side rail test

Newcomers take out St Clair bass round

THE second round of the Daiwa Hobie Kayak Bass Series was held at Lake St Clair in the NSW Hunter Valley over the weekend where two “new bloods” to competitive kayak fishing took the honours.

Heavy rain and lightning on the Friday night and strong winds throughout the prefish day made things interesting but just as the bureau predicted the Sunday morning dawned with perfect weather that lasted throughout the fishing session. The bite leading up to the weekend had been hot with a rise in water level bringing the fish that are usually suspended in deeper water this time of year to the edge to feed over the newly flooded ground. Whilst the bite had slowed down somewhat, the fish were still related to the edge of the lake in the low light of the morning and then moved to deeper water just off the edge as the sun rose.

The eventual winner, Mark Muggleton took advantage of the early, low light bite right on the edge and got his limit of three in the first 15 minutes of fishing including the eventual Hogs Breath Café Boss Hog of 41cm. The Boss Hog was caught on chartreuse with pink head O.S.P. Bent Minnow.

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During the morning as the sun rose and the edge bite slowed the Singleton local moved out wider and targeted the fish he had marked on his Lowrance HDS5. While floating over them fishing the edge with the Bent Minnow and switched to a Beetle Spin rigged Berkley Powerbait T-tail Minnow in olive pearl rigged on a 1/6 head that he had painted the night before with lime green nail polish to start upgrading. In fact the first cast after swapping outfits had him upgrading to his eventual aggregate length of 111cm. Mark has been kayak fishing for 10 years but only recently started fishing tournaments with his first being the Daiwa Hobie Kayak Bream series Narrabeen round a few weeks ago where he placed 7th in a quality field.

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At the opposite end of the spectrum was second place getter Richard Robson who has fished as a boater and non boater since the inception of ABT and recently decided it was “time to kayak instead!”

Putting his new Hobie Pro Angler 14 on the water for the third time, Richard used his Lowrance Elite 7 HDI to locate two schools of fish off two separate points on Saturday. He ascertained on the prefish that these fish were not interested in a vertical presentation as they so often can be and instead took inspiration from the Bassmaster series in the USA for the technique he used to fool them.

The fish were active at 15ft over 30ft of water and he chose a Zipbaits Midget in Ayu, a lure that usually dives to 9ft. Richard would cast the lure out and leave the bail arm of his reel open and then peddle his kayak 150 metres before engaging the reel, putting the majority of the rod in the water and cranking it back in, getting it far deeper than usual. To aid this he used 2lb Fireline Exceed and a 3lb leader which makes for less resistance when plunging the depths. This is referred to as “longlining” in the USA and a technique gaining popularity here. This technique saw Richard catch and release 25 fish for the session to notch up and aggregate of 109cm.

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