Damian Domagala (10/10, 9.75kg) has secured his maiden ABT win at the Hobie Gippsland Lakes BREAM Qualifier, April 13-14. Domagala overcame considerable obstacles to find his limit on day one and came home with a wet sail on day two to clinch the win by 785g from his nearest competitor.
Let’s hear how Domagala saw his tournament unfold.
He prefished the tournament and used his time to check out some locations near Hollands Landing and Newlands Creek. He saw plenty of fish and decided to head back there on day one.
Unfortunately Domagala faced his first hurdle straight up on day one. About 1.5km from Hollands Landing his motor gave out and he was left using just an electric motor.
While waiting for a replacement boat he managed to get one fish in the live well. But it wasn’t until got to his spot that he started great the results he was after.
“When we switched boats I headed to my original spot. We targeted edges and banks at Hollands Landing near McLennans Strait. My first and third casts delivered fish so I was confident we could find a limit. We moved around the area with two further fish coming by 12.40pm. A stop at Metung on the return journey yielded an upgrade.”
On day two he headed back to the same area. It was quiet with no fish coming until 10am. Around 11am he had two quick fish, both around 1kg. He decided to stay in the same area to see if the bites would continue.
“My fourth fish came off an edge using my key lure, a deep Jackall Chubby in suji shrimp colour retro-fitted with Van Fook ultralight size 10 trebles. It was a solid thud that I thought was a snag until it started shaking its head. The fish came to the surface quickly shaking furiously. I quickly called for the net and the fish was quickly onboard. It was over in 10-15 seconds, but if it had gone longer I seriously doubt if the result would have been the same.”
Domagala’s fourth fish (1.61kg) would ultimately go on to take out the Gladiator Big Bream for the tournament and secure him a further $500 for his efforts.
A move to nearby edges resulted in another large fish, his fifth, after five minutes. He stayed in the area targeting sections of edges. He would use his Power Pole to hold position then would move on further.
“I secured a good upgrade, around 1.1kg, before we left the area. We stopped at the Newlands Arm but had no luck. A final stop at Metung, where we hit edges and flats, yielded a further two upgrades and gave me a competitive chance heading back to the weigh-in.
“I thought that there would be a number of big bags at the weigh-in, but was also aware that the fishing and pressure after three days would make conditions more difficult. My goal was to hopefully qualify for the Grand Final. When I saw that the bags were smaller than day one I thought I stood a chance with large fish.”
When Domagala weighed his limit, he knew it was enough to take the win.
“It was a huge relief but also reward for the hours of practice I have put in over the years. Learning to persist in different conditions, along with all the little things I have learnt in my tournament career, made the difference. My first ABT win is one I will never forget.”
Warren Carter continued his stellar 2013 BREAM season with a second place finish at the Gippsland Lakes BREAM Qualifier. Carter led the field out on day two, but was unable to find the fish to hold on to top spot.
Nevertheless, Carter has shown he will be a force to be reckoned with 2013 regardless of the venue.
On day one he headed to the mouth of the Tambo River. The fish were shallow early on, in water as small as 6”, chasing lures. He scored his limit very early at around 7.20am.
“I stayed in the area for the remainder of the session. I got a couple of upgrades in deeper water before moving back into the shallows. I focussed on a section of bank no longer than 100m. The bream came back on strong in the latter part of the session with another 20 fish hitting the deck.”
Carters key lures were a Jackall Chubby Deep in brown suji shrimp colour and an OSP Dunk. The OSP Dunk was his go-to lure for fish in deeper water.
He returned to the mouth Tambo River on day two. The bite was slower with three fish early but it wasn’t until 11am he filled out his limit. “As on day one the fish came on strong as the session progressed. A further 20 fish were boated during the remainder of the session. The size and quality of the fish had decreased noticeably from day one. The bite was by no means shut down, but the larger fish just weren’t there.”
His technique was to wind the lure down to the bottom. Once there he would use small jerks and pauses to keep it in the strike zone. Most of the takes were coming on the pause. His key point was the proliferation and concentration of baitfish in the area. There were huge schools of little minnows that kept the bream actively feeding in the area.
