Young Claims the Slam – Full Report

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Young Claims the Slam – Full Report

The Berkley B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Series is designed to test anglers on all levels, travelling through NSW and QLD for 7 months of the year the bass, locations, weather and water conditions change rapidly as temperatures saw into the mid to high 30’s and then into near freezing conditions in the winter months of St Clair. These changes test the angler’s abilities

Young Claims the Slam – Full Report

The Berkley B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Series is designed to test anglers on all levels, travelling through NSW and QLD for 7 months of the year the bass, locations, weather and water conditions change rapidly as temperatures saw into the mid to high 30’s and then into near freezing conditions in the winter months of St Clair. These changes test the angler’s abilities with the wands, test the boats, motors, electronics and fishing tackle to their limits and test the mental aptitude of the anglers when the going gets tough. Last weekend was one of those ultra-tough tests, with cyclonic conditions hitting the lake just days earlier and an influx of water pushing through the lake, the bass had changed significantly which made adjustment an essential ingredient to be successful.

One angler stood above all others in the Garmin Somerset Slam, Dave Young from Brisbane discarded the spin and bait casting outfits and went with his gut to an older method found very successful of years past. The fly was brought back and it may have some of the newer anglers researching hard over the next months to secure the ability to compete at this level in the future.

Dave Young has years of experience with the fly, fishing with some of the absolute guru’s over the years he has built confidence in the ability to produce bites when the going gets tough. Fly isn’t something that you just pick up and cast at a tournament, you need to perfect retrieves and work on presentation before you even consider peel line from the reel. The presentation isn’t as quick as regular lure placements, so you need to understand the small details going into the effort and have patience that it’s going to work from outset.

This win has eluded Young for some time in the B.A.S.S. circuit, with some ultra-close finishes in both the singles and team’s events, he has been knocking on the door since season one and finally broke through the invisible barrier. This could be a start of something very special for Young as once anglers have that first break through they find it easier and easier to find another, will this be the start of a dynasty for Dave Young, only time will tell.

In Co-Angler ranks Jayden Fox who is quiet new to the series also broke through for his maiden B.A.S.S. win, making it 3 different winners in both the pro and co-angler division at the half way point of the qualifying season. Jayden is a very humble, quiet spoken young man, with a passion for bass fishing, who can now relax for the remainder of the season as he has instantly qualified for the Berkley B.A.S.S. Australian Championship later in the year.

With such tough conditions, Jayden did extremely well to make it to the stage at all 3 sessions and over run Craig Hanlon’s massive start after the opening session.

With 90 anglers hitting the water we had a total of 96 fish hit the scales, which is classed as one of the toughest rounds ever on Lake Somerset, but with the weather settling the lake will return to its former glory and the big numbers will be hitting the decks over the next few weeks.


Champion Angler

Dave Young – 4/6 – 5.43kg - Garmin Somerset Slam Champion Trophy, Garmin $3,400.00 Cheque, Garmin Quatix 5 Watch.

Like many of the other anglers in the tournament, Young had a very solid practice period before the official blackout period, focusing on schooled fish on the bottom side of Pelican Point, he rotated through various techniques, but most importantly when the bite got tough he managed some very good bass on fly. His plan was to use lipless crankbaits and the spoons for the early period and then when the pressure got too much adjust the presentation to fly.

With his Saturday morning not going to plan, he actually had a lot of trouble finding fish for this full session. As he mentioned he just couldn’t get a solid amount of bass on his sounder, which was one of the most critical elements of his technique for the weekend. Basically if he couldn’t see them, he just couldn’t get bites.

In session two it all changed up and he found an area that had good numbers of bass coming through on his Lowrance electronics, sitting in 16-18 foot of water, he knew that he had the right location and area to produce solid bass. The technique involved positioning the boat directly over the shows of bass on the sounder and making a long cast into the teeth of the breeze with his Temple Fork Outfitters (TFO) BVK 7 weight fly rod & Snowbee Onyx 5/7 combo.

Once the cast was made it was critical to count the fly down correctly as it sinks slowly to the bottom.  If the fly didn't sink far enough the fish wouldn't have an opportunity to find it, so early on he let it sink to far and the fly would get snagged or fouled up on the silty bottom.  Once he got his count down sorted he was then able to very slowly creep the fly along the bottom, the sensitivity of the TFO BVK rod allowed him to feel the fly ticking along the bottom and eventually the strong sharp thump of an interested fish.  The bites varied from subtle ticks to super aggressive attacks with heavy lunges and pulls of the Anglers Streamer Express fly line. 

