The 2010 Humminbird Queensland Open produced the closest finish in the event’s four year history, with a mere 40g separating the top two teams with Team Lowrance/TT Lures’ Jay Perham and Darren Borg (13/15, 7.58kg) grabbing the narrowest of wins over Team Megabass’ Tristan Taylor and David McKenzie (15/15,7.54kg).
Confined to the waters of the Gold Coast and southern Moreton Bay on the first two day’s of competition Perham and Borg compiled a comprehensive 1.55kg lead over their nearest rivals heading into the final day and despite a tough and frustrating final day held on to secure the win over the 15 team field and claim the 2010 Open title and the $8000 first prize.
The first team to hit the stage at the Tinnie and Tackle show on the opening day of competition, Perham and Borg showed their intent for the event, muscling their way to the lead courtesy of their 3.44kg limit on day one and never letting it go.
“Day one was a dream start to event, we caught plenty of fish and a lot of the big fish we hooked stuck and we ended up putting together a great bag,” said Borg.
Fishing the Gold Coast Seaway and adjacent deep flats at Wavebreak Island Borg and Perham alternated techniques, starting out with a deep crankbait approach on the Seaway rock walls before fishing deep with plastics and blades.
“With the crankbait we’d wind the lure down until hit the rocks then we’d switch it back towards the boat keeping it close to the structure. The hits were aggressive with the bream slamming the lure as it twitched enticingly next to the rock, and regularly powering back to the structure to gain freedom.
“Jay lost about 10 lures doing this and I reckon if we landed all the big fish we hooked on the day we would have weighed a 4kg bag,” said Borg.
As the crankbait pattern tapered of the pair when deep, fishing a 15-20ft deep flat near Wavebreak Island with Ghost Blades and Switch Blades as their go-to lures.
“The blades were the gun lures down deep with their slim profile and shimmy on the lift and drop spot-on in the deeper water,” said Borg.
With a firm eye fixed on their Lowrance HDS sounder to pinpoint active schools of fish, the pair sank their 1/12oz TT Ghost Blades (golden noggin), and 1/8oz Switch Blades (golden noggin) to the bottom before using a slow roll lift-n-drop retrieve.
“The sounder was crucial for identifying the active fish and knowing exactly where they were in the water column and at what depth you needed to be working your lure through to get the fish,” said Jay.
While day one produced a steady stream of fish throughout the day, day two proved a lot tougher.
“It wasn’t easy on day two so we just rotated out spots, hitting each one, catching a couple of fish then moving on to the next spot to give the previous one a chance to recover,” said Borg.
The approach delivering the pair a 2.96kg bag, 500g larger than the next largest bag, and a comprehensive 1.5kg lead heading into the final day.
With easing conditions forecast for day three anglers for the first time in the event had a chance to fish the bay, and it was here that Perham and Borg hit their biggest obstacle for the tournament.
“We only had a small boat compared the rest of the field and this made it hard in the choppy conditions. The bow of the boat would lift in drop, and the foot of the electric motor would come out of the water making it hard to stay in contact with your lure, and more importantly hooked fish,” said Borg.
Targeting bommies and the face of the reefs scattered through the Redcliffe area Perham and Borg once again used a combination of crankbaits and blades, Jay focusing on the cranks and Darren fishing to his strength with the blades.
“The blades fished the best in the conditions, you could cast them tight to the edge of the structure, sink it into the strike zone then work it back,” said Borg.
With the bulk of the hits coming within the first couple of feet of the structure the hard part was muscling the fish back out once hooked as Darren explains.
“It was a matter of setting the hook, holding the rod high, winding like crazy and trying to maintain the pressure on the fish as the boat rose and fell with the waves.”
A string of lost fish and succession of three green waves breaking over the bow of the boat was enough for the pair and they retreated to calmer waters at Mud Island halfway through the session. Hooking and landing a heap of fish at their new location the pair failed to find the legal fish they needed.
“It was frustrating, we were catching fish, we just couldn’t get the legal ones we needed to complete a full limit for the tournament and eliminate the chance of getting caught by the chasing teams,” said Borg.
Heading back to the check-in area and weigh-in at the Tinnie and Tackle Show the pair were worried they hadn’t done enough to hold onto their lead and win the event.
The last team to weigh-in the pair needed only 1.14kg to secure victory. With only three fish in their bag, and one just legal fish at that, it was going to be close. As their bag hit the scales and 1.18kg ticked over on the display victory was theirs.
“I was so relieved when that weight came up on the scales,” said Borg.
“More often than not I’m the guy that’s getting beat by 40g rather than the guy who’s winning by 40g,” added Borg.
