Matthew Finney, (10/10, 4.52kg) a 34 year old bricklayer from Grafton, secured his maiden ABT victory at the Atomic Lures Tweed River BREAM Qualifier on June 16-17. Finney’s day two limit of 2.54kg propelled him from seventh place to take the win by nearly half a kilo.
Finney explains how the tournament unfolded.
“The prefish for the event was tough. I checked out the bridges up river as well as the Fingal wall but was only able to find small fish. I fished the rock wall at the mouth of the Terranora Creek arm and was able to sound up fish. With the Tweed River still being affected by a large influx of fresh water from recent rain, the clear water in this location appeared to be the best bet for the tournament.
“On day one I went straight to the rock wall at the mouth of the Terranora Creek arm. There were a couple of other boats fishing the area. It was the last of the run-in tide and I felt confident the location would produce. By 8am I had three fish in the well. As the tide changed the bite shut down and it was very quiet for around two hours. I was still catching small fish and my Lowrance Structurescan was showing concentrations of fish still holding in the area. The bottom structure at the location was broken weed which provided cover. I was encouraged by the sounder images and decided to stay in the area. As the session wore on I gradually fished further away from the rock wall. The bite slowly came back on and I was able to fill my limit and find one upgrade.
“On day two I returned to the rock wall at the mouth of the Terranora Creek arm. I was expecting an early bite but by 9am I had one fish in the livewell. My first thought was that the fish had dried up, but my sounder was still showing good concentrations. I persisted and at 10am I caught my second fish. Between 10am and 12pm I came across a good patch of fish. Three slow drifts across the area produced the remaining fish to fill my limit including a 32cm fork length kicker fish. No upgrades followed.
“My key lure for the event was an Ecogearaqua. I initially used a stinger hook, but only the smaller fish were tail biting so I removed it from the presentation. In the morning I would cast tight to the rock wall and hop the lure down to the bottom. I would change my jigheads depending on the strength of the tide, using from 1/20oz through to 1/12oz As the session wore on I would cast parallel to rock wall in around 6-8.5m of water. I would let the lure sink to the bottom where the lure would deadstick. The bites varied throughout the session. This applied especially for the finesse presentation on 2lb line,” said Finney.
Finney’s used a 701 Dobyns Champion Extreme rod teamed with a Daiwa Certate 2004 spooled with 6lb Sunline Rockfish PE and 3lb Sunline V Hard leader. Finney said his line choice on day one centred around a long leader of 3-4m. With the fishing becoming more difficult on day two he switched line to 2lb Sunline Sniper FC fished straight through.
“I have had some encouraging results at previous ABT events,” said Finney.
“A win at the Gamakatsu Grand Final in 2011 really gave me confidence to challenge myself at different venues. I love the competitive spirit at the events. Getting the opportunity to go out and fish against some of Australia’s best bream anglers while having fun is what it is all about.
“Previously my go-to lures would have been hardbodies. Learning to diversify and have the confidence to adapt to the situation at hand has been an important part of the learning process. A big thank you must go to my sponsor EJ Todd for all their support and assistance,” finished Finney.
Anthony Wishey, (10/10, 4.06kg) a 43 year old Terminal Operator at Pacific Terminals took out second place at the Atomic Lures Tweed River BREAM Qualifier. Wishey sat in fifth place after day one and produced a similar bag on a tough day two to challenge for top honours.
Wishey shares the experience.
“In the prefish I found two legal fish at the Terranora Creek rock wall. My other locations hadn’t produced so it became my key spot for the tournament. I headed there first up to fish the rock wall and over the course of the session I caught 6 bream of which 5 were legal. It was tough and you had to just keep grinding away. I was losing plenty of fish and couldn’t put my finger on the cause. I tried another location, the rock wall at Fingal, but didn’t find any fish so returned to my original location.
“Heading out on day two I knew the fishing was going to get difficult. I knew finding a limit was going to be extremely hard. I went to my day one location and on my second cast had my first fish. By 10am I had my limit including my kicker fish which went 31cm to the fork. I upgraded a further two times during the session.
“It was a grind throughout the two sessions. You had to concentrate on the bites that came. I used Berkley Shrimp and Craw lures rigged on Nitro jigheads to catch my fish. When the tide was slow I would use a 1/20oz jighead then as it sped up I would go with a 1/6oz I added a stinger hook, a size 16 Owner treble to increase my hook-up rate. The stinger was attached to the eye of the jighead with a small section of line. I then would wrap this around the shrimp or craw before pinning it. With the shrimp it would be on the underside of the tail. On the craw I would trim 5mm off the tail then pin the treble through each individual floating arm.
