IT’S safe to say that round one of the 2018 Yak Hunters Australia Wilderness Systems Elite and Perception Pro-Am series was an absolute success.
Queensland saw the largest group of Yak Hunters with a total of 64 kayakers and over 70 people attending the event. All were there to join in on the fun on the water, with Yak Hunters from both classes getting out there to compete. The target species for Queensland anglers in round one was bass on the pristine waters of Ewen Maddock Dam.
The day was filled with interesting results and quite a variety of fish were caught. Catches varied from a monster 50cm bass to golden perch, tilapia and the pleasant surprise of a behemoth saratoga hooked by Steven Dee, though there were some doughnuts as well. Congratulations to Stewart Hansen for taking out the first round in the Elite category and Richard Orchard for scoring the win in the Pro-Am division. Richard also picked up the Biggest Fish prize with a 50cm bass.
Round one for NSW anglers was held at Lostock Dam and again bass was the target species. With water levels lower than any angler had experienced, Lostock produced a few challenges, one being difficulty in launching the 40-plus kayaks. Despite everything, some great fish were caught, and Greg Rigby persevered to take out first place in the Elite component while Bruce Tozer cleaned up in the Pro-Am section. The Biggest Fish of the event was a cracking 47cm bass landed by Greg.
Heading into the Great Australian Bight, the South Australian leg of the Yak Hunters competition was held at Goolwa where anglers chased mulloway. At first things were a bit tough but once the fish were located everything picked right up. Congratulations to Chad Soper on taking out the biggest fish with a very respectable 81cm mulloway caught on his first cast, which saw him walk away with the Hurricane Biggest Fish prize pack.
Neal Palmer did well to score the win in the Elite section. Pro-Am results were very close, with just 4.5cm between the placings, and if Matthew Gorne hadn’t been given the slip by one of his mulloway he may have just taken it out instead of the victorious Chris Miller. And congratulations to Mathew Bini for catching his first mulloway on his way to third place in Pro-Am.
Last but not least, Victoria. Conditions were tough for Saturday’s pre-fish, with high winds for most of the day troubling anglers as they struggled to hold position while trying to cast into the snags. The bass were also playing hard to get! Only a few bass were landed during the pre-fish, with plenty of bust-ups on surface lures but no hook-ups.
Yak Hunters anglers prayed the winds would settle down overnight, which they sure did. A beautiful morning with 5-10 knot wind for Sunday’s official comp saw everyone breathe a sigh of relief. However, the fishing was still tough, with only one contender from the Elite class, Tony Meletis, catching any fish.
In the Pro-Am division more fish were captured and it was Benjamin Hotchkin who topped the podium. Across all states, all anglers were respectful, professional and showed a high level of mateship both on and off the water, which is such a big part of what makes our community so great.
We’d like to give an enormous thankyou to the following sponsors and supporters of round one in Queensland: Drazen Djuric, Davor Boskovic and the team from Freak Sports Australia for hosting the event; Steve Bolin and Graham Foley from Ewen Maddock Fish Management Inc for enabling the event and for providing support with a much-appreciated barbecue on the day; and Christopher Thompson from Dragon Kayaks for the awesome prize contribution for the Biggest Fish title.
A huge thankyou must go to Drayton’s Family Wines and Deez Nutz Lures for hosting round one in NSW and to Deeper for the fantastic prize for the Biggest Fish. We also thank Northside Doors and Windows along with Peter Nord from Hurricane Lures for hosting the first round in South Australia.
And an extra-special thankyou to Peter from Hurricane Lures for his awesome contribution of some amazing lures for all the Elite series rounds.