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Tournament

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Guide

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Australian Bass Tournaments

ABT Tournaments

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THE ULTIMATE SOFT BAIT

2.5” GRUB

15 COLOURS AVAILABLE

4” GRUB

15 COLOURS AVAILABLE

2.5” MINNOW

18 COLOURS AVAILABLE

3.2” MINNOW

18 COLOURS AVAILABLE

5” JERKSHAD 15 COLOURS AVAILABLE

7” JERKSHAD

15 COLOURS AVAILABLE

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calendar of events 2021abt

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Tournament Angler Guide

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TAG 2021 abt

Daiwa BREAM Series Qualifier Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7 Grand Final Australian Open Queensland Open

Date 20-21 February 6-7 March 1-2 May 29-30 May 24-25 July 14-15 August 11-12 September 3-5 December 9-11 March 11-12 August

13 Fishing BASS Pro Series Qualifier Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Grand Final BASS Australian Open

Date 13-14 February 13-14 March 24-25 April 5-6 June 7-8 August 30-31 October 26-27 October

BKK Hooks BASS Electric Series

Qualifier Date Round 1 27-28 March Round 2 18 April Round 3 16 May Round 4 13 June Round 5 11 July Round 6 21-22 August Grand Final 18-19 September BASS Electric Australian Open 2-3 October

Zerek BARRA Series

State VIC NSW NSW NSW NSW QLD NSW NSW NSW QLD

Location Gippsland Lakes Lake Macquarie Forster Ballina St Georges Basin Gold Coast Gladstone Port Stephens Sydney Harbour-Hawkesbury River Moreton Bay

State VIC NSW NSW QLD QLD NSW NSW

Location Lake Blue Rock Glenbawn Dam Clarence River Cania Dam Somerset Dam Richmond River Clarence River

State NSW NSW NSW QLD QLD QLD QLD QLD

Location Toonumbar Dam Lostock Dam Clarrie Hall Dam Maroon Dam Hinze Dam Borumba Dam Lake Lenthalls Wyaralong Dam

State QLD QLD QLD QLD QLD QLD

Location Lake Tinaroo Lake Tinaroo Teemburra Dam Kinchant Dam Peter Faust Dam Peter Faust Dam

Event Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6

Date 15-16 October 17 October 15 November 16 November 18 November 20-21 November

BARRA Australian Open

13-17 September QLD

2020 West Australian Bream Classics Event Boat Round 1 Kayak Round 1 Kayak Round 2 Boat Round 2 Kayak Round 3 Boat Round 3 Kayak Grand Final Boat Grand Final

2020 Vic Bream Classics Event Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Grand Final

Date 20-21 March 21 Feb 2 May 30 May 22 August 19 September 4-5 December 13-14 November

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Awoonga Dam

Facebook: WA Bream Classics

Location Blackwood River, Augusta Murray River, Mandurah Swan River, Perth Murray River, Mandurah Moore River, Guilderton Swan River, Perth Blackwood River, Augusta Oyster Harbour, Albany

www.vicbreamclassics.com.au Date 27-28 March 1-2 May 19-20 June 21-22 August 9-10 October 27-28 November

Location Warrnambool Nelson Mallacoota Marlo Metung Marlo


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Tournament Angler Guide

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2021: Please expect a year of flexibility ABT

Steve Morgan s.morgan@fishingmonthly.com.au

Just when we thought that 2020 and all of its charming idiosyncrasies were in the rear view mirror, it seems as though there’ll be disruptions in 2021 as well. We’ve launched a calendar, booked our accommodation and now we just need to be able to travel to do the events we love. And as much as we loved doing Lockdown Live, there’s nothing like getting together on the water to enjoy our inherently socially distant sport. At the time that this has gone to print, we are unable to run the season-opening events that we have planned

for Victoria. But rules are constantly evolving, and maybe we can strike a few blows in the political race-for-points border closing competition. What it means is that we’re prepared to be flexible in 2021 and as long as you are as well, you should be able to get a season run. For instance … if our Brisbane-based staff are not allowed entry into Victoria to run the season opening events for the Daiwa BREAM and 13 Fishing BASS Pro Series, we are prepared to swap them with some events later in the season … maybe somewhere in northern NSW where a majority of anglers can travel to and conduct an event. The trouble with this is, though, is that we need to be patient and flexible. It seems that these lockdowns happen

Matt Langford (boater) and Brody McNeish (non boater) took the BASS Pro AOY Trophies in a COVID-shortened BASS Pro Season. 6

TAG 2021 abt

at very short notice and remember that a lot of the landscape is out of our hands, regardless of how good our COVID-Safe event plans are. What it also means is that if things get worse, we may need to compromise and run some local events on the ABT Tournament Series App. Although this is a proven app that we’ve been running the BARRA Tour on for years, it’s a last resort for us when we can’t get to an event. It’s also not when most sponsors have signed up to, so please don’t assume that we can just ‘do it’ and everyone will be happy. Speaking of sponsors, we have a great team of them lined up for the 2021 events. Daiwa have taken the reins for the BREAM Series and the BREAM Australian Open. It’s a natural fit that recognises the

support that anglers have given this company over the years. The BASS Pro Series moves to 13 Fishing. Distributed (and owned by) Rapala, 13 Fishing is a great fit for these events, with a new range on on-point tackle sure to make its way into the kits of many bassers nationwide. Rapala, of course have kept the BASS Australian Open going and this year it moves to a river. BKK has stepped up to sign naming rights of the BASS Electric series and we thank both them and the anglers who have stepped up to create a juicy calendar to fish this year in Queensland and NSW. Wilsons’ love for BARRA just keeps growing and they have re-upped for the Zerek BARRA Tour and the Venom Rods BARRA Australian

Main: We waste nothing at ABT. Prize packs for events in 2020 were used in part for ABT Lockdown Live prizes. The rest gets added to the 2021 packs. Above: Steve Morgan (boater) and Grayson Fong (non-boater) took the BREAM AOY titles.

