HEADING to the Tonic Eyewear Cania Clash for the fourth round of the Berkley B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Series, we didn’t know what was ahead of us and how the lake would handle pressure from some of the best bass anglers in the country.
The good news is the lake performed very well, not being too easy but also allowing anglers to fish to their strengths for the length of the tournament. Cania is truly the Glenbawn of Queensland, with steep rocky banks in some areas, open wide flats in others and timber-lined creeks allowing the bass to position themselves in many different locations.
Cania will definitely be on the calendar in coming seasons, so look forward to venturing further north than previous years and enjoy what it has to offer. One thing standing out with the recent results is the anglers who have come through the Co-Angler system have now matured into the top-line anglers, with the top three Pros at Cania being B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Co-Anglers in the past.
These new-age anglers have done their apprenticeships, new techniques are coming into play and it seems they have the arsenal to catch the fish on all lakes in any conditions. These hard-core bass gurus also present very well on stage and to the general public, lifting the professionalism in the sport to the benefit of all fishing in Australia.
With three different anglers taking the lead over the weekend, one angler stood above the field in the end and walked away with over $3500 in cash and prizes, cementing his position as one of the best modern-day bass anglers. Matthew Langford followed the correct pathway, stuck to his guns and is now only two trophies short of fulfilling a grand slam of titles on the B.A.S.S. Australia circuit.
Winning a Co-Angler event some years back, Matthew also ended up claiming the Co-Angler of the Year title, the Rookie of the Year title and now he’s well on his way to becoming Angler of the Year for 2018.
If he wins that title and the accolades that come with it, including the trip to the US to compete in the 2019 B.A.S.S. Nation Championship, he will just need a B.A.S.S. Australia Championship trophy to complete the slam.
In the Co-Angler ranks at the Tonic Eyewear Cania Clash, it was a different story. Cameron Jones led the field wire to wire and dominated from the outset, fishing a combination of techniques for the duration of the tournament and landing quality bass throughout the weekend.
Champion angler – Matthew Langford
Junk fishing is here to stay. What is it? It’s when anglers fish multiple techniques throughout a session to suit the locations. Flip a jig on a rocky bank, then move offshore and hit a deep tree with a spinnerbait, then move along a bit further and use a vibe along a flat.
It’s all about fishing the location and using multiple techniques to cover different levels of the water column, giving you more opportunity in a shorter time. Get used to this technique because anglers including Matthew are using it to put more fish in the boat.
Matthew stuck to this plan for all three sessions during the Tonic Eyewear Cania Clash and focused on quality bass, not quantity. His four main techniques involved jerkbaiting Nories Laydown Minnow Deeps tight to the edges, using an underspin matched with a Nories Inlet Shad 3.2” on the flats, mixing it up to a Nories Wasaby spoon in deeper water and fishing a Bassman Spinnerbait Single Colorado in the weed pockets around the trees.
He used multiple setups for each day and had more than one rigged for each technique, which left his front deck looking like a rod locker, but he always used Millerods matched to Shimano reels. In the wash-up, Matthew’s six from six bag weighed a total of 6.79kg, winning him the Tonic Cania champion trophy, Berkley $3000 cheque and Tonic Eyewear.
With the points on the board, Matthew is ready to go to the next level and pursue the Angler of the Year title. A lot of competitors are still mathematically in the race to beat him, so he has to be on his game for the next two rounds, but with his home lake of Boondooma hosting the final round, he is set up for an exciting finish to the season.
Nick is growing in confidence every time we see him at a tournament, and this second-place finish will be a great booster for the young man from the Lismore area. Coming to Cania for the first time, Nick was open about the fact he was just there for experience and hoping to learn from the weekend.
Well he did a lot better than that and only lost the tournament by a mere 20g at the final weigh-in.
Nick struggled a little in practice, but found an area producing the right kind of bass to be competitive.
On the first morning of competition, his Co-Angler hooked a quality bass on the first cast and they knew they had found the right mix of technique and location to be competitive.
Fishing the upper reaches of the lake, Nick was targeting 4.5-6m of water adjacent to the old river where the bass were moving through and feeding.Using a Kistler KLX Spin medium-light 6-12lb rod matched to a Daiwa Freams reel, Nick employed a combination of Nories Wasaby spoons in AYU colour and Hot Bite Gang Banger Spoons in Lickety Split colour for the duration of the tournament.
The real key was in presentation and retrieve, which involved very small hops off the bottom and allowing the lure to sit tight to the lake floor. The bass would bite well early in the session and fall off once he had taken some out of the schools.
Releasing stung bass into the area may have been what caused the shut-down.
Nick’s six from six bag weighed 6.77kg and earned him the second-place trophy and Berkley $1500 cheque.
Having competed in only three events so far this season and having a tough one at Somerset, Nick is sitting in 24th place on the AOY ladder. With two more reasonable results he could push up into the top 12 and have a shot at the Motackle $10,000 AOY Invitational held later in the year.
Third place – Jaimen Tunstall
Jaimen Tunstall has been on the brink of winning a tournament for a few years and seems to be getting better every season. With another cheque to his name, he is realistically within reach of the AOY title and is almost cemented in the top 12 for season five.
