Brad Hodges is arguably the most consistent Victorian breamer in recent years and he did his reputation no damage in the opening round of the Humminbird BREAM Tour, the Atomic-sponsored event held on the Glenelg River at Nelson.
Amongst a combined field of boating BREAMers and kayak BREAMers wanting to qualify for the Kayak World Championships, Hodges managed to catch his limits each day in the lower reaches of the river, easily relegating South Australian Dean Truman to second place.
The Berkley Pro, like most of the anglers in the field, had a productive pre-fishing day.
“There were heaps of fish feeding high on the banks all the way up the river. They were easy to catch in the morning and I threw a range of lures including Berkley Puppydogs, T-tail minnows, Gulp! Crabbys, blades and Sebilé Flatt Shad and all of these lures caught fish, but around lunchtime the bite began to slow down and it was the plastics that seemed to be getting a better reaction. So I kept this in the back of my mind: if things became tough, change to plastic,” Brad said.
He continued to describe how his tournament played out.
“I started fishing in the first ski run and caught a legal fish on a Berkley Puppydog in pug colour within the first handful of casts, however, over the next 200m of bank I didn’t get any more hits and I just wasn’t seeing the fish that were there on pre fish,” he continued.
This prompted a change in location to above Taylor Strait and a switch to a Berkley Crabby rigged on a 1/50oz Nitro Torpedo jighead.
“I began seeing a small number of fish rolling and feeding on the edge and I just tried to work the Crabby in as close as possible to the undercut bank. I fished really slow and after two drifts I had filled my limit,” he said.
The rest of the session was a real struggle for Hodges, and he was left with only his Day One technique to fall back on come start of fishing on Sunday.
“On Day Two, I returned to the undercut banks above the ski run and within five minutes about 20 boats all cruised by. This sent a heap of wake chasing into the rock wall and although I thought this would work against me I think it stirred up the food and for the next 20 minutes the bream came on the chew.
“I landed four fish during this time and on my second drift, landed my fifth. The retrieve technique was almost non existent as I would cast as tight as possible to the cliff face and let the camo Crabby slowly fall to the bottom, let it sit there for a couple of seconds before winding it in to make another cast.
“Having 5 fish in the boat was a big relief as I just wanted to give myself a good chance of qualifying for the Grand Final. As the day progressed the bites were very few and far between although I did manage to upgrade twice on a black Crabby,” Hodges concluded.
Local (Mount Gambier) angler Dean Truman used a remarkably similar technique to take second place. Using 2” Atomic Prongs (pink/brown) on the lightest and smallest TT Hidden Weight System hooks available, Dean would look for banks with ledges in the lower river.
“The bream get tough pretty quickly in the Glenelg River with all of the fishing pressure and that’s when they go and hide under the ledges,” said Dean.
He’d cast the Prong to the edge and let it freefall frustratingly slowly down below the ledge.
Dean’s tackle consisted of a Samurai Reaction 201 rod, Daiwa Luvias reel, 4lb Berkley Crystal and a 4lb Sunline leader.
“I also fished in the estuary down near the river mouth and there were some big bream down there. I got a few bites from them but found it hard to get them to commit to swallowing the bait. Plenty of times the Prong came back missing limbs,” said Dean.
He did manage one keeper on a Jackall Chubby down in that section, however, the lower ski-zone was the most productive.
Dean is looking forward to getting to the Gippsland Lakes Grand Final in November and taking his shot at winning a brand new Yamaha SHO outboard and a spot on the AFC TV show.
Troy Hamilton narrowly missed winning the Humminbird AOY (Non-Boater) trophy in 2012, but has started the 2013 season with a bang. Hamilton got 4/10 fish for 2.215kg over two days to take the co-angler title.
Day one saw Hamilton target secondary drop-offs with young gun Jordan Trusty. His lure of choice was a Berkley Gulp Turtleback Worm rigged on a 1/20oz TT jighead and he fished it with slow steady technique, letting it flutter to the bottom before imparting a slow shake and roll down the face of the drop. He’d then give it a slight pause to allow the lure to sink back to the bottom.
“I hooked a good number of fish but I just couldn’t get them to the boat,” said Hamilton. With no other co-anglers getting good numbers of fish Hamilton’s single fish was enough to keep him in the hunt for the second day.
On day two Hamilton fished with champion boater Brad Hodges, with the pair targeted fish holding tight to cover on the step cliff faces. Hamilton’s lure of choice was a Gulp Crabbie rigged on a 1/40oz TT jighead. He would cast it tight to structure then allow the lure to sink down the face of the structure before rattling the lure on the bottom.
“If the fish didn’t take the lure after the first shake I would reel in and cast again” explained Hamilton.
Hamilton’s tackle of choice for the weekend was a Daiwa Tournament Specialist Bream 702LXFSOH matched with a Daiwa Freams 2000, spooled with 4lb Berkley Crystal Fire line and 4lb FC Rock for leader.
“It was a great way to start of the season, qualifying in the first event really takes the pressure off for the rest of the season” explained Hamilton. – ABT
Gladiator Big Bream
Mark Hayes claimed the Gladiator Big Bream at the Glenelg with the Victorian catching the 1.10kg, $500 winning fish on day two on an Ecogear Grass Minnow (aka Pink Grub) on a rocky edge in the middle reaches of the river.
|Rod:||3-5kg Abu Garcia Vanguard|
|Reel:||Abu Garcia Premier Revo 20|
|Line:||4lb Berkley Nanofil|
|Leader:||2lb Sensei fluorocarbon|
|Lure:||Berkley Gulp Crabby in camo and black, rigged on a Nitro Torpedo 1/50oz jighead|
Hodge, like most anglers, had a hot prefish catching plenty of bream on aggressively worked hard bodies. When the bite shut down at the start of the tournament Hodges adapted and fished slow and methodical with soft plastics. A change that kept him on the fish and one that many anglers didn’t make.
Top 10 Boaters
|1||Brad HODGES||10/10||5.350||$2000/Mercury Bonus $250/Club Bonus $500|
|2||Dean TRUMAN||9/10||4.665||$1350/Atomic Big Bream/Yamaha Bonus $250|
|6||Daniel MACKRELL||7/10||3.730||$500/Atomic Big Bream/Mercury Bonus $150/$250 Ford Bonus|
|9||Stephen PARKER||6/10||3.185||Mercury Bonus $100|
Top 10 Non-Boaters
|1||Troy HAMILTON||4/10||2.215||Pontoon 21/Damiki Lure Pack|
|2||Rob KEARTON||2/10||1.230||Austackle Lure Pack|
|3||Allan MORRISON||2/10||0.850||Atomic Pack|
|4||Marcel KRIEGER||2/10||0.770||Atomic Pack|
|5||Brad ROBERTS||1/10||0.610||Atomic Pack|
|6||Michael HODGES||1/10||0.550||Atomic Pack|
|7||Stephen THEODORE||1/10||0.545||Atomic Pack|