Sunline Shine to Win Invitational
  |  First Published: October 2010

This year’s Brisbane International Boat Show BREAM Invitational was a battle of the best with a string of former event winners and a host of young guns on the start line, all keen to tame Moreton Bay’s bream and take out this prestigious title.

With three 4kg+ bags, and four 3kg+ bags hitting the scales over the weekend, it came down to a no holds bar battle between the Lowrance, Hobie, and Sunline teams on the final day.

Team Sunline, comprised of Roderick Walmsley and Sean Pallent, proved the winner with a 15/15, 10.93kg bag. Sunline overcame a 770g day two deficit to blow away the field with their 4.07kg final day bag.

Team Lowrance, with Jay Perham and Grayson Fong, fell just short of retaining their 2009 victory, but secured second place with a 15/15 bag that weighed 10.45kg.

To take out the tournament Walmsley and Pallent, from Team Sunline, fished the Redcliffe and Scarborough area.

“We didn’t get a chance to prefish the day before the tournament so we just headed up to Redcliffe and Scarborough and fished areas that had produced fish for us in the past,” said Walmsley.

Using a double-pronged attack the pair fished two structure types, isolated rocky outcrops and shallow flats. They fished 2” Gulp Shrimps in an assortment of colours rigged on TT jigheads. Throughout the day they adjusted their approach, hitting the shallows when the tide was high, then retreating to the deeper areas as the water receded.

On the flats their approach was textbook, long searching casts followed up by a lift-drop-pause of the soft plastic.

“We adjusted our tackle when using this technique, down sizing to 4lb Sunline V Hard leader and using the fine wire TTs to increase our bites and hook-up rate,” said Walmsley.

On the rocky outcrops finesse went out the window and the pair upsized to 8lb leader and the strongest jigheads they had in their tackle box: heavy duty TTs.

“The bites were aggressive and the fish pulled hard when close to the reef so you needed to make sure you had a leader that would pull them out and would let you down, you also wanted to use a jighead that wouldn’t open up under all the strain.”

The pitch specific approach was spot on with the pair weighing in a 4.34kg limit for the session that had them holding down third place heading into day two.

Lighter winds on day two made things tougher; Walmsley and Pallent struggled for the first few hours to crack a consistent pattern

“The wind pumped on day one and the fish bit hard, but on day two the wind eased and so did the bream’s willingness to eat with the same level of gusto,” said Walmsley.

Using the same thought process as the day before the pair down sized leader and mainline and swapped to 3lb Sunline V Hard leader and 6lb Rockfish PE mainline.

“The Rockfish is ultra thin allowing for super long casts in the calm conditions and the 3lb V Hard kept the connection between line and lure as finesse as possible,” Walmsley said.

The wind returned with a vengeance on day three, so they headed straight back to Redcliffe and Scarborough and started off with an approach that was a combination of the first two days tactics.

“We compromised on our leader and used 5lb V Hard fluorocarbon leader so we had a balance between finesse and abrasion resistance when targeting the nasty big fish spots,” said Walmsley.

Using TT heavy wire jigheads and 2” Gulp Shrimps they made long wind assisted casts up into roughest shallow reefs they could find. They then used a lift and drop retrieve and waited for the fish to nail it as it hoped across the bottom. The hard part once hooked was stopping the rampaging fish from getting back to reef and rubbing them off.

“Both of our two biggest fish got back into the reef but the 5lb V Hard held together and we managed to pull the fish back out. The line was severely shredded but the leader held together and fish ended up in the net,” said Walmsley.

Confident they had another 4kg bag in the well, they headed back early before the wind got too strong. Their bag was more than enough to bridge the 800g deficit and for Walmsley and Pallent to secure a comfortable win for Team Sunline.

Post victory the pair acknowledged the role their gear played their win. On the first day when the wind was strong the Minn Kota I-Pilot electric motor proved the difference between the pair spending their time fishing and steering the boat.

“The Spot Lock feature on the new I-Pilot allowed us to anchor the boat with the electric and keep our hands and time free to fish. This allowed us to concentrate on fishing instead of having to worry about positioning the boat,” said Walmsley.

Event runners-up Team Lowrance, Jay Perham and Grayson Fong, also fished a milk run of tried and true locations around Redcliffe each day.

They fished water that ranged from 1-2ft shallows on the top of the tide, to 9-12ft deep rock strewn flats on the bottom of the tide and used hardbodied lures to fill their bag. Fong opted for shallow and deep Jackall Chubbies in brown suji colour and Perham fished a mixture of deep Jackall Chubbies and Atomic Shads.

Fong’s technique consisted of throwing his shallow Chubby into the shallow, nastiest country he could find then slow rolling it back to boat.

