Dror Pietsch (10/10, 6.305kg), a 38 year old self-employed fabricator, secured victory at the Strike Pro Albany BREAM Qualifier. Pietsch catapulted himself from 13th on day one to first courtesy of a great second day limit weighing 4.035kg. Pietsch shares his tournament experience and how he managed to secure victory in, at times, challenging conditions,
“I only had the chance to prefish briefly, hitting the water on Friday around 3pm. I travelled upriver, above the area known as The Rapids. In all it took 45-50 minutes to travel to my spot. Once there I had a fish within four casts which went about 30cm to the fork. I then threw a top water and had big fish following so it cemented my prime location for the tournament.
“On the way I made the decision to fish some banks that had produced for me previously. I had nothing by 11am and was starting to get worried. I persisted and slowly I began to fill my limit. I had 3 legal fish before travelling further upriver. Once upriver I filled my bag and found the single upgrade before I needed to return to the weigh in”.
“Once I was back I realised that I didn’t have enough weight to challenge for a top finish. My key location had larger fish, but due to my day one decision I didn’t give myself enough time to secure the larger bites. It was a mistake that I was keen to rectify on day two.
“On Sunday I headed straight to a bank at the top end of the Kalgan River. The fish were on the bite and before long I had started to fill my limit. The fish were all good quality with the size averaging around 30cm to the fork. These fish were all upgraded to around 31cm before I moved back down towards the rapids. Along the way I targeted rock bars with pools between them. It was at these pools that I found further upgrades including my largest fish, a 37cm fork length kicker. With the smallest fish being 33cm I headed back to the weigh in knowing that I had executed my plan as well as I could have hoped”.
The lure that Pietsch used exclusively was a 2” Damiki M Grub in light cinnamon colour. These were rigged on a 1/22oz, size 2 Gamakatsu Round 211 jighead.
“The technique was to cast hard to the bank edge. The water was high with reeds and other structure hanging over the water’s edge. After skipping or casting the lure to the edge I would let it sink then slow roll the lure back to the boat with plenty of twitches and pauses. The majority of hits were occurring as the lure was initially sinking or very close to the bank. With steady pressure most fish came out, even in the most rugged territory.
“The Damiki was my confidence, go-to lure. It allowed me to be slow and methodical while also combating snaggy areas. Using a weedless rig it enabled me to fish deep in cover. The flipside was that you needed to strike to hook the fish.”
Pietsch’s outfit included a 7’2” Millerods XS Breambuster with 2500 Shimano Stella reel spooled with 10lb Varitas Sea Bass braid in green colour with a 2m RIO Fluroflex FC leader in 7lb.
Ashley Hazell (10/10, 5.94kg), a 26 year old brewer at Little Creatures Brewery, led the field after day one but was unable to hold back a rampaging Pietsch on day two. Hazell targeted fish in the lower Kalgan to fill his limit each day. Hazell dissects his approach,
“On day one I headed to a shallow bank in the lower Kalgan River. My key lure was a 2.5” Z-Man Grub in motor oil colour rigged on a 1/16-1/20oz, size 2 hook jighead. The technique was to cast tight into the tree line with most bites coming in 0.5-1m of water. I was able to secure my five fish limit between 7am and 9am with one further upgrade caught on a hardbody between 9am – 9.30am. I moved to the Elizabeth Street flats but was unable to find any further upgrades.
“On day two I returned to the same location on the lower Kalgan, but the fish had moved on. Cloudy conditions prompted a move to nearby flats. Between 8am and 10am I filled my limit before the sun came out. Thinking the fish would go deeper I altered my strategy, but couldn’t find any bites. I moved back to the edges, specifically those with reed structure. As it became overcast again the fish came back on the bite. I was able to find two upgrades with the second being the largest fish for the day.
“My technique differed from many of the other anglers in that I was fishing aggressively. I used a short, sharp jerky retrieve with pauses. Analysing the weekend, the key things were persistence and confidence in the lure I was using. My day one spot was quite crowded but I knew there were fish around and persistence paid off. I knew my lure was a proven winner. With the Z-Man Grub being relatively new to WA, I believe it provided me with an important point of difference that made my presentation stand out.”
Hazel’s outfit consisted of a 6’10” 1-3kg Pflueger Patriarch rod teamed with a 2500 Stradic CI4 reel spooled with 6lb Sunline PE teamed with 4lb Sunline Rockfish FC leader. “I used a longer leader than most, 2-3 rod lengths”, said Hazell.
Champion non-boater for the weekend was Jackson Miller (9/10, 4.525kg). Miller fished with Charlie Saykao on day one and Gary Cope on day two. Miller recounts his experience,
“On day one we fished the flats inside of the King River Bridge. We were fishing in around 4’ of water. I had four fish within the first hour, but then everything else was undersize. I finally found my fifth legal fish at around 11.30am on the Elizabeth Street flats. We then moved up the Kalgan River past Honeymoon Island. I found two further fish but they weren’t upgrades.
“On day two we headed up the King River. I had two early fish but then was plagued by undersize fish. At 11am we moved to the Elizabeth Street flats. Small fish continued to be the norm. We persisted and eventually I caught a legal which measured over 30cm. Another legal eventually followed but I couldn’t find my fifth fish for the session.
“The lures I used were Berkley Gulp Craws and Bulky Hawgs rigged on a 1/22oz Gamakatsu Round 211 jighead. This presentation was retrieved using a constant slow roll with twitches. On day two, when I also used Gulp Crabby, the retrieve was more rapid with more twitches.”
Millers outfit consisted of a Hardy Rise Zorro 2 piece 7’2” rod teamed with a Daiwa Sol 2000 reel spooled with 6lb Sunline braid in green colour teamed with Nitlon 3lb FC leader.
“This is my best result in an ABT event. It felt great to perform in such a quality field. I was concerned bringing only four fish to the second day weigh-in and thought my opportunity had disappeared. But in the end everyone found the going tough so I was stoked to come out on top,” said Miller. – ABT
Non-Boater Alex Dorrington caught the event Big Bream of 1.615kg. Caught in the first session around 12pm the fish came from shallow water around an island near Kalgan Bridge. The fish was caught on a Berkley Gulp Baby Shrimp in pearl white colour rigged on a light jighead. Dorrington shares the experience, “The lure was cast up onto the shoreline and drawn back off the beach. The bite was a slow tap before I felt weight and set the hook. My boater reversed the boat so I could fight it in deep water and after around 4 minutes I had the fish tired and was able to net it”.
7’2” Millerods XS Breambuster
2500 Shimano Stella reel
10lb Varitas Sea Bass braid in green colour
RIO Fluroflex FC leader in 7lb.
Pietsch says, “Heading to areas with fewer anglers was the key. I had the whole area to myself and the lack of pressure paid dividends. Also keying in to the shallow fish sitting on the edges and working the whole spectrum to cover all options”.
Boater Top 10
Non-Boater Top 10
|1||Jaxson MILLER||9/10||4.525||Daiwa prize pack|
|2||Chris FINDLAY||8/10||4.375||Daiwa prize pack|
|3||Corey HOUSE||7/10||3.615||LOX prize pack|
|4||Aaron WILLIAMS||7/10||3.570||Sabre prize pack|
|5||Richard DAVIE||7/10||3.050||Shimano prize pack|
|6||Suzanne SIRANOVIC||7/10||2.675||Spotters prize pack|
|7||Paul SIEMASZKO||5/10||2.555||Prize pack|
|8||Brodie CUMINS||6/10||2.520||Prize pack|
|9||Michael BURMAN||5/10||2.500||Prize pack|
|10||Cody CLEMENTS||4/10||2.295||Prize pack|