I HAD really been looking forward to the Gold Coast BREAM event, having fished well there last year. I experienced for the first time last year sight casting to bream feeding under pontoons and having them fighting over my plastic – great fun and great learning experience. Little did I know that this year’s event was to be very different for me.
For this event my pre-fishing partner was the number one bream angler in the country: Tim ‘The Bream’ Morgan. I met Tim at a garage on the highway near the Dreamworld exit at 5.20am on the Friday. After a chilly trip down the Broadwater at 50 knots in Tim’s boat we stopped and cast around some of the boats and jetties just inside the Nerang River.
Tim was soon nailed by a nice fish but pulled the hooks. He quickly dropped his jig back in and was on again, only to pull his hook again. I managed to get my plastic close to where the action was and a really nice bream just slammed it. As Tim slipped the net under it I thanked him for berleying them up for me.
We did a lot of casting to boats and pontoons without much success so Tim decided to head up into Lake Intrepid and try there. We concentrated on rocky points and the sandy bays that were a feature of this lake. Tim used his ever-faithful Atomic 2” Fatgrub in the Brown Crawdad colour on his Gamakatsu jigheads. I alternated between different plastics and the Prawnstar Shrimp.
We picked up fish fairly regularly and watching Tim fishing was a truly educational experience. Tim varies his retrieve according to the terrain he’s fishing – he hops his plastic around structure like jetties and boats but then shakes and rolls it when working across rock or sand. He does this almost sub-consciously, as he’s switched on to what he’s doing with his lure the whole time it’s in the water. A lot of what makes Tim such a good angler is skill and practice, like anybody who excels in a sport. Also, Tim always puts his cast were it needs to be. In a count of 10 casts I put mine where I wanted it to be around six or seven times whereas Tim nailed it nearly every time, only falling short or bouncing off something on the odd occasion.
We also stopped on the way back and fished the boats moored in the main river just past the Gold Coast Highway bridge. This produced a few more legal bream and helped me to formulate a last-minute plan.
Briefing night was held at the Gold Coast City Marina and after a very big meal at the boat house tavern we all made our very cold way upstairs. There were 57 boats in this year’s event and once again a staggered finish was decided upon.
At the briefing all anglers received a show bag from Springwood Marine containing some great info and bream plastics and jigheads. I met my non-boaters, and meeting up with them in the morning would be no problem thanks to my very bright green Polycraft.
The start was a very cold run down to the Nerang River and we stopped as we reached the casino and started fishing our way to Lake Intrepid. After pulling a couple of undersize bream early I thought we were going to have a good day.
We started working all the same looking structure that had pulled fish the day before and this produced undersized bream, flathead, whiting and trevally. I finally pulled a legal fish off a bridge pylon then quickly followed that up with three more (one looked very ‘just on’ legal so I threw it in for the judges to decide). The fish came from rocky points on Atomic Fat Grubs on 1/16oz Nitro jigheads. I used the same technique Tim had used successfully the day before but I just couldn’t find a decent bream or any more to finish my bag. We caught plenty of fish, including a lot of small bream.
At the weigh-in the weighmaster decided my smallest bream was just under so I ended the day with only three fish and my non-boater had one.
Once again, we set off down to the Nerang. We headed back into the lake and started catching small bream. Tim was there and quickly had his five legal bream.
My non-boater and I worked hard all session for one legal bream, so we headed out of the lake into the main river where we saw plenty of guys fishing deep holes and catching fish. We tried a deep bend for a while and caught a couple more undersized fish, but because of the windy weather we decided to head back a little early just in case we had to go slow.
Well, this was my first experience of the Broadwater on a Saturday of a long weekend and let me tell you – it wasn’t pretty. There were large boats zipping around everywhere throwing up wakes four foot high coming from every direction. So there was only one speed I could do and that was flat out – and I certainly now have a lot of confidence in my boat.
Chris Metcalfe won again, but this year his technique was totally different from what he used last year. He worked the channel markers for his fish and this produced consistently larger fish than the rest of the field.
I learned a lot more about bream fishing once again and I also learned that there endless techniques to tempt bream when conditions aren’t right. And it is competitions like these that make us all better anglers and keep us coming back to learn more.
1) The author and Tim ‘The Bream’ Morgan after the pre-fish.
2) Angers wait to weigh in on the first day of the Gold Coast BREAM Challenge.Reads: 562