In an epic start to the 2016 Hobie Fishing calendar, and the first of 5 qualifying tournaments for the 6th Hobie Fishing World Championships, 105 anglers descended on the tiny bream fishing Mecca of Bemm River in East Gippsland, Victoria.
A favourite on the Hobie Fishing circuit, Bemm River always delivers the goods and once again did not disappoint. The tournament fell on the right moon with the mouth of the inlet, which had been open for the past 7 months, finally closed just days prior to the competition. With the inlet mouth closed and water levels up, scattered cloud cover and reasonable wind conditions through most of the round, Bemm showed little sign of pressuring up under the weight of 105 anglers.
Full bags were commonplace with 85% of the field returning to the weigh-in with three bream on both days of the tournament. Weights were impressive with the top 20 all weighing in 5kg and above over the two days.
A consistent performance from Chris Lyons from Rosanna in Victoria took him to the top of the leader board on the final day, moving up from third place and adding 2.6kg to his day one result for a total of 6 bream weighing in at 5.8kg.
Chris was followed Kevin Varty from Nowra in New South Wales, who held on to his day one 2nd position with 6 for 5.25kg. Paul Malov from Bentleigh Victoria rounded out the podium placings with 6 for 5.16kg.
Chris Lyons from Rosanna in Victoria soared to the top of the leader board on day two to take out the first round of the series and grab the lion’s share of points in the chase for a place on the team to represent Australia in the 2016 Hobie Fishing World Championship.
“I pre-fished Bemm on Friday to find spots that were holding fish and ended up at Mahoganies.
“I headed straight back up to the entrance where I had located all of the fish the day before. I found the fish still there, and I worked a 100m stretch of bank and by 8am I had a 42cm and a 40cm. I kept working the edge and the flats in the same 100m area where there were plenty of fish in the low 30cm range. Everyone else who had been in the same location seemed to have left the area and moved down to the inlet opens in the estuary and were working the centre of the channel with vibes. There were plenty of boats in the area watching what we were doing. I kept working the edges and pulled in a 37cm on a Deep Diver Spike prawn pattern. I had my bag for the first session.
“I went straight back to the front from the starting line to find 3 tinnies, who had been watching me catch the fish the day before, already sitting there lined up in the spot I had worked the day before. I went around them and on my second cast I hooked a 41cm Black Bream. Then the boats moved off the bank to follow another competitor when they saw him catching fish on vibes in the centre. I then moved back into my favoured spot but found nothing, so I moved right up to the front where the water washes over the bank (it wasn’t at the time) there were ‘yellows’ and ‘blacks’ up there and I got a 35 and a 38 and that was my bag for the day”.
“Probably working that 100m stretch of bank and throwing into the edges and flats and not into the middle of the channel”.
Lyons took home a huge prize payout of $2,990 and over $400 in sponsor prizes.
2014 Hobie Fishing World’s 3rd place getter, Kevin Varty from Nowra in New South Wales came into the round with low expectations not having fished Bemm River before.
“I normally like to fish deep and it was just really shallow. I headed up to the entrance and started throwing plastics in about 10-12 foot of water. When they started biting and I started landing them my first impressions changed”.
When asked if he was going to make run at qualifying for the Worlds Varty replied,
“I’m just going to try and fish as many Worlds qualifying rounds as possible this year and see what happens.”
Varty took home a $1,560 cheque and over $300 in sponsor prizes.
Hobie has introduced divisions as an exciting way to encourage new anglers to try their hand at tournament kayak fishing. All anglers compete in the general category but there are also Youth (16-21), Women’s, Masters (60-64) and Grand Masters (65+) divisions thst provide another layer of incentive to anglers.
Nathan Prezioso from Victoria took out the Youth Division with 6 for 4.52kg fighting off a strong performance from fellow Victorian Steven Pryke on 4.35kg. Prezioso went into day two trailing Pryke by 180g but his solid bag on day two allowed him to come from behind to give him a 170g lead and take home the inaugural Youth Division competition.
Michelle Carmody from New South Wales picked up the Women’s category with 6 for 4.3kg in an encouraging field of seven female competitors. Tracey Wright from NSW was leading the Womens Division on day one with a 2.44kg bag, that had her in 17 position overall in the 105 angler field. Carmody sitting in 59th overall and 3rd in the Womens Division started strongly on the second day with early catches and bagged out on the way home to snatch the top female prize from Wright in the last half hour of competition.
In the tightest finish of the weekend Masters Division winner Tony Curwen from Victoria scooped the top spot with 6 for 4.35 nudging out Gary Hanson by just 10g. Curwen was leading on day one with 2.81kg to Hanson’s 2.21kg but just managed to hold out the strong 2.13kg day two bag of Hanson with his 1.54kg prize winning bag.
The Grand Masters Division was tight across the board with Allan Osborne from Victoria taking the top place in the category with 5 for 3.75 as well as picking up the Mortgage Corp Monster Mover for the most improved over the two days. 540g separated top to bottom over two days of tight competition. Osborne brought home a small bag of .83kg on day one and sat at the bottom of the division but he smashed it on the second day with 2.92kg and took home over $500 in prizes.
There was an amazing finish to the Hog’s Breath Café Boss Hog Big Bream competition with Aaron Williams (Vic), Michelle Gamble (Vic) and Paul Malov (Vic) all bagging bream weighing in at 1.24kg. Williams hooked his on a Flash J Grub 3.1” on a Decoy Violence 31F Jighead, Gamble caught hers on a ZMan GrubZ in motor oil on a Jig Pro jighead and Malov also enticed his big bream on a ZMan GrubZ in motor oil.
Full results can be seen online at: http://www.hobiefishing.com.au/round-1-bemm-river-victoria-2016/
Lure: Lucky Craft Flash Minnow Chartreuse Shad
Leader: 3lb Sunline Sniper FC
Rod: Daiwa Infeet
Reel: Daiwa Steez 2004
Rod: Daiwa Drunken Monkey and Daiwa Itchy Twitchy
Reel: Shimano Stradic 1000
Lure: ZMan GrubZ in various Colours