33-YEAR-OLD Merimbula abalone diver Chris ‘Slick’ Wright (6/10, 3.23kg) mastered wet and windy conditions to snatch the title and hold off fast finishing Dave Welfare (6/10, 2.96kg), who claimed second place.
On a weekend that saw many competitors fail to secure legal-sized fish amongst myriad small specimens, Wright managed to boat the larger fish needed to fill out his bag on day one and assume the number one position. The success of Slick's day one was in vast contrast to the second, where he boated only one legal bream.
Fishing close to structure, Wright focused his attention on the many boathouses and landings that line the river, venturing no further upstream than the Isle of Bags, a short distance from the start location.
Wright’s technique involved the use of soft plastics, casting them tight against the bank and beneath the overhanging structure that presented itself in the form of the landings. Wright commented, “The key was getting the lures into the shade and working them back toward the boat with slow and subtle twitches. If I didn’t get a bite, as soon as the lure was out of the shade I’d crank it back in and cast it straight back into the next shaded area.”
Wright’s lures of choice included the popular Squidgy Wriggler (65mm) in bloodworm colour, the Berkley 3” Bass Minnow, and a 1 1⁄2” Tripple Ripple Grub in a motor oil colour. The trifecta of plastics were rigged on Squidgy Jigheads ranging in size from 1g - 1 1⁄2g. His tackle included a Millerods Bream Buster rod (6’9”), Shimano 2000 Sustain spooled with 4lb Berkley Fireline, and 6lb or 8lb Berkley Vanish as leader.
In contrast to Wright, 33 year old Blue Mountains resident Dave Welfare captured second place by travelling extensive distances both days to catch his fish, spending up to four hours of his allotted seven hours each day travelling to and from his chosen fishing location.
Welfare’s lure choice varied markedly. He used a heavily modified Berkley Power Frog, cut in half and joined to replicate a small black crab. The technique proved to be successful for Welfare, allowing him to weigh in a five-fish bag limit for the second and final day that saw him leapfrog from his 7th place after day one, to second place overall at the end of the tournament.
Fishing steep rocky banks that drop sharply into water around 20ft deep, Welfare used a painfully slow and minimal retrieve to entice the near shutdown fish to strike. Welfare said "The strikes in most cases were nothing more that a slight touch, or next to nothing pressure on the line”. He added “The best fish in many cases came right under the boat when the lure was on the muddy bottom.”
His self-modified plastics were rigged on 1/32oz newly released "JiggyJigs" jigheads, presented with a Black Diamond Flats Ranger rod (7’-3-5kg), matched to an Okuma Inspira 1500 reel spooled with 4lb Fireline and topped with either Vanish or Yamatoyo 6lb flurocarbon leader.
Following the trend of contrast that dominated the tournament, first placed non-boater Ben Scullin (4/10, 3.76kg) fished shallow shorelines and bays towards the lower reaches of the river. Using a hard bodied Ecogear SX-40, he focused his attention on the small bommies and kelp streamers that punctuated the area. The approach allowed him to capture a substantial day one bag (4/5) that was sufficient enough for him to take the champion Amateur title, even with a fishless second day.
Included in Scullin’s bag was the Go-So Big Bream for the event, a 1.37kg that gave competitors and spectators a glimpse of the quality of the fish that the Glenelg is noted.
Emerging from the event were eight new qualifiers for this year’s BREAM Grand Final, with the top four boaters and non-boaters from both divisions gaining a berth into the event.
Contact Simon Goldsmith for any further information on (07) 3278 3993 b/h, or 0427 32 64 64. – ABT
Club Marine VIC BREAM Qualifer #2 Boater Results
Club Marine VIC BREAM Qualifer Non-Boater Results
GoSo Big Bream $500 - Ben Scullin 1.37kg
Local Area Sponsors: Glenelg Shire Council, Nelson Hotel, Nelson CFA
1. Ben Scullin scored this 1.37 southern black bream to secure the $500 GoSo big bream award in the Club Marine Victorian BREAM Qualifier.
2. The eight Grand Final qualifiers: (back row L-R) Chris Wright, Dave Welfare, John Herzog, Steve Starling and (front row L-R) Ben Scullin, Dion Vail, Christopher Row, Tim Atkins.