Chen Claims the 2017 Native Watercraft Australia B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Kayak Championship
Weeks after securing the Angler of the Year title, Jonathan Chen Claims the 2017 Native Watercraft Australia B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Kayak Championship held at Sumerset, using only one lure for the whole event that also secured him the big bass award. Read more to see how he did it .
" Bass Australia Nation Native Watercraft Kayak Grand Final was held in sunny Queensland at Somerset dam the land of the big bass. It's been a dam I've wanted to fish for a while due to the numbers and weights that these bass can grow too. I started the journey on Wednesday morning around 4am leaving Canberra with temperature of -4 and embarked on the 14hr gun run to Wivenhoe dam where I swag the night. In the morning I had a little fish at Wivenhoe aka catfish city and took the time to retune my Lowrance sounder upgrading the software and installing the insight genesis social map of Somerset in preparation for the prefish the following day.
Official prefish day and it the first time on the water. I head over to the first drop off from the start line and saw a couple of fish on the sounder and fired the first cast of the morning. The Damiki backdrop jig 30g gets hit on the drop and I thought it was going to be a good prefish. After a short fight got my first look at what a Somerset bass can look like a 43cm which I learnt is a below average size bass. From then on it got a little tougher. I sounded around and couldn't get another bass. I head all the way to bay 13 and pelicans point and only found scattered fish and no more hits. On the way through bay 13 feeling a bit deflated I saw some birds feeding on bait in the distance and decided to check it out. To my delight I had found a good school of bass. I worked through a selection of lures from smack ice jigs to damiki vault 42 blades and the damiki backdrop and found that the most successful lure was the backdrop which happened to find the bigger bass. I moved around bay 13 and found another school and pulled a 55cm and knew this is where I would start the comp. On the way back I checked out Queen Street with no avail until nearly back at the launch spot I noticed a little creek channel on the sounded near the island and found some fish schooled up. I had a few casts and pulled a 44cm bass and thought this would be a good spot for when I come back early and marked the spot.
Session one started at 6:30am I drew kayak number 17 and headed to bay 13. A few other kayakers arrived just before me and they must of found the same school. It was about the 10th cast when the backdrop jig got hit on the drop and I was onto a good fish after a good fight I had it in the net a 51cm bass a great one to start the bag. I managed another bass around 42cm before the school shut down and I struggled to find any upgrades in bay 13. Heading back in a little early as I didn't know how long it would take if the wind picked up. I found myself with time to spare and needing to upgrade the bass in the well. I went to the creek channel marked during prefish and managed to locate the school. The back drop jig got hit on the drop in my excitement I pulled the hooks during the fight and free spooled the baitcaster and it got hit again on the drop and once again pulling the hooks. Third time lucky and finally managed to keep the hooks in and upgrading the smaller bass in the livewell. Before leaving the school on the bite for the second session. The bag weighing 3.91kg and had me leading the race.
Session two I decided early that I would start close were I caught the last bass in session one. It was a hot afternoon and I started peppering the area. I caught two fish in two casts a 42cm and a 46cm. Two casts later I caught a 51cm bass upgrading the 42cm unfortunate I had trouble trying to needle the bass and decided to head in the weigh the bass and it was floating on its side. It 51cm bass went 1.9kg and the other just over a kg. I headed back out to the same spot and within a few cast the backdrop jig never hit the bottom and I was into a good upgrade. I got the fish into the net and I could not even see the backdrop jig as it was inhaled. I got my Tackle Club long nose pliers out and managed to get the jig out with minimal damage and once again it was hard to needle this fish a 53cm bass and as round as a football. Once again I had to do the short paddle in to weigh in the fish. It weighed 2.78kg and a new pb. I headed back out and sounded around looking for a few other spots for session three but failed to find anywhere close. I end the session with a 4.68kg bag with a 950g buffer.
Session three I start close to the start at the marked creek just off from the island. The fish were scattered and I started the morning by catching two undersized bass before finding my first keeper a 44cm I then had the hard the decision to stay or to head to bay 13. I decided to go looking for greener pastures to only see plenty of bass on the sounder and have my stress levels increase with every dying second as Dayne a fellow competitor caught bass after bass right beside me and hearing that a couple of competitors had good bags. With a hour to go we left bay 13 and arrived at my first mark near the island with 30minute to spare I cast my arm off and with 10minutes to spare I cast out the backdrop jig and on the drop the rod buckled. I knew it was a good fish. I was stressing that I would lost this fish and with every run I could imagine the hooks pulling and heading back with the tail between my legs but today wasn't the day and when that fish hit the deck I felt like the world had lifted off my shoulders and I was back to race back in. That fish kept me in with a chance and I had to hope that no one caught any game changers. I had to weigh in last and I could see the weights slowly increasing. I needed just under 3kgs to win and my two bass weighed 3.47kg with a total bag weight of 12.06kg for 6 bass with the big bass for the tournament 2.78kg.
Such a honour to have managed a bag over 12kg with a rough averaged of a kilo a bass is unreal. It still hasn't sunken in that I've won and that I get to fish in America it's going to be a unforgettable experience.
I caught all my fish over the weekend on a Damiki Backdrop Jig 30g in the #111 zebra glow colour. I used my Millerods control freak bladefreak baitcaster with a shimano chronarch 150 ci4 spooled with sunline 10lb green shooter fluorocarbon straight through. I would make long cast over my marked areas tumbling the spool and the lure was falling. Immediately winding fast with 4 to 10 cranks of the handle to get the lure to shoot up and then free spooling down and the fish would always hit on the drop. The sensitivity of the bladefreak rod definite helped with feeling the strike and setting the hooks.
Thanks to Searing Tackle for the Damiki backdrop and all the support in getting me to this point and to madkeen fishing for some awesome fishing related apparel. Also a big thanks to totally immersed water sports for all my Hobie supplies and millerods for his support with my rods.
Thanks to Bass Australia Nation and all the sponsors that make this comp and series possible."
Thanks to Bass Nation Australia & Starlofishing for the images