Over the weekend of 25-26 March, 74 anglers from all over Australia headed to Mallacoota in East Gippsland, Victoria to compete in the Mortgage Corp Round 3 of Hobie Kayak Bream Series 9.
After a tough pre-fish day, where a lot of anglers struggled to find abundant fish, the first day of competition saw conditions that looked promising for a good catch, with overcast skies and a breeze on both Top and Bottom lakes. By the end of the session a reasonable number of anglers pulled in solid bags, with other competitors struggling to find enough fish to fill theirs.
Nevertheless, 55 anglers brought back fish to the Strike-Pro weigh-in, 18 with full bags of four fish. The field was led by Richard Somerton with his full bag of four fish for 3.64kg, followed by Bogdan Zisu with four fish for 3.50kg and Tony Pettie sitting in third place with four fish at 2.97kg.
As the sun rose over the Pro Lure Arena and competitors raced away from the Power-Pole starting, with clearing skies and very little wind expected throughout the day, anglers were in for a second testing day of competition. There was very little cover to entice fish to venture out of hiding. Despite a second hard day of fishing that didn’t produce the Mallacoota magic that anglers expect from the inlet, 28 full bags were still brought back to the Strike Pro weigh-in, with a total of 121 fish weighed in on the day. Of the 74 anglers, only 65 caught fish over the two days of competition.
A total of 260 fish were caught over the two days and weighed 162.36kg all up.
Richard Somerton from Mount Martha, Victoria took out his second tournament of the three that have been contested so far in the 2017 series. Somerton spent the day out on the water on Friday making to most of the pre-fish day.
“Pre-fish day on Friday was so-so, I went down to the Dead Finish on a little reef back in there. I found there were a couple of fish on it and I threw topwater at them. I pulled it away and left them alone. I continued to check out some locations and ended up with about a dozen fish by the end of the day. I thought to myself, ‘Ok, great! They’re around,’ and I was ready for day one of the comp.
“On day one of the competition, when it was announced that we were chasing four fish, I knew I had to go at it hard. So, I virtually just worked the whole of Dead Finish Bay, slowly and methodically hitting everything that I could. I found a lot of muds, and fish mudding in there, and I managed to get a bag nice and early, which brought a smile to my face. From there I just slowly upgraded throughout the day.”
In the last 45 minutes, Somerton managed two slightly better fish, which made him even happier. He caught one on a Cranka Crab, which he had changed the hooks on. The other was caught by rolling a Cranka Crank in beer bottle colour.
On day two of the event, Somerton was joined by plenty of other anglers who went down to the Dead Finish. “There were a least a half a dozen yaks down there first thing in the morning with me. So, I decided to leave and hit Gravelly Point. When I got there, I dropped a fish, which was certainly a good legal, on probably my fourth cast. Then I got a little one in the yak and I was on my way.”
Somerton then managed a fish weighing 750g from around the corner caught on a plastic. He made his way to the other side of Dead Finish Bay where there were some muds. There he got his bag and a small upgrade. He was just under 2kg and the fish stayed there, in my live well, from 9:40am right through until about 1:30pm. Then he pulled into two bays at the top of the Narrows.
He upgraded one of the fish straight away, with a 850g fish. Then he headed into the next bigger bay. He found plenty of fish were feeding actively and he scored two cracker 1kg+ fish. He upgraded his other two fish in the well and with half an hour to get back, he motored on back to the event site
Over the day, Somerton tried a variety of tackle options, finding that the fish were spooked easily. He had a few majors to go to. His winning tackle consisted of a 1-4kg Duffrods rod and a Duffrods HySTIX rod, Daiwa Exist and Daiwa Certate reels, Daiwa braid, Sunline FC 3lb straight through, a Cranka Crank in beer bottle colour and a Cranka Crab.
Like Richard Somerton, second placegetter Bogdan Zisu took advantage of the pre-fish day on Friday to test out locations where fish may be congregating, see how active they were and what presentations were enticing the bite.
“It all started for me on pre-fish day, but it was a very tough day on the water. I did a full lap of Bottom Lake and only found one fish in one area and decided to leave that area alone. I headed to Top Lake and again just found a single fish. I just couldn’t back it up. So for the competition on Saturday and on the Sunday I decided to start by going back to Bottom Lake.
“When I got back there, on day one of competition, the fish were there, in good average size. I grounded it out, landing a fish every hour to an hour and a half, throwing brown suji shrimp Jackalls. I was just taking them over a drop-off, slow rolling from very shallow to 1.5m and they were just hitting it. They loved it!
“About 1pm, when the wind picked up, I made my way to ‘the Sands,’ Goodwin Sands, and there were fish all over it. I was throwing ZMan Slim SwimZ and managed to upgrade two or three times in the last hour and a half of competition.
“I pretty much had a mirror day of that, on Sunday. I went straight back to the same spot I started at on Saturday and got my bag of reasonable sized fish. Again, at about 1pm when the wind picked up, I got back on ‘the sands’ and caught plenty of fish, but I wasn’t able to upgrade. I headed back home hoping I had enough in my bag to at least hold my second position from day one, and I did it!”
Zisu used a Millerods rod with a Daiwa Steadz and a Daiwa Certate reel. For line he used Sunline FC 3lb straight through. The lures of choice were the Jackall Chubby in brown suji shrimp and ZMan Slim SwimZ in bloodworm.
Glenn Allen from the New South Wales Central Coast caught the largest fish of the tournament, and won the Atomic Big Bream $100 cash prize. His Atomic Big Bream came out of a back bay in Bottom Lake. The fish was caught rolling a lure down the side of a fallen dead tree. As soon as the lure got to the end of the tree, the fish chased it and hit hard. The fight was on!
“I got the nose of the Hobie facing out to open water and started pedalling the MirageDrive like mad. I got it out in the clear before it tried to head back home to the tree. I had no choice but to lock up, drop the rod tip under the water, and pedal hard and turn the fish before it got back in under the tree.”
“I got it out in the middle of the bay and wore it down before getting it in the yak. I thought, ‘no wonder the thing went so hard,’ it was a big yellowfin (bream), which can pull a black bream inside out. First thing that came to mind was, ‘how did I land that?’ I think I just got lucky.”
Allen’s rod was a 6’10, 2-6lb Samaki Zing Gen II. His reel was an Ecooda Black Hawk 2 2000. He used Samaki 6lb braid, Samaki 4lb leader and an Ecooda Mini Crank in pearl shrimp colour.
The Mortgage Corp Monster Mover prize went to Michelle Gamble from Mallacoota in Victoria. Michelle moved up from no fish and 55th place on the Rhino-Rack Leaderboard at the close of day one to finish in 38th place with a three fish bag of 1.82kg.
The Mortgage Corp Round 3 of Hobie Kayak Bream Series 9 could not have gone ahead without our generous sponsors, Daiwa Australia, Berkley, Atomic, Lowrance, Rhino-Rack, Strike Pro, TT Lures, JML Anglers Alliance, Power-Pole, Mortgage Corp, Pro Lure, Hobie Polarized and ABT. Thanks also to Leaf and the team from Compleat Angler Merimbula for providing Hobie dealer support over the weekend.Thanks to all the anglers for your participation and support of Hobie Kayak Bream Series 9.
|Category||Angler||Fish||Total Weight (kg)|
|Womens||Tameika Purnell (NSW)||6||3.21|
|Youth||Jack Gammie (NSW)||5||3.43|
|Masters||Gary Hanson (VIC)||6||3.91|
|Grand Masters||John Whelan (NSW)||3||1.58|