75 anglers descended upon the fish-rich and much revered waters of Lake Wivenhoe for the climactic event of the 2005 BASS Electric Series – the MotorGuide BASS Electric Convention.
Coming from 23 qualifying events across the east coast, the event presented competitors with two fishing sessions, a casting competition and a BASS trivia quiz.
On day one in the mid-week tournament, anglers were allowed to weigh their two largest fish. Gary Fitzgerald of Albany Creek showed his knowledge and experience to win this first session.
Compiling a 2/2, 5.09kg limit, Fitzgerald let everyone know he was the one to chase when it came to catching the big bass for which Wivenhoe is famous. Fishing the middle reaches of the dam out from Billy’s Bay, and travelling up to an hour and a half each way to reach his fish, Fitzgerald or ‘Fitzy’ targeted bass holding in 32-40ft.
Once he had located the fish with his side imaging 987 Humminbird sounder, Fitzy opted for an old-school bass lure, a 40g Raider slug, to tempt them.
“The secret was to work the lure fast. I wanted to keep it moving quickly, otherwise the catfish would get it,” Fitzy explained.
Fitzgerald would cast his lure away from the boat, allowing it to sink to the bottom. “I’d then give it six or seven quick burns of the reel before letting it to sink back to the bottom. If I got a touch I’d just feed it back to the fish, and hopefully tempt it to take the lure,” Fitzgerald said.
The tackle used by Fitzgerald was straight out of his barra fishing bag, and included a E-Grell B4, 6’6” rod matched to a Daiwa Fuego reel, spooled with 30lb Bionic Braid, and finished off with a Rod Harrison Knotted Dog leader.
Raining on Fitzgerald’s parade was David Hislop of Morayfield, who won the second session of fishing.
There was a one-fish limit on day two, and Hislop delivered a 2.79kg fish to the scales to claim the second of the two MotorGuide electric motors on offer.
Hislop, like many anglers on the second day, chose to travel a considerable distance to find his bass, running as far as the main basin in the lower reaches of the waterway.
Once there Hislop targeted scattered fish, hugging the bottom in 30-45ft of water. He presented a Jackall 70 Mask Vib in ayu colour, free-falling it to the bottom before retrieving it back through the sounded fish with a lift and drop retrieve.
The outcome for Hislop was three bass, and a two-fish bag that would have worried the leaders the previous day.
Hislop used a 6’6”, custom-made, Gary Howard GLX G.Loomis spin rod, matched to a Daiwa 2000 TDA spin reel, spooled with 10lb Platypus Superbraid, and finished off with 10lb Berkley Vanish as leader.
Adding to the competitors’ list of competitive tasks was a trivia quiz on the Monday night briefing, and a casting competition following the Tuesday fishing session.
BASS Electric regular Roy Souter showed his level of ABT and BASS fishing knowledge picking up the prize for the trivia quiz, while recently crowned BASS Megabucks champion, Trevor Stead, claimed the mantle of number one caster, with his victory in the Tuesday afternoon cast-off.
Gary Fitzgerald once again showed he was the one to catch, adding the title of BASS Electric Convention Overall Champion to his list of achievements for the tournament. Winning a Guest charger to add to his MotorGuide electric motor, Fitzgerald walked away with a bounty of prizes and due reward for the hard work he’s put into the dam over the years.
2006 will see the BASS Electric Series return with the same number of events scheduled to take place in three states. For more information on the coming season keep an eye out for the 2006 ABT Tournament Anglers' Guide, due out in the January 2006, or visit www.australianbass.com.au. – ABT