Native Watercraft Kayak Championship - Full Report!

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Chen masters the Kayak Championship!

Jonathan Chen from the ACT has taken out the Native Watercraft B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Kayak Championship on Lake Somerset with a massive 6 from 6 limit of over 12kgs.

Heading to Lake Somerset on the weekend of the 22nd - 24th September 2017, we had designed a tournament that was setup to test the anglers in multiple ways

Chen masters the Kayak Championship!

Jonathan Chen from the ACT has taken out the Native Watercraft B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Kayak Championship on Lake Somerset with a massive 6 from 6 limit of over 12kgs.

Heading to Lake Somerset on the weekend of the 22nd - 24th September 2017, we had designed a tournament that was setup to test the anglers in multiple ways, physically, mentally and of course an ultimate test on angler’s ability and gear. Somerset didn’t disappoint and on the official practice day whipped up a momentous storm and 34 degrees to mix things up and the anglers really needed to adjust to the conditions.

With moderate to calm conditions forecast, the anglers still had to keep one eye on the weather at all times and with a large amount of people on the lake due to the Regional School Holidays, boat wash was also going to test the competitors.

Jonathan Chen has just taken out the Kayak Angler of the Year recently on Lake Moogerah and now was looking to go one better and claim the Native Watercraft B.A.S.S. Australia Kayak Championship and win his way to the U.S.A.. Chen has had a passion for fishing for years, is very in tune with the Bassmaster circuit in the states and has always dreamt of competing on the big stage in America.

With basically no time on the water at Somerset in his life, it was going to be a big task to come along, find a solid plan in a single days fishing and be confident it would hold out for the entire 3 sessions. He managed to do that and more, landing huge bass al weekend and averaging over 2kgs for his bag limit of 6 bass.

Jonathan Chen – 6/6 – 12.06kg - Trip to the U.S.A. to compete in a Bassmaster Open as a co-angler, entries, including flights, accommodation, transfers, food, and more. Customised Australian Tournament Shirts and Native Watercraft B.A.S.S. Australia Nation Kayak Champion Trophy. Atomic Big Bass – 2.78kg – Atomic Rod

Don’t underestimate how tough this tournament was on the anglers, every single one of them got off the water and was totally broken, Felippe Gapski is a fitness freak, and even he felt the pain of being a kayak travelling over 30kms in 35 degree conditions each day. It was tough, it was brutal and the anglers had to work incredibly hard for the Somerset gold in the form of 2 plus kilo bass.

No one did it better than Jonathan Chen though all weekend, he travelled the long distances beyond Pelican Point on the official practice day and found some birds working some bait fish on his way back in Bay 13. When he pulled up near the birds the sounder lit up and he cast out his go to lure all the weekend the Damiki Backdrop in silver and white zeba colour and pulled a new PB out at 55cms long.

With a solid plan and a pin point location to start Jonathan worked his way through multiple locations including Bay 13 and the Queens Street right near the start line. Picking up quality fish throughout the entire tournament, the real game changer for Jonathan came in the second session, when his Queen Street location turned on with a big bite, and he managed the Atomic Big Bass of the tournament that weighed 2.78kg.

That same area also came good right at the end of the event, as Jonathan only had 1 average sized bass in his bag with 10 minutes to go, and he hooked a screaming 2 kilo bass that filled his bag and claimed him the title. Stepping to the stage with only one angler in front of him, Chen needed around 3kg to claim the title, and that last bass he caught pushed him over 3.5kg, giving him the Australian Championship.

Jonathan used straight through fluorocarbon for his entire tournament, opting for the Sunline Green Shooter in 10lb, which still enables the angler to complete control over the spoon while giving some cushion on the bite while increasing bites by its subtle presentation.

He matched a Millerrod Control Freak to a Shimano Chronach 150 Ci4 for his spooning technique and used a slight different retrieve than what we have seen over the past 2 years in the tournaments. He had found that the bass were crunching the lure on the drop, so he would cast the lure out and let it fall all the way to the bottom, then he would burn the lure back for 4-10 turns of the handle and let it fall again.

