Last weekend was the 2018 season opener for BASS Australia Nation and it was ran out of Lismore on the NSW North Coast. Im a little late with this report but better late than never! Im going to try and do a V-Log directly after any future events so keep an eye out for those.
So where do I start – my average performance or my smashed motor?!?! No no its not as bad as it sounds, on both accounts!
I was super excited for this season for BASS Nation, especially with the first round being a river round, I knew I was going to feel much more at home. But as always happens with fishing, the curve ball comes in and things just dont seem to go right!
Dayne Taylor and I made the drive up Friday morning for a pre-fish, arriving at Lismore around 7.30am and people were already pulling out as we were putting in for a look around! We had a bit of a scope a few km’s down from Lismore, staying in the Wilson to start with, and managed to find a few fish on a pattern we thought for sure that no-one else would be using that weekend. The pattern was lightly weighted Gulp Jigging Shrimp pitched right into the trees and snags, and we managed a few fish doing it. Right we thought, thats a go.
We had a bit more of a drive around, heading to Coraki and up the Richmond a fair way. We didn’t fish hard but still found some so were happy with what we had planned to do.
I decided that I needed to do a bit of a control run to work out ‘taking it easy’ travel times for the comp days, so I decided to sit on 30knts from Coraki back to Lismore to see how long it took. We were cruising along fine almost back to the ramp when it happened. Yep, hit something. Now theres a lot of debris in the Wilson at the best of times, but this we never even saw – completely smooth water, not a ripple in sight and we managed to find some random log from along in the water column. And didnt it make a bloody mess of things!
Luckily enough (if I can call it that), the cavitation plate copped the brunt of it, being completely snapped off on one side, for the most part everything else survived – to a point to fish the weekend at least.
So onto day 1. I decided on going straight in with the jigging shrimp while my Co fished a white spinnerbait just like 75% of the rest of the field. After he had 2 in the well and a heap of bites I decided id made the wrong decision and made the switch. It took a while but I eventually put one in the well. Try as I might though, I couldnt put a second legal fish in the boat on day one. Very disappointed with myself.
My single fish hit the scales around half a kilo and put me down the bottom end of the field for day one.
Now a good tradesman never blames his tools they say, and Im not going to do that, but I do believe I was a little off my game because of what had happened with my motor the day before. I wasnt confident to push it, or travel a long distance as I just didnt know if there had been something significant done that I hadnt yet seen. Im not saying thats why I didnt get my fish but having it on my mind all day was definitely an attributing factor to my fishing performance in general I feel. At least after day one I felt a little better about running the boat a bit faster and a bit further.
So when day 2 rolled around I thought Id do just that. I still didnt go a long way, but I just felt better in what I was doing. Id listend to a few comments and spoke to some of the boys overnight and had decided that a Jackall Charablade was going to be my weapon of choice to start with on day 2. It was the right decision and I never fished anything else all day! I didnt have an amazing days fishing but compared to day one, I got a lot more bites, and had my 2 fish in the well nice and early. My second fish was a squeaker, bang on 31, so I said ‘as long as I move him on ill be satisfied’. It didnt take long and he was swapped out for a better model and I started to chill a bit. I knew I wasnt winning the comp after my day one outcome, so I was just happy to have my 2 in the well.
The Charablade turned out to be a great choice and I got hits and fish just about all day right to the end, but never found any monsters.
I finished up the comp in 21st, not a great result for the start of the season, but lets hope I can start finishing up in the top half of the field from here on.
The top winning tactics for the comp were actually quite varied also – Cody Haynes won the Pro Division and made a huge run from Lismore to Broadwater each day and fished cranks along the rock walls to make up just shy of 4kg. Lloyd Brown won the Co-angler division and even though he was with Cody on day one, said he fished topwater the whole tournament – he also weighed in the heaviest bag on the comp on day one and also big bass.
Danny Brookes got second in the Pro’s and he and I were leap froging each other down the river the entire weekend. He fished spinnerbaits and mumblers, much the same as I did, but cottoned onto a pattern with the bigger fish hanging around certain types of trees. I never figured that one out unfortunately. And young local Mackenzie scored second in the Co’s fishing cranks and beetle spins.
So the fishing was varied in tactics the won, but one thing that stoop out was Im pretty sure just about every person caught a fish on a spinnerbait or other skirted bait at some point over the weekend!
Cheers to Dayne Taylor for driving up with me for a pre-fish, and Craig Hanlon who couldnt get out of work so drove up with Daynes boat on the Friday evening – and managed a top 10 finish in his first ever BASS Australia Nation event!!