Rapala Mallacoota BREAM qualifier
  |  First Published: April 2012

Whittham masters Mallacoota

Cameron Whittam (10/10, 9.89kg) mastered Mallacoota’s big bream bite to secure his maiden win at the Rapala Mallacoota BREAM Qualifier, an arena that he’s fished all his life. Whittam’s consistency on the lower lake yellowfin earned him $3,000 and a place in the 2012 Daiwa BREAM Grand Final. 

Whittam found only small pods of bream on the lake margins in the pre-fish, but identified several key areas and mixed these with some traditional banks that hold quality fish when formulating his game plan. 

Whittam shares his tournament experience, “In the prefish I found bream sitting slightly deeper than normal. They were also more focused around gradual sloping points rather than steep dropoffs. I saw fish but chose not to catch them. It’s important to back yourself to find and catch those fish during the tournament, not before it starts”.

Whittams biggest fish for the prefish was 35cm, well under the size he produced during the tournament. The focus remained on finding the larger fish that would give him the edge in a competitive field.

His execution was flawless on day one, landing a 1.36kg, 1.21kg and 0.97kg bream in the first hour of competition off Kingfish Point. The balance of the day he ran around his spots and filled his limit – landing 10 legal bream for the day.

“I started at Kingfish Point on day one using a slow roll retrieve with pauses when the lure hit the bottom. I had three fish early before filling my bag limit in the Top Lake. Fishing extended rock ledges with Jackall Chubbies, using a roll and pause retrieve, yielded three small upgrades,” said Whittam.

The technique employed was a lesson in sight fishing 101. Casting an Ecogear SX40 past fish and retrieving the lure into the fish’s line of sight before pausing it accounted for most of the bites.

On Sunday his spots failed to produce. He made the decision to stick with big fish spots and landed two fish, including a 39cm fish, by 11.30am.

“On day two an open flat in the Bottom Lake produced my first two fish. These came as I was long casting around the area using a Smith Camion lure. I tried rock ledges, flats and banks that had previously produced for no luck before hitting a rarely fished bank on a hunch. The plan of attack had now changed, as I knew I would need to catch bigger fish to compete with the leaders. My gut feeling was that I would find these fish in the Bottom Lake”.

He managed another three legals to fill his limit on another shallow flat and they were all crackers, however he also broke off a bream around 1.2kg

“I used three different lures to target the area, which within 20 minutes produced three good fish. The location was 2-4 feet deep. The mixture of lures and retrieves got the fish interested, but the window soon shut down. It was blind fishing over this mud/sand flat area that quickly produced the fish I was looking for,” said Whittam.

Having fished Mallacoota for most of his life, it was fitting this location provided Whittam with a tournament career highlight. Having now shed the tag of best angler never to have won an ABT event, perhaps 2012 is shaping up as Whittams best tournament year to date.

Barling’s Breakthrough

Austackle Pro Angler Shane Barling fished Mallacoota’s top lake for his (10/10, 9.69kg) limit. Most of Barling’s bream came from a 200m stretch of water near Gravelly Point, which was 1.2-2.4m deep.

Barling shares his thoughts on the area fished throughout the tournament.

“I found my key location around three years ago and it has continued to provide good fish. Two hook-ups during prefish confirmed it was still producing. I shared the spot with other boaters, but importantly, fished deeper than the other anglers.

His technique involved ripping Austackle Sakanas into the sand and getting the bream to react to the presentation.

“I would cast with the wind, wind in the slack then thrust the rod down to get the lure to hit the bottom. I would try to keep the lure in contact with the bottom throughout the retrieve. The bites came as the lure hit the bottom or as it begun to swim away again. The takes were tentative with a couple of fish getting off during the course of the fight,” said Barling.

