It’s 6am and I’m sitting on the edge of a bass lake in anticipation of what the day may hold. It could be any lake in NSW or Queensland but it’s not! It’s lake Bullen Merri in Victoria.
And why the anticipation – I’m wondering if any competitors will turn up for the only bass event run in the state – the Bullen Merri BASS Electric.
However by 6.30am my anticipation had turned to hope as 10 anglers rolled in, filled out their entry sheet and got their gear together for the 7am start.
Lake Bullen Merri is situated at Camperdown in the states southwest, approximately 2.5 hours drive from Melbourne. It is the site of an extinct volcano that has naturally filled over thousands of years with fresh water. It is a very deep lake reaching in excess of 120m at its centre. The lake has been stocked with Australian bass for the last 9 years and is holding substantial numbers of bass for the bass angler.
At 7am the competitors were away and for the next 6 hours they traverse the lake to find their targets – the Australian bass. To start, at least for the first few hours, all anglers are located at a point to the left at Potters Point where large numbers of bass school up and hold close to the bottom in water depths from 4.5m to 17m.
However catching these fish was to prove as difficult as always as a low pressure system had come through on the Friday before and to top this off the lake had a surface temperature of only 18.4 degrees.
At 1pm all anglers return to the weigh-in point to have their best two bass weighed and it was 32 year old school teacher from Warrnambool Mark Gercovich with a 2/2 bag weighing 2.08kg taking first place. Included in the bag was the big bass of 1.3kg. Mark caught all his fish on a Squidgy Spin rod, a Shimano Altegra reel spooled with 4lb Fireline and 12lb Berkley Vanish leader. The lure was a 65mm Squidgy Fish in Gary Glitter colouring on a 1/8oz jighead. As the fish were shut down Mark allowed the lure to sink to the rocky bottom of Potters Point and using very slow and short twitches, raised the lure from the bottom to gain the bites required.
In second place with a 1/2 limit weighing 840g was 29 year old Compleat Angler store manager Rudy Holzfeind. Rudy’s weapon of choice was a Team Daiwa Battler rod, a Team Daiwa Luvius reel spooled with 4lb Fireline and 8lb Momoi leader.
Rudy caught his bass on what could only be described as the most fitting of lure’s for these waters - a Rapala Ice Jig in brown trout colouring.
“I dropped the jig to the bottom and raised it slightly using short slow twitches of the rod. The shut down fish lightly taped the jig until hooked,” claimed Rudy.
Congratulations to both Mark and Rudy who have both qualified to gain entry to the BASS Electric Convention towards the end of the year.
With the field ranging from across Victoria, such as locals from Warrnambool and Timboon, to Geelong, Melbourne and Ballarat I wish to thank each of you for competing in the event and making the effort to travel many hours to do so.
This event should grow as more year classes of fish come into active feeding patterns and the anglers become more attuned with these southern bass that are definitely the hardest fish in the country to catch. – Stephen DuffReads: 2022