Father/son team Paul Malov and Alex Franchuk (Team Gamakatsu/Atomic) have taken out the 2013 ABT BREAM Classic Championship at Mallacoota, VIC. Malov and Franchuck come out of the blocks quickly on day 1, posting an imposing 5/5, 4.58kg tournament limit. They then backed it up with a 5/5, 4.51kg limit on day 2 to take the victory by a margin of 1.29kg from their nearest competitors.
On the pre-fish day the team checked out 6 possible locations for fish. The goal was to just observe and monitor activity as opposed to actually catching fish.
“We actually had 4 key areas that we just left alone,” Malov explained. “We found fish, but it was all about just observing if they were in any number and how they were behaving. With 68 teams on the water we knew the key would be to manage our locations to maximise our chances.”
On day 1 the team headed to Bottom Lake. They targeted bream around rock clumps and tea tree snags in depths up to 2.5m. By 8.30am the team had boated 3 bream.
“We used 2” Atomic fat grubs in green gord/avocado colour rigged on a Gamakatsu 1/22oz round ball head,” Malov explained. “The technique was to cast tight to the edges and let the lure sink on a slack line. If there were no takes on the drop we gave the lure two little hops and then a pause before retrieving it using a slow roll/hopping/pause retrieve.”
The team alternated the presentations with a hardbody presentation.
“We used the Atomic Crank 38 in ghost green shad,” Malov said. “It was especially effective around shallow rock points.”
Gamakatsu/Atomic then made the move to Top Lake, targeting a rock wall. Using the Atomic Crank they secured 1 fish slow rolling the lure down the side of the rock face. The team then moved to a bay where they found fish muddying in 10ft of water.
“The water was quite green and we could see fish digging on the bottom,” Malov said. “In all, we caught 5-6 legal fish from the location and filled out our tournament limit.”
On day 2 Gamakatsu/Atomic decided to follow the game plan that had provided them with fish on the first day. The initial signs were good, with 2 fish in the livewell by 8.30. The rock wall proved fruitless, but a move to bay saw the team begin to gain momentum.
“At the bay we caught 2 bream including a 1.56kg fish. By 12pm we had 4 fish and were looking at filling our limit and potential upgrades.”
In an effort to find their fifth fish, the team decided to fish deeper in an area of Top Lake. Using their Lowrance HDS-12 Touch sounders, the team found fish holding tight to the muddy bottom.
“Using 1/8oz Atomic Metalz in ghost green colour we attempted to get the fish to bite,” Malov said. “We also added Megastrike in craw scent to the lures. The technique was 2 small hops tight to the bottom. Using this technique we filled our tournament limit.”
The team then hit the edges in hope of finding further upgrades. When this proved unsuccessful they returned to their original location. The fish were active, but the team was unable to land 3 successive hook-ups. In a final move they hit a timbered location that had previously fished well.
“It sounds cliché but on the last cast we got a fish,” Malov said. “It upgraded a 29.5cm fork bream to a 36 fork bream.”
Team Gamakatsu/Atomic headed back to the weigh-in in an apprehensive mood. Even though they had filled their limit and upgraded, they knew the quality of fish available at the tournament location.
“We were worried those lost fish would cost us,” Malov explained. “The one thing I wasn’t worried about was the condition of the fish; with the recent addition of livewell vents from V-T2, the fish were livelier at the end of the day than they were when they were caught!
“Our limit was comprised of 3 good fish and 2 legal fish. Watching the weigh-in was still nerve wracking. This is a big, prestigious event that all teams dream of winning.
“When we realized we had won, we felt this huge mix of excitement, relief and accomplishment all at once. Doing it with Dad as my partner made it all the more special. We have a great partnership and it made the whole event an experience to remember.”
Malov and Franchuk took away a Mercury 4-stroke 150hp engine for the victory. The team thanked Frogleys Offshore, Lowrance and Evinrude for their support. They also thanked all the 68 teams who had assembled from around the country for attending.
Team Breamski (Steve Nedeski/Jarrod Lye) found their limit each day, but were unable to haul in Team Gamakatsu/Atomic. Breamski were in contention for the day 1 lead with their 5/5, 4.51kg tournament limit. On day two, however, the team found conditions tougher and their 5/5, 3.56kg limit saw them fall short of the tournament leaders.