Look out for Chen when he travels to the U.S.A. to compete in a B.A.S.S. tournament next year, he has a massive passion for international competition so he will be keen to do well when over there.


Felippe Gapski – 6/6 – 11.55kg - $1,000 Native Watercraft Cheque, $1,000 Frogleys VoucherGarmin Striker 7DVTonic EyewearAtomic Arrowz RodNative Watercraft Championship 2nd Place Trophy, Native Watercraft Tackle Prize Pack.

Felippe Gapski may be new to Australian Bass tournaments, but wow does he have a big future. Already taking out Lake MacDonald earlier in the season, Gapski had the fish on a string in this tournament, and wacked 10 solid bass in every session to really stamp his authority on Somerset.

Gapski had worked out 2 main pattern that were associated around the Bay 13 area and the Red Rock area that included Halco Twistys in the morning with dressed up Atomic assist Hooks attached to the lure and the Nories 18gram Wasaby Spoon in BR139 colour in the afternoon sessions.

Working the lure close to the bottom was critical and Gapski found the perfect combination of line to keep the lure in the strike zone was the Sunline Super PE X4 10lb and Sunline FC Rock Leader in 10lb.

He matched a Daiwa Aegis 2004 reel to a Duffrod and lost some giants right near the kayak in the first and second sessions.

With this 2nd place Gapski has firmly placed himself in the “One to Watch” group and will be competing hard next season to go one better.


John Noble – 6/6 – 10.59kg - $600 Native Watercraft Cheque, Garmin Striker 7DV Atomic Arrowz Rod, Native Watercraft Championship 3rd Place Trophy, Native Watercraft Tackle Prize Pack.

Noble had a different type of tournament from the top 2 anglers, as he had to come from 7th place and a plus kg deficit to climb his way back to the money. A true testament to the never give up attitude, Noble weighed 2 consecutive 4 plus kg bags, and mentioned to us that he really felt he had let one slip with the first session result.

He used a 18 gram Nories Wasaby Spoon in BR-18 colour, with packet treble attached and assist hooks included. Noble makes his own assist hooks, saves a ton of money and can specifically make them exactly how he wants them for each and every individual lure.

He targeted the pelagic moving bass, that are generally located around the large Boney Bream bait balls, and made long cast over the fish, sinking spoon to the bottom then with did 6-10 winds of the handle at a medium pace before free spooling back to the bottom. Critically he kept in contact with the lure at all times to ensure he felt any bites as the spoon as it fluttered back to the bottom.

His go to spoon setup consisted of a Barrabass Customised Rod in the XP902 model matched to a new Abu Garcia Revo MGX in the 20 size, spooled up with the new 6lb Berkley Fireline and topped off with 8lb Sunline Fluorocarbon Rock Leader material. This line width is at the lighter range for targeting big Somerset Bass, and he relies the Barrabass Rod to do all the work for him once hooked up to the solid girls.

No doubt you will seeing more of John Noble over the next few years, he is an incredible talent and always is close to the top in the big kayak rounds.


The Native Watercraft Kayak Championship Wrap.

Without any doubt, this series has been a major success and we look forward to next season’s opener in January. A special thanks needs to go to Natalie from Native Watercraft Australia who have committed to the series for 3 years. As an angler the best way you possibly could say thanks would be to get extra anglers involved, and promote the Native Watercraft brand. The financial commitment by Native Watercraft is huge and they really need everyone’s praise.

Steve “Starlo” Starling also helped out a couple of times over the season with the weigh-ins and is an absolute talent and ultimate professional. Get over to Steve’s Facebook page and check it out, he is always out and about fishing with funny stories and some amazing fishing.

Thanks to all the anglers who competed this year, we met some of the real nice people in the world and we look forward in seeing you in 2018.

Special thanks to Lauren Kelly who works tirelessly on all the events, and without her they simply wouldn’t happen.

See you in 2018, until then get out and smash the bass.