Open. The Tour and Open have both grown in 2021 and we give lakes at both ends of the state a better run. Monduran comes on line in the Open as split venue event with Awoonga and Tinaroo gets a second qualifier. Even more reasons there to take the big trip up north. 2021 GRAND FINALS Of course the biggest change we had to make in 2020 was to postpone the Grand Finals to 2021. As such, we still have three awesome BlueFin boats to give away for the BREAM, BASS Pro and BASS Electric Grand Finals. Powered by Mercury at the back and Garmin Force/Motor Guide up front and bristling with Lowrance electronics, these rigs are turn key and offer great affordability to up and coming tournament anglers.

We saw this year that you can get the job done in small boats - just ask the BARRA Team of the Year (or better still, read their story inside this issue). AOY trophies will be awarded in BASS Pro and BREAM - albeit with an asterisk after the title in a COVID affected year. There will be new AOYs given for 2021 on these series. The BASS Electric anglers have decided to roll 2020 into 2021 with their AOY and we respect that decision that was made between the old and the new organisers. So let’s hope that 2021 is the final year of disruptions. We had 20 years of solid calendars prior to 2020, so here’s to 20 more years of fishing, competing and having fun together.

You will hear from the BARRA TOY inside this issue - how they used sponsor karma and about 50 Zerek Fish Traps to win the title in 2020.


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For Everything

Bream. Bass. Barra. We’ve Got You Covered.


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SLATER ROD ED Rod design : building with a techniques focus ABT

Tom Slater

Getting prepared for a new tournament season is something I really enjoy. In fact, these days the act of preparing to go fishing – thinking about what gear I might need, and how I might approach an event brings more enjoyment for me than the fishing itself. It’s probably a result of my day-to-day life working in the fishing industry – I’m always thinking about some aspect of the pastime we all love. Reading the Tournament Angler Guide (TAG) each year heralds the start of a new ABT season. Looking at the venues on the calendar triggers memories of past events, and sparks thought on which techniques might come into play. There are different requirements for our gear, dependent on which techniques are at play – specific rods are designed to excel at a given technique. For me, finding and creating the ultimate rod for a given technique or venue on the ABT calendar is a relentless pursuit. A few years ago, it wasn’t uncommon to find 8

TAG 2021 abt

anglers using the same rod across almost all of their deck as a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Technique specific rods weren’t the norm and certainly while there was some available, very rarely did they all work together to form a consistent ‘range’ that felt comfortable and familiar to the angler. One rod that might have been the go-to for crankbaits or crabs, might have had a totally different build and feel in the hand from another that the angler prefers for soft plastics. When anglers are at the top level, small changes like this can make a difference. When all rods feel familiar but serve their different purpose, an angler is more likely to see an opportunity, pick up another rod and make the perfect presentation (ultimately landing a fish). In the same way, an unfamiliar grip or handle length can compromise an angler’s success in hitting their target. With an increase in anglers demanding more varying options, what better time than the annual TAG to go in-depth on one of the most important pieces of equipment we all own – the fishing rod. THE BLANK The most obvious part

of the fishing rod, the blank is responsible for the overall feel and action. Similar to the chassis of a car, a solid foundation is a great first step, but the devil is in the details. There’s been plenty of good blanks made that haven’t gone on to become great rods. Blank technology has come a long way, and each company has their own style, but one thing they have in common is how the blanks are made. Every blank starts with the mandrel. This piece of metal is specifically made to produce the taper from the butt to tip of each finished rod blank. When a company wishes to produce a new rod with a new action, a new mandrel must be made first. Once the mandrel is ready, we can begin building the rod. Each blank starts its life as a sheet of graphite fibre impregnated with a given resin. Often called pre-preg, the fibre is cut into triangle shaped pieces (flag patterns) which have been cut to replicate the chosen number of rotations around the mandrel. It is then rolled under extreme pressure. This can be the first point where designers can begin to differentiate their blanks

over others. You’ll hear companies talk about the pressure at which they roll their blanks with some using heat in the rolling process. All of this is with the goal in mind of eliminating excess resin from the blank. You see, the ultimate goal of

any rod designer is to lower the physical weight of the finished rod. Weight saps performance and likewise, trimming even one or two grams from the finished product can make the difference between a rod that feels exquisite in the hand, to

Main: A pair of quality Forster bream. Above: The Daiwa factory building where INFEET was born.

one that feels just so-so. Resin is the heaviest and weakest part of the raw material used to create a rod blank, that’s why for decades each company has been working to remove as much resin from the blank as possible. Commonly referred to as responsiveness or the feeling of a ‘crisp’ rod, removing weight can have huge implications. One of the best ways to visualise this effect is to imagine a diving board. When a diver jumps off the edge of a spring diving board, the reverberation of the board (time it takes for board to stop moving) after the diver has left is what the tip of your rod does when you let your line go in the motion of making a cast. Now, imagine that same diving board but with a bag of cement attached to the end underneath the diver. With that extra weight, the duration of the reverberation will be extended, and when it comes to fishing rods, this is where the not so desired ‘sloppy’ rod comes from. GRAPHITE Graphite comes in many different forms. Let’s just dispel one of the common myths right To page 10


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Tournament Angler Guide

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LURES NEW

ROLLIN’ CRANK MR & DR A diminutive crankbait, the new INFEET Rollin’ Crank measures only 32mm, making it the go-to crankbait for when conditions are tough, or fish are playing hardball. Thanks to the compact shape of the body, these crankbaits cast exceptionally well for their weight – especially when paired with the matching slow tapered blue/white coloured INFEET rods.

