Tournament fishing unearthed ones of its youngest rising stars at the MotorGuide presented Boondooma round of the 2010 Quantum BASS Pro Series, with 16-year-old Noosa angler Callum Munro claiming victory over a talented field of competitors to secure his maiden BASS Pro win.
Compiling a 4/4, 2.7kg limit to secure the win at the third stop of the five event tour, Munro showed he is one to watch, with the Berkley wonder kin soundly relegating Quantum bass pro Matt Anderson (4/4, 2.25kg) to second place.
While the event failed to produce a reliable bite pattern for the majority of the field, it was a comparatively consistent pattern that Munro cracked during the Friday pre-fish that delivered him his richest payday to date on the BASS Pro tour.
“Like most I found little to get excited about during the pre-fish. There was however one small stretch near Boyne Rocks that produced a couple of undersize fish, so it was here that I decided to spend the tournament,” said Munro.
With his spot locked in and his eyes firmly on the sounder for scattered fish Munro plied the depths, working a Berkley Big Eye Blade down the underwater slope, from 10ft to 20ft of water, with a slow and methodical lift and drop and retrieve.
“There weren’t many fish and the ones that came through on the sounder were always tight to the bottom, so I made sure I kept the blade equally tight to the bottom,” explained Munro.
The approach was just what the fish wanted, with Munro landing 20 fish in session one, no fish in session two, and another 10 fish in session three. While the bite was far from red-hot, its consistency and predictability was enough to keep him focused on a possible top ten finish.
“The talk at the briefing was about how hard the fishing was and that few people were catching fish, so I thought if I stay on the fish I found and pick up a few I could do ok,” he said.
Munro’s game plan paid off to the tune of $2500 plus and a berth in the Quantum BASS Pro Grand Final.
While his choice of location and game plan played crucial roles in the victory, so did his selection of tackle. Munro’s arsenal comprised of a 6’8”, 3-5kg, Berkley Drop Shot Tournament Pro rod, Pflueger Supreme 2000 XTS reel, 3lb Berkley Fireline, and 8lb Berkley Vanish leader.
His money bait was a 34mm Berkley Big Eye Blade in bunyip colour and Munro attributed much of his success to the lure’s in-built sonic rattle.
“Most blades don’t have rattles only vibration as the lure is worked through the water, with the Big Eye there’s an added resonance due to the rattles and I think this made a difference and made the lure more appealing to the fish,” he said.
Fishing only his second event as a boater at Boondooma, Munro is now primed and ready to head south for the final qualify round of the year at Glenbawn and a chance to get to know the venue for the season ending Grand Final.
“The last round will be a great opportunity to pick up some knowledge for the GF. The pressure is off to quality for the final so all I really have to do is focus on getting to know the dam and getting ready for the Grand Final,” explained Munro.
Making it two-for-two at Boondooma was event runner-up Matt Anderson, with the 27-year-old Moree basser adding another podium finish to his CV. Fishing for a spinnerbait bite in the shallows Anderson focused on the Boyne River arm of the dam, keying in on a particular timber laden shallow location to catch his fish.
“There was a lot of people up the Boyne so I was looking for somewhere that no one else was fishing, and this one particular little shallow back water was just that,” said Anderson.
Heavily laden with standing and fallen timber the backwater featured a series of shallow bays interspersed by a deeper feeder channel.
“It was the super shallow bays (4ft) with the heaviest amount of timber that held the fish,” he said.
Using a 1/2oz tandem blade Bassman Spinnerbait in olive green, Anderson threw tight to the edge, retrieving the lure super slow so the blades were just ticking over and the lure was bumping its way through the timber.
“The water was dirty and the fish were relatively inactive so it was important to work the slow and keep it in their face as long as you could,” explained Anderson.
While the approach delivered Anderson his limit in both the second and third session, it was the quiet opening session on Saturday morning when he caught no fish that ultimately cost him victory.
“It took a while to pin down the exact location and technique on the first day. It wasn’t until the Saturday afternoon that I worked out the pattern, and once I did I had my limit in the well in about 20 minutes.”
The tackle he used to notch up his top two finish included a Millerod Blade Master Medium rod, Quantum Tour Edition TE100HPT reel, 8lb braid and 14lb fluorocarbon leader.
After the event Anderson was somewhat disheartened about again missing out on a victory at Boondooma.
“After finishing second in 2009 I set myself the goal of catching a full limit this year and hopefully making up for last year’s missed opportunity. In reality though I can’t be too down on myself, I’m in the final and I’m on track to finishing in the top ten of the AOY. And ultimately that’s what I really want to achieve this year,” he said.
Another angler repeating his fine performance from last year was champion non-boater Ashley Sims. Compiling a 1/6, 1.27kg bag for the tournament, the Fish ‘n’ Bits tackle store staff member from Toowoomba once again showed his prominence in the non-boater field, adding another tournament win to his growing list of bass fishing achievements.
Fishing with Danny Robinson on day one, Sims kick started his title defense in grand style, picking up his loan bass for the tournament early in the session on a 2.5” pumpkin seed coloured Atomic Ripperz paddle-tail near Pelican Point.
Rigged on a 3/8oz Nitro jighead, Sims tempted the bass with a text book bass retrieve, sinking the lure to the bottom before working it back to the boat with a twitch and roll retrieve. Pausing and twitching the lure as the bass bit, hit and missed the lure repeatedly.
“I reckon he hit the lure eight times before he finally ate the plastic,” said Sims.
Pulling the scales down to 1.27kg, the fish was enough to relegate Howard Althaus to second place with his 2/2, 1.15kg bag, and enough to once again deliver Sims the Quantum Big Bass Prize.
With $500 and a Quantum Tour Edition TE100HPT reel for his efforts Sims is all tackle and cashed up for the final round of the series in August, and in with a good chance to retain his Champion Non-boater AOY title from 2009.
Fellow Fish ‘n’ Bits staff member and multiple AOY champion Carl Jocumsen leads the battle for the boater crown, with the country’s number one ranked basser sitting atop of the list with 288 points.
With a 2nd, 5th, and 7th to his name for the year Jocumsen is on track for another Angler of the Year title. Will it be his or will someone stand in his way? The G.Loomis Lake Glenbawn BASS Pro, 21-22nd August is where it will be decided.
For entry and event information visit www.australianbass.com.au or phone ABT (07) 3387 0888. - ABT
Boater Top 10
Non-Boater Top 5