What a weekend we had out on Lake Glenbawn for the 2nd round of the Berkley B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Series, the event simply couldn’t have gone better and the positive, friendly attitude surrounding the tournament can only be great for the sport.
The passion for tournament angling is alive and well, new faces, great support from the Berkley Team and a huge number bass weighed in at the location, made for one of the best tournaments we have ever been involved in.
A new comer to the pro ranks, Justin Evans stepped up on Lake Glenbawn and claimed his maiden title in a super tight tournament, fishing from a smaller platform Evans went big and landed the largest sack of the final session to claim the $3,400 Berkley Cash and instantly qualifies for the Championship in late August.
In the co-angler division, Cameron Ley also claimed his maiden title and had a very consistent tournament weighing in similar bags each session to claim his title.
The weather tested the anglers, with wind coming from the South East for the entire duration, pushing up to around 40 kmph at stages and making the main basin almost impassable. The 47 boats still brought in 475 bass to the weigh station over the 3 sessions which tells us that it’s time to get Gulping and head to Lake Glenbawn now!
Champion Pro Angler
Justin Evans – 6/6 – 6.00 kg – Berkley Champion Trophy, $3,400 Berkley Cheque, & $150 Berkley Bonus Bucks
Justin Evans is a quiet achiever with a huge passion for the tournaments he has genuinely put in the hard yards going from co-angler just a couple of years ago and moved up to the pro ranks last season. Living close by at Maitland he gets some time on the water and this win will definitely help him establish himself in the ranks as one of the favourites every time we head back to Glenbawn.
Fishing against a hugely talented field Evans was on the money from the very first turn of the handle matching the hatch with a Berkley Gulp Minnow Grub in Black colour to a Bassman ¼ ounce Black Jig head. The vertical presentation that is included within this technique allows the angler to target offshore suspended bass that are sitting in comfortable water conditions.
Justin used his sounder to locate 3 main areas that produced the winning bag, including Westin Bank before the boat harbour and different locations dotted around the main basin. He mentioned to us that the critical part of his Gulping technique included the use of his Duffrods Custom Grubbin Rod matched with a 1000 spin sized reel that kept the retrieve ultra-slow.
Justin used 6 pound Sunline mainline matched with 6 pound fluorocarbon leader that was 15-foot long, that increased his bites throughout the weekend.
As we mentioned Evans has already landed himself a spot in the Berkley B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Championship that will be held in late August, where the location is expected to be in NSW. This result will give him a great opportunity to launch into the season and maybe chase down the AOY, with 4 rounds still to go, he has every opportunity to make the largest event of the season and a shot at the trip of a lifetime fishing in the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship U.S.A.
2nd Place Pro Angler
David Lane – 6/6 – 6.00 kg – Berkley Trophy, $1,500 Berkley Cheque, Tonic Big Bass Eyewear.
Following a very solid pre-fish that included using Jigs and Keitech Crazy Flappers trailers a few weeks before the Berkley Round, Lane had no intention heading offshore to a technique that he is well known for mastering, the Gulping technique. With changes in weather, the bass decided to push offshore so headed out at the end of season one and struggled to 9:30 and without a fish in the well. He scrambled and went to some go to locations he had used in previous years and came back with a moderate 1.7 kg limit that had him less than mid pack.
In session two Lane stuck to the Gulping technique and brought in the largest sack of the tournament plus the Tonic Big Bass that weighed a massive 1.51 kg that gave him a great pair of Tonic Eyewear. Session 3 saw Lane land another quality bag that put him just short of the win, but he got a great $1,500.00 cheque for his efforts.
Lane likes to use the Berkley Gulp Minnow Grub in black colour, as he feels it definitely gets him more bites at this time of the year, he presented the lure in 40-45 foot of water, and uses a David Williamson built rod made perfectly for this presentation. He used a 1500 sized reel spooled with 4 kg mainline and 20 foot of fluorocarbon leader material.
Lane has had an exciting start to the season and is currently in 3rd place in the Angler of the Year, with the winner taking part in the 2019 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship as a co-angler in the U.S.A.
3rd Place Pro Angler
Mark Ferguson – 6/6 – 5.76 kg – Berkley 3rd Place Trophy, $800 Berkley Cheque.
Mark Ferguson is another angler who has come a long way with his fishing, starting out as a co-angler, Mark has worked hard on his techniques and is now competing for titles and AOY’s every year.