COLOUR GUIDE

SPECIFICATIONS

FUBUKI

BROWN SUJI UV

BLUE SUJI PRAWN

SAND CRAB

CLEAR GILL

MOEBI

MATTE BLACK UV

SUNNY GILL

MATTE PRAWN

BLOOD WORM

MR: 32mm | 3.6g | 1.3m DR: 32mm | 3.6g | 2.0m

NEW

SPIKE 53SP This suspending crankbait features a weight transferring internal rattle to aid its underwater resonance and sound, while the rattle’s forward and rear transfer position ensures optimum castability and maximum casting distance. Measuring 53mm, 5g, and a diving depth of 2m, this is a crankbait that’ll hit its maximum diving depth quickly, easily and stay there thanks to its suspending buoyancy.

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TAKASAGI

SPECIFICATIONS

BROWN SUJI UV

RAINBOW TROUT

MATTE PRAWN

SAKURA SUJI

WAKASAGI

BROWN TROUT

SHEER RED

GHOST BLACK RED SUJI

BLUE SUJI PRAWN

MATTE BLACK UV

SHEER GILL

53SP: 53mm | 5g | 2.0m

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TAG 2021

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away, there is no standardised way between companies to compare the modulus of a given rod blank. There are all sorts of nomenclature for the quality of one rod blank over the other. The

Tournament Angler Guide able to tell what you prefer. In ordinary terms, the better the graphite the stiffer the raw material is. The stiffer the material is, the less material needs to be used to give each rod its designed action and stiffness. That is

any angle in between. The orientation of the fibres will give a different outcome. Fibre that is laid lengthways along the length of the fishing rod will give bending resistance but lack crush or twisting resistance. Fibre

Kris Hickson fishing one of the finished samples of the new INFEET range. older IM rating system, the newer ton method (30 Ton, 36 Ton). Realistically, none of these ratings actually tell you anything about the modulus of the graphite fibres used. A higher number doesn’t always translate to a lighter or more sensitive rod, and there’s been plenty of examples of high-end graphite rods which haven’t had equally high-end performance. The best way to compare is to get out on the water and feel the rods in your own hand. Only then will you know the difference and be

generally why the more you choose to spend on a rod, the physically lighter the end product. ROD ACTION The real nuance in designing blanks is knowing how to use the materials and their properties to achieve the intended action. You’ll hear companies talk about the axis of their graphite when creating rod blanks. When cutting the flag patterns from the graphite sheet, the designer can choose to cut them so the fibre is orientated lengthways (0°) across ways (90°) or on

laid across the blank will resist crushing but do little to impact the overall bend resistance. Finally, fibres laid on each of the opposing 45° angles will significantly improve torsional stiffness – the ability of the blank to resist twisting. It’s the designer’s ability to incorporate these different methods that result in the final performance of the rod. With each blank being comprised of multiple layers of graphite cloths, the order in which they are applied also has an impact on the result. As the diameter of

ACTION: RED/BLACK (FAST) VS. BLUE/WHITE (SLOW) FAST ACTION Best for applications where the rod is imparting the action to the Lure, or when fishing lures with a single large hook (i.e., soft plastics). The faster taper often translates to a lighter feeling tip, which can be manipulated more easily to impart very fine action to your lure. SLOW ACTION Best for applications where the rod is merely a means to present your lure. Think crankbaits. A soft (slow) rod will protect hook sets better than a fast rod, meaning more landed fish in the boat and less pulled hooks. 10

TAG 2021 abt

the blank gets thicker with more layers, the inherent properties of the material will become more obvious. RESIN Now that we’ve covered the graphite, the next piece of the puzzle is what holds all those fibres together. As we spoke about above, each sheet of graphite pre-preg is impregnated with a resin which binds each individual carbon filaments or fibres together. Once rolled around the mandrel, taped and baked in an oven, this resin is what transforms what is essentially thousands of individual fibres to a single blank. There is a myriad of different resins which all have inherent properties that make them excel in certain scenarios. Some give more impact resistance, which is good for rods that may encounter some knocks and bumps. Lately, more and more companies are incorporating nanotechnology into their resins. Essentially, what each company is attempting to do

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A quiver of slow tapered INFEET rods.

ROD LENGTH UNDER 6’8” – SHORT Best for techniques that require an underhand skip cast or generally casting around tighter structure. A short rod will inherently feel faster and stiffer than longer rods due to the smaller area designers have to accommodate complex bend profiles. These are your no-holds-barred rods for tight cover situations. 6’9” to 7’2” – ALL ROUND The staple for most anglers, the magical 7’0” mark is the golden standard. Rods of these lengths are versatile and in the right situation can dabble into techniques which would generally benefit from either a short or longer length rod. OVER 7’3” – LONG By far my personal favourite, longer rods excel at distance casting, but many anglers fail to consider the benefits a long rod provides when fishing lures at these distances. On the strike, a longer rod arcs when the angler sets the hook and will move more line, therefore taking up the slack better than a shorter rod. Something especially important for topwater fishing and a key reason I like longer rods for blades and heavier plastics fished deep. is to more evenly distribute the resin amongst the individual carbon fibres. Think of it like pouring milk onto your cereal as opposed to honey. The much thinner liquid will penetrate further, evenly coating everything as it moves freely between each grain. The honey on the other hand, is thick and lacks the ability to move freely, and therefore you’d have to use more honey to evenly coat all the cereal then you would milk. The real goal of nanotechnology resins is to allow for more consistent and even performance across the board, to be able to use less resin and end up with a physically lighter rod, to increase performance. FINISHED PRODUCT Now that we’ve got ourselves a rod blank, it’s time to turn it into a complete fishing rod. This calls for some components to be added and this is when we really begin to get a complete picture of what the rod is going to end up like. Just like a good blank doesn’t make a good rod, the

