ABT BASS Electric newcomer Chris Lindsay has stolen the show at the largest event of the year, coming from 9th place overnight to win the 2016 ABT BASS Electric Convention, supported by Bluefin Boats and ePropulsion electric outboards.
Fishing his first tournament at the helm, Lindsay showed he’s a standout young angler to watch in years to come. Finishing a mere 20g ahead of local favorite Charles ‘Westy’ West, Lindsay produced a 4/4 limit worth 3.04kg to clinch the most coveted title in BASS Electric tournaments, and the Bluefin/ePropulsion boat/motor package worth over $8000.
Linday’s perfect weekend began like most on the official Friday prefish. Lindsay got his start bass fishing from the clear, weedy waters of Lake Maroon, and he relied on this history to put together his tournament game plan. Lindsay started Friday morning at his first choice location. Commonly referred to as ‘The Nursery’, the area features a wide expansive flat ranging from as deep as 20ft, to as shallow as 2ft. The major fish attracting structure is the abundance of aquatic vegetation. Lilypads, weed lines and thick isolated ‘weed towers’ that rise from the depths scatter the area, and it was these pieces of structure that Lindsay exploited for their bass bounty.
His morning began catching fish quickly and skillfully, confirming his hunch that the area held both the quantity, and the quality of bass that it would take to win the title. Rather than go elsewhere to look for a back up plan, Lindsay stayed put but didn’t fish. Opting to stake out the area with the intent to deter others from moving in on his primary location.
Take offs at BASS Electric events may lack the smoke and noise of a BASS Pro tournament, but what they lack in speed and sound, they make up for in tactics and planning. Travelling at 6 knots adds considerable time to travel, so anglers need to think carefully about where they wish to fish, and have plans in place in case their area gets inundated with anglers. Lindsay was worried about others having plans to fish his area, but as it were his fears were unfounded, with only one other angler choosing to start nearby.
Lindsay started under the morning light throwing a textbook Lake Maroon technique – the jerkbait. Casting tight to the shallow weedy edges and lilypads, Lindsay would crank the lure down one or two winds, before employing a twitch/pause retrieve, often pausing the bait for as long as 4-6 seconds. He quickly boated his two legal fish, but they lacked size.
By this stage, the sun had begun to shine and Lindsay identified that to get bigger bites, he had to take his offering to the fish, rather than hope they’d come out chasing. Turning to a Texas rigged Ecogear Powershad soft plastic, Lindsay fished tight to weed in around 10ft of water, dropping his lure as close to the weed as possible, and allowing it to fall vertically down each side of any isolated weed towers he could find. With most fish eating the lure on the initial sink or after one or two slow winds off the bottom. The Texas rigged plastic allowed Lindsay to fish tighter to the weed, without having to worry about his lure being fouled with weed, which would turn away any curious followers.
Lindsay’s last throw of the dice came in the form of a skirted jig, and this new trend in Australian bass fishing is showing no signs of slowing down, especially after Peter Phelps used the technique to win the 2015 BASS Pro Grand Final. Although new to the technique, Lindsay managed two key upgrades. He fished this presentation similarly to how he approached the texas rigged plastic, pitching it to each side of the isolated weed towers and allowing the bait to fall vertically down each face, drawing fish out from the thick cover.
His Saturday bag of 1.4kg didn’t win it for him, but it kept him in the hunt, only 330g behind overnight leader Adrian Wilson.
With Sunday’s inclement weather rolling in and a 180° wind change, anglers were going to have to tame both sides of Lake Maroon to come out on top. Lindsay wasn’t fazed, opting to stick to his original game plan of targeting isolated weed. The first two hours of the session produced only two just legals, but with the gusting wind and changing conditions, Lindsay was confident he’d still retain a high finish.
As the session wore on and more and more anglers started looking for the last ditch effort, Lindsay found himself alone, with free reign of his whole area, allowing him more freedom to expand his milk run and work some fresh ground.
After a short move down the bank, Lindsay turned to one of his go-to baits, an Ecogear SX48. Within ten minutes of picking it up, he had the 1.64kg tournament winning bag on board. Despite the late flurry, Lindsay found Sunday much tougher, only boating five fish all session.