He was the only angler in the top 3 that went to fishing skirted jigs as his primary technique, but he also had the deadly Gulp Minnow Grub in black as a trailer to increase bites, mentioning to us that “they wouldn’t eat it, without one.”
Mark worked the jig in 20 foot of water on rocky lined banks and dragged it through cover and rocks as slow as possible to entice the bites. He matched a Abu Garcia Revo MGX 2500 to a Abu Garcia Salty Stage 4-7 kg rod with the new Berkley Fireline 8 in 10 pounds as a mainline and Berkley Vanish in 10 pounds as the leader material. He mentioned to us that he needed to work the lure as slow as possible, dead sticking it for some time, otherwise the bass wouldn’t go near the jig.
Mark had a great finish to last season ending up in 3rd place and winning the Team Championship, which gave him a trip to the U.S.A., which was a brilliant finish to his rookie seasons, and will again be looking to challenge the top ranks of the series.
Cameron Ley – 6/6 – 5.45 kg – Berkley Co-Angler Champion Trophy, $770 Berkley Cheque, Samurai Rod & Berkley Prize Pack
Cameron Ley took home some cracking prizes and a solid cheque by taking out the win in the co-angler ranks, and also used a vertical presentation of Berkley Gulp to tempt the larger species into biting down on the lure.
Unlike some of the other anglers Cameron found that he needed to stop the lure and do some tiny shakes to get the fish riled up, then he would start the retrieve up and they would attack the lure.
He used a combination of Abu Garcia Rod Reels that included the new ALX 2500 matched to an Abu Garcia KRX spooled with 5.5lb Berkley Exceed in crystal colour.
This win has put Cameron back in the race for the AOY title and has him sitting in striking distance at equal 3rd place with Craig Hanlon.
Keep an eye on how Ley and the other co-anglers go as they try and pursue the ultimate co-anger prize the Tabs Boat and Honda Marine Australia package.
2nd Place Co-Angler
Cameron Jones – 6/6 – 5.40 kg – Atomic Rod & Berkley Prize Pack
Cameron Jones is not only great on the microphone he has been working very hard on his NSW impoundment fishing over the Christmas break with his good friend Steven Chang, which helped him through this tournament greatly.
Another angler in the hunt for the AOY, Cameron was close last year and really trying to push himself to go one better and claim the boat and motor package from TABS Boats and Honda Marine. Currently sitting in 5th place he has plenty of time to make up the numbers and claim the title.
3rd Place Co-Angler
Jake Schwerin – 6/6 – 5.35 kg – Berkley Prize Pack
Jake Schwerin is ready to step up and take on all comers as he managed 3rd place and took the lead in the co-angler ranks of the Berkley B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Series.
Like 99% of the field the Berkley Gulping technique was critical, but he was focusing on deeper fish, around 50-60 foot of water. Slowing down the retrieve was also critical and like Cameron Ley, Schwerin would stop the lure and tap the back of the rod a little to get a reaction out of the bass not responding.
Another point of difference came in the colour choice of Schwerin’s lures, he matched a nitro ¼ ounce jig to a Berkley Gulp Minnow Grub in Camo colour which he trimmed the tail.
Using a Gloomis drop shot rod, he used the 6.6 pound Berkley Fireline Exceed mainline matched to 6 pound Unitika leader material and extended his leader to create more bites.
The Berkley Glenbawn Challenge Wrap
We have been involved in fishing tournaments around the country for well over 20 years both as event organisers and competitors, and this event has to be one that is right up towards the front for us. The comradery at this event is as good as we have seen it, with anglers giving new people time and everyone really enjoying themselves, which is the B.A.S.S. way of doing things. Every angler got time to talk and promote themselves on stage at this event, which is critical for anyone looking to get involved.
Luke Atkinson had an issue with a car accident coming to the tournament, we would like to thank Dale Johnson & Nathan Palmer for driving hours out of their way to pick him up and to give him a great weekend.
Special thanks to Anton and the Berkley team for getting involved at this event, every sponsor is critical and Berkley has been great part of this success story.
Next round sees us head to Lake Somerset and the land of the giants as the Garmin Somerset Slam is already shaping up to be a massive event. Great numbers have already entered, so get in fast to secure an early starting spot in this critical event.