Steve Eldred etched his name onto the Aussea Resources BBS Trophy with victory in the Mercury Gold Coast BREAM Super Series held from August 25-28.
A come from behind win on the final day, Eldred relegated day one and day three leader Aaron Sharp to second place, and Moreton Bay bream gun Tristan Taylor to third, and in the process became one of only a handful of anglers to have won both a BREAM and BASS Pro event.
Confined to the calmer waters of the Gold Coast on the first day due to a reduced event boundary, Eldred started his tournament quietly, catching a 1.90kg limit at the Seaway and the Jumpinpin with a blade and soft plastic deep water approach.
“It was a real scratch, swapping lures, locations and techniques just to get my bag,” said Eldred.
Day two was like flicking a switch, the wind dropped, the bay was open to competitors and Eldred did what he does best, hitting the bay island shallows and catching fish with shallow crankbaits and the occasional topwater. Focusing on shallow reefy locations Eldred keyed in on water 4’ deep and shallower and used a technique that was super simple, yet super effective.
“It was straight forward, make long casts then just slow roll the crankbait back to the boat,” said Eldred.
The approach delivered Eldred a 2.93kg bag and had him back in the game, jumping from 20th to 10th by the end of day. With the bay open for anglers again on day three Eldred continued his charge up the leader board, once again courtesy of a shallow water crankbait approach.
The start of day however was tough, with his day two spots giving up very little and suffering from the pressure of the day before. Eldred had to hunt for his fish.
The hunting approach paid off with Eldred soon finding the bites, and eventually the big fish he needed to continue his march through the pack of anglers. While there was no individual giant fish in his bag, it was a consistent bag of quality fish that saw his bag read 3.68kg on the scales.
“There were a couple of fish that I missed that probably would have given me about 4.5kg,” said Eldred.
Sitting 390g behind leader Aaron Sharp Eldred, the reality is that Eldred didn’t need the extra weight that he missed, he had momentum and a pattern that was showing little signs of dying. Things change in tournament fishing however and that’s exactly what happened on that final day.
“I ran around trying to pick up whatever fish I had left behind from the last two days, but there was nothing there,” said Eldred.
Running and gunning, Eldred hit spots he hadn’t touched so far in the tournament or he hadn’t seen other anglers fishing.
“I was starting to panic, so I concentrated on what I was doing, kept casting, kept moving and just eked out my bag one fish at a time,” explained Eldred.
Catching only six fish for the session, including one upgrade, what he lacked in quantity he made up for quality, with a 2.96kg bag hitting the scales in front of the weigh-in crown at the Brisbane Boat Show. The second last angler to weigh-in Eldred now held the hot seat and the pressure was now on Aaron Sharp to deny Eldred the win. Needing 2.58kg to claim victory Sharp fell 130g short and provided Eldred with a perfect come from behind victory.
The tackle the Atomic BREAM Pro used to secure his win included a Samurai Reaction 203 rod, Daiwa Steez 2004 reel, spooled with 3lb Unitika fluorocarbon and an assortment of Atomic Hardz Crank 38s in mid and deep in a range of natural colours.
The victory for Eldred was the realisation of a long held goal, a BREAM win to go with his BASS Pro title from Somerset last year.
“I’ve been fishing the events for a few years so to break through and finally win one is fantastic. To do it on my home water fishing the bay, which I absolutely love, makes it that much more special,” beamed Eldred.
The win sees Eldred sitting in 19th place in the national BREAM rankings, and with his eyes now firmly set on the Daiwa BREAM Grand Final at Forster in early November.
Falling just short of securing his first ABT BREAM win was 32 year old Atomic BREAM Pro Aaron Sharp of Brisbane. Fishing a deep-water soft plastic bite near Crusoe Island each day to catch his fish, Sharp lead for two of the four days of the tournament but struggled to get the quality fish on the last day, the day that mattered the most.