The tackle the winning pair used to secure their win included a custom made 7’ rod, Daiwa 2000 reel, spooled with 3lb Fireline and 6lb and 8lb Sunline fluorocarbon leader for Darren, while Jay opted for a 7’ Lamiglas XMG Finesse Elite rod, 2000 Daiwa TD Advantage reel, spooled with 4lb Sunline Basic FC for his crankbaits and a similar outfit spooled with 8lb Castaway PE and 4lb Sunline fluorocarbon for his blades.
While the TT Ghost and Switch blades were their go-to deep water lures, Jay’s standout crankbait was the deep Jackall Chubby in suji shrimp colour.
“I lost a lot of these over the weekend so a part of the prize money will go to buying a few more,” said Jay.
Pushing them all the way to the finish was event runners-up Taylor and McKenzie of Team Megabass. Fishing the canals of Soverign Island on the first two days the Megabass duo opted for a visual topwater approach to fill their bag. Throwing an Atomic K9 Pup the pair would walk their lures past the edges and sides of the pontoons, pausing the retrieve once the bream came out to investigate the surface intruder.
“The quick walk would get them interested then you had to pause it long enough to give them time to take it off the surface,” said Taylor.
While the pair were on a roll to filling out their limit a small mechanical mishap required a chance in location and technique.
“The electric broke in the first two hours to we hit the flats so we could throw crankbaits and drift with the wind,” said Taylor.
Leaping from one disaster to another the pair soon found themselves stuck on a sandbank and pushing hard to make sure they weren’t there for the rest of the session.
“We judged it wrong and found ourselves on a sand bank and on our way to being high and dry. We jumped in the water and with a bit of pushing and shoving soon had the Skeeter floating again,” said a relieved Taylor.
Cutting their losses the pair headed for their much loved Macleay Island and started throwing their go-to flats lures, an Atomic Hardz deep crank in ghost gill colour, worked with a slow rolling retrieve.
It didn’t take long and we had our limit and we were on our way to getting upgrades,” said Taylor.
Day two saw them back at Macleay and with dirty water as a result of the strong winds and currents the pair modified their technique to one more in tune to the turbid conditions.
“We started bouncing our Hardz into the rocks and added Mega Strike scent so the lures stood out in the water more,” said Tristan.
The change in tact paid off with the pair weighing in the second biggest bag for the day (2.46kg) and holding down second place heading into the final day.
With the bay open and Taylor and McKenzie jumping out of their skin to hit Peel Island the pair believed they had a chance to achieve a come-from-behind victory.
“We were going to need a big bag to peg back Jay and Dizzy, but I thought we had a chance, especially fishing the bay,” said Taylor.
Fishing Peel Island the pair once again went for their Atomic Hardz attack, this time switching it up with a surface lure, a Megabass Dog X Jnr to add additional spice to what they were offering.
“The Dog X allowed you to cover lots of water and get the attention of any active fish in the area, while the Hardz was on the job when it came to getting those active sub-surface fish mooching around in Peel’s rocky bottom,” said Taylor.
The second last team to weigh on the final day, Taylor’s and McKenzie’s 2.69kg gave them the hot seat for a while but in the end it wouldn’t prove enough to hold off Perham and Borg.
“We’re happy with second, but we would have liked first. One more upgrade was all we needed,” said a reflective Taylor.
The tackle the Megabass duo used over their three days of competition included Samurai 201 and 203 rods, matched to Daiwa Sol 2500 reels, and spooled with 10lb Unitika PE and 4lb Unitika fluorocarbon leader.
The 2010 QLD Open once again showed the dramatic face of tournament fishing, with a 40g winning margin and the weigh-in taking place in front of a capacity crowd at the Fishing Expo stage at the Tinnie and Tackle Show, anglers and spectators alike experienced first hand the excitement of the sport.
Event sponsor Humminbird added to the experience for many with the second and third placed teams taking home a Humminbird 798 SI and 788 sounder each, while each day a member of the crowd won a Humminbird 363 sounder by simply being at the weigh-in. The 2010 Humminbird QLD Open is sure to see the drama and rewards continue so don’t miss out when the Open returns to the Tinnie and Tackle Show next year.
1LOWRANCE/ TT LURES: Jay Perham and Darren Borg13/157.58$8,000
2MEGABASS: David McKenzie and Tristan Taylor15/157.54Prize
3GAMAKATSU: Michael Starkey and Jay Morgan13/156.88Prize
4HUMMINBIRD: Tim Morgan and Steve Morgan12/156.86
5BUSH N' BEACH/ BERKLEY: Chris Britton and Anthony Wishey13/156.18
6LUCKY CRAFT/ ATLINE TILING: Michael Horn and Brad Atley14/156.09
7PFLUEGER: Peter Leggett and Stephen Kanowski13/155.36
8GOLD COAST CITY MARINE/ATOMIC/SHARP PLYWOOD: Aaron Sharp and Robert March8/153.51