Mathew Cameron, a 25-year-old exercise physiologist, produced two successive 4-fish limits to secure his maiden Kayak BREAM victory at Mooloolaba, QLD. Cameron’s first day limit (1.410kg) had him sitting within striking distance of the leaders, and on Day 2 he backed it up with the only 4-fish limit (1.565kg) weighed in.
“Having never fished Mooloolaba before I decided to approach it like my home waters, the Clarence River,” he explained. “It’s similar in terms of pontoons and structure located near flow, and I targeted areas in current around the backs of pontoons and trawlers. Over the course of the tournament that there were two distinct bite windows – the first hour and then around 1.30pm near the bottom of low tide. Outside of those times it was really a struggle.
“I caught fish straight away targeting pontoons about 200meters from the start area. My second legal fish came shortly after, before I moved to fish the trawlers. By 9am I had three, but I had to wait till 1.30pm before I caught my final fish from the bottom of a boat ramp.”
On Day 1, being unfamiliar with the area, Cameron spent a lot of time looking for bream, gauging the waterway and narrowing the number of locations that held fish in numbers. All this time spent scouting meant he finished the day near the bottom of the leader board.
On Day 2, he noted that no anglers were fishing the pontoons that had provided him with fish on Day 1. As soon as he started fishing there, he was rewarded with his first legal fish.
“I lost my first fish, but it gave me confidence that I was in the right location,” he said. “I soon had two fish before making a move to my next location. By 7am I had three, with a legal bream coming off a pontoon. I then moved to fish the trawlers.”
The local community came out in support, with many locals trying to point Cameron in the right direction.
“People were trying to tell me where to go or mentioning their brother/sister/father had caught a 2kg fish from there last week,” he said. “It was nice to have their support.”
Cameron kept working away, aware that the bites were harder to come by, but spurred on by the knowledge that one more fish could make all the difference.
“Eventually at around 1.45pm I caught my final legal near the yacht club,” he said. “It was a great relief to catch my limit each day on a new waterway.”
Returning to the weigh-in, Cameron’s goal was to finish in the top 10. With conditions becoming more difficult and many anglers returning without limits, it became clear that a limit would elevate an angler up the leader board.
“I was anxious,” he said. “because I was up against local anglers and talented pros. When I realised that I had done enough to win, I was very relieved and excited. My angling has been progressing since 2012 and in my last three events I have now placed 2nd, 5th and now 1st. I am over the moon to make the Grand Final at Marlo. I will have to start my research and invest in some new lures for the event.”
Cameron used a 7’0”, 2-5kg Mark Newcombe custom rod teamed with a 2000-sized Daiwa Certate reel spooled with 4lb Unitika FC fished straight through.
The key lure used was a cut down Gulp Crabby in camo colour rigged on a 1/28th HWS TT jighead. Cameron cast it tight to structure and let it sink slowly.
Luke Rogan stormed out of the gate on Day 1, weighing the tournament’s largest bag of 2.17kg. Rogan’s bag was anchored by the event Boss Hog of 950g. The 27-year-old fitter and turner from Brisbane targeted fish in the Newport Canals to fill his Day 1 limit.
“I hadn’t fished Mooloolaba for years,” he said, “so I just treated it the same as the Gold Coast and focussed on the canals. It was hard fishing; the fish were spread out and the bright conditions made them extremely flighty.”
Rogan hit the surface early, looking for fish before switching to a Squidgy Wriggler fished weightless on 2lb FC straight through. Rogan’s first legal fish came at 8am before he converted to a hardbody lure, a ZipBait Khamsin Jr.
“I cast the lure close to pontoons,” he said. “My second fish came around 8.10am, and after a quick fight I landed my largest fish for the session [950g]. After this the bite slowed and I had to work hard to find any further legal fish. I eventually found two more fish, one falling to a plastic and the other to a hardbody.”
On Day 2 Rogan headed back to the Newport Canals. After a struggle with an estimated 50cm mangrove jack on 2lb line, Rogan renewed his focus and set about catching the key species.
“About an hour after I started the fish turned on,” he said. “It was a brief 10-minute window, but I was able to land a fish during this time. After that window shut the bite died and I started to look for active fish again.”
Rogan tried going upriver before hitting other canal systems. As the temperature began to climb, bites became increasingly harder to come by.
“I hooked a flathead and one other small bream,” he said. “It measured legal, but when I got back to the weigh-in I put it on the ruler and it wouldn’t go the correct length ,so I gave the fish an early mark and put it back in the water.
“I hope to get to the Grand Final later this year. I know the quality of fish available in the region and would love the opportunity to compete against the best BREAM Kayakers in Australia.”
Rogan’s outfit consisted of a G. Loomis DSR Dropshot 6’9” rod teamed with a 1500 size Daiwa Steez reel spooled with 2lb Sunline FC fished straight through.
Luke Rogan caught the Hogs Breath Boss Hog on Day 1. The 950g fish fell to a ZipBait Khamsin Jr lure cast tight to a pontoon in Newport Canals. – ABT
|1||Mathew CAMERON||8/8||2.975||$800 + Prize Pack|
|2||Luke ROGAN||5/8||2.570||$700 + Prize Pack|
|3||Michael MAAS||7/8||2.510||$350 + Prize Pack|
|4||Steve CRAWLEY||5/8||2.410||$200 + Prize Pack|
|5||Michael HALLIDAY||6/8||2.295||$200 + Prize Pack|