“With the lure the key was to get it to the bottom, give it 2-3 tiny hops, then deadstick the lure for a minute. After day one I realised I needed to make some changes to ensure all bites were converted. On day two I reduced the action I was imparting on the lure and focused on staying in contact with the lure. It was a more finesse approach that paid dividends,” said Wishey.
Wishey’s outfit consisted on a 7’ Berkley Venom Blood Python 1-3kg rod and Pflueger Patriarch 7’6” 1-3kg rod teamed with an Abu Garcia Soron reels in size 10 and 20. These reels were spooled with 3lb Berkley Sensei FC straight through and 2lb Berkley Trilene straight through.
Phil Nix, (6/10, 2.18kg) took out the non-boater division of the tournament. Nix fished with Anthony Wishey on day one and Will Lee on day two. Nix produced the heaviest bag on day two to come from behind and take the victory.
“On day one the bites were sporadic with lots of undersize fish. I employed a slow retrieve with short hops. My key lure for the tournament was a 100mm Squidgy Wriggler in bloodworm colour rigged on 1/12 - 1/6oz jigheads depending on the current.
“On day two we started upriver, fishing rock walls outside canals in around 3m of water. I had one fish early before we made the move further upriver where we fished exposed drains. By 11am I had three fish. I lost one other fish but in the end I had enough weight to take the win,” said Nix.
Nix’s outfit consisted of a G.Loomis 862 GLX rod teamed with a 1000 size Shimano Rarenium reel spooled with 3lb PowerPro braid and 2.5lb Shimano High Power FC leader. – ABT
The Daiwa Big Bream for the event went to day one leader David McKenzie with the Atomic angler's 1.12kg fish proving unbeatable. McKenzie caught the bream at a rock wall near the Blue Hole using an Atomic Deep Crank 38 in muddy prawn colour.
“The fish came at around 12.30pm. The retrieve was steady and slow with the lure bouncing off any rocks it contacted. The bite was solid with the fight going on for a couple of minutes. I called the fish for a flathead but eventually I saw silver and knew it was a good bream. At the boat the fish lunged for a final time but my non-boater had it covered and landed it like a pro. Key to the catch was the rock wall which held good amounts of bait, the Atomic lure which did the job by itself and the liberal application of Megastrike scent to keep the fish interested,” said McKenzie.
701 Dobyns Champion Extreme rod teamed with a Daiwa Certate 2004 spooled with 6lb Sunline Rockfish PE and 3lb Sunline V Hard FC leader. This was later substituted for 2lb Sunline Sniper FC fished straight through.
Persisting with a particular technique when required and having the confidence to hang in there regardless of how tough the fishing.
Boater Top 10
Non-Boater Top 10
|1||Philip NIX||6/10||2.18||Daiwa Tournament Master X Interline 762MLFS rod, 2000 Daiwa Luvias reel, Shinobi PE, flurocarbon, line cutter, striper, cap, t-shirt and Daiwa lures|
|2||Geoffrey BORG||6/10||2.04||Daiwa Spellbinder 702LFS rod, 2000 Daiwa Exceler reel, Shinobi PE, flurocarbon, t-shirt and Daiwa lures|
|3||Shane WOLHUTER||5/10||2.03||LOX Yoshi - SP7225 rod, Prize Pack + $300 1st Pro|
|4||Greg COOPER||5/10||1.88||Spotters Sunglasses Pack, Prize Pack|
|5||Rohan SOULSBY||5/10||1.84||Shimano Raider rod, Prize Pack||+ $250 Ford Bonus|
|6||Chris FINDLAY||4/10||1.52||Shimano Lure Project rod, Prize Pack|
|7||Glen STURROCK||4/10||1.33||Ugly Fish Sunglasses Prize Pack, Prize Pack|
|8||Cohen MORANTE||4/10||1.23||Ugly Fish Sunglasses Prize Pack, Prize Pack|
|9||Gary MIDDLETON||3/10||1.11||Ugly Fish Sunglasses Prize Pack, Prize Pack|
|10||Trent CHAPMAN||3/10||1.09||Ugly Fish Sunglasses Prize Pack, Prize Pack|