Team Berkley Dominate Atomic BIA Bream Classic
  |  First Published: April 2012

The weekend of the February 4-5 saw an intimate group of 34 teams head to the bright lights of Melbourne for the first round of the 2012 Humminbird Bream Classic Series.

The Atomic BIA Bream Classic is always a challenging event on the Vic Bream Classics calendar. Angler have to put their skills to the test trying to tame the Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers bream and reputations are on the line as teams weigh in, before the large crowds that attend the BIA Summer Boat Show at Docklands.

For Team Berkley who have always been hard to beat in this event the dream plan they’d always wanted to execute here would finally come together in a big way.

In previous years the Atomic BIA Bream Classic has experienced all manner of weather from scorching heat to unrelenting rain and floods, but the anglers woke to a picture perfect day on Saturday giving everyone an air of confidence.

For a number of teams the stable weather meant the option to look for those big bream further a field was a real possibility. A number of teams made the run to the Patterson Lakes some 36km away, but for Team Berkley’s Brad and Mike Hodges the day they had been waiting for had arrived. Brad had the chance to head to his honey hole in the Werribee River and put together a serious bag of bream not seen before in this event.

“We took off across Port Phillip and arrived to the Werribee River. Using a combination of Berkley Pro Tactic 3-5kg Tiger Rods matched with Abu Revo PRM20 Reels, spooled with 4lb and 6lb Berkley Nanofil and 4lb Trilene Flourocarbon leader we started to work the shallow edges. With the tide still low I was expecting the fishing to be slow until the water rose.”

“It was good old Dad (Mike Hodges) throwing Cranka Shallow Cranks in BBQ Prawn, Olive Prawn and Pinks Bits that got us off to a flying start. He had four fish in the boat early and then using Cultiva CT55Fs in Wagasagi Clear I helped out by finishing off the bag with a kilo fish and upgrading quickly after. As the tide rose we made our way up river looking four more upgrades. We only had four bites up river but that equated to landing 3kg of fish. With only one fish under 36cm to the fork on board we were both keen to get back across Port Phillip without any mishaps” Brad reported.

When Team Berkley placed their bag of 5 bream on the scales it was all too evident why they wanted to get back so quickly as their bag of 5/5 bream set a new record at Docklands pulling down the scales to 4.80kg and wrapping up the Maria Lures Best Bag Prize early on day one.

Soon after Team Berkley had weighed in the Eco-Gear Big Bream Prize was secured by Team Metung Hotel’s Jeff Janssen and Rhett Sandy who weighed in a quality 1.35kg bream landed at the mouth of the Yarra River. With a lead over 2nd place by more than 2kg the talk of the tournament was the cracking bag of fish Team Berkley had secured and whether they would risk the gale forced winds forecast for Sunday to hit the Werribee River again.

Anglers awoke on Sunday morning to strongest winds ever experienced in the Vic Bream Classics 7-year history. Getting across the bay was not an option for most of the field, which meant finding fish close to home would be the only chance for success.

Brad Hodges said that “Windy does not quite describe the conditions for Sunday. With going to the Werribee taken out of the equation because of the wind it made where to fish a little easier.”

“Fishing was always going to be tough but we thought if we maximised our fishing time by not travelling too far we would increase our chances. As it turned out we spent the majority of our day fishing within 5 minutes of the start line. Once all the teams had headed off we waited for sun to rise so we could see where we were casting and began working the many boat hulls. I used a Berkley 3B Fat Dog with some sticky weight added to it to help it suspend under the boat hulls. Conditions were horrible, the boat moorings were swinging, and the wind was picking up our line which made getting the lure in the right spot very difficult. As we persisted the wind was gusting to over 40 knots and our Min-Kota electric power was quickly fading.”

“It took us about an hour but we eventually found a row of boats that were holding some fish. With the first legal in the well, our spirits were up but then, three hook pulls and a bust-off in 15 minutes, left us thinking we might have used up all our chances. We continued to work the same row of boat several times and eventually landed 2 more legals.”

“Thinking that three fish was probably enough and instead of fighting the gale force winds anymore we moved to fish a shallow bank and to our delight, we found some hungry and aggressive fish. We hooked up several times to complete the bag and even upgraded a few times before heading to the weigh-in” Brad said.

Team Berkley approached the scales and with 5/5 bream for 3.20kg and a total 2 day bag of 10/10 for 8.00kg they had blown the competition away by more than 2kg.

For information on the up coming rounds of the 2012 Humminbird Bream Classic Series log onto www.vicbreamclassics.com.au or call Bill Hartshorne on 0409 823 070.


PlaceTeamTeam MembersTotal fishTotal weight
1BerkleyBrad Hodges/Mike Hodges10/108.00kg
2Minn-KotaCameron Whittam/Warren Carter10/105.67kg
3CrankaSteve Wheeler/Gary Lockyer6/104.97kg
4PlonkersBen Shuey/Mick Kaksa7/104.12kg
5MillerodsHarry Olatkiewcz/Jordan Trusty7/103.96kg
6Bream BoysDavid Harding/Tony Curwen7/103.67kg
7Smith Sea BulletsJesse Rotin/Ryan Warren7/103.28kg
8Gamakatsu/AtomicPaul Malov/Alex Franchuk6/103.26kg
9EGMPaul Conn/Justin Conn7/102.97kg
10No VibesStuart Carruthers/Daniel Brady"6/102.90kg

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