“Each day we were fishing the last of the run in tide, then the start of the run out. And it wasn’t until the tide started running hard on the run out that the fish started to bite. On the last day this didn’t happen until 11am, which meant I only had two hours of quality fishing time and this really hurt me,” said Sharp.
While Sharp caught his smallest bag for the tournament on the last day, the preceding three days had been red-hot. Day one saw him land 50 legal fish for the session, day two 35 legal fish, and day three 15. The technique that did the damage each day centred around a 250m drift that he fished over and over.
On day one Sharp fished a PE mainline, fluorocarbon leader set-up but on day two when the fishing got tougher he swapped to straight through fluorocarbon.
“Changing to 2lb Unitika Silver Thread fluoro made the world of difference. It went from a bite that was starting to easy off to a bite that was as good, if not better than right at the start of tournament,” explained Sharp.
Sharp’s line swap was crucial to staying in touch with the leaders but one other small tackle modification proved equally as important.
“You miss a lot of fish due to short strikes and timid takes so I fished a Gamakatsu size 10 single hook stinger in my plastics. I find the single gives a better hook up rate than a treble and having a stinger improves your catch rate over just rigging the plastic on a jighead,” revealed Sharp.
The jighead for Sharp was an Atomic Seeker. The balance of his tackle included a Samurai Reaction 302 rod, Daiwa 2500 Certate, 10lb Unitika Light Jigging Deluxe Super PE, and 3lb Unitika Silver Thread fluorocarbon leader on the first day. While on the remainder of the days he fish a Samurai Reaction 101 rod, Daiwa 1500 Custom Certate, spooled with 2lb Unitika Silver Thread fluorocarbon, and fished straight through.
While falling just short of claiming the event win Sharp was more than satisfied with his result and the event as a whole.
“I finished in the top ten, qualified for the Grand Final, got to fish with my mates and had the opportunity to be part of the weigh-in at the Brisbane Boat Show. What’s not to like about that,” said Sharp.
Claiming the non-boater title was 22 year old Tweed Heads tournament addict Damian Coleman. Partnered with Anthony Wishey on day one and Aaron Sharp on day two, Coleman made the most of his gun draw and spent the first two days nailing the fish in the deep at the Jumpinpin. Day three however offered something a little different.
Sitting in first place heading into day three Coleman was paired with leading boater Tristan Taylor and was looking forward to hitting the bay to mess with big fish, but events conspired against him and he didn’t quite get there.
“Tristo’s boat broke down at the start of the session, so we swapped over to a loan boat then headed down to the Jumpinpin,” said Coleman.
Making up for lost fishing time, Coleman picked up where he left off, albeit with a slightly different twist.
“On the first two days with fished in water that was between 15 and 30 feet. With Tristo we worked a bit shallow in 10-15 feet,” explained Coleman.
The technique on the last day was the same as the days before. Cast out a pepper prawn coloured Berkley Gulp 2” Shrimp rigged on a 1/4oz, size 12, TT jighead, sink it to the bottom then work it back with series of small hops, making sure it stayed in close contact with the bottom.
The approach paid off for Coleman with the 22 year old chef compiling a 2.18kg final day bag to hold his lead and claim the event win. The tackle he used to do so included a G.Loomis GLX 820 rod, Daiwa 2500 Freams reel, 10lb Sunline Castaway PE and 4lb Sunline FC Rock fluorocarbon leader.
Fishing only his fourth BREAM event Coleman now joins a revered list of event winners and has earned himself a spot in the Daiwa Grand Final at Forster in November.
Michael Starkey cashed in at the event picking up the $500 Daiwa Big Bream Prize for his day one 1.09kg kicker fish. Caught on an Atomic Hardz Crank at Macleay Island it was the standout fish in his bag and anchored his top ten finish and berth into the Daiwa BREAM Grand Final.
Visit www.bream.com.au for all the event information and to see who claims bragging rights. – ABT
Boater Top 10
Non-Boater Top 10