Wet and gloomy conditions greeted anglers as they made their way to the start line for the 2005 Yamaha St Clair BASS Pro qualifying round.
Under a backdrop of cloud-capped mountains, 131 anglers headed off in pursuit of their quarry.
It was Jay Morgan, a 25-year-old tackle store manager from Brisbane, who ended up topping the field. It was Jay’s first win in a BASS Pro event, with a 6/6 fish, 8.41kg tournament limit that earned him $3000.
Snapping close at Morgan’s heels was last year’s grand final winner David Green, who compiled a 6/6 fish, 7.31kg tournament limit to secure a $1500 prize cheque.
Morgan spent his time fishing the lower reaches of the waterway, targeting schooled and scattered fish located in one of the expansive bays on the eastern side of the dam.
Focusing on areas that varied from 40-45 feet deep, Morgan pinpointed fish with his sounder, identifying showings that ranged from small pods of scattered fish to larger active schools. He then deployed a jighead-rigged soft plastic, freefalling it past the fish before retrieving it back past them with a slow rolling retrieve.
“For the fish on the bottom it was simple,” he said. “I dropped the plastic to the bottom, slow rolled it back through the fish, maybe 10 turns of the reel past where they were, then dropped it back down and did it again.”
While many other anglers used soft plastics throughout the tournament, Morgan’s choice of brand, model and colour played an important role in his success.
With Ecogear his brand of choice, Morgan found the medium-sized Grass Minnow (silver on top and red underneath) rigged on 1/2oz TT 4/0 Light Wire jighead, sweetened with garlic Slim It, to be the winning ticket.
Morgan’s rod and reel outfit included a 7’ Pflueger Trion rod matched to a Pflueger Medallist 035 reel spooled with 6lb green Fireline, and finished off with 10lb Yamatoyo fluorocarbon leader.
Event runner-up David Green showed equal skill on the deep water St Clair bass. Also targeting schooled and scattered fish, Green fished within sight of the boat ramp, focusing on areas up to 60 feet deep, where he presented soft plastics to suspended bass holding at around 20-35 feet.
Generally identifying single and small groups of fish, Green usually opted for a vertical presentation. Feeding the lure down the transducer beam, Green counted the lure down and past the fish before slow rolling it back through them.
Like Morgan, Green also used Ecogear soft plastics to compile his limits, but opted instead for a 3” Power Shad (Rainbow Trout) rigged on 1/2oz and 5/8oz Nitro Jigheads. His outfit was an Angler Stealth DCX 841, 7’, 1-2kg, rod, matched to a Team Daiwa Advantage 1500 reel loaded with 6lb fluoro green Fireline, and finished off with 10lb Yamatoyo fluorocarbon leader.
While the event saw a host of impressive bass delivered to the weighmaster’s scales, one fish clearly stood out. The crowd at the weigh-in was dumbfounded by Danny Robinson’s 2.70kg specimen, which easily claimed the Daiwa Big Bass title. Robinson’s mammoth fish won him a Team Daiwa Advantage 150H baitcaster reel and $500.
For more information on the BASS pro series visit www.australianbass.com.au or phone Simon Goldsmith during business hours on 0427 32 64 64 or (07) 3268 3992. – ABT