Robinson flies to victory
  |  First Published: August 2004

A CLEAR and crisp weekend on Queensland’s Somerset Dam saw 59 boats and 116 anglers battle not only each other, but also the tough fishing. The battle of attrition finally saw one person prevail – 39-year-old Muswellbrook underground coal miner Andrew Robinson. With a total of five fish for 8.79kg he snatched the lead in the third and final session, taking home the $2500 winner’s cheque.

On a dam littered with showings of fish on the competitors’ sounders, Robinson’s decision to use fly for the weekend proved successful. Second-placed angler Mike DeLisser (6/6, 8.34kg) also used fly to fill out his bag. The remaining top five positions were filled by Steve Kanowski (6/6, 7.48kg), Matt Fraser (5/6, 6.61kg) and Tony Payne (4/6, 6.12kg).

Robinson showed that his recent learning curve on fly-caught bass was a great technique to add to his substantial bass arsenal, and his nickname of ‘The Guru of Glenbawn’, extends much farther than the bound of the big bass dam of the Hunter Valley.

Fishing Pelican Point, Robinson concentrated his efforts on the flats adjacent to the old creek bed. Robinson presented his fly to small showings of fish holding on the bottom in water ranging in depth from 10-20 feet.

Using the popular Vampire fly (green and black), Robinson presented the offering to the bottom-hugging bass with a three short strips retrieve, followed by a 5-10 second pause. The takes varied between a slight peck to a purposeful take that saw one of his landed fish slide into the landing net with only the leader sticking out of its mouth. The more subtle and tentative takes required Robinson to mend a lot of line, and to manipulate his outfit and the fish to encourage it take the fly and get the hook-up.

Using a 7wt Black Diamond Deepwater fly rod, Robinson combined it with a Striper Taper IV fly line, and twisted 8lb Nitlon as his tippet and connection with his fly.

Robinson attributed his victory to two factors.

“My decision to use fly was the first thing that contributed to my win,” he said. “With the dam fishing the way it is at the moment I decided that fly was the best way to consistently catch fish, and I’m over the moon that I made the right choice.

“I couldn’t have made the decision if it wasn’t for the group of guys that I pre-fished with two weeks earlier. They’re a great bunch of guys, and it’s a dynamic environment where we all share information. Much of this victory has to go to those guys, and that week's pre-fishing.”

The dominance of fly on the waterway over the weekend extended to second place getter Mike DeLisser waving the wand to bag his six-fish limit, and his $1200 cheque.

In the same vein as Robinson, DeLisser targeted the bottom hugging and shutdown fish, sharing his fishing time between the highly popular Pelican Point and Red Buoy Bay areas.

Concentrating his efforts on the small groups and individual showings of fish, DeLisser relied heavily on his water parachute to slow his drift during the windy periods. This enabled him to keep his Vampire fly in the zone and in front of the fish.

His choice of outfit and tackle included a Scott A2, 7wt fly rod, Striper Taper VII line, and a 15-foot twisted tippet, rolled out of 14lb Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon.

The success of the weekend saw DeLisser not only walk away with second place and the cheque that comes with it, but as the highest placed boater using a Yamaha outboard he also secured the additional Yamaha prize pack generously donated by the event sponsor.

The Amateur (non-boater) division was hotly contested, with ABT tournament newcomer Kiel Okaokaita testing the presenter’s ability to pronounce his name but also snaring the first place non-boater prize of a Scott fly rod.

During the tournament, Somerset certainly lived up to its reputation of producing some of the biggest bass in the country. The ABT Big Bass record – set at last year’s event by David Green (3.08kg) – was smashed by Tony Evans’s titanic 3.37kg specimen at this year’s tournament. It earned Tony the Daiwa Big Bass prize and it was large enough to anchor his 3/6 tournament bag, putting him at seventh place overall.

The Yamaha BASS Pro Series now moves onto the southern waters of Lake StClair on the weekend of August 14-15. As it’s the final chance for anglers to qualify for the Yamaha BASS Pro Grand Final, it should be hotly contested. For more information contact Simon Goldsmith, (07) 3268 3992 b/h, 0427 326 464, or visit www.australianbass.com.au for more details.

Local Area Sponsors: Brisbane Valley Anglers, All Site Rentals.


1Andrew ROBINSON58.79
2Mike DELISSER68.34
3Stephen KANOWSKI67.48
4Matt FRASER56.61
5Tony PAYNE46.12
6Kerry EHRLICH35.65
7Tony EVANS35.51
8Zach KRONK55.25
9Harry WATSON35.23
10Peter KEIDGE25.14
Daiwa Big BassTony Evans3.37kg


1) Dave Robinson with his final session bag of just under 5kg.

2) The new ABT Big Bass record was smashed at Somerset with this 3.37kg fish caught by Tony Evans.

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