Club Marine East Gippsland Bream Classic
  |  First Published: October 2014

The 3-4 May 2014 will be one that will go down in Vic Bream Classic history as one of the worst set of conditions anglers have had to face in the series’ 10 year history.

The Club Marine East Gippsland Bream Classic had 54 teams brave the conditions to fight it out for the Club Marine title. The weather forecasted all week gale forced winds on the Gippsland Lakes reaching 50 knots, so its was imperative to put anglers’ safety first and the decision was made on Thursday before the tournament that rather than cancel the event anglers would have to choose the sheltered waters of either the Tambo, Mitchell or Nicholson rivers to fish for the 2 days.

This made the prefish day more important than ever for teams to pick the best river as once their decision was made they would be locked into that river for the 2 days of competition.

While the conditions and changes to the tournament structure were a first for the series so was the way it played as for the first time in Vic Bream Classic’s history a team miraculously came from outside the top ten on day two to claim victory. For Team Colac Tackle/Major Crafts Steve Parker and Dan Mackrell it was a weekend they wouldn’t forget for all the right reasons.

Daniel said, “With some very nasty weather forecast for the Vic Bream East Gippsland Classic, tournament organisers had given us warning that the event may be restricted to fishing the three rivers: Nicholson, Mitchell or the Tambo. With this in mind the majority of our pre fish was spent searching these areas to try and work out where our time would be best spent.

“We found the Tambo River to be exceptionally clear and with calm weather on prefish we were unable to see or catch any fish from this location, moving over to the Mitchell River we found some really big fish holding tight to structure. Fishing various stretches of bank we would catch a fish and pack up and move a bit higher. With most banks producing and seeing plenty more fish we were confident of being able to put together a good bag from this area.

“We also found some fish holding deep higher in the Mitchell where a fish a cast was possible but these fish were on the smaller side.

“We didn’t bother going to the Nicholson River as we had ran out of time and were confident enough the Mitchell held fish capable of winning the comp.”

Day one saw anglers awake to a slight wind, but nothing that would have the tournament organisers concerned and in fact had organisers wondering if the weather report was accurate but as the day progressed the wind built and reached gale forced levels.

All the anglers were away and fishing in the Tambo, Nicholson and Mitchell rivers.

For Team Colac Tackle/Major Crafts Steve Parker and Dan Mackrell it was the Mitchell River they would compete in for the two days. Using a combination of G-Loomis GLX SR 842-2 and TSR862-2, Major Craft Crosstage CRKT702 and Major Craft Volkey 3-7lb rods matched to Daiwa Steez and Luvias reels spooled with 10lb Castaway, 10lb Unitika Aorika and 14lb Varivas braids with 6lb Unitika Aiger II and 4 and 5lb Sunline V Hard leader, tied to Smith Jade, Smith Camion in natural colorations, Atomic deep cranks in bluegill, Megabass Live x Smolt and 2” Atomic Fat Grubs the boys made their assault.

“On day one things started quite slowly for us and with no fish in the well after the first hour we were scratching our heads, a switch from hardbodies to soft plastics quickly put a couple of nice fish in the well and once things got going we soon had four fish and were working hard to find the fifth.

“After losing a battle with a really big fish things had seemingly gone quiet and we decided that we would head up river to the schooling fish to ensure we at least got our fifth fish. After travelling for half an hour at 5 knots only two casts were required to find our last fish, we stayed here a little longer but with small fish after small fish we decided to head back to the edges to try and find some upgrades.

“We were able to get two upgrades very late in the session and later weighed 3.38kg leaving us in 12th place some 1.74kg off the leaders,” Daniel said.

From the results of day one it was clear that the Mitchell River was the pick of the three rivers and with only a few teams fishing the Tambo or Nicholson in the top ten it was apparent that Team Colac Tackle/Major Craft had at least picked the right river to have any chance to make a charge for the top ten on day two, but with the majority of the top ten also in the Mitchell River, making up the 1.74kg deficit that Team Chemically Sharp was going to be a huge ask.

Day two started the same way as day one finished – howling winds that were set to strength even further making fishing the rivers extremely uncomfortable and fishing the mouths of the rivers impossible with huge swells being reported.

Although uncomfortable, the howling wind gave the boys from Colac Tackle/Major Craft hope that the huge bream they’d seen over the previous two days would fire up and that’s what would happen.

“The bank we were fishing had the strong winds pushing right onto it and some dirtier water had moved down the river as well. Battling the electric motor in the high winds Steve kicked things off for us with a solid 38 fork length fish, this really fired us up and gave us the confidence that we were capable of big things. The fishing wasn’t red hot but with quality over quantity we were able to put together a cracking bag of fish. We only had 7 bites, but luckily every fish stuck and made it to the net. The smallest fish landed was just under 36cm and that was later upgraded.

“It was a massive effort to land each fish in the conditions, as the area the fish were holding was littered with rocks and snags. By 11am things had seemingly shut down, with the smallest fish in the well being just under 37cm fork length we knew we would be hard pressed to find anymore upgrades, we made our way back up river and called it a day. Watching the scales settle on 6.02kg we were both stoked with the result. Giving us 10 fish for 9.4kg we had done enough to climb to the top and take the win. Just goes to show that anything can happen during a tournament,” Daniel said.

It was a monumental effort by the boys to charge from 12th place to 1st and take out the Club Marine East Gippsland Bream Classic, but to do it and win by over 1kg was incredible and along the way take out the Maria Lures Best Bag with their day two huge haul of 5/5 bream 6.02kg was just icing on the cake.

Holding onto the Ecogear Big Bream Prize was Team Bream By Stealth with a cracking 1.63kg they landed on day one. All in all a terrible weekend of weather produced an amazing weekend or fishing and a new record in the Vic Bream Classics history books.

For more information on the Vic Bream Classics Series visit www.vicbreamclassics.com.au

1Colac Tackle - Major Craft10/109.40
4Chemically Sharp9/108.00
5Bream By Stealth10/107.72
6B + C Fishing10/106.96
7Team Doma10/106.90
8Minn Kota9/106.73
9In Depth Angler.com.au10/106.36
10Fill'n The Well10/106.28


Daniel Mackrell and Steve Parker from Team Colac Tackle/Major Craft display some of the fish that handed them the 6.02kg Maria Lures Best Bag for the weekend and drag them from 12th to 1st


Paul Malov from Team Gamakatsu Atomic with a sample of the quality fish that helped his team secure 2nd place.


Carl Di Toro from Team Bream By Stealth shows off the 1.63kg Ecogear Big Bream he landed.


Top 3: Team Prostrike 3rd, Team Gamakatsu Atomic 2nd and the Club Marine East Gippsland Bream Classic Champions Team Colac Tackle/Major Craft pose for the crowd.

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