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Crompton takes pole position at Clarence BREAM Pro
  |  First Published: June 2015



Mark Crompton, a 34 year old self employed plumber from the southern highlands of Sydney, has made the best possible start to his 2015 BREAM season by going back-to-back with victory at the JML Alliance Clarence River BREAM Pro.

Crompton parlayed his Tweed River event victory by overcoming a class field on day two at the Clarence River event. Crompton’s 10/10, 6.44kg tournament limit saw him take the win by 400grams from his nearest competitor and cement his status as an angler on the rise.

Crompton’s event preparation, not unlike the Tweed River event, was limited to analyzing Google Maps and the prefish day. This however didn’t deter Crompton who went about his task methodically,

“Google Maps got a few good runs researching the Clarence as well as Insight Genesis, but I was mostly looking for weed flats, etc, which I didn't really find. My plan was simply just drive around and get familiar with the system i.e. sand bars, rockwalls structure and the main areas like Middle Wall and Browns Rocks. I also had the BREAM Grand Final in mind so I needed to cover a lot of ground. Finding water hazards was my main aim though”.

“The event prefish was polar opposites to the competition day, but my experience taught me the bigger fish needed fast flow and good cover so that's what I decided to aim for. During the prefish I put 15 or so fish in the boat but all the fish came from different areas, mainly rock walls, but all locations had extremely fast moving current which is what I like fishing. I found fish everywhere, and I thought that's not good because it allows everyone to do the same, but true to most commercially fished locations the prefish day put some good pressure on the system and allowed me to focus on my key zones confidently.”

On the first day Crompton headed out with a plan in mind and went about executing it,

“My plan was keep it simple, fish the spots I knew would get pressured hard first and it paid off. We pulled up to the Yamba Shores Tavern area and immediately started catching fish. I managed to fill my bag quick including a kicker fish. From there I upgraded slightly, but by this time I felt the spot had been punished so we headed to rock walls and Browns Rocks. At these locations I struggled to upgrade which made my initial location seem a perfect call. I used the remainder of the day to prefish unknown areas in case I could find another good kicker fish”.

After the first session Crompton sat in 7th place with 5/5, 2.93kg. With a 840gm deficient to overcome he focused on trying to place in the top two,

“My big aim was to chase down second place as catching Warren Carter seemed unlikely. I headed back to my key locations but I found it a lot slower on day two as I couldn't find fish close to structure. After scanning the area closely using my Lowrance sounders I found them deeper on structure out from the pontoons, so I targeted the fish in these areas and had great success filling my bag by 9am. I then headed to Browns Rocks for an hour catching several fish but with no upgrades I headed back to my original location.

From there it was on and I cracked a good pattern and upgraded many times but also unfortunately lost a lot of really big fish. I noticed all the fish I was catching were milking in pre-spawn. In Sydney I find pre-spawn fish hold on poles. I decided to explore this option in the hope that I could successfully target the bigger fish consistently. I managed two kicker upgrades following this pattern, which made a big difference at the end of the day”.

Crompton’s second day tournament limit of 5/5, 3.51kg was the largest for the day (second largest for the tournament) and propelled him up the leaderboard. Ultimately Crompton’s combined session weight eclipsed his nearest rival and delivered him his second successive victory. With two events in the bag Crompton clearly has momentum on his side heading into the back half of the season and is definitely one to watch for the Power-Pole AOY title race.

Whittam overcomes setback for second

Cameron Whittam, a 43 year old self employed plumber, finished runner-up at the JML Alliance Clarence River BREAM PRO. Whittam (10/10, 6.04kg) produced consistent limits over both tournament sessions, but was overtaken by Crompton’s final day heroics.

Whittam prefished above Maclean, but identified larger fish lower in the system. Unfortunately he experienced engine troubles on day one, which significantly shortened his session and immediately put him on the backfoot. Whittam explains,

“In the end I started fishing the middle wall around 10am. I then moved to the north wall of the entrance at 11am with 4 fish in the livewell. At this location I finished my 3.16kg tournament limit and lost multiple big fish to the structure and to pulled hooks. In all I caught approximately 15 legal fish for the day.” 

Day two conditions were very different from day one with ultra strong currents and westerly wind combining to make it very hard to stay in contact with the lure. Whittam fished multiple locations between the mouth of the system and Browns Rocks but didn’t find fish. Whittam explains his approach on day two and choice of location,

“I knew that the bite time on the North Wall was going to be from 12pm on, so I waited patiently and headed there at 12pm with no fish in the well. The first fish came at 12:40 pm and the second followed quickly. A short wait and the 3rd and 4th again came very close together. With only 10 mins until I had to head back to check in, I hooked and landed fish number five to finish my limit, which weighed 2.88kg.

I chose to fish deep rock walls 20-40 feet deep with heavy base plated Cranka Crabs in multiple colours, which I would change every drift. I added various flavours of Pro Cure scents on my crabs quite often during both days. I would throw the crabs close to the edge and try to waft them down as close as possible to the taper of the rock wall.”