best components won’t turn a bad blank into a good rod. Good designs blend the perfect balance of blank and components. Oversized guides, incorrectly spaced guides or even the wrong choice of reel seat could turn what was a blank with big potential, into something that underperforms against its competition. As I’ve spoken about at length already, weight is at the detriment of performance when it comes to fishing rods. A typical set of titanium guides you’ll find on something like the INFEET Z range of rods, weighs in the vicinity of 6 grams. Whilst that might seem inconsequential, but in a rod that weighs sub 85 grams, that’s as much as 7.5% of the total weight of the rod. The real decisions come when it’s time to decide which guides to put on a rod. Stainless steel framed guides will be cheaper, therefore they are used on much more affordable rods. They will, however, be much heavier. The other question is which size guide? I’m a big

fan in using the smallest guides you can comfortably get away with. With more anglers using braided lines and knots like the FG knot, the need to pass bulky leader connection knots isn’t what it used to be. The difference between a Fuji Titanium #6 guide and a #4.5 in terms of weight is over double. There are generally three options when it comes to frame material for guides. Stainless steel, titanium and more recently carbon fibre. For the insert, there are many more options. Each has its own inherent properties, but the ones I’m going to delve into for the purpose of this piece are slickness or smoothness, heat dissipation and overall weight. When it comes to the smoothness of the ring insert, the smoother the surface the less friction your line will face when travelling through the guides. The result for the angler is increased casting distance and less line wear. The other point and one of the heroes of Fuji’s Silicon Carbide (SiC) ring material


is heat dissipation. As with anything, movement creates friction and friction creates heat. If the ring material is incapable of dissipating that heat it will be absorbed into the line and can in extreme circumstances lead to line failure, or on a smaller scale, can decrease the lifespan of your chosen line. Of course, the end purpose and usage of each rod will determine how important each of these aspects are. Heat dissipation for a bream angler using braided line would not be as important for someone chasing pelagic species whose long-distance runs generate a lot of heat. For the ABT angler, again we come back to the issue of weight. Certain insert types will allow for thinner rings, which not only are inherently lighter due to the decreased thickness, but also increase the internal diameter of what a standard sized guide would offer. This in turn allows the designer to perhaps choose a smaller sized guide. Some examples of this include Fuji’s new generation Slim Ring SiC guides or Daiwa’s AGS next generation of lightweight C Ring & N Ring. Now that we’ve got our blank and we’ve chosen our guides, it is time to select our reel seat and handle

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Tournament Angler Guide

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THE INFEET RANGE Daiwa’s new range of INFEET rods caters to anglers of the ABT Bream Tour better than probably any other rod range on the market. Looking for some new rods for the 2021 season? Here’s how Tom & Daiwa intended them to be used:

20 INFEET | MSRP $189 | 5 MODELS 6101LFS : This model is the tight-cover specialist, designed for fishing both hard and soft lures tight against floating structure where careful presentation trumps brute force. 702LRS: The 702LRS is the all-rounder of the range and can be utilised in almost any circumstance. A regular taper protects timid hooksets with treble hooked baits, whilst the moderate yet responsive blank means twitching small soft plastics is no problem. 722ULRS: The first ultra-light rod in the INFEET range, the 722ULRS is a keen crankbait angler’s dream. A soft, moderate taper ensures fragile hook-ups remain pinned, ensuring you land more fish once convinced to bite. 732LFS: One of the standouts in the INFEET range and most requested action from the Daiwa pro team. The 732LFS is the ‘go-to’ rod for soft plastic fishing where delicate action is required to get the most from lures like the BaitJunkie 2.5” Grub & Minnow. 762ULRS: A true mid-joint two-piece rod, the 762ULRS is another crankbait wonder, capable of long casts over shallow areas. The 762ULRS is most suited to long-distance two-handed casting techniques. Whether you’re a keen bream, trout, redfin perch or trout angler, the 762ULRS is an integral model in the range. Single hooks often lead to solid hookups, negating the need for an overly soft rod. firstly attach and secure your chosen reel and secondly to give the angler a comfortable grip on the rod. The first part is relatively straightforward, the second however is more complicated. The reel seat is the main point of contact to the rod and is glued directly onto the rod blank.

and compromises – one might increase access to the blank underneath, but be less comfortable. The other way we can increase vibration transfer is to look at the material itself, with some reel seats now made from high-grade carbon composites, the

20 INFEET Z | MSRP $329 | 6 MODELS 641LFS: The 641LFS was the result of Daiwa angler Kris Hickson’s love affair with tight-cover fishing. At 6’4” in length, this rod excels in tight cover where accurate casts and manoeuvrability are paramount. 681LFS: The 681LFS is slightly softer than the shorter 641LFS and is more suited to floating structures like boats and jetties. 702LRS: The perfect blend of power and precision, this model can do it all. A progressive taper is your friend when fishing treble hooked baits, and the sensitive tip is equally at home shaking a plastic or walking your favourite topwater. 732LFS: The ultimate plastics rod. Whether it’s a grub or minnow, the 732LFS is the best choice. A fast responsive tip for precise twitches and extra length to take up slack on a strike. This is every plastics angler’s dream. 742ULRS: An ultra-light regular taper action is perfect for small light crankbaits and the use of titanium framed tip guides means this ultra-light rod doesn’t feel like a noodle. 782LFS: A rod made famous by Steve Morgan and the Cranka Crab, the 782LFS is the second generation of ‘Crab Rod’ from Daiwa. Modelled off the original 782 Gekkabijin rod, the INFEET 782LFS improves upon the original by reducing the handle length, making it less cumbersome to impart action to your lure.