“The key was to keep the lure ticking over and swim the lure past as much likely looking fish holding structure as possible,” said Fong.

In contrast Perham used a stop-start approach and worked a ghost green and ghost gill brown Atomic Shad across the shallows with a twitch pause retrieve.

“We wanted to mix it up and give the fish a contrast of presentation styles,” said Perham.

The approach was spot on and Team Lowrance weighed in a 4.45kg bag on day one.

On day two they hit deeper spots and once again opted for a Jackall Chubby approach. Fong tweaked his slow rolled technique slightly, adding the occasional pause to give hesitant fish a chance to size up the lure before eating it.

Perham followed a similar approach to the day before twitching his Atomic Shads across the flat around 3-6ft from the bottom.

“The bream would come a fair way up from the bottom and launch out from the structure to eat the hanging lure,” he said.

They didn’t fish deep for the whole day; Fong nailed the kicker fish in their bag in the shallows on his second cast of the day.

“It smashed the lure in about 2ft of water, powered off with its back out of the water and headed straight towards a bombie,” said Fong.

The fish 41cm to the fork and the fight of the day shot Fong’s heart rate through the roof for the next hour and helped them secure the lead heading into the third and final day.

Day three delivered the pair another quality Redcliffe bag (2.82kg), but it wasn’t enough to hold off Team Sunline.

“We hooked and lost the fish during the weekend that could have won the tournament, but I’m sure we’re not alone there. There was one fish on day two that busted the leader that would have given us close to another 4kg bag, if we got that one things may have been different,” said Perham.

Perham’s tackle inluded a 7’ Lamiglas XMG Fluro Elite rod, Daiwa TD Advantage 2000 reel, spooled with 4lb Sunline Basic FC fluorocarbon fished straight through. Grayson fished a Samurai 203 rod, matched to a Daiwa Certate 2506 reel, spooled with 8lb Unitika PE and 4lb Sunline FC Rock leader.

Both anglers made an important modification to retrofit the trebles and split rings on their lures, with Decoy rings and size Owner ST 36 trebles, providing a super sharp connection between fish and lure.

“We replaced the trebles and put new ones on fairly regularly – we wanted to make sure we were giving ourselves the best chance possible to catch any fish that had a go at out lures,” said Fong.

A high treble consumption wasn’t the only item of tackle the pair churned through for the weekend.

“We lost a heap of lures, I know I lost about nine Atomic Hardz and I’d hate to think how many Grayson lost as well,” said Perhm.

The Invitational was Perham’s second last tournament before he moves to New Zealand with his family.

“We’re heading over later in the year, and while I won’t get to bream fish as much as I used to I’ll definitely fly back to do the occasional tournament such as the Brisbane Boat Show Invitational,” he said.

The Invitational was a great opportunity for anglers’ to promote their sponsors in front of the crowd at the Boat Show. With a receptive and eager crowd on hand each day anglers handed out promotional material, with fans walking away with TT caps and lures, Lowrance caps and catalogues, Gamakatsu and Atomic lures, and Ecogear hats and stickers.

Tournament fans who couldn’t make the event didn’t have to miss out, with the weigh-in streamed online each day. It was a first for tournament fishing in Australia and allowed viewers to see the anglers and fish hit the stage at the show each day of competition. With quality fishing, huge crowds and cutting edge technology on offer the Brisbane Boat Show BREAM Invitational is on track to go from strength to strength.

Next on the tournament calendar is the Daiwa BREAM Series with next round of the tour slated for 4-5 September at Glenelg River, Victoria. It will be the second last qualifying round of the series, so anglers will be fishing hard to secure one of the few remaining berths into the Daiwa BREAM Grand Final at Mallacoota in November.

Visit www.bream.com.au to see the results over the Glenelg River weekend. –ABT


1Sunline: Roderick Walmsley & Sean Pallent15/1510.93kg$1,000
2Lowrance: Jay Perham & Grayson Fong15/1510.45kg$600
3Hobie: Tristan Taylor & Scott Lovig15/1510.06kg$400
4Humminbird: Steve Morgan & Carl Jocumsen15/159.08kg 
5Gamakatsu: David Mckenzie & Jay Morgan15/158.93kg 
6TT Lures: Darren Borg & Tracey Mammen15/158.56kg 
7Ecogear: Simon Vaughan & Stephen Tracey15/157.99kg 
8Mercury: Steve Eldred & Robert March15/157.87kg 
9Daiwa: Mike Connolly & Simon Barkhuizen15/156.93kg 
10Evinrude: Peter Leggett & Glyn Barkhuizen11/155.63lg 
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