A weekend of variable Victorian weather greeted 38 boats, and 76 anglers for the second Special Trailers Gippsland Lakes BREAM Challenge.
In trying conditions, Steve Steer, a 34-year-old resident of Golden Valley in Tasmania, came out on top. He delivered a 4/10, 6.09kg bag to the weighmaster that featured an average fish weight of 1.5kg, and his biggest fish, a 1.64kg specimen, also took out the event’s Go-So Big Bream prize.
Finishing only 100g behind Steer was 2005 Victorian BREAM AOY Chris ‘Slick’ Wright. While managing to put more fishing in his well for the tournament (7/10, 5.99kg), Wright struggled to find and land fish of the size to threaten Steer’s lunkers.
Steer spent his time on Friday in the Mitchell River, polarising fish rolling around in the snags. Leaving them untouched, Steer returned on day one of the tournament with the objective of putting a few in the well. The plan proved more difficult in practice than in theory, with Steer having just three bust-ups to keep him company on his trip back to the weigh-in.
A last-ditch stop inside the Nicholson paid dividends, with Steer picking up his 1.64kg fish. It was a sign of good things to come, with Steer returning to the Mitchell the following day and picking up where he left off.
“I was looking for timber in deep water that big fish would want to hang out in,” Steer explained. “Size of the snag and the depth was the main thing I was looking for, but the other key ingredient I found was that there needed to be growth hanging off the timber.
“If the lure didn’t land right next to the snag you were wasting your time.”
Once there Steer drifted his lure in under the snag, and into the path of waiting fish. The takes involved a subtle initial touch. Steer then fed the lure back to the fish, encouraging a second and at times a third touch before securing the hook-up.
Steer used the 3” Gulp Minnow in pumpkinseed colour rigged on a 1/32oz Nitro jighead. Steer’s rod and reel were a Mad Dog customised 7’, 2-4kg, G.Loomis rod, matched to a Shimano 1000 Sustain FD reel, spooled with 4lb fluoro Berkley Fireline, and topped of with 6lb Siglon fluorocarbon.
Trying to rain on Steer’s parade was runner-up Chris Wright. For Wright it was a continuation of an already fantastic year that saw him add the Victorian BREAM AOY title to his second placing in this year’s Bing Lee BREAM Australian Open.
The non-boater division saw 34-year-old Warrnambool rod builder Michael Rantall take his first podium position at an ABT BREAM event.
Using 3” Berkley Bass Minnow (pearl olive), his approach was to cast the lure in close to the snag, then work it back to the boat. For Rantall the process delivered him a Millerod, a Team Daiwa TDA Spin Reel and a berth in the 2005 Triton BREAM Series Grand Final.
The 2005 Triton BREAM Series continues is journey around the country travelling to the expansive waters of Sydney’s Hawkesbury River on 9th and 10th April for the next qualifying round of the series. For more information visit www.bream.com.au or phone Simon Goldsmith during business hours on 0427 326 464 or (07) 3268 3992.
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Tasmanian Steve Steer with two of the fish that earned him first prize in the Special Trailers Gippsland Lakes BREAM Challenge.Reads: 545