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Hickson hones in to win
  |  First Published: September 2014



Taree breamer Kris Hickson secured victory in the Yamaha Clarence River BREAM Challenge with the 28-year-old tournament veteran putting on a dominate display to win the third stop of the 2014 13 Fishing BREAM Series.

Starting each morning at the trawlers within sight of the start line, Hickson fished a lightly weighted soft plastic throwing an Ecogearaqua Bream Prawn against and under the boat hulls and working it with a dead-stick retrieve.

“It was a do nothing retrieve, simply throw it in and let it sink and wait for a fish to eat it,” said Hickson.

The early boat attack paid off each day with Hickson putting three fish in the well in quick time. With the boats trawled of all the bream they held, Hickson headed to Collis Wall to finish of his limit and hopefully find a few upgrades.

Day one would require a pit stop at the Oyster Channel boat ramp to pick up a set of jumper leads to jumpstart a flat cranking battery in his boat. An impromptu stop that saw Kris pick his fourth fish off a nearby pontoon.

“I thought why not I’ll have a cast at it when I saw the pontoon. I threw in a Bream Prawn and dead-sticked it and a bream ate it, ” said Hickson.

Back at Collis Wall Hickson’s technique once again had a soft approach with the Clarence champ throwing a 2 1/2” Z-Man Grubz rigged on a 1/12oz, size 1, TT jighead and working it with a slow sink and wait retrieve.

With his limit in the well each day, Hickson left Colless Wall and headed upstream, spot hoping his way upriver, then turning around and doing the same thing as the clock ticked down towards the end of the session.

“I headed up the north arm and hit the bridges and the banks that looked good, and experience and the prefish told me held fish,” said Hickson.

On day one the approach delivered five upgrades, most coming on the Z-Man Grubz. Day two saw a similar result with Hickson hitting a milk run of spots on the way back. His last two stops would prove the highlights of the day and anchored his bag, and ultimately his victory.

“My second last stop was at Hardwood Bridge where I picked up an upgrade. I then heading back down river and made one more stop at a random snag that looked too good not to hold fish,” said Hickson.

Having caught many of his fish on his 3lb straight through outfit, Hickson aired on the side of caution, concerned if he did hook a fish that 3lb wouldn’t be enough to extract a fish from the snag. His thinking was spot on, with a 1.20kg fish eating his OSP Dunk and testing his tackle to its very limits.

“It was one of those tournaments where I just seemed to make the right calls. Swapping to my 5lb outfit and pulling that big fish out of the snag was definitely one of those right calls,” said Hickson.

Delivering a 3.68kg bag to the scales on the final day Hickson in the end did it easy turning a deficit into 1.15kg winning margin. With a spot booked in the 13 Fishing BREAM Grand Final in November, Hickson is excited to heading to the Hawkesbury River at the end of the year.

“The Hawkesbury is a big system with plenty of big fish in it, I can’t wait to get down there and see what it has on offer for us in spring,” said Hickson.

Thorpe Dives into Second

For event runner-up Anthony Thorpe it was his best result to date on the BREAM tour with the 30-year-old Retail Manager grabbing the lead on day one then stumbling on day two to hand a strong finishing Kris Hickson the event win.

Fishing a deep water plastic approach to catch his fish Thorpe started each day fishing the Yamba breakwall before swapping to the Iluka breakwall later in the session.

On the first day, this saw Thorpe fill his bag at Yamba fishing 25-30ft deep water with a jighead and stinger rigged Berkley Gulp Shrimp in pepper prawn colour. The technique involved shaking and sinking the Shrimp down along the wall and into the path of waiting fish.

With his limit in his well Thorpe switched to the Iluka and while he continued to throw his pepper prawn shrimp to catch his fish, it was his beloved Bait Breath Rock n Crab that brought about the undoing of his biggest fish.

“The large crustacean pattern drew the bigger bites and I picked up a 37 and 38 fishing it tight to rocks,” said Thorpe.

As the tide eased Thorpe progressively downsized the weight of his jighead to enable the optimum natural presentation of his plastic, starting out with a heavy 1/6oz and eventually dropping to a 1/8oz. The exact location of where he caught them on the wall at Iluka also varied each day, and required Thorpe to adjust his position to stay on the fish.

“The fish were sitting a little wider on the wall at Iluka on the first day than they did on the second day so they were a little easier to hook and get out. This may have been because the light was brighter and the current was stronger on the second day,” said Thorpe.

While Iluka produced a series of upgrades on day one, on day two things were a lot harder, especially fishing tighter to the wall, with Thorpe hooking, but rather than landing, was dusted by a series of big fish. With only four fish in his well, and the 5th still yet to come he moved location and headed to Browns Rocks in search of number five.

“Browns is always a reliable spot, and I was confident that I could get my fifth fish there, unfortunately it wasn’t to be and I only weighed in four fish,” said Thorpe.