20 INFEET EX | MSRP $499 | 6 MODELS 671MMLXS: Designed in collaboration with rack fishing gun Kris Hickson, the 671MMLXS is the ultimate no holds barred rack rod. Built off the ever-popular Kingbolt action, this INFEET incarnation features an ever so slightly lighter tip, with an equally powerful butt section. 6101ULRS-ST: A really interesting blend of a solid graphite fast tip section, with a moderate action ultra-light blank makes the 6101ULRS-ST the undisputed finesse crankbait specialist. 702LFS: The 702LFS is the ‘do-everything’ rod, but is particularly effective with a single hooked lure like a BaitJunkie 2.5” Grub rigged on a light jighead. The insanely sensitive blanks – thanks to the SVF Nanoplus graphite and AGS guides – means there is no way you’ll miss anything. Fast taper rods excel at fishing soft plastics, like the BaitJunkie 2.5” Grub. components. Arguably the most noticeable difference between one rod to another, the reel seat and handle gives the rod its look and character. From a designer’s perspective, to me this is the most fun and creative part of designing fishing rods. It’s not all just good looks however, the technology that has gone into reel seat designs over the past decade has been nothing short of amazing. Reel seats can now be made from highly engineered carbon composite materials. The job of a reel seat in any fishing rod is to

Therefore, it is the main point at which vibrations can transfer from the line, through the guides, down the blank and ultimately, into your hand where you can act on it. Each company has its own way of increasing vibration transmission. A ‘blank-through’ design enables the angler to have direct contact to the blank underneath the reel seat. Skeletal concept reel seats are also available, whereby the middle section of the seat is removed completely. Each theory has its benefits

result being a much stiffer and more rigid construction that transmits vibration to the angler’s hands more easily. Reel seats as a whole are dependent on the angler’s personal preference, but the factors above should be taken into account. There’s no better way to purchase a rod than by walking into your local independent tackle store and picking them up for yourself. What might look one way in a picture or video can feel completely different in the hand. Selecting my own

722LRS: A heavy-crankbait specialist, the 722LRS is the rod you’ll want to turn to when throwing larger-sized crankbaits or when cranking around heavy cover such as wash zones or heavy reefs. 742LRS-ST: Another unique action made possible by the use of a solid graphite tip; the 742LRS-ST is a true two-piece mid-join rod making it the travelling angler’s perfect companion. 752ULFS-ST: The ultimate stick minnow rod, the 752ULFS-ST is long, light and highly sensitive thanks to the solid graphite tip. No one-trick-pony either, the rod also excels at throwing plastics over ribbon weed flats where long casts on unweighted lures is key! fishing rods is the most exciting and best part of prepping for a new ABT season. I love having multiple options available and to have a rod that is designed to excel at any

given technique is a blessing when it comes time to put fish in the live well under tournament conditions. Hopefully, this article has helped give readers clarity around some

of the technical aspects of fishing rods. Check out the fact boxes to look at what aspects you need to look at when selecting your next fishing rod for the 2021 season. abt

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Tournament Angler Guide

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NEW

MEGA 360 IMAGING

ARRIVING MID 2020 - PRE-ORDER NOW Surround yourself with more detail than ever before. New MEGA 360 Imaging™ sweeps up to 75 metres in every direction around your boat to deliver the clearest images you’ve ever seen of structure, the bottom and fish, even while you’re sitting still. That means more accurate casts, more unforgettable moments and more incredible MEGA Imaging®—all around. The new universal marine grade mount bracket with 50” shaft gives you complete control and mounting flexibility on your boat. MEGA 360 Imaging™ transducer option also available for your Minn Kota Ultrex electric motor.

*MEGA 360 transducer required

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TAG 2021 abt

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REDIC JERKBAIT MS60

1.5M / 8G

DS60

3M / 9G

DS80

3M / 12G

DS100

3M / 22.5G

DS120

3M / 33G

SF90

0.8M / 11G

SF125

0.8M / 20.5G

SF150

0.8M / 23G

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WEED SNAG BARRA

WEED

Scan to watch the screenshot come to life.

2021: The year of live imaging for everyone! ABT

Steve Morgan s.morgan@fishingmonthly.com.au

Although Garmin users have had a little bit of a headstart, it’s obvious that 2021 will be the year where everyone gets the chance to match live imaging with their Humminbird, Lowrance or Garmin units. All three of these companies are great ABT sponsors and we’re sure that all of them will sell plenty of live imaging transducers this year. And although at the time of printing Garmin LiveScope is the only one that I can buy off the shelf,

Lowrance have officially launched their Active Target and Humminbird Mega LIVE has most definitely been ‘soft launched’ in the last month. A soft launch is where the company leaks some information and teasing images on social media to let their loyal users know that they’re not going to be left out. Russell Marine Products in the USA leaked some fairly specific information, so we have grabbed that, since local distributor, BLA, was as much in the dark as we were. And all three of these companies are active ABT sponsors…. So no matter which one you choose, you’ll

be mixing live viewing with some great sponsor karma! Through 2020, anglers quick on the uptake with live imaging have done well in events - Matt Langford used his LiveScope in 2020 to see shallow, feeding fish at Lake St Clair and then catch them on shallow baits. John Ciancio used his at Lake Somerset to snare his first win and who could forget Dave Browning showing BASS Tournament Director, Joseph Urquhart how it’s done at Wivenhoe while filming a segment for the event coverage. On the BARRA side, Matthew Mott (the world’s biggest Garmin advocate) won an event on Faust using