Like the majority other tournaments that Young has used fly, he went back to his faithful Gavin Dunne tied Wolverine in black & Olive colour attached to a Sunline V-Plus 10lb tippet.

One thing is for sure, Young has the talent to step up and have a crack at the Motackle Top 12 AOY Invitational, the AOY and the Berkley Championship. With solid results around the entire country, it is going to be interesting to see if he continues after those goals or prepares for the Championship, only time will tell.


2nd Place Pro

Michael “Paddy” O’Dowd – 4/6 – 4.64kg - Garmin Somerset Slam 2nd Place Trophy, Garmin $1,800.00 Cheque, Garmin Virb Ultra 30 Camera, Gangster Lures Session Prize Pack

Stepping up from the Co-Angler ranks this season is a big task for any angler, and Michael O’Dowd has made the transition with flying colours managing a 2nd place against an ultra-high quality field. With multiple Australian Champions competing over the weekend, O’Dowd brought to the scales some real quality and was able to focus the entire weekend on what was important, his technique.

The technique involved using small 18gram Nories Wasabi Spoons in the BR264 colour and only fishing them very slowly and close to the bottom of the lake bed. Using a 1, 2 wind technique where he would just wind it up off the bottom for a couple of cranks, then allow it flutter to the bottom worked a treat and really put the quality in the boat. O’Dowd contributed this presentation as something he had learnt while on charter with Matthew Langford some time earlier, and he really feels like Langford put him on the right track for this event.

Matching a Samurai RE302-70 6-12lb rod with a Ci4 reel he used 10lb mainline and fluorocarbon leader material to stay connected to the bass, he used this technique to upgrade 4 times during the afternoon session on Saturday which put him in the number one spot for Sunday morning.

Speaking to O’Dowd after the event he has one main focus this season and that’s to make the Motackle Top 12 AOY Invitational and have the shot at $10,000.00. With only 2 events under his belt he currently sits at the 22nd spot and with 2 more home lakes on his horizon over the next few months will be working hard securing quality results to make it.


3rd Place Pro

Callum Munro – 6/6 – 4.60kg - Garmin Somerset Slam 3rd Place Trophy, Garmin $800.00 Cheque,

The comeback kid did himself and his family really proud over the weekend, being the only angler to really step outside the box and find something a little different away from the pack, securing a full limit and nearly taking out the win.

Having a very solid practice before the official black out period Munro was confident that this event would be one with absolute huge bags, but as we know the weather gods played havoc and he had to look for something a little different.

Finding good numbers of fish located just inside the 6 knot zone and Pelican Point being very crowded, this backup plan had him playing little with the field during the competition. He would initially head to Pelican for an hour or so, then shoot up to the Kirkleagh 6 knot zone for an hour to secure his small limit, and get out of there before anyone caught what he was doing.

This worked very well, but after the event he was thinking that maybe he should have spent more time at the location and tried to upgrade, as some quality was located there. Munro actually spent the entire last session there and managed over 40 fish for the session using Evergreen Little Max Blades in a multitude of colours.

Munro’s blading combo included an Abu Garcia Salty Stage KRX 721 2-6kg rod matched with a Abu Garcia MGX 2000 reel spooled with the new Berkley Fireline Ultra 8 in 6lb weight and Berkley Vanish 10lb leader material. He mentioned that the Salty Stage was the perfect rod for this technique as he didn’t pull hooks or miss fish with it sensitivity.

Still at a young age, Munro has already reached the top of the game a few years back, but with a new age of anglers, more intense competition and larger prize pools than ever seen before, he has lot more to gain with successful results. Munro is a real contender for any of the titles, and he seemed very passionate about getting back into the tournaments at his first event for the 2018 season.


Champion Co-Angler

Jayden Fox – 4/6 – 1.78kg - Garmin Somerset Slam Champion Co-Angler Champion Trophy, Garmin $770.00 Cheque, Berkley Champion Prize Pack, Atomic Rod, Garmin GPSMAP78 Hand Held

Jayden Fox is only relatively new to the Berkley Series and has taken home a cracking prize pool for the co-anglers including the Garmin Hand Held GPS unit and $770 in cash.

Being in the Co-Angler seat means that you need to be able to adjust, and you need to be able to fish multiple patterns across the weekend and Fox fished nearly the entire lake and caught fish at every location over the weekend.

His confidence lure of choice was the Nories Wasabi Spoon and he found he could get bites replicating the retrieve and presentation everywhere he fished.

