The TT Lures Lake Somerset BASS Pro Qualifier was an extravaganza held over the Anzac Day long weekend at Lake Somerset Holiday Park, Kirkleigh.
The spoils of the weekend, in one of the toughest Somerset BASS Pro tournaments we have seen, go to local Brisbane angler Steve Eldred. Consistently hitting the top ten over the last few years and runner up at last year’s Somerset tournament, Eldred broke through for his maiden victory and amassed a bounty of prizes, which included $3000 1st place cheque, $675 1st Pro cheque, $500 Big Bass cheque, two Quantum TE100HPT reels and a custom Gary Howard/TT Lures rod.
With a fishless pre-fish and a similar scenario on the two weekends prior to the ban, Eldred headed to Pelican Point with most other competitors in tow to fish the schools of bass.
“I found the schools on my Humminbird sounders in 19-24ft, but the arches were quite small, so I targeted individual bigger fish out wider and shallower,” said the Frogleys’ Pro staffer.
Targeting these bigger fish for the first hour with Atomic Metalz yielded no fish, so Eldred switched to his fly gear. Using a Reddington 9wt fly rod with an 11lb Unitika twisted leader, he threw Bass Vampire imitation flies tied by fellow competitor Adrian Melchior. These flies were tied on Gamakatsu no.4 hooks and had intermediate glow eyes.
Allowing the fly to sink to the bottom, Eldred used a slow to medium strip retrieve. Persisting with the tough conditions, he scored a bite, only to be snagged by the fish. Using his Minn Kota to drive over the top of the fish he was able to free the bass and after a 6-7 minute tussle netted the weekend’s big bass of 2.83kg. As the results turned out, this fish alone would have won him the tournament. But, it was not over yet and Somerset renown for its big bass, could easily change the leader board.
“I returned in the second session, hooking seven undersize fish in about 45 minutes before I landed a legal on a fast strip,” he said.
After a minute silence for Anzac Day, Eldred headed out in pole position on day two, with almost a 2kg lead over his nearest competitor. The pressure was mounting. He watched as Stephen Kanowski landed his 2.49kg bass and when he did not boat a fish for the session was nervous about the end result, knowing that one of the other 71 boaters could have easily landed two big fish and taken out the tournament.
Fortune fell Eldred’s way and he claimed his first win of his career.
Runner up Carl Jocumsen caught the most fish of any competitor for the weekend, scoring 4/6, 2.63kg, but the quality was not enough to get him across the line.
Jocumsen headed to Pelican Point in the first session and like most anglers found the fishing tough and returned to the weigh in with an empty well.
“In the second session I thought I would try something out of the ordinary,” said Jocumsen.
“With the fishing tough and plenty of angling pressure I felt the bass might push to structure, so I headed to the trees at the mouth of nearby Wyangi Creek,” he said.
Using a Millerod 7’2” Bass Buster matched to a Shimano Twin Power 2500 reel spooled with 3lb Stren Microfuse and 8lb Unitika leader, Carl threw a new Bassman Compact Spinnerbait 5/8oz black/gold with downsized tandem blades.
From the second tree, he scored a 34cm bass on the drop and with his non boater landing a 25lb Mary River Cod from the third tree; Carl knew his hunch was right.
Quickly landed his second bass and filing his limit, Jocumsen sounded another set of trees and found fish holding tight to structure with his Humminbird sounder. He returned to the weigh in with this knowledge up his sleeve for Day 2.
At the beginning of session three Carl hunted for that lucrative big bass at Pelican Point, but quickly moved to his trees where he landed another two legal bass on the same Bassman Compact spinnerbait.
“You had to land the lure close to the tree and use a constant slow roll, the lure would get hit several times before hooking up,” he said.
Champion non boater Matt Hawkless claimed his second career victory with 3/6, 2.52kg. His weapon of choice was a 7ft 6-10lb Daiwa Heartland XA rod matched to a 2000 Heartland reel spooled with 12lb Sunline Castaway and 10lb Sunline FC Rock.
Hawkless claimed his session two bag on a 1/2oz Bassman spinnerbait brown/gold/black lure. Fishing the edges opposite the Spit with boater Jody Vernon, he targeted sticks and points close to the edge with a sink to the bottom followed by a slow roll and pause retrieve.
Day two saw Hawkless fishing with Adrian Melchior in the bay opposite Pelican Point, where he landed a small bass on an Ecogear VX40 blade in colour 405 (gold/red with black stripes). Finding active schools in 14ft of water he would let the lure sink to the bottom and wind the reel 10 times before opening the bail up and sinking the lure once again. It was on the second retrieve that he scored his fish, landing eight undersize bass before he landed his solitary legal fish for the session.
With 133 competitors and a crowd of campers and watercraft users it was a busy weekend, but thoroughly enjoyed by competitors even though the bass were tight lipped. The Battery Traders vouchers for each session went to Greg Munro, Toby Wilson and Stephen Kanowski for their big fish, proudly donated by event victor Steve Eldred.
Event sponsors TT Lures catered the Friday night briefing for all anglers involved with a spit roast dinner, lure giveaways and cold drinks after every fishing session. A much appreciated effort for all those involved.
Proud ABT sponsors EJ Todd hosted Sunline Bass Pro angler Katsutoshi ‘Kats’ Furusawa. Kats has fished competitively in both Japan and the FLW in America. Taking part in his first ABT event and promoting the new Sunline Shooter and BMS fluorocarbon range, we thank him for his participation.
We now look toward the third event in the 2010 Quantum BASS Pro season at Lake Boondooma, June 26-27.
For more information visit www.australianbass.com.au or phone ABT on 07 3387 0888.
|1||Steve ELDRED||2/6||3.91||$3000 + prizes, $500 Big Bass, $675 1st Pro|
|2||Carl JOCUMSEN||4/6||2.63||$1600 + prizes, $405 2nd Pro|
|3||Stephen KANOWSKI||1/6||2.49||$1250+ prizes|
|13||Steven OTTO||2/6||1.21||$250, 3rd Pro $270|