Here is the sum total of all information available about the Humminbird MEGA Live at the time of print. Lifted from social media. Expect it mid-2021 14

TAG 2021 abt

his boat that’s brimming with Garmin gear. We’ll have a look in this piece about what live imaging is, how it works and what’ll be on the shelves in 2021. WHAT IS LIVE IMAGING If you’re an angler like me, you’re always building a mental picture of what the terrain looks like underwater in your head: 10’ flat here …. reef there …. weedbeds along

that bit of old river channel. You know what I’m talking about. Previously, you needed to add lots of clues together to do this information from your 2D sounder, lure sink times, baits sinking into weed beds …. And of course where you hook fish. Those of us who are good at this can do it over time. You know that fish usually hang here or there at certain

times or tides. You know this because you caught them there and at the least you saw them on the sounder after you drove over them. Live sonar gives you a chance to simplify this process incredibly quickly and as a bonus, it lets you see how fish react you you, your boat and your lures. All in real time. Your still image all of a sudden is live. Your book has become a movie.

Garmin’s pioneered the way with live sonar and their down, forward and perspective views are now industry standard.


Tournament Angler Guide

abt.org.au You’ll love it. With live sonar you can choose your perspective and see what’s happening on that plane. The industry seems to be settling of three common views - looking in a forward, vertical plane, looking downwards in a vertical plane and looking forwards in a horizontal plane. HOW DOES IT WORK We are all used to our sounders drawing a two dimensional representation of the history of what our boat has passed, and that information is graphed on our units. We can see what we have passed over. Live imaging replaces that graph with a 100% live image. The full screen refreshes multiple times a second, so the whole screen is now animated and active, not just the information being added to your 2D unit. TO POLE OR NOT TO POLE? Depending on your fishing style, there are a few options as to what will be the best transducer mounting system for you. There are options for mounting on your electric motor (where the transducer moves as you steer) and others like to mount their transducers on a pole. Pole mounting detaches the transducer from the trolling motor but adds an extra item you need to stow and deploy every time you move. In practice, barra anglers who are anchored up or bass anglers now moving much prefer poles while bream anglers who are always on the move may like the trolling motor mount options. You need to assess your own situation to distil what will suit you best. WHAT’S ON OFFER? Let’s have a look at the features of the three units that will be available - Garmin LiveScope is out now, Lowrance Active Target has launched and Humminbird Mega LIVE is light on for information at the time of going to print. It’s expected in the marketplace in the first half of 2021. Both the Garmin

A

B

C

D

A: The only image available of the Humminbird transducer. B: Garmin’s perspective mount for trolling motor. C: Lowrance’s armature scout-view mount. D: Lowrance’s armature down-view mount. and Lowrance units are compatible with most of their current upper-end sonar/GPS units and also some of their previous models. Both of these units use a separate “black box” to do the bulk of the information processing and then feed the information to the head unit. Humminbird’s Live will apparently plug straight into the Helix G3N and G4N units as well as Solix and Apex units, so there’s no need for a separate, powered black box in your setup. And although all three brands do it slightly differently, all produce the hardware to mount on your electric motor and move it between modes. Note that if you’re a fan

of Minn Kota or MotorGuide servo-steer electrics, you may be limited to armature mounts of the transducer due to the entire length of the shaft needing to slide through the servo when stowing and deploying. There are some aftermarket solutions to this, but rest assured in you have a Lowrance Ghost, mounting the Lowrance will be easy and if you end up with a Humminbird, the MinnKota Ultrex or Fortrex mounting will be easy. Garmin Force users already have a plug and play transducer mounting solution. POWERFUL OPTIONS With lots of us loading up more and more on electronics, some of us will find that your house battery in the boat will be asked to do more and more. Some people upgrade their battery capacity, others will add a second 12V house battery and some will even run their systems off their trolling motor battery setups. Interestingly, Garmin units, black boxes and transducers run just fine and within spec on 24V … and lots of us use 24V, high capacity systems already for our electric motors. We will need to see what limits the other brands have. PREDICTIONS? It doesn’t take Nostradamus to see that live sonar is going to have a massive impact on how we fish. Expect it to play a bigger and bigger role in events moving forward and expect the costs of systems to get faster, better and cheaper - just like 2D sonar has done over the years. Keep an eye out for boats running multiple setups in 2021 …. We hear whispers that there’s some on the water already and we look forward to seeing how it makes our fishing more efficient and enjoyable in 2021. A word of warning, though, for new inductees into live imaging. It’s addictive. If you find yourself doing too much looking and not enough fishing, that’s on you, not us!

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Lowrance Active Target is pretty close to being available in stores, but there’s no secret about what the unit or screenshots look like.

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Tournament Angler Guide

Sunline’s SIGLON ADV is made with a new revolutionary industry first deep resin manufacturing process that inputs resin to the inner part of the line to provide a noticeably smoother finish, better casting, line management, sensitivity and abrasion resistance that is three times stronger that Siglon PE. One of the main features of ADV is its ability to repel water, rather than absorb it which better protects your reel and guides but also makes it an amazing line to fish with. ADV is available in two colours, Multi Coloured and Turquiose Blue and 150m spools from PE0.4 to PE3 and 300m spools from PE1 to PE5. Made in Japan.

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Tournament Angler Guide

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Tournament Angler Guide

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Tackle box must haves for 2021

We have a saying at ABT. It’s two words ... “sponsor karma”. It describes the disproportionately large number of times an event sponsor’s angler or product leads or wins an ABT event. It happend all the time. If you want to partake in some Sponsor Karma yourself, simply buy ABT sponsor products! They represent the top shelf of BREAM, BASS and BARRA gear. Here’s a selection.

