Somerset Dam finally fished to its potential at a BASS Pro event, with dozens of huge limits weighed by anglers fishing the final qualifying round of the 2005 Yamaha BASS Pro season – the Suncorp sponsored event.
Winner Steve 'Killer' Kanowski steadily ascended the leader board from session to session, taking the event and the prestigious BASS Pro Angler of the Year for 2005 with the one performance. His 6/6, 11.09kg bag eclipsed a fast-finishing Jason Ehrlich (6/6, 10.71kg) while Craig Simmons (6/6, 10.70kg), Greg Walton (6/6, 10.59kg) and Kerry Ehrlich (6/6, 10.44kg) filled the top five places.
Targeting breaklines in 9-12m (30-40ft) of water, Steve fished a couple of confidence lures as close to the bottom and as slowly as he could. Both were Slider grubs fished on 5/8oz Nitro Dam Deep jigheads and he alternated between smoke/yellow core and Tennessee shad colours.
“There was no speed that was too slow for the bass this weekend,” Steve explained, “and nearly every one of my fish ate the lure within a foot or two of the bottom.”
Slowing his drift in a stiff southeaster with a sea anchor, Steve said that it was an event where anglers needed to be in the right place at the right time. The bigger bass tended to bite in bursts.
“I had a horrible practice day on the Friday,” Killer recalled. “I only got one bite all day, so I just went back to spots that had produced for me in prior events and it paid off.”
Steve's tackle consisted of an Angler DCX 841 rod, Angler Stealth 2000 reel, 10lb PE braid and 12lb Yamatoyo leader.
Second-placed Jason Ehrlich also finished the event with a flurry, jumping from the 29th placed boater after session one to 17th overnight and into second place after session three.
“This is the best I've ever seen Somerset fish in a tournament – the lake handled the fishing pressure incredibly well,” Ehrlich observed. “But I had a feeling that it wouldn't be a bank bite this weekend because the winter's been too warm to really bring the fish up. There's been good schooled fish all winter.”
Jason also targeted bass on breaklines (the areas where flats drop off into the old riverbed) but most of his fish were caught in the 17-20ft zone.
“My pattern revolved around the soft Jackall Mask Vib 60 in pearl ayu colour. I'd cast the lure across the zone, let it sink to the bottom and retrieve it with a series of hops – usually three or four hops in rapid succession followed by a slow roll of a couple of metres. The bass always ate the bait on the drop after a hop or slow roll.
“I like the larger Mask as it sinks at a rate that bass like, and that's when it got bit,” Ehrlich explained.
Ehrlich added to the presentation by dipping his Mask in an old Berkley PowerBait bag with leftover imitation scales.
“It made it look even more real after I did that,” he concluded.
Ehrlich's Jackall was attached to a 15lb Vanish leader, 8lb XDS Fireline, a 7’ Strudwick SoftBodz rod and Shimano Sustain 1500 reel.
Non-boater Ian Pfingst was sitting in 93rd place after the second session, but a record-breaking session three limit, including the Daiwa Big Bass of 3.00kg, propelled him into the non-boater top ten.
The 5.68kg limit easily eclipsed Gavin Dunne's briefly-held 5.20kg record bag weighed at a recent BASS Electric event at Wivenhoe Dam, just downstream.
Ian landed the enormous pair on ice jigs in open water.
Stuart Fraser bagged the non-boater main prize with 6/6 bass for 9.83kg.
The closeness of the 2005 BASS Pro Angler of the Year race meant that final results had to be calculated after the event. Steve Kanowski's top three finishes pipped the incredibly consistent Carl Jocumsen, who didn't finish out of the top ten at any event during the season.
The award – to be presented at the Yamaha BASS Pro Grand Final at Lake Borumba – is Kanowski's second AOY title. He's the first to reclaim the award after losing it. – ABT
BASS Pro Results