Jonathan Chen takes 2nd place at BASS Nation Clarence River
Team Member Jonathan Chen continues his great start to the tournament season with a second place in the BASS round in NSW after winning an ABT Bream round in Victoria the previous week.. Read below to see how he did it.
"BASS Australia Nation Round 2 was held on the beautiful Clarence River NSW.
Coming into the round I was really excited to fish this round being my first river bass tournament. Ben and I prefished the river the day after the lake MacDonald round and the river was red hot with fish on every snag. I caught fish skipping a fisharrow airbag shad under overhangs. We also caught plenty of fish on the damiki short strike Spinnerbaits. I really thought you need a bag just under 2kg each session to win but man I was wrong.
On the Friday the officially prefish day. I launched at around 9am and tried all the lures that worked previously and it was extremely hard going with only small bass hitting surface and nothing on Spinnerbaits. I managed one catfish on a fisharrow 3” split fished lightly weighted and a couple out deep on the damiki back drop jig 30g.
Day 1 session 1
I decided to fish edges to start with fishing the airbag shad and Spinnerbaits. It was extremely hard going with only half hearted hits from small bass, turtles, catfish and water dragons. I got to the end of the edge I was fishing and went to an area that I sounded fish during prefish. I worked the area and only managed 3 undersized bass. Ended the session with my tail between my legs and a big fat donut.
Session 2 with the surface water temp and edges in the 30 degrees. I decided to go deeper with plastic along the edges casting to any shade pocket and it was my 10th cast I hooked what felt like a bass. But I was bitterly wrong and it Turned out to be a big ugly catfish. The tide started pushing up and the wind blowing the yak to this one corner and I decided to fan cast the damiki backdrop jig in 40ft of water since I had some success in the smaller bass and within 2 cast had a solid hit on the back drop on the drop after burning the lure off the bottom. A nice 36cm and my first legal bass so pressure off as no double donuts. The bass also spat out three prawns which let me know they were chasing prawns and that the back drop jig is a perfect reaction bait in replicating a fleeing prawns. Next cast i got hit on the drop but this bass just fell short at 30. 3 cast later and I had a 32cm bass in the well and it went quiet for a bit before getting one upgrade to a 36cm bass. Weighed 1.13kg and moved me up to 3rd.
Day 2 session 3
I had the Garmin live stream camera which usually means added pressure to catch fish and usually ends up in donuts. Had live stream issues so i sorted it out before heading out after everyone else. Lucky enough my spot wasn’t too far away. Got to my spot and fired a cast towards the middle of the river where I got the hits the previous day. While I was working the lure I noticed a school of bass holding closer to the bank so I fired a cast to the bank. I worked the lure by casting it out and letting it fall to the bottom before burning the lure with 5 or 6 quick winds before letting it fall back to the bottom. The lure was about half way back before i got a hit and miss and then a small burn and kill and a bass had another got and hit it properly on the drop. I then struggled to find another legal.
I then proceeded to watch big chief Alan smash the bass on a 20g back drop jig that I lent him after session 2. He worked the lures like an ice jig and the bass were smashing it. Towards the end of the session I tried the technique next to a rocky drop off and got slammed on the 30g back drop jig and I could feel the bass rubbing my line against all the rocks. I managed to get the bass out a nice 32cm bass and that was my bag. Managed to get 1.27kg and secured 2nd Place. Well done to ken for the win and well done to big chief Alan for big bass and a great bag of nearly 2kg.
I caught all my fish over the weekend on a Damiki Backdrop Jig 30g in the #111 zebra glow colour. I coloured the back side UV green with the spike it pen. I used my Millerods ripfreak baitcaster with a shimano chronarch 150 ci4 spooled with sunline 10lb green shooter fluorocarbon straight through.
Thanks BASS Australia, the sponsors and competitors that make these competitions possible. A big thanks to my sponsors and the people that look after me Searingtackle, Masterangler, Millerods, Madkeen Fishing and Totally Immersed Watersports Nowra.