Fox used a Shimano T-Curve 205kg matched with a Sustain 300 reel with 10lb Sunline mainline and leader material as his spoon outfits. The big 300 reel gave him an edge as he felt he could get the lure out a little further than his competition which allowed the lure to stay in the strike zone for a longer period. Considering the main objective is to keep the spoon travelling along as flat as possible through the schools this is definitely a smart move on his behalf.

Fishing with Munro in the last session Fox didn’t apply any pressure to himself and went out and caught his limit easily on the last session, catapulting him over Craig Hanlon and giving him the win.

With only 2 rounds under his belt this seriously puts Fox is in competition for the Angler of the Year and the amazing Tabs Boat & Honda Marine package. In 22nd place and with a tournament to spare he is only 103 points off the leader, so look out for him in the remainder of the season.


2nd Co-Angler

Craig Hanlon – 2/6 – 3.77kg - Berkley Prize Pack, Atomic Arrowz, Gangster Lures Session Prize Pack

Hanlon took the pack by storm in the first session weighing-in the largest sack of the event and using something a lot different to the rest of the field. Practicing with Dayne Taylor they had caught a nice sized bass that had a red claw tentacle poking out its mouth, so they went to skirted jigs which produced immediate success.

Using his Jackall Football Jig rigged with Berkley Gulp Crabby Trailer, the lure represented a small red claw very well and the big bass just loved to eat it. Using short sharp hops around 30-60 cms from the bottom, the imitation worked a treat, and he was able to load up the JDM 3-7kg 6”8’ Daiwa Blazon medium taper bait cast rod 3 times during the first session. Landing 2 x 50 cm plus bass in one session is an amazing accomplishment and he upgraded his mainline to Siglon PE8X 25lb and topped it off with 8lb FC Rock leader material. The small leader came back to haunt him as early Sunday morning he had a great opportunity to land a larger fish, but the leader gave away at the critical moment.

Hanlon noted that he had quite a few other hook ups and hits during the weekend, but the large weed guard presented some real problems for him. He could feel the bass suck the lure in, but when he went to set the hook the lure would pull out all too easily.

This 2nd place puts Hanlon at the head of the pack in the Berkley Co-Angler of the Year points race and substantiates him as favorite at the half way point. With the TABS Boats & Honda Motor package up for grabs he has already entered and focused on the remaining season.


3rd Co-Angler

Andrew Carlyle – 2/6 – 2.64kg - Berkley Prize Pack,

Andrew Carlyle has had some great results over the past few years claiming a title on Boondooma and is ready to launch into the Berkley Co-Angler of the Year race.

With a solid practice he had found that spoons would be his go to lure presentation throughout the entire weekend, using the Palms Slow Batt in 30-gram Silver as his main approach. Andrew’s Spoon presentation gear consisted of a Atomic Arrowz 6-12lb spin outfit with a Sustain 2500 reel spooled with 10ln mainline and 12lb leader material.

This 3rd place saw him take home a great prize pack and has him sitting towards the top of the AOY with the anglers who have only done 2 events. With a minimum of 4 counted he has Boonodmma, Cania and St Clair on his radar and does have the ability to bring it home.


Tonic Big Bass

Bob Schmahl – 2.47kg bass – Tonic Eyewear & Gangster Lures Session Prize Pack

The Tonic Big Bass of the event was caught by Bob Schmahl who landed a cracking 2.47kg bass in the final session on a 20 gram Halco Twisty at Pelican Point. He mentioned to us that it is a new personal best bass and that it looked that big he was shaking when it hit the net at the side of the bass boat. Bob took home a pair of Tonic Eyewear worth around $270 and is looking forward to the next round on Cania.


The Somerset Slam Wrap.

Special thanks needs to go out the Gordon Tripplett from Garmin who came out and supported the event, we see how the products are improving so much and we look forward to the new products they have install for this season.

Ming, and Jayson from Berkley were also on site and the anglers got to look over some of the newer products that they are displaying for the freshwater market. Some very exciting news for Berkley fans as they will be launching some quality gear soon.

Thanks to the B.A.S.S. Team, Tracy Brown & Cameron Jones for helping us out, the tournaments are so much more enjoyable and professional since they have been on board.

Thanks to the Lake Somerset Holiday Park as always a great location to run the events, and thanks to all the anglers who competed so hard in such trying conditions. Next up we head to Cania for the Tonic Cania Clash, which is known to be the Glenbawn of Queensland. Big fish, big numbers and hard pulling bass are on order, so get over to the registration page and enter now to secure your spot.