Lowrance Ghost Trolling Motor from MSRP $5219

Samaki C-12 v3 from MSRP $399.99 Bassman Spinnerbaits Allrounder Jig MSRP $10.95

Rapala DT20 Helsinki Shad (HSD) MSRP $25.95

Sufix 131 10lb Neon Chartreuse MSRP $49.95

Keitech Easy Shiner 3” MSRP $14.99

Steez Cover Chatter MSRP $15.99

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Palms Slow Blatt Cast 20-40g from MSRP $12.95

ZMan 2.5” Slim SwimZ (8Pk-MSRP $12.95) w/ TT Lures DemonZ Jighead (3Pk - MSRP $11.95)

bream TAG 2021 abt

Pro Lure 80mm Live Cray Soft Bait MSRP $9.95 (due out in Feb) VMC 7548 BD Bladed Treble #2 MSRP $14.95

BKK Striker + Assist from MSRP $9.99

Garmin GPSMAP 8412xsv MSRP $4999

Pro Lure S36 Crank MSRP $16.96

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Ecogear ZX40/43 416 - Dark Knight MSRP $20.99

Lew’s KVD LFS Series MSRP $280

Sunline PE ADV MSRP $49.95

Liquid Mayhem Shrimp Scent MSRP $19.95

Hydrowave H2 Australia MSRP $799

Ecogear Bream Prawn AU-03 - Salty n Pepper MSRP $14.99

Garmin Force Trolling Motor MSRP 50” $4999 / 57” $5099

59mm Suspending CRANKA Minnow MSRP $20.95

Lowrance Elite Fishing System from MSRP $1699

Samaki Redic MS60 - Pink Lady MSRP $22.95

Keitech Mad Wag Mini 3.5” MSRP $12.99


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Tournament Angler Guide

barra

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VMC Swimbait Bladed 7346BS 9/0 Weedless Hook MSRP $21.95 Rapala X-Rap Peto XRPT14 Live Roach (ROL) MSRP $32.95

Zerek Live Swim Bait MSRP $28.95

Keitech Swing Imact Fat MSRP $17.99

Daiwa Double Clutch 115 MSRP $29.99

Zerek Fish Trap from MSRP $17.95

ZMan 7” DieZel MinnowZ (3Pk MSRP $19.95) w/ TT Lures SwimlockZ Jighead (2/3Pk MSRP $15.95)

Sufix 832 150yd 30lb Coastal Camo MSRP $39.95

Zerek Live Mullet MSRP $22.95 Garmin Panoptix Livescome System from MSRP $1999

Molix Shad 140 MSRP $15.95

Zerek Flat Shad MSRP $17.95

Samaki Redic DS100 - Whitebait MSRP $26.95

Westin Ricky the Roach 14cm RNR pre-rigged - Spangled Perch MSRP $17.99

Lowrance Active Target Live Sonar System from MSRP $2299

BKK Viper-41 Trebles from MSRP $14.99

Pro Lure XL Shad from MSRP $11.95

Sufix Nano Braid 150yd 2lb Aqua Camo MSRP $39.95

Buck’n Bass Rain Suit MSRP $1454 BKK Spear-21 SS Trebles MSRP $10.99 50mm Single Hook Cranka Crab - 11 Colours MSRP $22.50

DM-52 Worm Hook MSRP $7.95

BaitJunkie 2.5” Grub MSRP $11.95

Pro-Cure Super Gel Scent (MSRP $24.95) & Pure UV Liquid (MSRP $32.95)

Rapala Fat Jack Glassy Gill UV (GGIU) MSRP $23.95 abt

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Tournament Angler Guide

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Tournament Angler Guide

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Tournament Angler Guide

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Fish Trappin’ 101 with BARRA TOY Anita Barra ANITA BARRA

Liam Robinson & James Wilson

The Zerek Fish Trap was the lure we used to catch around 85% (50 odd) of our barramundi across the 2020 ABT rounds. The Fish Trap has been a key ingredient in our improvement as anglers over the last twelve months and it played a big part in helping us win the 2020 Australian Venom BARRA Australian Open at Awoonga Dam before going on to a successful Zerek BARRA Series to come away with the ABT Barra Team of the Year. In this article we will take you through the Fish Traps we found successful, the tackle we use, the areas of the dam suited to Fish Traps and the different retrieval techniques we employed to get the impoundment barramundi biting. FISH TRAP RANGE Fish Traps come in 65mm, 95mm, 110mm and 165mm models in a wide array of colours. For barramundi we use the 110mm size most and will change to the 95mm size if there are smaller fish around the boat. In the dams we favour lighter, more natural colours 24

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during daylight and darker colours at night. Dark Ale, Ghost Catfish and Olive Guppy have all produced results during the day, while at night we like to cycle through Red Devil, Sunset and Black Jack until we find the lure the Barra are biting on.

