The Tasmanian leg of the 2008 Ford Ranger BREAM Series kicked off in grand style with the opening round of the two events hitting the expansive flats fisheries of St Helens for the Squidgy St Helens BREAM Challenge.
While day one offered a glimpse of the sensational fishing that was experienced in 2007, day two delivered bream fishing at its toughest, with strong winds and a fickle bite testing anglers patience and ability to tough it out in trying conditions. Patrick Sullivan, 23-year-old Launceston angler, rose to the challenge and claimed victory with his first BREAM round win with 8/10, 6.28kg bag.
Fishing the main flats systems of St Helen’s Georges Bay, Sullivan targeted fish holding in 2-5ft of water, working the area over with a drawn and pause retrieved Squidgy Stiffy in rack attack colour. Drifting across the flat with the wind he would make long wind assisted casts before working the lure back to the rod tip.
“The presentation was relatively simple”, explained Sullivan. “I would draw the rod down to the side, pause it, then wind up the slack. Most of the hits came as the lure sat motionless.”
The outfits used by Sullivan to deliver the winning lure to the waiting fish included a 7’ 2-5kg Black Diamond Flats Ranger Rod matched to a 2000 Daiwa Sol spin reel, and a 7’ 3-5kg Black Diamond Crankbait rod matched to a 2000 Daiwa Airity spin reel. Both outfits were completed with 3lb Berkley Crystal Fireline as mainline and a 5-6m leader of 3lb Yamatoyo fluorocarbon.
Day two for Sullivan, like for most anglers in the field proved tougher, with the champion boater opting to deploy a drogue to slow his drift across the flats.
“The drogue was essential,” said Sullivan, “It was blowing so hard you needed to stall your drift to get the optimum presentation of the lure.”
It paid dividends with Sullivan one of only twelve boaters to deliver fish to the scales on the final day. The final day for Sullivan was also a nerve-racking experience with the Tassie local concerned that he was going to get caught by the hunting pack of talented mainlanders. It was to be Sullivan’s day though, with the majority of chasers struggling and Sullivan maintaining his day one form to claim victory.
Securing second place, and one of the three BREAM Grand Final berths on offer at the event, was 48-year-old Adelaide Financial Planner Tom Deer with 7/10, 5.84kg.
Deer, like the majority of the field, fished the flats focusing on the area located near the last green channel marker. Targeting bream he found during the prefish, Deer mixed up his retrieve to score his fish alternating between a constant slow crank, and a fast twitch and pause presentation.
“There was no distinct pattern in how they wanted the lure worked”, explained Deer. “Switching it up and modifying what I did drew the best response.”
The lure remained the same with Deer’s money bait a suspending 65mm Lucky Craft Flash Minnow in olive/green colour. To present his offering Deer used a 7’ G.Loomis IMX SR842 rod and 2506 Daiwa Luvias spin reel. Deer also followed the growing trend amongst breamers and for the first time fished fluorocarbon (4lb Berkley Vanish) all the way through to the lure.
“This was the first time that I’ve done it and I was amazed with how well it works. The sensation of the strike and hook-up is different when using braid, but it definitely gets you more fish,” explained Deer.
Claiming the title of champion non-boater for the St Helens event was 21-year-old Hobart resident, Ben Kjorsvik, for 7/10, 4.7kg. Partnered with Steve Duff on day one and Graeme Franklin on day two, Kjorsvik fished the flats in two separate locations to score his fish.
Working the drop-off adjacent to the flats in the middle of Georges Bay on day one, Kjorsvik worked a Zip Bait 56F Rigge in ayu colour with a rip, pause and retrieve.
“I found two fast rips followed by a pause the best retrieve for the lure and the fish,” said Kjorsvik. “On day two, when I was fishing the flats behind the oyster racks with Graeme, I found that you couldn’t work the lure too aggressively – in fact the harder you worked it the more they like it”, he added.
Kjorsvik’s tournament winning tackle was comprised of a G.Loomis DSR 8200S rod, matched to a 2000 Daiwa Sol reel, spooled with 4lb Famell fluorocarbon fished right through to the lure. For the quietly spoken Tassie local it was his first win on the ABT BREAM Tour and a great warm up event for the Derwent round on his home water the following weekend.
The Go-So Big Bream prize lived up to its reputation for XOS fish in Tasmania with Shane Dyason securing the $500 prize with his 1.70kg specimen caught on day one.
The Sponsor Bonus Program continued its popularity in 2008 with champion boater, Patrick Sullivan, adding another $250 to his winnings by claiming the Mercury Bonus. Leigh McKenzie secured the $480 Bassday Gift Pack with his 0.955kg Bassday caught bream on day one. Tom Deer picked up the $200 Daiwa Bonus by arriving to the weigh-in tent first on day one wearing his orange Daiwa cap.
For more information on the event or any of the series visit www.bream.com.au or phone ABT (07) 3268 7958.
Ford Ranger BREAM Series: Squidgy St Helens BREAM Challenge Boater Results
|1||Patrick SULLIVAN||TAS||8||6.28||$1200 + $250 Mercury Bonus|
|2||Tom DEER||SA||7||5.84||$800 + $200 Daiwa Bonus|
|4||Leigh MCKENZIE||TAS||7||4.405||$400 + $480 Bassday Big Bream Bonus|
|7||Graham FRANKLIN||NSW||5||3.34||Prize Pack|
|8||Shane DYASON||Vic||3||3.16||Prize Pack + $500 Go-S0 Big Bream|