Last to start but first to finish
  |  First Published: June 2017

Over the weekend of 18-19 March, 51 teams of two anglers participated in round two of the 2017 Atomic Vic Bream Classic Series. Anglers headed west to Nelson and the Glenelg River for the Hobie Bream Classic. Spirits were much higher than the last time the series visited this location.

Previously, due to poor weather and water quality, only 25 bream were weighed in. This time around things were fishing extremely well. New rules allowing anglers to launch their boats from three different locations along the river meant the pressure would be spread out rather than concentrated in the lower reaches of the system.

For Team Minn-Kota, Cam Whittam and Warren Carter, a last minute decision to enter the tournament seriously paid off for the boys as they lead from start to finish to be crowned the 2017 Hobie Bream Classic champions and this is how they went about claiming their victory.

Anglers were greeted on both days of the competition with picture perfect conditions. With light winds and cloudy skies it looked like the fish would be on the chew. Team Minn-Kota weren’t able to head straight to the usual honey hole at the mouth of the river that had served them so well for many years. As they entered last minute, they headed off in last place on day one. Boats were already fishing their preferred locations.

The boys used a combination of 4-8lb rods – a Duffrods T8522 and an Edge 702 – matched to Daiwa Certate, Luvias 2506s and Shimano Stella 2500 reels spooled with 12lb Sunline Castaway or 14lb Varivas braids with 6m of 3-4lb Sunline FC Rock Bream Special fluoro leader or 4lb Varivas Absolute fluoro leader. Then theyy set about getting that all-important day one bag.

“After submitting a late entry we knew we wouldn’t get where we wanted to go, which was towards the bottom of the estuary. We started in the shallows each day throwing various crank style lures. Day one [we were] near Oxbow Lake and day two on shallow reef closer to the entrance. The standout crank was the Smith Camion, which accounted for two quick legals each day. We then moved slightly deeper into about 5-8ft.

“We spent both days using 2.5” ZMan GrubZ in various colours rigged on 1/12oz jigheads and VX35 blades in 439. The retrieve was ultra slow given the front of the system was under a lot of angling pressure. We landed 10-12 legals each day. Culling a few times was key to our good bag on day one. One day two bigger fish were harder to catch, so a smaller bag was weighed. The key was to always vary our retrieve and fish slowly and methodically,” Cam said.

After day one Team Minn-Kota was sitting in first position with 5/5 bream for 3.27kg. The JML Anglers Alliance Big Bream was weighed in on day one, which was a 1.13kg bream caught by Team Berkley’s Brad and Mike Hodges.

With 112 bream weighed in on the first day it was a huge improvement on the poor fishing experienced in the last tournament held at the venue. On day two a number of teams had finally worked out a pattern and landed good bags of bream including the Maria Lures Best Bag for the weekend of 5/5 bream for 3.35kg caught by Team Cranka’s Declan Betts and Steve Wheeler who made a charge to the lead.

Mario Vukic and Paul Conn from Team EGM also cracked a pattern that allowed them to drag themselves off the bottom to finish 22nd and claim the Hurricane Monster Movers Prize. For Team Minn-Kota their upgrades on day one would prove critical to their success. Only landing 5/5 bream for 2.84kg and with five other teams weighing in heavier bags on day two than them, they were under threat of being overtaken. They managed to hold on by 70g to take the win and be crowned the 2017 Hobie Bream Classic champions.

The series will be gearing up to head to Warrnambool and the Hopkins River for the 17-18 June 2017 Shimano BCF Bream Classic. If you are interested, visit www.vicbreamclassics.com.au for all the info and entry forms. – Vic Bream Classic

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