We will each run different colours at the start of a a session to try and get the bite. For some periods only one colour can entice the barramundi to bite. If this is the case, we will both focus on using that colour. It is important that if the bite goes cold to again cycle through

different Fish Trap colours and sizes as the barramundi can be very picky and can change their preferences several times during a night’s fishing. FISH TRAP TACKLE The type of rod you use when fishing with vibes will make a big difference to the

action you are able to impart to the lure. A fast action spin rod which is still sensitive enough to feel any bites is our preference. This type of rod helps us to manipulate the vibe with different actions whilst staying in touch with the vibe on the drop. We match these rods to

Main: The story of the 2020 BARRA Tour Team of the Year (TOY) was the Zerek Fish Trap. Liam and James mastered the bait and where to use it to get the job done ... event after event. Above: It’s hard to have a better BARRA year than the ABT Team of the Year AND BARRA Australian Open trophies.

a 4000 size spin reel. Braid is essential to feel anything that touches your lure and with time you will become better at recognising whether your lure has just touched a log or you’ve had a bite (don’t worry we still set the hooks into many logs!). Sometimes the bites on vibes are incredibly subtle for such large fish so good quality braid is a must. We used 30lb Fins Evolve this entire year and we cannot fault it. The lighter the leader the better when using vibes. We use Sunline FC100 50lb almost exclusively until we lose a couple of fish to structure. When this happens, we will upgrade to 60lb. Anything heavier than this may affect the action of the Fish Trap and result in less bites. Mustad Fastach Clips in the size 3, 75lb. Need we say anymore! You are completely mad if you are not using these. These lure clips are extremely easy to use, super strong and reliable. They are essential for cycling lures without having to retie leader. A lure retriever such as a Tackle Back is important to ensure you don’t lose too To page 26


Tournament Angler Guide

abt.org.au

Fish Trap 65 95 110

Live Mullet 4.5” 5.5”

Live Swimbait 8”

Flat Shad 5” 7” 9” For more information please visit

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many lures to snags, especially when exploring new fishing spots for the first time. Since starting to use a lure retriever, we have drastically reduced the number of lures lost to snags. However, it’s important to remember to check all your terminal tackle for damage if you’re successful on a retrieve.

NIGHT

Tournament Angler Guide AREAS TO USE FISH TRAPS Fish Traps are very versatile and can be fished in many different areas of the dam. We like to work the Fish Traps in water depths anywhere from 4ft to 25ft. Most of the fish we landed in the 2020 ABT were hooked in the 15-20ft depth range. Find somewhere you are

abt.org.au

going to be able to retrieve your Fish Trap with minimal interference from snags and weed. There can be structure around where you are casting which is usually where a barramundi will ambush your lure. However, finding several corridors in a chosen area where you can work your Fish Trap along the bottom of the dam

DAY

Here’s living proof that you don’t need to spend big money on a boat to be competitive in BARRA events. Anita Barra’s boat was the smallest in the field in some events.

Lighter colours during the day and darker colours at night did the trick for us across the BARRA Series’ dam rounds.

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uninterrupted is important. The less time spent trying to get your lure off a snag, the more time you will spend presenting the lure to the fish. A good quality sounder is essential for identifying areas where fish are or will show up later. When searching for new ground, the saying is old but always rings true, “find the McDonald’s”, the area where barramundi will eat not just mull around. Finding these areas takes time on the water, experience and a willingness to try different things. A good place to start looking is windblown points

with structure present and at a depth of 8-15 ft. RETRIEVAL TECHNIQUES There are a few rules when fishing with a Fish Trap which should be followed no matter the retrieval you are running with: Always have a taut line and be in touch with your lure, feeling it vibrate as it is on the drop. This also applies as soon as practically possible after you have cast your lure. Once it has hit the water you should be feeling for any touches as your lure sinks. It’s very common

to get bites as your lure is travelling to the bottom. Set the drag slightly loose so when the barramundi take the Fish Trap, it doesn’t pull out straight away. It should be loose enough for them to engulf it but tight enough to set the hook when you feel a bite. Keep an eye on your sounder to see what the fish are doing. Factors such as whether they are high in the water column, directly under the boat, hugging the bottom, favouring one side of the boat or not showing on the sounder at all, will influence To page 28


T E G R E TA

V I T AC E S O N A R LIV

RESO T S E H G HI

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Tournament Angler Guide

From page 26

the retrieval we use. The techniques we use to get bites on Fish Traps are: SMALL HOP When we say small we mean small! Just a tiny lift of the rod is all that is needed to impart enough action. After one small hop let the lure hit the bottom and repeat the whole way back to the boat.

We use this technique when the fish are showing very close to the bottom on the sounder. DOUBLE HOP A well known technique where you sharply lift the rod twice, imitating a prawn/yabby. The double hop works well when the sounder is showing fish on the bottom or higher in the water column.

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BIG LIFT When the barramundi are higher in the water column we use this technique. It’s just a large slow draw with the rod to bring the lure up a couple of meters off the bottom. It is very important to not let your line bow after the big lift as you will miss bites. To avoid this, quickly retrieve the slack that is created at the top of the lift as you bring

Night time was the money-time for Liam and James, with a majority of barra caught after the sun went down.

Daytime barra were usually considered a bonus for Anita Barra and were enthusiastically welcomed onto the scoresheet.

your rod tip down. VERTICAL JIG If you can see 3-4 fish streaming through on your sounder, jig your Fish Trap up and down sharply under the boat. Try to match the depth you can see the fish moving in. It’s amazing how many times you will get a bite, and it’s a very cool way to hook up! These fish will be very green so you will need to be on your game to land one if

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you hook one. FAST RETRIEVE Wind the reel as fast as you can for three revolutions and then stop dead. This technique can work well when there are lots of barramundi on the sounder but they aren’t eating, (extremely common!). This will be a reaction bite and it often gets them interested to come and have a look at the lure or have a swipe. The bites from this can be savage, so hold on! The Fish Trap truly is

a versatile lure and breaks the old saying, “you need big lures to catch big fish”. They work straight out of the packet, have a large range of colours and sizes and don’t need upgrading/meddling with, which cannot be said for a lot of barramundi lures! They are durable and can truly take a hiding over and over again. We hope this helps you catch more fish, tight lines from James Wilson and Liam Robinson from Anita Barra.


Photo courtesy Gladstone Fly & Sportfishing

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