Carter’s outfit consisted of a Shimano T-Curve Flight Series 701 1-4kg rod matched with a Shimano Stella 2500 reel spooled with Varivas Avani Eging 14.5lb braid and 4lb Varivas light game FC leader.
Mike Hodges (10/10, 5,98kg) took out the non-boater title for the event. Hodges was the defending non-boater champion from the same event when it was last held in 2011 and showcased his consistency across the two days of the tournament.
On day one he fished with Shane Barling. The target areas were jetties and natural banks to the east of Metung.
“While the jetties failed to fire, I was lucky enough to pick up the first legal of the day when moving between jetties. This fell to a 2.5” Berkley Gulp Crabby in camo colour. From then on, as we moved to natural banks, I switched to crankbaits throwing a Cranka Crank Deep in my favourite colours BBQ prawn and pink bits.”
His long casts up into the shallows targeting weed patches, dig holes and drop-offs brought on plenty of enquiries, and although the bites were timid, holding the lure steady on long pauses with just an occasional twitch to keep the lure in the zone, got the better of the quarry and many hook-ups followed. With his limit in the well by about 10.30am, they continued to work the area to great effect and four upgrades rounded out a respectable bag of 3.315kg.
“It was a great day and although the fish weren’t large, Shane and I both got limits and boated approx 60-70 fish for the day,” said Hodges.
On day two he fished with Dean Gamble. They decided to hit some rock and natural bank to the west of Metung. This area yielded only the one legal so they headed back to the eastern banks of Bancroft Bay where presenting the Cranka Crank Deep with long pauses on the end of long casts resulted in hook-ups. With three in the well by 11.00am, the bites dried up for a while until they hit a patch of active fish towards the end of our drift.
“This saw us boat five legals in quick succession and I was lucky enough to get two of these to complete my limit. A return to the top of the run saw us enjoy a ‘double hook-up’. Soon after, Dean got his limit and I was lucky enough to score three upgrades over the remainder of the day to push the bag to 2.665kg,” said Mike.
Hodges fished with G.Loomis DSR820 610 matched with Penn Affinity 2000 reel spooled with 2lb Stren Mircofuse braid and 4lb Sunline FC Rock leader.
“Many thanks to Shane and Dean for all their support during two great days on the water.”
Rod: G. Loomis TSR 862
Reel: Daiwa Steez 2004
Line: 10lb Sunline Castaway braid in light blue colour
Leader: Long (20 feet) of 5lb Sunline FC Rock leader
“Having a prefish and knowing the fish were in the area. Persisting and learning from previous tournaments. Understanding the conditions and adapting as required. And finally relaxing and focussing on being in the moment.”
Gladiator Big Bream
Damian Domagala’s day two limit was anchored by the event Big Bream of 1.61kg.
|1||Damien DOMAGALA||10/10||9.750||$3000 + $1450 Bonus (BB, Club Marine, Mercury, PRO)|
|4||Brad HODGES||10/10||8.845||$1200 + Mercury $150|
|5||Stephen PARKER||10/10||7.750||$1000 + Mercury $100|
|6||Cameron WHITTAM||9/10||7.720||$800 + Yamaha $250|
|10||Kristoffer HICKSON||10/10||7.100||Duffrods Gift Voucher + Ford $250|
|1||Michael HODGES||10/10||5.980||Prize Pack|
|2||Brad ROBERTS||9/10||5.915||Prize Pack|
|3||Mark CRIBBES||7/10||4.285||Prize Pack|
|4||Tanya KONSUL||7/10||4.170||Prize Pack|
|5||Vaughn LEWIS||5/10||4.015||Prize Pack|
|6||Stuart WALKER||7/10||3.965||Prize Pack|
|7||Anthony TEDESCO||8/10||3.880||Prize Pack|
|8||Paul JANKOWIAK||7/10||3.660||Prize Pack|
|9||Alan LISTER||6/10||3.385||Prize Pack|
|10||Alex FRANCHUK||5/10||2.990||Prize Pack|