On a waterway that traditionally tests anglers’ skill and focus one angler showed he was up to the task and delivered an 8/10, 4.11kg limit to secure the 2006 Squidgy Clyde River BREAM Challenge crown and the $2,500 winners cheque.
Chris ‘Slick’ Wright, a 36 year old abalone diver from Merimbula on the NSW South Coast, showed that his hot form from last year was still with him in 2006.
Cracking the pattern during the Friday prefish, Slick spent his tournament time fishing surface lures over flooded oyster racks to claim his first win for the year.
Not to be completely outdone in second place was Batemans Bay local and 2004 event winner Wade Eaton, who fished topwater to compile his 8/10, 3.39kg tournament bag.
Victory though belonged to Wright who fished a set of racks only a short distance from the event start line.
“I had a brief fish of the racks on Friday and had a heap of fish come out and look at my lure,” Wright explained.
“They were active and ready to feed so I went straight back there on Saturday morning and it paid off,” he said.
With the racks still covered by the flooding tide, Wright fished the structure early with an Ecogear SX-40 crankbait, adding two legals to the well before making the change to a surface lure.
For Wright this involved presenting a River 2 Sea Bubble Pop 45 across the racks, working the lure aggressive back to the rod tip with a few solid rips before pausing the lure and letting it rest at the shaded edge of the rack.
“Ripping the lure hard in many cases got the attention of the fish in the area and drew them in,” Wright said.
“Once it was paused and left hanging next to the shade and the edge of the rack, they had the time and were in right spot to take to the lure with gusto,” he said.
Whilst the hook-ups were forthcoming getting the fish out of the tough structure was at times a lot more difficult.
“If the fish took the lure a few racks over you had no choice but to go hard and wind fast so I fished the whoe weekend with the drag cranked up,” Chris explained.
Wright’s choice of tackle included a Millerods Bream Buster XF rod, Shimano Stradic 1000 spin reel, 4lb Berkley Fireline, and 10lb Yamatoyo flurocarbon when fishing an Ecogear SX-40 crankbait. His surface fishing tackle included a Millerods XF Classic rod, Shimano Stradic 1000 spin reel, 6lb Squidgy braid, and 12lb Yamatoyo flurocarbon.
Post event Wright provided some insight into the approach he took leading into the event.
“My main goal was to try and beat the river this year, rather than have the river beat me as it has in the past,” he said.
“So I went out there and fished as I enjoy fishing. Namely surface lures over the racks rather than plastics down deep as I could have done,” Wright said.
Also cashing in on the excellent surface fishing on offer at the event was second place boater Wade Eaton, who spent the early part of each day plying the depths with soft plastics.
“I managed to eke out a few fish with plastics early,” Eaton explained.
“Once the tide turned and started to run in, I lifted the electric and headed up river to hit the racks, fishing not only the wooden structures but also the gathered rock piles littered throughout the area,” he added.
It was here that Eaton found the fish active and keen to eat his topwater offerings.
“Baitfish and bream were moving actively throughout the area, so I knew from experience and knowledge of the location that they would eat lures of surface, and my hunch paid off,” he said.
Eaton’s gun presentation involved working his popper with a series of hard pops and skips, more akin to bass fishing than the subtleties often associated with breaming. The aggressive start to the retrieve was then followed by a long pause of the lure, at times up to ten seconds in duration.
“It was during the pause that the majority of strikes came,” Eaton explained.
“Small fish were all over the lure, sipping and slurping it off the surface. The larger fish however were a bit cagier hung back before moving in to nail the lure,” he added.
Eaton’s choice of lures for the event included 3” Berkley Minnow Grubs and Minnow Worms, both pumpkinseed and rigged on 3g Squidgy jigheads. When fishing the surface his choice was a little different with the gun lure proving to be the much revered Sugoi popper (colour-clear), retrofitted with size 12 Owner trebles.
The Go-So Big Bream title was as hotly contested as ever with Ian ‘Barra’ Miller picking up the $500 prize for a fine 940g specimen, tempted with an Ecogear SX-40 and wrestled from one of the many oyster racks scattered through the Clyde.
The new ABT Sponsors Bonus programs continued its popularity in 2006, with Mark Mangold claiming the $200 Mercury Sponsors Bonus for finishing as the highest placed boater (3rd place) running a Mercury outboard.
The next leg of the 2006 Ford Courier BREAM Series sees the tour travel to Victoria for the Mercury Glenelg River BREAM Challenge, February 25-26. For more information visit www.bream.com.au or phone ABT (07) 3268 3992 (b/h), 0427 326 464 (b/h). – ABT
|3||Mark MANGOLD||8/10||3.24||$850 + $200 Mercury Bonus|
|7||Ian MILLER||4/10||2.57||$350+ $500 Go-So Big Bream|
|1||Nathan ALSOP||6/10||3.66||Angler DCX Rod, Shimano Sedona spin reel, Prize Pack|
|2||Karen BERRY||3/10||2.09||Pflueger Spin rod, Tica spin reel + Prize Pack|
|3||Bill MAGUIRE||3/10||1.49||Shimano Rack Raider rod + Prize Pack|
|4||Mal EATON||2/10||1.31||Nitro spin rod + Prize Pack|
|5||Peter GODFREY||2/10||1.14||Prize Pack|
|6||Norm KEMP||3/10||1.12||Prize Pack|
|7||Vic APOLESKI||2/10||1.1||Prize Pack|
|8||Corey BROWN||2/10||0.93||Prize Pack|