The 2010/2011 Daiwa-Hobie BREAM Kayak Series concluded with a fairy tale finish with defending champion Daniel Brown going back-to-back to claim victory in the pinnacle event of the 15 event series.
The first angler to win multiple Daiwa-Hobie BEAM Kayak Grand Finals, Brown relegated 2011 Clarence River round winner Nicholas Meredith to second place and AFC bream pro Tristan Taylor to third.
Victory for Brown was a calculated and consistent performance with the Wingham breamer weighing in 1.11kg on day one to hold down sixth place, then he upsized it on day two (1.33kg) to leap frog the field to stand atop the winner’s dais as the 2011 champion. One of only two anglers to catch a full six fish limit for the tournament, Brown was overjoyed and perhaps more note worthy, shocked with the win.
“The win last year was more than I could ever have hoped for. To then come out as the defending champion and win it again is something that I’ll take a long time to get my head around,” said Brown.
What adds to the impressiveness of the win was the fact that Brown headed into the tournament with no official practice under his belt.
“I prefished the waterway two weeks earlier so I thought there was nothing to be gained by going out and stinging fish the day before the tournament.”
With no prefish to his name Brown fished to his past experiences on the waterway and fished for big bites in places he knew were more likely to produce event winning fish.
“All I wanted to do was catch three fish each day, if I got the big bites that I was aiming for I knew I’d be in with a chance to place well,” he said.
Day one saw Brown head straight to Big Bay at Limeburners Creek to fish the racks.
The tide was low, there was no wind or current and it was super tough fishing early on. With nothing to show for his efforts Brown headed up river at 10:30am to fish the edges near Edgewater Caravan Park and was quickly rewarded with two undersized fish. With the wind and tide starting to increase Brown peddled back to his number one spot, Big Bay and quickly filled his bag.
“There was one spot, a 3-4ft deep weed bed that a few fish on it, and once I locked in on them and what they wanted I had my limit in half an hour,” Brown said.
He used a two-lure approach to fill his bag, a cut down Houndini coloured Z-Man 3” ShrimpZ soft plastic rigged on 1/40oz TT HWS jighead, and fished with a slow sink, hop, pause technique, and a bleeding tiger prawn coloured Pontoon 21 Crackjack 48 hardbody worked with a slow wind, pause, twitch retrieve.
The approach paid off with Brown catching his limit on the opening day of the tournament. He was now half way to completing his six fish limit for the tournament. Heading into day two Brown was three places further back (6th) from the lead than he was last year (3rd), if he was going to win again he was going to need something special, and perhaps a bag bigger than he caught on the final day at Forster last year.
With the late bite of day one at the forefront of his mind Brown headed out on day two with the goal of finding them early and finding big fish.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t get onto them early on the first day so I headed back to Big Bay and Limeburners in search of deeper water and active fish,” said Brown.
Heading deeper into the bay Brown focused on the floating racks, hitting the rails and the nastiest looking bream holding country he could find.
The first fish came 1.5hours into the session from an oyster-covered rack on a Z-Man ShrimpZ. The second fish, his standout fish for the day proved the most challenging to get to and get out.
“I skipped the ShrimpZ deep in under an oyster shed, let it sink, and it was one the drop that he nailed it,” he explained.
With luck stacked against him Brown wound hard on the reel, loaded the rod and hoped for the best, and luck prevailed with the kicker fish in his bag making its way to the landing net and eventually the livewell.
“I was so relieved when I got that fish in the net, there was so much structure under that shed that he could have easily rubbed me off on, I consider myself very luck.”
While luck may have played a small part Brown’s conscious decision to fish heavy leaders (12lb and 15lb) to minimize the chance of loosing hooked definitely play the biggest part.
“A lot of anglers get the bites they need to win tournaments, it’s whether you land them that makes the difference,” said Brown.
Brown didn’t have to wait too much longer for the final fish of his limit, with fish number three coming off an oyster rail on a slow rolled Crackjack 48. Two more upgrades followed delivering Brown minimal additional weight to his bag.
On the long peddle back to the weigh-in Brown had time to consider what he had in the well and how he might place.