With only a 4/5, 2.22kg limit delivered to the scales Thorpe’s 310g day one lead turned into a 1.15kg winning margin for Hickson.

“I can’t be too despondent, I picked up a solid cheque ($1,700), a spot in the grand final, and a new custom-made Duffrod for winning the Duffrods Big Bag (3.77kg) for the tournament,” said a resigned Thorpe.

Zac Cracks the Win

For Taree Apprentice Boiler Maker Zac O’Sullivan it’s been a dream maiden year on the ABT BREAM Series with the 19-year-old breamer claiming a narrow 20g win over Grayson Fong to secure the non-boater title at the Yamaha presented Clarence River event.

Fishing with Anthony Thorpe at Yamba and Iluka walls on day one O’Sullivan fished an Ecogearaqua Bream Prawn in king prawn colour rigged on a jighead fitted with a Gamakatsu Octopus, size 10 stinger hook.

“It was important to have that stinger to get the timid fish and bites to stick, and it was important to adjust the weight of the jighead for the tide and to present the fish with something different,” said O’Sullivan.

The approach paid off with O’Sullivan catching his limit, five upgrades and weighing in a 2.81kg limit on day one. Sitting in second place at the end of the day O’Sullivan had high hopes for day two, a day that would see him fish with defending Clarence River champion Mark Lennox.

“We started off in the north arm once again fishing plastics down deep with the tide,” said O’Sullivan.

A move down to Yamba to change things up a bit, followed by a move back up the river saw O’Sullivan with his full limit 3 and 1/2 hours into the session.

“I had my limit by 10.30am, but that was all I caught, nothing after that,” said O’Sullivans.

In the end, five legal bites was enough, but only just enough, with O’Sullivan weighing in late in the weigh-in to bump Queenslander Grayson Fong to second by a mere 20g.

With a victory already under his belt on his first year on the BREAM tour O’Sullivan will be an angler to watch for the future.

Austackle Big Bream

Kris Hickson claimed the Austackle Big Bream Prize with the Clarence champ securing the $500 reward with his 1.20kg fish caught on day two on an OSP Dunk of a snag as he was fishing his way back to the event finish line.

Winning Tackle

Outfit 1 (soft plastic 1)

Rod: Daiwa 6’6” Interline

Reel: Daiwa Caldia 2000

Line: Daiwa 10lb Shinobi

Leader: Daiwa 6lb TD flurocarbon

Lures: Ecogearaqua Bream Prawn (mustard seed), 1/40oz, size 1, TT HWS jighead

Outfit 2 (soft plastic 2)

Rod: Daiwa 6’8” Infeet

Reel: Daiwa Certate 1003

Line: Daiwa 10lb Shinobi

Leader: Daiwa 3lb TD fluorocarbon (20 feet long leader)

Lures: Z-Man Grubz (greasy prawn), 1/12oz, size 1, TT jighead

Outfit 3 (soft plastic 3)

Rod: Daiwa Commander Desert Bull (6101ULFS)

Reel: Daiwa Caldia 2000

Line: Daiwa 3lb Brave

Outfit 4 (crankbait)

Rod: Daiwa 7’6” Infeet

Reel: Daiwa Caldia 2000

Line: Daiwa 5lb flurocarbon

Lures: OSP Dunk (alive shrimp)

Winning Ways

Filled his limit each day in the lower reaches of Clarence River before heading upriver in search of the bigger fish (upgrades) that he found in the prefish.

PlaceBoaterFishWeightPayout
1Kristoffer HICKSON10/107.14$3500 + $500 Austackle BB (1.20kg), + $250 1st MB
2Anthony THORPE9/105.99$1700 + Duffrods Big Bag (3.77kg)
3Warren CARTER10/105.62$1250 + $150 2nd Mercury
4James HOWARTH10/105.21$1,200
5Scott BUTLER10/105.10$900 + $100 3rd Mercury Bonus
6Cameron WHITTAM8/105.08$850
7Jamie MCKEOWN10/105.04$700 $300 Yamaha Bonus
8Ross LAMOTTE10/105.04$650
9Tom SLATER10/104.90$550
10Tristan TAYLOR10/104.62$500

PlaceNon BoaterFishWeightPayout

1Zac O'SULLIVAN10/104.85Prize Pack
2Grayson FONG10/104.83Prize Pack
3Allan AUSTIN10/104.27Prize Pack
4Shaun EGAN7/103.71Prize Pack
5Josh CARPENTER6/103.46Prize Pack
6Jonathan THOMPSON8/103.21Prize Pack
7Clint VOSS7/103.10Prize Pack
8Simon JOHNSON6/103.07Prize Pack
9Ben LOCKWOOD7/102.88Prize Pack
10Taigan HEATH5/102.78Prize Pack
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