Victorian tackle store owner Steve Parker (10/15, 8.49kg) claimed the ultimate prize in tournament bream fishing in Australia with a comprehensive win in the Humminbird BREAM Grand Final, 8-10 November.
Grabbing the lead in the Gippsland Lakes hosted event on day one, Parker held his calm on the final day to secure the win and in the end achieve a very comfortable victory.
Fishing in amongst the trees out the mouth of the Tambo River on day one, Parker didn’t have to wait long to find out if he was on the fish. His second cast of the session delivered him his first fish. The action wasn’t a one off with Parker quickly catching his second, and then continuing on to fill his bag within the first hour and a half.
Surrounded by a host of other boats that weren’t experiencing Parker’s level of action it was his choice of lure and how he worked it that made all the difference.
“The fish were there you just needed to get their attention, otherwise they wouldn’t eat your lure,” said Parker.
Fishing an OSP Dunk crankbait in 1.5m of water, Parker’s technique involved ripping the lure aggressively 2-3 times then pause it. It was on the pause that the bream would eat it.
The approach not only delivered a rapid-fire limit for the day but also an additional four upgrades. Weighing in the only 5kg+ bag for the day, Parker headed into day two with a comfortable lead, and high hopes that the Tambo would fire once again.
His hopes were thwarted though with gale force winds and dangerous conditions resulting in the cancellation of day two.
“I didn’t get any sleep the night I was leading, so to get a chance to catch up on some sleep and make sure I was completely ready for day three wasn’t such a bad thing,” said Parker.
With improved conditions on day three and the anglers permitted to start, Parker headed straight back to Tambo in the hope that things would have remained the same as day one. An hour into the session and still with no bites Parker was begging to think about plan B and C.
“I left and hit the Mitchell Flats for half an hour for no fish, then went to Duck Arm, also for no fish, then cut my loses and went back to the Mitchell,” said Parker.
At 10.30am he had no fish, but his dry spell wasn’t to last much longer with his first fish soon to follow. An hour later and he had four in the well. Fish number five proved the toughest though.
“I dropped my fifth fish two times, and it took another hour and a half to catch it,” said Parker.
Two upgrades followed, delivering Parker a positive end to a day that started frugally.
While day one’s lure and technique was an aggressively ripped OSP Dunk, day two’s was the opposite end of the spectrum with Parker catching his fish on a slowly retrieved deep Jackall Chubby bumped across the bottom.
The last angler to hit the stage Parker needed 1.23kg to secure the win. Hefting a solid 3.06kg limit onto the scales in the end he did it easily.
Parker’s win delivered him a bounty of prizes, including a Yamaha SHO outboard motor, AFC outdoors spot, perpetual BREAM Grand Final shield, and a highly coveted bream on a stick. The win also secured Parker the Mercury Cup for 2014, and added his name to a highly regarded list of former Grand Final winners.
Victorian angler and Humminbird supported tournament pro Jarrod Healy was Mr Consistency at the Grand Final, stringing together two solid days to finishing second and secure his best result to date on a Grand Final.
Fishing the Nicholson River flats and Duck Arm early on day one it wasn’t until a late session change to the mouth of the Mitchell River flats that Healey found his fish for the tournament.
“It was a late run, I caught my limit in a 400m stretch in the last hour and a half of the session,” said Healey.
Fishing a deep Jackall Chubby the technique involved slowing rolling it across the bottom and giving the lure the occasional twitch. The bite, as expected, came as the lure was paused.
With a day’s rest under his belt due to the day two being called off, Healey headed off on day three rested, and keen to improve upon his current fourth place.
“I headed straight back to the Mitchell hoping that they’d still be there,” said Healey.
His wishes went unfulfilled, so with no fish he moved to Duck Arm, a move that paid off with Healey soon putting a fish in the well. With nothing else to show for an hour there he moved back to the Mitchell. This time it produced giving up two fish for Healey. Eager to continue his momentum he moved the Nicholson River flats, and with 30 minutes left he picked up fish number four. Only weighing-in four fish for the day, it was a bag and ultimately a result that Healey was more than happy with.
“It was hard to find fish on the final day, my Humminbird Side Imaging sounder helped me pinpoint plenty, getting them to bite however was really hard. To finish second in a Grand Final full of very good anglers is very satisfying,” said Healey.
Bairnsdale Glazier Mark Cribbes (5/10, 5.43kg) secured victory in the non-boater division of the 2013 Humminbird BREAM Grand Final, with the Victorian local using a Austackle crankbait approach to catch his tournament winning fish.
Restricted to a single day on the water due to strong winds Cribbes caught his fish on day one fishing the mouth of the Tambo River with day one leading boater Steve Parker.
Fishing 1.2-1.5m deep snags Cribbes threw an estuary prawn coloured Austackle DD40F Project B Crankbait and worked it with a slow rolling retrieve interspersed with three to four twitches followed by a pause.
“Most of the fish would eat the lure just as you moved it after the pause,” said Cribbes.
Cribbes didn’t have to wait long to get a response to his approach with his first fish coming in the first 10 minutes of arriving at his spot. A string of fish followed with Cribbes and Parker filling their limit by 8-8.30am.
The second fish in the limit was the standout, a 40cm fish that anchored Cribbes win and fuelled his 990g winning margin.
Cribbes’ winning tackle included an Austackle Featherlight, 2-5kg, rod, Austackle Cruz PBi reel, 8lb Austackle PE mainline, and 4lb fluorocarbon leader.
To maximise his chances of converting bites into hooked and landed fish Cribbes upgraded the rear hook of his crankbait, replacing it with a size 12 Owner ST11 treble. The retrofitting approach paid off with Cribbes and Parker upgrading twice and only missing a couple bites.
With a BREAM Grand Final trophy safely on his mantle piece Cribbes now joins an exclusive list of Grand Final winners, an achievement that is realized by few and desired by many.
|Rod:||G.Loomis TSR 862|
|Reel:||Daiwa Steez 2508|
|Line:||10lb Sunline Castaway PE|
|Leader:||5lb V Hard flurocarbon|
|Lure:||OSP Dunk, retrofitted with size 12 Decoy YS25 trebles|
|Rod:||G.Loomis SJR 842|
|Reel:||Daiwa Steez 2508|
|Line:||14 Varivas Max Power PE|
|Leader:||4b V Hard flurocarbon|
|Lure:||Deep Jackall Chubby (brown suji shrimp), retrofitted with size 10 Owner ST11 UL trebles|
Parker matched his lure, tackle and technique perfectly to the location and mood of the fish. Going aggressive and heavy on day one and downsizing to finesse on a tough day two.