This being my first trip to Blue Rock in Victoria i wasn't going down ill prepared, i spent hours researching the lake on all sorts of forums, websites and mapping sites including google earth and Insight Genesis. I broke all this down to a single page of key notes on lures, techniques and likely areas in the lake i wanted to hit.
Pre-fish (two weeks out)
With a few areas in mind and the likely lures rigged i set out with Luke Vanderlight on the Saturday to try some locations up the Tanjil creek arm. We were fishless until around 9:45am when i struck the first blood on 35 fork model using a TN60 rattle. It was then almost another hour before we saw fish #2 which fell victim to the same lure. We were fishless then until 3:30pm when we had a quick flurry of rats on Rattling TN's. It wasn't until 4:30pm that i thought we had finally sorted out a pattern we hit a rockwall in the timber with a dressed TN60 and i managed my PB bass for that dam at 39cm fork and a heavy fish for its size. Sunday i fished the lake with Paul Aldous and we spent some time in the morning trying to confirm what we had discovered on saturday, we had a slow but successful morning with the dressed TN and decided to gulp some trees for the remainder of the afternoon. Although we caught a few legals and had regular bites on gulps i didn't feel as confident in being able to do that for an entire tournament.
Sunrise was at 7am so i was launching the boat at around 6:45 to ensure i was set and ready to go, at 8:45 i was still yet to wet a line. After having my boat re-wrapped i had mistakenly put my electric back on in the wrong location and with the limited time frame i had the boat hadn't been near water since the last round at Boondooma. After finally sorting all that out i went straight to an area in the basin i was hoping would hold fish and managed a good 34fork bass on my 4th cast. Things were looking up. With a short session time and the 5 knot speed limit in the timbered section of the lake i didn't feel i could get the job done up there in the time provided so i wanted to focus on having more time in the water by staying in the basin. By lunch i had caught around 10 legal bass with a few under size and was happy running the dressed TN's for now. it wasn't until 10mins prior to lunch we pulled up on a rocky shoreline and i decided to throw a Jackall Chara Blade. Within 4 casts i had two solid 35-36cm bass and thoughts of a new plan.
After lunch i needed to confirm the gulp bite wasn't going to work for me and i spent the best part of 2 hours fish-less to disprove the theory. Prior to pulling out for the day i wanted to see if i could locate another location to throw the chatterbait and i had almost given up on the bank when i caught the biggest fish of my pre fish.
I started the session fishing spindly sticks with dressed Jackalls in a few areas i thought held fish, i had only one in the bag after 30 mins and decided i needed to try out some rocky banks with the chatterbait to see if that could fill a limit quicker. First cast, snag. Second cast, 29cm. 3rd cast, 34cm. roughly two casts later another 34cm. I decided to bail on this bank as quickly as i arrived in the hope to preserve it for the remaining sessions. I continued the remainder of the session hitting the rockier banks with the chatterbait and managed to upgrade my entire bag again to two by 38 forks.
2/2 1.30kg 1st place.
After seeing the results of session 1 and sitting in first place i was a little nervous going into session 2 knowing that i would need a limit to stay in the top spot. The afternoon was a complete glass out and the fish did not want to play the game, all my morning locations failed to produce any fish. I had noticed in the morning that there were fish sitting out a little wide of the bank on the gentler sloping banks, i had covered almost 100m of bank and was about to give it away when both my non boater and myself managed to fill a limit each with in the next 20m. I had another upgrade later that session off a rocky point that had produced Friday.
2/2 0.78kg 1st place.
The second session proved tougher for most then i expected, I wasn't nervous about the fishing more so about the quality of the fish and whether i could scratch out a limit in the final morning. The weather had taken a turn for the worse with rain and strong winds going to make it difficult. I decided i would start on the bank that filled my bag in the first session. I was just starting to wonder if they had moved on when i managed to fill my bag and upgrade within 4 casts. My Co-angler Cam Jones was yet to get a bite so i passed him my other rod pre-rigged with a chatterbait and within 5 casts he had the 0.85kg big bass for the event.
The consistent technique for me over the course of the event was to cast a Jackall Chara Blade into 4 feet of water and roll it out from the bank across the 8-12 foot ledge that the fish seemed to be sitting on. Almost all of my fish came as the lure crossed that depth of water. I chose banks that had more rocks then timber. I did have success running dressed TN's through the spindly timbered sections on the edges of the lake however i found i caught a lot of undersized bass and couldn't reproduce fish from the same areas.
Rod: Dobyns Champion Extreme 702 Spin
Reel: Quantum Smoke PTia 25
Line: Sunline PE EGI ULT 0.8 (10lb)
Leader: Sunline FC Sniper Invisible 8lb
Lure: Jackall Chara Blade colour Ikana Gold