Whittam notes finally, “Patience was the key to my success. Fishing ultra slow for long periods can be tough but very rewarding”.

Fong gets crabby

Grayson Fong, a 40 year old acupuncturist from Hendra, Brisbane, took out the non-boater division at the JML Alliance Clarence River BREAM Pro. Fong fished with Chris Britton on day one and John Timbrell on day two to compile a 10/10, 5.45kg tournament limit. In doing so Fong was the only non-boater to present a full limit each session to the weighmaster.

Fong had the opportunity to prefish for the event and found fish throughout the system. He identified good numbers around Maclean, but the size was lacking compared to fish near the mouth of the river.

Fong shares each days experience,

“Being fortunate to draw Chris Britton on day one I knew we would be fishing either Browns Rocks or down the Middle Wall as both places proved fruitful last year when we first got the opportunity to fish together. I was fortunate enough to match it with Chris' renowned deepwater skills and we soon bagged our 5 fish in good time during the last of the run out tide leaving us ample time to search for better upgrades.

To fill my bag at Browns Rocks I chose to throw 2.5" Z-Man Grubz in gudgeon colour rigged on a 1/8oz Atomic Seekerz jighead. A crucial factor was the liberal coating I gave them of Pro Cure scent in mullet flavour. After leaving Browns, we ventured down to the infamous Middle Wall where I then used a heavy Cranka Crab in spotted crab colour to score a couple of nice upgrades with fish coming onboard for Chris and I in a hot bite period lasting about 15 minutes.

On Day two I drew Lake Mac’s John Trimbrell who was wonderful in giving me the option of fishing wherever I needed to go in order to win the event. He took me back to Brown’s Rocks where I got the fish the first day and where the population had grown with boats in such a short time.

I threw the same Zman Grubz on 1/8thoz jighead,s but this time in Bloodworm colour. This choice wasn’t due to water colour change or sunny conditions, I simply ran out of Gudgeon colour! But the fish didn’t mind as I was able to scratch my bag together finally after sifting through the many small ones that Brown’s is renowned for.

After that John took me to where he got fish the first day, a reef outside Oyster Cove, where the fireworks really started! After switching to a Cranka Crab in Olive colour, in a space of an hour I upgraded my somewhat reasonable Brown’s Rocks bag to a more reasonable one in the order of a 27cm, 34cm, 30cm and 29cm coming onboard in successive drifts. This was where the Cranka Crab came into its element as I picked pontoons and poles to cast at. The big fish would grab the crab and swim out shaking their heads trying to crush it or dislodge it.”

Fong used two lures to great effect, the Z-Man GrubZ and Cranka Crab. The technique employed with the Z-Man GrubZ was to use a deadstick method, where he would let the plastic waver around in the current with the occasional twitch to let the bream know of its presence. The Cranka Crab was used predominantly as an upgrade lure. The lure was cast up against rockwalls or pylons and slowly retrieved by lifting the rod and staying in touch with the lure at all times.

Dissecting each day’s sessions, it was really a tale of two days, as Grayson explains.

“Day one came really quick for me as the tide was flowing at a perfect speed and we had no wind. Day two took me a lot longer but I put my head down as I knew Brown’s had the fish we just needed lures in water.”

Winning Ways

Crompton identifying spawning fish holding on poles was significant in his victory at the Clarence River.

Winning Tackle

Rod: Daiwa Battler Water Zombie and Daiwa Generation Black Itchy Twitchy

Reel: 2004 Daiwa Sol II and Daiwa Freams

Line: 2lb Stren braid

Leader: 4/5/6/8lb Sunline FC rock

Lures: Cranka Crabs, Berkley Craws in camo colour and Juro Firebaits

Results

Boaters

PlaceAnglerFishWeightPayout

1Mark CROMPTON10/106.44$3,100
2Cameron WHITTAM10/106.04$1500 + ($250)
3Steve GILL10/105.83$1,200
4Mark BROWN10/105.74$1,100
5Kristoffer HICKSON10/105.72$950 + ($150)
6Warren CARTER9/105.47$800 + ($100) + ($300)
7Jamie MCKEOWN10/105.41$700 + ($300)
8Tom SLATER10/105.31$625
9Matthew FINNEY9/105.20$475
10Peter MACOR10/105.07$475

Non-boaters

PlaceAnglerFishWeightPayout

1Grayson FONG10/105.45Prize Pack
2Brendan HERDEN8/103.62Prize Pack
3Darren BORG7/103.59Prize Pack
4Michael GEARY8/103.45Prize Pack
5Stuart WALKER8/103.34Prize Pack
6Jason DISSON8/103.25Prize Pack
7James HICKSON7/103.23Prize Pack
8Sean WAITE6/103.03Prize Pack
9Angus CHANDLER6/102.53Prize Pack
10Sean PEARSON5/102.48Prize Pack
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