he located several fish together and holding hard on the bottom. Once they were in casting range, he lowered the anchor and placed casts to the fish holding area.
“I fished a slow retrieve close to the bottom. The bites were subtle. They were all the same; the fish would pick up the fly and start swimming away with it before I’d set the hook,” said Dunne.
In the last session, Gavin moved from his deeper schooling fish to a weed edge on the opposite side of the dam.
“After a tip from Harry Watson, I decided to try my luck closer to the weed edge,” said Dunne.
With the boat in 5m of water Dunne delivered his fly to the weed edge. He then fished the fly down the contour of the weed and bottom back to the boat.
“The bass were coughing up small shrimp. To imitate the bait they were feeding on, I used short sharp strips,” said Dunne
He used a black Wolverine pattern fly and delivered the presentation using a new TFO six weight TICRX model fly rod. His line of choice was a fast sinking Striper Taper IV with an 11’ twisted leader of Harris fluorocarbon. Gavin used this same outfit in both of the locations he fished.
He was grateful to fellow competitors and showed them respect.
“The who shares wins concept paid off for me in this round. This year, my mates and I have been working together more often and the results have showed. I went into this tournament feeling confident after a great prefish and that confidence played a big part in my win,” finished Dunne.
In second place was the consistent Carl Jocumsen. Carl also wielded the fly rod to achieve his success. Weighing six bass for 6.22kg, Carl finished strongly, only 100g shy of Dunne’s total.
The 21 year old sales assistant from Mullet Gut Marine in Toowoomba found all of his fish close to the weed and along the banks of the dam.
“I fished all over the dam in all types of terrain. The fish were everywhere. It was just a matter of choosing a good looking bank that nobody had fished for a while,” said Carl.
Carl managed to catch between ten and fifteen legal sized bass each session. He would cast his fly to the weed edge on the steeper banks, then work it down the face of the weed and continue the retrieve along the bottom. In shallower country, he’d cast into the edge and strip the fly through broken weed before following the contour of the bottom back to the boat. With calm conditions, the weekend was ideal for Jocumsen to work the banks slowly under the power of his Minn Kota electric motor.
Added to Jocumsen’s second place kitty was the $500 Daiwa Big Bass cheque and Fuego baitcast reel. His fish tipped the scales at 1.69kg.
Winning the non-boater section was Jaimen Tunstall, 18. The apprentice floor layer from Kingaroy weighed five fish for 3.88kg. It was the youngster’s first ABT competition and he was rewarded for his effort with a Millerod and a great assortment of goodies in his prize pack.
“I just thought I’d come along to the comp to see if I liked it. I was lucky enough to walk away the non-boater winner,” said Tunstall.
All of Jaimen’s fish came from the weeded edges of the lake. He fished a T.D. Pro lipless crankbait in black/gold with a slow rolling retrieve all the way back to the boat. Tunstall’s boaters chose banks that were 2.5 to 4 metres deep below the boat.
“I really need to thank Bass To Barra Marine in Kingaroy for helping me out. Matthew Mott and Paul Cooper have helped out heaps by teaching me and setting me up,” said Tunstall.
With the final qualifying rounds over, boaters and non-boaters will be awaiting the announcement of the BASS Grand Final positions. Thirty boaters and thirty non-boaters will compete in this year’s grand final to be held at Lake Glenbawn on September 22-24. Check out www.australianbass.com.au for more information. – ABT