“The place was fishing hard, I knew that. If some of the guys in front of me stumbled I knew I might have a chance to finish in the top three. When Nick (Meridith) and I got held back until the end of the weigh-in I had a sneaking suspicion that I may have enough,” said Brown.
Brown had a 110g lead over Meredith at the end of day one so the pressure was on Nick to run Daniel down. In the end it was Brown’s oyster-shed living bream that would prove the difference, with Brown’s 1.33kg bag weighing 100g larger than Meredith 1.23kg limit.
“I still can’t believe that I’ve won. To win one Grand Final is amazing, to get two is mind blowing,” said a very happy Brown.
The tackle he used to catch his event winning fish included a Daiwa Black Label 6101LFS rod, matched to a Daiwa Freams 2500 reel spooled with 10lb Daiwa Shinobi PE and 15lb Daiwa TD-R Competition fluorocarbon leader (soft plastic outfit), and a Daiwa Luvius 701LFS rod, Daiwa Certate 1000 reel, spooled with 10lb Daiwa Shinobi PE and 12lb Daiwa TD-R Competition fluorocarbon leader (crankbait outfit).
Squidgy S-Factor proved a useful sweetener to his lures with Brown adding it to both his soft plastics and hardbodies.
For event runner-up Meredith it was another solid performance on the Daiwa-Hobie BREAM Kayak tour with the Brisbane breamer coming close to claiming the ultimate prize on the kayak bream tour.
Fishing a pattern that by his own admission was simple, yet effective, Meredith found a location at the back of Big Bay at Limeburners and stayed there for the whole tournament. On a 100x50m patch of derelict oyster racks, Meredith primarily fished the fringes at the bottom of the tide, then moved in and fished the inside as the tide flooded the structure.
“There was fished scattered throughout the area, so you just had to keep covering water and swimming your lure across and past as much fish holding structure as possible,” said Meredith.
When the tide was low his technique involved slow rolling mid depth Atomic Hardz Crank 38s (ghost gill brown colour), and as the tide rose he fished deeper with a deep running Atomic Crank 38, also in ghost gill brown.
“Only two things changed over the two days, the depth of the lure I was using and the size of the line I was using. For the mid Cranks I used 3lb and on the deeps I upped it to 5lb fluorocarbon,” he said.
The technique proved fruitful, with Meredith filling his bag by 10am each day. The number of lures lost however was less impressive.
“I lost more than 10 lures for the tournament and spent $200 refilling the tackle box,” said Meredith.
The gear he used to support his lure habit included a G.Loomis 842 IMX rod, matched to Shimano Twin Power 1000 reel and spooled with Yamatoyo Spinning fluro. Like Brown, Meredith used Squidgy S-Factor on his lures to give them added appeal.
The podium finish for Meredith boosted his rankings points tally, with the Beerwah breamer moving from 10th to 3rd in the rankings. Jason Meech now sits one point ahead of him in second while Greg Lewis sits atop the list as the man to chase.
The Grand Final featured two Boss Hog Prizes with Rhett Gill claimed the $250 prize on day one, and Andrew Death securing the prize on day two.
Gill’s money winning fish on day one fell to a 40mm Fossil Creations soft plastic prawn drifted in close to an oyster rack towards the end of the session, while Death followed a similar pattern to catch his fish, with the NSW angler catching it mid way through the session on a TT jighead rigged minnow soft plastic drifted underneath a floating oyster rack.
For all anglers fishing the Daiwa-Hobie BREAM Kayak Grand Final the event was a fitting way to end the season.
“The event from the moment we got to the briefing to very end when we packed all the gear in the car to head home was one of friendship, sportsmanship and enjoyment,” said Grand Final champ Daniel Brown.
Hobie Australasia head honcho Steve Fields concurred with Daniel sentiments and sums up the series succinctly.
“The series has always been about getting like mind individuals together, to have fun, compete and do so in a manner that presents kayak tournament angling as a professional and growing angler group. And I think we’ve done that.”
If season 2011 is anything to go by 2012 is going to be huge. Stay tuned to www.bream.com.au and www.hobiefishing.com.au for all the information on the 2012 series.
All images supplied courtesy of www.lureandfly.com.au