“During the prefish we just took the time to look around and revisit places where we had previously caught fish,” Nedeski said. “On day one we headed to Top Lake to fish edges. There was a proliferation of baitfish in the area. We targeted fish on the snaggy edges in up to 3ft of water, and the key lures were the Jackall Chubby in suji shrimp and the Berkley 3B in brown/red.”
The bream were active straight away, with the team filling their 5 fish limit by 8am. A 100m stretch of bank proved to be the key area, with the bream sitting on the drop-off into deeper water.
The team then made a move to Top Lake flats where they targeted fish in 7-11ft of water.
“We used a 2” Berkley Shrimp in camo colour rigged on a 1/32oz Nitro jighead,” Nedeski said. “The key was to make long, wind-assisted casts. This allowed us to cover a lot of ground and not spook any potential bites.
“If the bites didn’t come on the drop we employed an aggressive hop, pause and sink retrieve. The big rod lifts brought the fish on and resulted in 3 upgrades.”
The team finally relocated to Bottom Lake, specifically Goodwin Sands, where they caught their final upgrade on the Berkley 3B lure.
On day 2 team Breamski decided to revisit their day 1 locations. In Top Lake the baitfish that were prolific on day 1 had moved on. The team explored the area but was unable to secure any bites.
A move to the Top Lake flats saw the team begin to catch fish using a slightly different technique.
“The bream responded to a much slower retrieve,” Nedeski explained. “Also, the bream were the larger yellowfin which bolstered our limit. By 11am we had our 5 fish.”
He added that a move to Goodwin Sands proved fruitless.
“It was too calm,” he said. “We basically pulled up, looked around and left again,” explained Nedeski.
The team finally returned to the Top Lake flats where they continued to catch fish, albeit the same size school fish around 32cm fork length.
“Patience was the key in this tournament,” Nedeski said. “This included sorting through smaller fish to find the larger models. From a technique point of view, long, wind-assisted casts allowed us to cover a lot of ground. We got a lot of bites as the lure was on the drop.”
Team Breamski’s tackle included G. Loomis 8205 Dropshot rods teamed with 1000 and 2500 size Shimano Stella reels spooled with 3lb Power Pro braid and 3lb/4lb Sunline V Hard leader.
Cohen Morante (Team Majorcraft) secured the event Big Bream on day 2 with a cracking 1.62kg specimen. The bream came from Allen Head at 12.30 in 6ft of water.
“I was using an Atomic K9 Pup in mud prawn colour,” Morante said. “The technique was to make long casts and work the lure for around 4ft before pausing it. It was a good strike and I knew it was a good fish by the fight it was giving. In all it took around 10 minutes from hook-up to landing.”
Morante used a Majorcraft Crostage CRK-T702M rod teamed with 8lb Unitika Aorika braid and 3lb Unitika FC leader. - ABT
Winner’s tackle: plastics outfit
Rod: Samurai Reaction 201
Reel: 2508 Daiwa Steez
Line: 10lb Unitika Aorika II braid
Leader: 6lb Unitika Aiger leader
Winner’s tackle: hardbodies outfit
Rod: Samurai Reaction 203
Reel: 2000 Daiwa Sol
Line: 10lb Unitika Aorika II braid
Leader: 6lb Unitika Aiger leader
“The key was persistence. We knew the tournament couldn’t be won in the deep because the fish on the edges were much bigger, so we focused 95% of our effort on the edges. The deep water was the fall-back for filling our limit each session.
“Also important was experience gained in other events at the same venue.”
1GAMAKATSU/ATOMIC: Paul Malov & Alex Franchuk109.36Mercury 150hp fourstroke outboard
2BREAMSKI: Steve Nedeski & Jarrod Lye108.072 x Duffrods
3MINN KOTA: Warren Carter & Cameron Whittam108.03Spotters Pack
4BERKLEY: Brad Hodges & Michael Hodges107.9Ecogear Pack
5AMAZON OUTDOORS/GLADIATOR TACKLE: Jason Grace & Steven Cefai107.56TT Lures Pack
6BLACK LABEL: Mark Gercovich & Wayne Friebe107.55Duffrods Dollars
7GLADIATOR TACKLE: Anthony Thorpe & Rodney Thorpe107.55Strike Pro Rods
8COMPLEAT ANGLER BATEMANS BAY/SHIMANO: Jason Mayberry & Terry Parmenter107.39Imakatsu/Toray Pack
9COLAC TACKLE: Stephen Parker & Declan Betts107.37Squidgy Pack
10BRUM: Danni Suttil & Antony Suttil107.37Strike Pro Pack