Metcalfe Model of Consistency on Windy Clarence
  |  First Published: August 2004

A WILD and windy weekend on Northern NSW’s Clarence River saw Brisbane’s Michael Metcalfe, a 37-year-old engineer, take home his first title since winning the National BREAM Grand Final three years ago.

The first Northern NSW qualifying round of the Quintrex National BREAM series was held over June 19-20, and Metcalfe showed remarkable consistency on a weekend when other anglers struggled against the conditions. Metcalfe’s two five-fish limits were 3.37kg and 3.35kg – the second and third biggest bags of the weekend.

Metcalfe easily kept Tim Morgan (10/10, 5.40kg) in second place, while Day One leader Matthew Kelly (8/10, 5.26kg) placed third, Craig Simmons (10/10, 5.16kg) fourth and Drew Griffith (10/10, 5.13kg) fifth.

Metcalfe’s winning technique, which earned him the first prize of $3000, took more than a little patience.

“I fished Browns Rocks for the whole weekend,” Michael said, “because I went there three times in the practice day – at 7am, 10am and 1pm – and landed a kilo-plus fish there each time.”

So, for 14 hours over two days, Michael worked a small area of the reef-edge at Browns and caught nearly all of his fish on a specific pattern.

“All the big fish were sitting at the bottom of the drop-off where the reef meets the river-bed,” Metcalfe said. “I positioned the boat on the edge of the drop and cast up onto the slope. I then dragged the lure down the edge until it hit the zone and then gave it two, short hops.”

To accrue his limits, Mike relied on two soft plastic baits fished on 1/8oz or 1/6oz jigheads. One was a 3” Berkley Gulp minnow in smelt colour and the second was a larger 4” Berkley Drop Shot Minnow in a pumpkinseed or smelt colour.

“I fished the smaller bait first to get my limit and then I changed to the bigger bait to upgrade, but I fished them both of 4lb Fireline and 6lb Stren Magna-Thin leader,” he said. “The smaller rig I cast on my Millerods 7’ Bream Buster Finesse while the larger bait performed better on the 6’7” Bream Brawler.”

The win continued Metcalfe’s excellent run of form in 2004. He has now qualified for the Grand Final three times over.

Jumping from ninth on Day One to second place on Day Two was Tim ‘The Bream’ Morgan. Tim caught his limits from three main spots, rotating between them as conditions dictated.

The first location was the Middle Wall, where he aimed for an early limit; the second was sheltered Palmers Channel; and the third was the southern seawall of the river, although Sunday’s weather denied that option.

Between these areas he fished two types of soft plastic baits: a Berkley 3” Drop Shot Minnow in watermelon/pearl in the main river, and a new gourd/black pepper 2” Atomic Fat Grub in the creek. Both plastics were rigged on TT 1/0 heavy wire jigheads – 1/6oz in the river and 1/16oz in the sheltered waters. Morgan used his favourite 7’ Millerods Bream Buster Finesse rod, Shimano Sustain 1000 reel, 4lb Fireline and 6lb Vanish combo exclusively.

“On the walls I cast to the edge, but I made sure I worked the lure all the way down the drop because the bream often bit in that 20-40 feet deep zone,” Tim explained. “A lot of anglers just didn’t get their lures down deep enough.

“In Palmers Channel I fished differently. I mainly targeted the shallow, shaded banks on the high tide and cast at any prominent snags. My fish came from both types of structure.

In the channel, a standard, shaking/hopping retrieve worked best,” he added. “I got my Sunday limit in there by 11am.”

The Go-So Big Bream honours went to Queensland’s Michael Maas, after he landed a 1.28kg bream from the Pacific Highway bridge pylons at Harwood.

“I landed it in about 6m of water and lost one about the same size on the first day,” Michael said. He won a taxidermy voucher from Yamba’s Ron Gardner as well Go-So Adventurewear’s $500 bonus.

Sydney’s Brent Delaney took out the Amateur (non-boater) division with a nine-fish, 5.11kg bag that took him straight to the BREAM Grand Final, along with Domonic Lieb, Michael Hazilias and Dave Seaman.

Although 523 live bream were released back into the river on Sunday afternoon, anglers classed the fishing as ‘slow’. The Clarence is capable of exceptional bags, and anglers will aim for those in next year’s Clarence round of the National BREAM series.

Local Area Sponsors: Blue Dolphin Holiday Resort, Yamba Marina, Dizzy’s Tackle Iluka, Big River Bait and Tackle, Yamba Shores Tavern, Mansfields Boatharbour Marine, Ron Gardner Taxidermy and the Clarence Valley Council.



1Michael METCALFE106.72$3,000
2Tim MORGAN105.40$1,200
3* Matthew KELLY85.26$1,000
4* Craig SIMMONS105.16$1,000
5* Drew GRIFFITH105.13$600
6* Darren BORG95.01$500
7Ross LAMOTTE104.96$400
8Trent SHORT104.94$300
9Chris MARTIN94.89$300
10Jay MORGAN84.77$300


1*Brent DELANEY95.11Pack
2Ian SEWELL73.89Pack
3*Dom LIEB63.39Pack
4Chris CLEAVER73.34Pack
5*Michael HAZILIAS73.23Pack
6*David SEAMAN63.17Pack
7Jeff BRUNSDON73.04Pack
8Peter MCWATTERS62.96Pack
9Luke HUGHES62.67Pack
10Michael BOEHM62.56Pack

* Quintrex BREAM Grand Final Qualifiers.

GoSo Big Bream – Michael Maas, 1.28kg.

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