Daiwa Australia Round One was a tough start to the season for all 75 anglers competing in Hobie Kayak Bream Series 9, which was contested over the 22-23 January weekend, at Marlo in Victoria.
A favourite on the Hobie Fishing calendar, Marlo has a reputation of delivering big fish, and once again, while the total catch numbers were down, the big black bream were there, just a lot tougher to catch. Full bags were scarce on both days with only four anglers catching six legals over the two days of the series opener.
Sitting in third place on day one, Richard Somerton from Melbourne snatched the top of the leaderboard from fellow Victorian, Bogdan Zisu. At the final weigh-in, he had a day one bag of three fish for 2.27kg and a day two bag of three fish for 2.22kg, giving him a total tournament-winning weight of six fish for 4.49kg.
Second place finisher, Tony Pettie from Victoria, moved up from his day one fourth place position to finish with six for 4.20kg. Stephen Majera from Victoria rounded out the podium placings with five for 4.16kg.
The total bream caught for the weekend numbered 145 – 65 from day one and 80 for day two. These fish weighed a total of 100.2kg.
Having previously won the 2014 Hobie Kayak Fishing World Championship with a combined bag of fish from Victoria’s Bemm River and Marlo, this 2017 Daiwa Round One victory was Richard Somerton’s first standalone tournament win at Marlo since he began competing in the Hobie Bream Series.
The current number two in the world, Somerton pedalled a long way to reach a secret location that he has shared with only one or two others. Somerton can travel extremely fast in his Hobie Pro Angler 14 and it still took him around an hour and twenty minutes to reach his preferred destination for the first round of the season.
“We (Scott Lovig and Somerton) travelled all of the way up to PS Curlip at the Brodribb River Boat Ramp, then up past the bridge to a secret location. You can get an average bag out of the place, but you’re usually not in the running when you fish up there, mostly ending up in mid-field. We knew the place was going to win a competition one day, it just needed a really tough comp and this was that weekend.”
“It was a very late start on Saturday, due to bad weather, but when we reached our spot I was able to turn a few bites into a bag. After the long haul back I was surprised to find I was in third position and within range of the day one leader. It was a tough day out there, but I really like it when it’s tough.”
On day two, with the usual 7am to 2:30pm session time announced at the briefing, Somerton chose to lose nearly three hours of line in the water, and set off for the same location as day one.
“When I finally arrived, the bite was a little better than the day before. I targeted the surface bite with Cranka Shallow Minnows and I managed to get my bag of three reasonable bream in pretty good time”.
“I was quite surprised how tough it was for everyone out there. I thought I might be in with a slim chance of getting near the top, but it was a really big surprise to take out my first win at Marlo.”
The first prize payout was $2130 and a sponsor prize pack valued at over $400. Somerton’s rod was a 7ft 1-4kg Duffrods Hystix and the reel was a Daiwa Certate 2010 matched with Daiwa Tournament Braid 8lb and Sunline FC 6lb leader. The Cranka Shallow Minnow in rusty gold was the winning lure.
Along with Richard Somerton, Tony Pettie recently competed in the Hobie Fishing World Championship in Louisiana, USA, finishing as the third highest placed Aussie in 10th position on the leaderboard. On the weekend he was looking forward to returning to a familiar waterway and a favourite target species.
“I’m just the bridesmaid once again. It was pretty tough out there, but that’s fishing. One day it’s blowing its guts out and the next day it’s beautiful and the sun is shining. You’ve got to be able to plug through all conditions whatever they are and get the fish when you need them.”
On day one Pettie ended up with three fish for 2.17kg and also bagged out on day two with three fish weighing in at 2.03kg. He was one of the only four anglers to get full bags on both days.
“I got my first fish yesterday along the west bank of the channel near the first island about a kilometre for the start, but to get my other fish on Saturday, I went up between the second and third islands to a spot where I also got my bag today (day two). I pretty much got all of my fish within a 500m radius and I was pretty happy bagging out on both days, because I knew everyone was struggling out there.”
The second place prize payout was $1110 plus a sponsor prize pack valued at over $300.
Chris Burbidge from Ferntree Gully in Victoria, who also represented Australia at Hobie Fishing Worlds 6 finishing 8th in the world, caught the first $100 Atomic Big Bream of the 2017 season. The monster fish could possibly end up being the largest bream of the whole series, weighing a massive 1.72kg.
The round was a tough series opener for all anglers. Like most, Burbidge struggled throughout most of day two until he cast at a tree, caught on a pole and came up tight with a heap of weight. The Atomic Big Black took him almost five minutes to land in his Hobie Pro Angler 14 kayak. The monster had three huge attempts to make a run back towards its cover before Burbidge was able to win the Marlo battle against the brute.
Lucky Craft Tango in a ghost shrimp pattern was the winning lure.
The Mortgage Corp Monster Mover picnic hamper and backpack went to Nathan Prezioso from Victoria who moved up from equal 36th place on the Lowrance Leaderboard at the close of day one, finishing in 11th place with a three fish bag of 2.72kg.
On 25-26February, Hobie Kayak Bream Series 9 returns to Bemm River in Victoria, an undisputed favourite on the Hobie calendar. It is going to be a dynamite weekend of fishing in the Atomic Round Two. Last year, a record 105 anglers descended on the tiny bream fishing mecca in East Gippsland and Steve Fields from Hobie Fishing has promised to throw in an extra $1000 to the prize pool if entries go over 100 for the second year running. Atomic Round Two entries for Bemm are open. It’s going to be massive, so enter now!