For tournament bream anglers there was no rest for the wicked during the usually quiet summer period. With thoughts of the BREAM Grand Final only a week behind them, keen anglers hit the waters of the Pumicestone Passage to kick-start the Polycraft Summer Sessions BREAM series.
Based on the ever-expanding BREAM Classic format, the series featured, three single-day catch and release bream tournaments that providing anglers with an opportunity to satisfy their competitive urge and add some additional cash to their Christmas and New Year purse.
Rain-laden skies greeted the 12 teams at the first round at Caloundra in November, with the recent rain and increased fresh in the Pumicestone Passage driving teams to varying locations throughout the waterway.
One team, reading the conditions better than the rest, made the long run to the southern end of the passage to target the canals of Pelican Waters. Team E-Tec/QFM (Julian Gascoine and Steve Morgan) showed their prowess extended beyond outboard engines and magazines, producing a 5/5, 2.51kg bag of bream – one of only two five-fish limits delivered to the weighmaster that day. This bag gave Gascoine and Morgan a 0.72kg edge and victory over runners up Gavin Dunne and Brad Turner of Team Pig (5/5, 1.79kg).
Fishing the new TT Hidden Weight System (HWS) jighead, Gascoine and Morgan used the fish-calling abilities of the Berkley Bass Minnow to eke out the five fish from a tough and frustrating day’s fishing.
“On a quiet fishing day like today, opting for a subtle, slow-falling presentation was definitely the way to go,” Morgan said.
The approach paid dividends, delivering the team overall victory for the round and an additional $100 for taking out the Big Bream category with a 720g kicker fish.
In the December round of the tournament, the prospect of more productive fishing and better conditions saw 31 teams line up on the waters of the Tweed River. As a precursor to the Tweed Qualifying round in 2005, competitors knew the event would provide them with an insight into the system and its fish.
Drawing anglers from north, south and behind, one team showed the early start and the long drive to the event had no ill effect on their fishing skills. Team Far Out (Darren ‘Dizzy’ Borg and Chris Rigg) demonstrated that their many hours spent fishing the deep rock walls of the Clarence had them perfectly prepared to ply the deep sections of the Tweed, behind the mouth and the Barneys Point area located upriver.
With a 5/5, 2.87kg limit, Borg and Rigg captured the $600 winner’s prize, relegating Team Fish Brain Original (Liam Fitzpatrick and Brad Dicker) to second place.
Borg and Rigg used Berkley soft plastics to compile their winning bag, switching between the 3” Bass Minnow, 3” Power Hawg and the 3” Gulp Minnow. Fished in a variety of colours, they rigged their offerings on a simple yet effective jighead, matching its weight to the depth of water and level of tidal flow.
“Most of our fish came from two distinct depth zones,” Borg explained. “We either got them in the area between the surface and two feet deep, or right on the bottom.”
This effective pattern gave Borg and Rigg their first tournament win as a team, and a handy cash bonus with Christmas just around the corner.
The event also saw the first rogue species, mangrove jack, caught for the series. Four jacks were delivered to the weighmaster, with the winning honours and $100 going to bream fishing debutant David Green with his 720g mangrove jack.
The Big Bream prized was claimed by the second-placed team of Fitzpatrick and Dicker. Their 980g specimen added another $200 to their tournament pay out, topping off a great day and successful second round of the Polycraft Summer Sessions.
The last round of the series saw the tour move to the home of tournament bream fishing, the Gold Coast. The popularity of the location saw the number of teams swell to the largest field of the series, with 49 boats breaking through the gloom of the post-dawn light and off in pursuit of their tournament bag.
Local knowledge proved to be the difference, with Steve Wilson and Karl Sexton (Team E-Tec/Berkley) taming the unpredictable conditions. Targeting the upper reaches of the Nerang, Wilson and Sexton focused their attention on the pontoons littered along the edges of the waterway.
Fishing the increasingly popular Berkley 3” Gulp Minnow in pumpkinseed colour, they rigged their offerings on heavily modified jigheads, manipulated to replicate the recently developed TT HWS jighead.
Presented with as much finesse and stealth as they could apply, the technique delivered Wilson and Sexton a 5/5, 2.46kg limit, propelling them to the top and making them $1000 richer. Just 40g behind was the team of Chris Britton and Anthony Wishey. Competing under the title of Team Bush and Beach, Britton and Wishey chose a completely different tactic, fishing the slower flowing canals located in the Jupiter’s Casino and Pacific Fair region.
The $300 Big Bream prize was captured by Mick Kendelan of Team Tracker Marine with his 1.30kg specimen. The biggest mangrove jack prize for the event once again proved popular, with Jay Morgan taking home $200 for his 1.38kg fish.
The final event for the series proved a fitting end to a fantastic Polycraft Summer Sessions. Thanks must go to the sponsors for their support of the series, especially to Polycraft for generously providing the series prize boat: a 3m Tuff Tender, fitted out as a purpose built electric boat, complete with Minn Kota electric motor and Humminbird sounder provided by BLA.
All competing anglers from the three tournaments were in the running to win the random-draw boating package, with Chris Stratford proving to be the angler lucky enough to take home the prize.
With the conclusion of the series, anglers are now turning their attention to the 2005 ABT BREAM and BASS seasons, and the start of another hot year of tournament fishing. Bring it on!Reads: 1047