Supporting a new major sponsor for this round, Jaimen switched all his gear to the Frogleys stable and it produced for him all weekend. Finding a long bay close to the old deep riverbed, Jaimen found a huge number of bony bream lined up in the weed beds, possibly spawning, and the bass were there and ready to eat.
The area was quite small, so his biggest concern was keeping the location to himself, and luckily no one else came along. Using a 1/2oz Bassman Spinnerbait with silver blades to represent the bony bream, Jaimen threw long casts into the area and made sure to bump into the weed blocks, lay-downs and standing timber, which triggered the bass to bite hard.
The perfect outfit for the technique was a Samurai Refraction RFB302-70 matched to a Daiwa reel with Unitika main line and leader. Jaimen ended up with a six out of six bag weighing 6.67kg to nab the third-place trophy and Berkley $800 cheque. Look out for Jaimen towards the back end of the season.
Champion Co-Angler – Cameron Jones
Cameron Jones fished multiple techniques to secure his victory in the Co-Angler ranks of the fourth round of the Berkley Series, but his go-to was fishing a jig along walls that had a combination of rocks and large, deep, standing timber.
Becoming a bit of a guru with the jig, Cameron has built a lot of confidence using this technique and has a particular outfit and presentation that works well for him all over the country. The bass wanted a very slow draw and lift while the bait was on the bottom, so he used an Atomic AAS-70L matched to a quantum Smoke to get the job done.
Adding in the occasional shake, he could feel the bites loud and clear with the Sunline main line and leader material and his go-to jig was a Molix MF Jig in Watermelon colour with a 2.5” Molix SV Craw.
Trailers are becoming absolutely critical when any angler is fishing a jig, spinnerbait, chatterbait or similar as they entice the bass to bite hard and hold on longer in the critical moments of the bite.
Cameron’s six from six bag weighed a neat 6kg and he won the Tonic Cania Co-Angler champion trophy, Berkley $576 cheque, prize pack and Tonic Eyewear. The win puts Cameron just one point behind Jake Schwerin in the AOY title race, and with two events to go, this is going to be one tight finish to the season. The Champion Co-Angler for the season will walk away with a Tabs Boat and Honda Marine package valued at over $22,000.
Second place Co-Angler – Jake Schwerin
Jake Schwerin used a completely different technique to the other top anglers and proved how versatile the anglers are becoming and what a wonderful fishery Cania is. For Jake it was a no brainer – he saw steep lined banks with shadows on them and little weed, so felt the best technique would be to use a reaction-style bait to present to the bass.
Jake fished a combination of lipless crankbaits for the weekend, with the main lure being a silent Jackall TN60 in Brown Dog colour with a G.Loomis Spinnerbait rod in 8-12lb. Using a Shimano Metanium DC reel spooled with 10lb Spiderwire main line, he employed 14lb Sunline leader to finish off his critical presentation and achieve a six from six bag weighing 5.34kg to win a Tonic Cania Prize Pack and Atomic Arrowz rod.
With only two rounds to go, Jake has the runs on the board in a very consistent season so far. He will be looking to finish the season off with a bang. Speaking to him after the event, he said he hasn’t spent that much time at Boondooma or Lake St Clair, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in those rounds.
Third place Co-Angler – Matthew Sauer
Matthew Sauer used Halco Twisties all weekend to land his five from six bag, which pushed him into third place in the Co-Angler ranks. He fished a little deeper than the above anglers and focused far more on schooling bass spread out at different locations of the lake.
The bass were sitting suspended at 6-7m in 12m of water but were following the lure down once it went through the school, so Matt used two to three winds of the reel to get the slug off the bottom before letting it flutter back to the bottom.
The fish struck on the drop and Matt was able to load up the G.Loomis rod matched to a Shimano reel on regular occasions over the weekend. He used 8lb Berkley FireLine in 8lb and finished off his presentation with 10lb Black Magic leader to score his five fish weighing a total of 4.61kg and walk away with a Tonic Cania prize pack.
Only two events in and with two solid results under his belt, Matt would really be in contention for top spot if he had a few more rounds under his belt. Regardless, he may look at travelling to the final rounds and competing for the title.
The Cania Clash wrap
Special thanks needs to go to the North Burnett Regional Council and Brett the caretaker of the Cania Gorge boat ramp area. The location is clean and the setup great, with wonderful fishing and picturesque bush walks. Cania should be a destination on everyone’s radar.
Thanks to Doug and the crew at Tonic Eyewear because they have been on board since day one and have fully supported the B.A.S.S. Australia tournaments. Tonic’s sunnies are amazing and if you are looking for a pair of stylish, high-quality sunnies, give them a shot.
The B.A.S.S. Australia Nation team including Cameron Jones, Tracy Brown and Lauren Kelly again worked flawlessly, so thank you all for your help. Next round sees us head to Lake St Clair for the decider of the NSW AOY and to set up the final on Boondooma.
The fishing is always incredible at that time of year, so get over to the registration page at bassaustralia.com.au and get in now.