THE FIRST electric-only BASS tournament for the year was held on March 23 on Lenthalls Dam. This impoundment is close to Bundaberg, so I didn’t have to drive far.
By this time the dam had risen a couple of meters and had been running over the spillway for quite a while, and the water was also pretty dirty. Scott Bromly, a good mate of mine also from Bundaberg, and I joined the crew up on the hill on Friday night. There was the usual pre pre-fish social get-together, with myself and Jesse Lomas being the last men standing after pretty solid hit out.
Scott and I hit the water at around six in the morning, fishing out of one of Polycraft’s Tuff Tenders. At three metres long you wouldn’t think you could fit everything in it, but after fitting a bow mount MinnKota and a transom mount MinnKota, two batteries, a tackle box, live well and my Legend fish finder there was actually plenty of room.
We set off and headed into the left arm of the dam. After throwing spinnerbaits and hard-bodies around for a while and catching nothing, I decided to try a Pro Angler Bette Spin. I rigged a 3/8 Nitro jighead on it and put a 3’’ Slider on that, dipped it in Spike-it scent and away I went. I hadn’t used one these little lures before, but Jason Ehrlich had assured me that I needed to get some – so I did.
I finally caught a bass after about two hours of fishing, taken on the Bette Spin. 2002 BASS Pro winner Craig Simmons cruised past and stopped for a chat, saying he also was struggling a bit (not as much as me though). Scott and I decided to have a swim, and we were joined by a belly-flopping Tim ‘The Bream’ (a boy who makes a very big splash).
We then caught up with Jesse Lomas and cruised around together talking and fishing. Jesse nailed a nice legal bass on a Bette Spin rigged with an Ecogear single-tail plastic. I watched Jesse as he cast right into the flooded grass that lay in six inches of water. He then burned the spin out a couple of feet then slowed right down as to let it sink deeper. I started varying my retrieve from burning to slow rolling and stop starts, and this started to produce bass for me. They were all very small, but at least they were fish.
Upon returning to camp I caught up with Carl Jocumsen and Zac Kronk. Carl had a thumper of a yellowbelly in his livewell, and we snapped a couple of shots of the 3.5kg fish before releasing it.
On the Saturday night we prepared for the first session the next day. Retying leaders and slyly checking out what all the other guys were rigging for the next day kept us busy until the oncoming storm hit. High winds and torrential rain hit the camp and Scott’s little tent actually managed to stay together. It didn’t stay 100 percent dry, but we were happy enough that it rode it out.
As 5 o’clock hit and the rain stopped we rose to a clearing sky and a dropping breeze. I put the Polycraft in the water after draining the rain from it and headed to the start area.
After experiencing a couple of last season’s BASS Pro take-offs the Electric start was absolute hoot. Most boats were pretty evenly powered, so as we all took off up the dam in relative silence you could hear everyone chatting and laughing and carrying on.
My game plan was to hit a flooded grass bank that dropped into deep water just inside the middle arm of the dam – the spot where Jesse and I had pulled a couple of fish the day before. Jesse decided to fish in the first bay where he had also pulled a legal fish.
I approached my bank and let fly with my Bette Spin, retrieving slowly and stopping as it hit the drop-off. As it sunk it was nailed by a just undersized bass. I released this fish and my next cast was with a Bassman spinnerbait on my Black Diamond Bass Predator baitcaster. The Bassman was nailed hard and I had a legal fish of 32cm in the well.
During my next eight casts I alternated between the spinnerbait and the Bette Spin and each one caught a bass – only problem was they were all undersized! I kept with this alternating pattern and threw a lipless crankbait in the mix as well. The technique was working but unfortunately only on small bass.
I moved around locating plenty of fish on the Legend but could only manage to induce tentative strikes or hook-ups on small fish. The one small bass was all I had to trouble the weigh master with.
It was Peter Kiedge who won this Lenthalls BASS Electric tournament, and he did very well doing so. Peter’s technique was to fish an area he knew held decent fish, and he used a Harry Watson [ADD NAME OF LURE] lipless crankbait. Peter made changes from a rattler to a non-rattler when the fish went quiet, and caught plenty of bass that helped him upgrade to his winning limit.
Congratulations to all the guys who finished the Lenthalls tournament. You all fished well, except for Trent Butler who doughnutted and won’t live this down.
Matt Fraser and his brother are putting together a video on bass fishing in electric-only waterways, and it’s going to be called Electric Bassin’. These guys are responsible for the Dam Hot series of videos, which are certainly worth getting if you’re into your freshwater fishing.
In the Lenthalls tournament Matt finished a very respectable third, and along the way got some great footage. Matt used his own spinnerbaits and Whizbangers, worked shallow flooded bays in the right arm of the dam. This guy makes his own brand of jigheads and fishing accessories under the name of Nitro Fishing Technologies, and is making a really good product. If you’re interested in Mat’s videos or specialized tackle give him a call on (07) 3341 1883 and he’ll let you know where your nearest stockist is.
If you have any questions about the tournaments, people or tackle, just drop me a line at Topwater Sportfishing Adventures on (07) 4155 3357 or send me an email. And if you should see me at a BASS or BREAM event, come and say hello.
1) Lake Lenthalls fished a bit harder than usual during the tournament, but Jesse Lomas still managed to extract this quality fish.
2) During the tournament competitors concentrated on weedy edges that dropped into deep water.Reads: 665