Port River Bream Classic
  |  First Published: August 2008

The day of the pre-fish before the May 24/25 SABT Classic gave most competitors an insight into just how difficult conditions were set to be for this event.

Cool conditions, low water temperature and mild northeasterly winds saw a field of 25 teams head off to contest Day One. It turned out to be quite a test of skill for anglers, and disappointment for many.

Closing of the day’s events saw Shaun Ossitt and Matt Smith’s Team G. Loomis leading the way with the only full bag of five fish presented for weighing. This bag tipped the scales at 5.375kg, including a monster Port River Bream of 1.945kg (44cm to the fork) nailed by Ossitt. All agreed it would be a certainty for the Big Bream award.

Team G. Loomis had no difficulties with the conditions on the day, and bagged their fish early in the day. Ossitt and Smith later explained that they had returned to the weigh-in station with a full bag by 10.30am. Fears for the welfare of the large bream prompted this decision, as the sheer size of this fish wouldn’t allow it to turn within the livewell and oxygenation was proving to be problematic.

As expected, the conditions tested most anglers. Only 21 fish were presented for weighing on Day One, with 15 teams failing to weigh legal fish and causing many to re-examine their team tactics for Day Two.

A low pressure front moving through on Saturday night saw Day Two start with predicted cloud cover moving in, the barometer falling and air temperatures dropping as teams returned to the water.

An additional two fish on Day Two proved sufficient for Team G. Loomis to claim overall victory, with a combined bag of 7/10 fish, weighing in at a huge 7.335kg. Ossitt also took out the Big Bream award with his 1.945kg fish from Day One.

Ossitt and Smith explained they found conditions much more difficult on Day Two, which they attribute to a drop in barometric pressure overnight, combined with an algal bloom they encountered.

The pair fished G. Loomis DSR 820 rods combined with Daiwa top end reels, mainline of 10lb Sunline Castaway, and 8-10lb V-Hard leader. Their lure of choice was the new Ecogear VX-35.

Runners-up Wade Fahill and Ryan Hastwell, from Team Pacific Marine-Adelaide Bait & Tackle, added to their Day One bag of four fish (2.925kg) with a further two fish (1.12kg) on Day Two, for a combined total of 6/10 fish tipping the scales at 4.045kg.

This was achieved by fishing 15lb TD Sensor Braid through to 6lb Platypus Stealth leader, on a range of Daiwa Steez and Sol rod and reel combinations.

Fahill and Hastwell chose the noisy, tight actioned Jackall Chubbies as their lure of preference, and put their success down to a new technique for working these lures.

A new innovation introduced at this tournament was the ‘Dash for Cash’, whereby a $300 prize was awarded for the first legal-sized bream presented at the weigh station on Day One. This fish must be released immediately after claiming the prize money, and cannot be included in the daily bag.

The Dash For Cash prize was claimed at 9.05am by Andrew Douglas and Graham Whibley of Team Scorpion. Douglas and Whibley explained that they were fishing relatively close to the weigh station, when they pulled a small but legal fish early in the day on a Gulp Shrimp in new penny colour. As they had no confidence in a large catch given the current conditions, the call was made to sacrifice this fish from their daily bag, in the hope of being the first back to the weigh station with a legal fish to claim this prize.

Unfortunately, this fish was to be their only legal for the event, although they were adamant that they have no regrets in excluding it from their bag. They considered the prize more than adequate compensation.

Although fish numbers and bags were low for this event, most teams expected tough conditions at this time of year that would provide any team the chance of a podium finish with as little as one legal fish.

Higher than average prize money and more prizes on offer, thanks to generous support and backing from sponsors, contributed to the interest and success of this event. We trust an even larger field will contest our next event in December, when the area really fires and full bags are the norm rather than the exception. – SABT


TeamAnglersTotal fishTotal weight
G LoomisShaun Ossitt, Matt Smith77.335
Pacific Marine - Adelaide Bait & TackleWade Fahill, Ryan Hastwell64.045
Wirth RodsGreg Wirth, Hugh Wirth32.175
BassDay - Jarvis MarineAdam Todd, Darryl Kelcey32.095
Thrill SeekerCraig Stowers, Andy Gray31.87
No IdeaTony Martin, Andrew Donhardt21.58
Sign FXTom Deer, Richard Braund21.12
Sportfishing SceneIan Clift, Alex Dafov21.065
Strike & HookTony Woolman, Steven Flynn 10.65
The Happy HookersKeith Webb, Hien Le10.645
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