The story of his tournament was similar to Whittam’s with an early limit on day one (by 8.30am) and around 25 legal fish for the day. The second day proved more difficult, with the 5th bream not coming on board until 12.30pm. There was luckily a last-minute upgrade, where he replaced a 29cm fish with a 35cm. In all nine legal fish were landed on Sunday and these fish allowed him to claim second place.

Non-Boater Champion

A popular winner of the Non-Boater division, Victorian Zig Domagala weighed a 10/10, 7.69kg limit. Fishing with Shayne Gillett in the top lake and Wayne Reed in the bottom lake, Zig proved his versatility on this arena.

Domagala shares his experience, “On day one we found fish early before the bite slowed. As the afternoon wore on the bite came back on and I was able to fill my five fish limit.

“On day two I caught three fish early on with another two coming in the early afternoon. One upgrade followed, giving me a good bag to finish the tournament with,” said Zig.

Using a Loomis rod and Daiwa reel, Zig caught his bream on Jackall Chubbies and a 1.44kg fish on a Lucky Craft Pointer.

With 10 boaters and 10 non-boaters now qualified for the BREAM Grand Final in Queensland in November, the focus shifts to future events on the BREAM calendar. See www.bream.com.au for more details.

 - ABT

Winning Tackle

Rod: Dobyns Champion Extreme DX701 SF Finesse.

Reel: 2010 Daiwa Certate 2506
Line: 10lb Sunline Castaway braid and 20ft of 4lb Sunline V-Hard leader.

Lures: Jackson Athlete 55mm, Ecogear SX40, Jackall Chubby, Smith Camion and Deep Cranka Crank

Winning Notes

The key was experience on the waterway. Knowing a variety of locations that can produce in different conditions is something that only comes with time spent on a waterway. Confidence was also important, because when the fish stop biting you need to know whether to stay or move. And finally, leaving fish that I saw on the practice day alone.

Big Bream

Big Bream for the event was landed by Shane Dyason with a 1.49kg black bream. Caught on a shallow bank near the entrance of the Double Creek Arm, he sight-fished the beast in a foot of water. 
“I cast a Berkley Gulp! Shrimp on 2lb line, rigged on a 1/40oz hidden weight jighead to the fish and it swam out and ate it. It nearly got back into cover a couple of times, but ended up in the livewell,” Shane said.


PlaceAnglerFishWeight (kg)Payout

1 Cameron WHITTAM10/109.89$3,000
2Shane BARLING10/109.69$2,000
3Grant KIME10/109.22$1,000
4Kristoffer HICKSON10/109.02$900
5Damien DOMAGALA10/108.82$800
6Warren CARTER10/108.58$700
7Jarrod HEALEY10/107.88$950
8Chris WRIGHT10/107.74$650
9Ross CANNIZZARO10/107.66$400
10Spiro SPYROPOULOS9/107.65$300

Non boaters

PlaceAnglerFishWeight (kg)Payout

1 Zig DOMAGALA 10/107.69 Daiwa Tournament Master X Interline 762LFS rod, 2000 Daiwa Luvias reel, Shinobi PE, flurocarbon, line cutter, striper, and SC Shiner Lures
2 Lex COURT 10/107.52 Daiwa Spellbinder 702LFS rod, 2000 Daiwa Exceler reel, Shinobi PE, flurocarbon, line cutter, striper, and SC Shiner Lures
3 Troy HAMILTON 9/106.88 Daiwa Airtorque 72ML rod, 2000 Daiwa Freams reel, Shinobi PE, flurocarbon, line cutter, striper, and SC Shiner Lures
4 Tony PETTIE 10/106.84 Prize Pack
5 Jordan TRUSTY 10/106.76 Prize Pack
6 Eric FAES 9/106.75 Prize Pack + Ford Bonus ($250)
7 Darren EVANS 10/106.55 Prize Pack
8 Rob KEARTON 9/106.36 Prize Pack
9 Braddley YOUNG 10/106.22 Prize Pack
10 Justin CONN 10/106.09 Prize Pack
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