Weighing in early, Lindsay endured almost the whole field coming to the scales to try and knock him down, as it were, no one would surpass him. For his efforts, Lindsay walked away with arguably the best bass electric rig money can buy, a Bluefin Estuary Pro hull, equipped with a 3hp ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 electric outboard, valued at over $8000.
Charles ‘Westy’ West was always going to be one to watch when the BASS Electric Convention was slated for Lake Maroon. With multiple wins to his name at this venue, it wasn’t surprising to see his name towards the top of the leaderboard on both sessions.
Sitting third overnight, West produced another solid limit of Lake Maroon bass to break the 3kg barrier, but fell a mere 20g short of fulfilling his dream of being crowned BASS Electric Convention champion on his home lake.
West fishes with his good friend and number one ranked BASS Electric angler Adrian Wilson at almost every BASS Electric event. The powerhouse duo now ranked one and two work well off each other, a unique situation you won’t find in other tournament fishing circles.
After struggling for the first half of Saturday’s session, West scoured the box off Wilson, who’d been catching fish easily on a Jackall TN60 all morning.
West went to work, quickly filling his limit and regaining confidence after a tough morning.
“I lost a good fish on a Pro’s Factory jig, and watched Adrian catch a lot of fish on the Jackall and then upgrade a few times on jigs and I just couldn’t catch a break,” he said.
It all turned around in the afternoon though, as West managed a number of upgrades on a mix of techniques to scrounge up a very respectable 1.62kg limit, just 110g shy of Wilson, who’d caught 1.73kg right in front of him.
The Sunday was a complete turn around, and the change of weather was a blessing in disguise for West, as his approach from the Saturday of using a plastic rigged with a beetle spin produced fish quickly and easily in the testing conditions. The only adjustment was his upsizing from 1/6oz to 1/4oz to deal with the gusty breeze and to keep in contact with the lure.
West delivered the beetle spin tight to lilypads on the edge of shallow weed, where the bass were hitting hard and fast after commencing his retrieve.
“I was getting almost all of my bites within a few seconds of starting my retrieve, the fish were obviously really tight to the structure,” he said.
He delivered his baits on a 13 Fishing ENVY Black 71LM-FG spinning rod, matched with a One 3 Creed GT spinning reel in the 2000 size. His bait of choice was a Keitech Easy Shiner matched with a Fish Arrow J-Spin beetle spin arm for added flash and vibration.
Coming to the scales last, West knew it was too close to call, and as the scales locked in 1.4kg, he knew he fell just short of realising his dream. Quick to bounce back though, West surely stamps his name as one of the most consistent and brightest stars of the BASS Electric circuit.
The 2016 Bluefin/ePropulsion BASS Electric series drew anglers from all over the east coast of Australia to take part in one of the longest standing tournament circuits in the country, keep an eye out for the 2017 calendar which will be released soon on www.abt.org.au
Adjusting to the conditions and picking up the SX48 late on Sunday was what made the difference for Lindsay. A quick-fire double upgrade within five minutes was worth almost a kilo to his cumulative weight, and Lindsay needed every gram, only edging out second place by 20g. Lindsay fished tight to structure, and with the challenging conditions this approach netted him more legal bites than any other in the event.
|Jerkbait Outfit||JML Sensation ‘All Rounder M’ spinning rod, matched to a 2500 sized spinning reel and an Ecogear SX48.|
|Plastics Outfit||3-8lb JML Sensation ‘All Rounder L’ spinning rod for a lighter tip to detect subtle bites.|
|Jig Outfit||JML Perfection ‘Lipless Crakbait/Tail Spinner’ baitcast rod paired with a 100 size low profile baitcast reel.|
Ecogear Powersha, 3/8oz Pro’s Factory Motion Jig with Keitech Crazy Flapper trailer, Ecogear SX48
|1||Chris LINDSAY||4||3.04||Bluefin Estuary Pro/ePropulsion Spirit 1.0 electric motor|
|2||Charles WEST||4||3.02||Prize Pack|
|3||Dean THOMPSON||4||2.97||Prize Pack|
|4||Jordan STODDART||4||2.83||Prize Pack|
|5||Tom REYNOLDS||4||2.81||Prize Pack|
|6||Tim STEENHUIS||4||2.8||Prize Pack|
|7||Rebecca SMITH||4||2.76||Diamond Deck|