WE recently had the pleasure of taking one of the most influential anglers in Australia to Monroe, Louisiana, US to compete on the world stage in the BASS Nation Championship.
Steve ‘Killer’ Kanowski has done just about everything there is to do in Australia when it comes to tournament bass fishing, winning multiple Australian championships, angler of the year titles and everything in between.
The ‘Killer’ in Steve’s nickname is a complete misnomer, as Steve’s gentle nature and quiet attitude lets him breeze through the toughest of competition unscathed.
And let me assure you, he did Australia very proud when he competed against the best 60 anglers from around the world at the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.
He also had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, totally immersed himself in the entire experience and mentioned to us that he really wants to get back there to have another go.
Fishing in another country, in a totally different environment for a new species can be hard at the best of times, but doing it against anglers who have lived and breathed largemouth bass is damn near impossible.
Steve managed to weigh in a number of largemouth bass over the tournament and walked away with an experience that only one other Australian angler has enjoyed.
The event winner scored a $53,000 boat and motor package, a spot in the Bassmaster Classic and permission to compete in the Bassmaster Elite series, which is classed as one of the premium bass tournament series on the planet.
Keep an eye on Steve’s progress as he competes through this Australian season to try to do something that is very rare in achieving back to back wins in the Megabass Championship.
Steve definitely has the will and ability to do this, and with his in-depth knowledge of the Australian bass fishery we expect him to be knocking right on the door.
Tonic Eyewear Somerset Slam – round one
The Atomic BASS Australia Nation Series got back up and running at the end of November 2015, and we had an absolute slugfest for the first qualifying round of season three. Matthew Mott had figured out something special that no one else had really managed to put his or her finger on, meaning Matthew was able to run away with the win.
Fishing a Pumpkinseed-coloured Slider on his beloved Smak 5/8oz jig head, Matthew worked out that the plastic really needed to come through the schools from underneath, so he made long casts with his Dobyns 7’6” rod matched with a new Abu Garcia Revo MGX 3000 reel and allowed the lure to sink all the way to the bottom before starting the retrieve.
Catching fish at the beginning of each session allowed Matthew to relax and focus on upgrading the bass to maximise his chances. He did this very well and won the tournament by 2.44kg from last year’s Samurai Rods Angler of the Year Champion Dane Radosevic.
At the tender age of 19, Dane has an incredible amount of talent and work ethic, which is a real credit to himself, his sponsors and his family. Dane is also able to keep his mind clear if things aren’t going his way, which is one of the most important aspects of successful tournament fishing because things can always go wrong when out on the water.
Coming from 13th after session one, Dane worked hard to be sitting in fourth position after session two and finished in second by the tournament’s end. Fishing his trusty TT jig heads matched with 3” Charlie Brewer Slider Grubs, Dane used an XD841 customised Barrabass rod, 8lb Unitika braid and 8lb Sunline FC Rock leader to successfully outwit the crafty bass.
Currently sitting second in the AOY standings gives Dane the perfect platform to launch his assault on back-to-back AOY titles. I first met Brett Turner in 2014 and instantly enjoyed his sense of humour and the way he loves going about his fishing. He has stepped up and bought a new bass boat, saying he felt he was ready for the move to the big time. He was right on the money, coming third against the best anglers in the country.
Brett really shook things up and will no longer go under the radar at bass tournaments. Brett had worked out that an Electric Blue Charlie Brewer Slider Grub matched to a 5/8oz Smak jig head did the trick to entice vicious strikes from the XOS Lake Somerset bass. Working the lure through the schools around the Bay 13 area, Brett targeted suspended bass in 4.5-6m of water and put solid full limits together each session.
It can very difficult and daunting stepping up from the Teams events to the Pro series because the level of intensity definitely increases. So when I witness a new name hit the leader board and beat anglers who have been competing for a lot longer, I really take notice.
Keep an eye on Brett’s career over the coming months because we are sure he’ll be giving his all to remain towards the top of the table. Multiple bass well over 2kg hit the scales over the weekend, but one bass came up trumps for the Atomic Big Bass award, and Co-Angler Matt Gilbert caught the 2.52kg monster.
In only his second tournament, Matt landed his personal-best bass and took away $500 for his troubles. Matt said he had a great weekend and learnt lots of new things from the Pro anglers. He used a purple Jackall Mask Vibe with 10lb Sunline FC Rock leader, Fins braid, a 2500-size reel and a 7’ 13 Fishing Australia Omen rod. Fishing in his first Co-Angler event, Dylan Fryer took out the division in style, weighing a total of 8.36kg and winning by a margin of 1.64kg.
Using a Slider Grub powered by a Smak jig head, Dylan slowly worked the lure to the boat and waited for that all-important hook-up. Travelling with close friends and family, Dylan had an absolute blast, taking home Tonic Eyewear, a $200 Tonic cheque, Samurai rod and a Tonic mega prize pack worth over $600.
Brett Hyde again proved why he is classed as one of the best Co-Anglers in the country, taking out second place in the Tonic Somerset Slam Co-Angler division. Brett used an O.S.P shad tail in colour 139 matched to a 1/2oz jig head to land the bass.
His setup consisted of a 2000-sized reel matched with an Edge rod and 8lb Sunline main line and leader.
This year brings us two new series in the form of a barra and an extended national team series, both of which are already gaining popularity up and down the east coast of Australia.
If you are interested in getting involved, visit www.bassaustralia.com.au and check out all the details.