FIRST-TIME ABT competitor Roger Apperley tapped into his extensive local knowledge to score a convincing win in the latest BASS Electric event. The comp was held on picturesque Danjeera Dam, 30km south-west of Apperley’s home town of Nowra, on the NSW south coast.
While the unseasonably cool, blustery and occasionally showery weather had the dam’s prolific population of small to middling bass in shut-down mode, Roger knew that slow, deep presentations along shoreline timber in the middle reaches of this pretty little impoundment could still fill his limit.
“During pre-fishing, I was regularly catching seven to nine bass in few hours using small plastics fished very slowly,” Apperley explained, while accepting his prize pack at the presentation ceremony. “Usually, there were only one or two fish over 30cm in a bag like that, but I knew that was probably all I needed, especially on such a cool day and with the barometer well down.”
Roger employed a pair of Shimano Squidgy Spin rods mated to Shimano Sahara reels, spooled with 4lb and 6lb Fireline and connected to leaders of 12lb Berkley Vanish, to work his magic. He tied his little car-topper tinnie to carefully selected trees and methodically worked the area around each stand of timber with a mix of brown and yellow Atomic and Slider T-tailed grubs rigged on 1/8oz (3.5g) jigheads.
“Basically, I’d make short casts and tweak the lure very slowly back to the boat,” Roger said. “Bites often came almost directly under the rod tip, and often after casting to the same area for 10 or 15 minutes.”
This slow and deep technique also produced Apperley’s all-important ‘kicker’ fish early in the session – a beautifully plump specimen of 36cm and 940g that secured Roger the Big Bass prize for the day.
“I started with a rush,” Roger admitted, “but after the first couple of hours, my boat mate, Steve Starling, began consistently out-fishing me by twitching a little Berkley Bass Minnow on a very light Squidgy Finesse jighead, so I switched to that combo for my last couple of hook-ups.”
Steve Starling was delighted to finish second in his first try at a BASS Electric, and at his first visit to Danjeera Dam.
“Roger and I have been mates for over 30 years,” Starlo said. “There’s always a degree of good-natured competition when we fish together, but we also have a lot of fun. Roger was really kicking my butt for the first few hours, but then I switched to a 2” Berkley Bass Minnow on a half gram No. 6 Squidgy Finesse jighead and really started whacking them. I ended up catching more than twice as many bass as Roger, but I just couldn’t match that big one he bagged early on. In the end, he pipped me by 20-odd grams!”
Starlo used a Shimano Stella 2500 reel spooled with 4lb Fireline and a 7’6” Ian Miller BreamBuster Ultra Finesse rod to cast his tiny offerings amongst the flooded timber, and admits to a few nervous moments extracting the larger fish on 6lb Nitlon leader material.
“What those little Danjeera bass lack in size, they sure make up for in fighting spirit!” Starlo said. “I thoroughly enjoyed my day on the water, and this certainly won’t be my last BASS Electric.”
Paul Weare secured third place and Mark Mangold took out fourth position in a competitive field of 46 anglers, who managed to present 18 bass over 30cm to the weigh-master and organiser, Ron Croker, at the end of the six-hour fishing session. However, loads of fish in the 20-30cm range were also landed, despite the adverse weather conditions, and all involved agreed that this bodes well for the future of Danjeera Dam as a thriving bass fishery. – ABT
Grand Final qualifiers