Brad Hodges has taken out the season opening event of the 2010 Daiwa BREAM Series, the Squidgy Gippsland Lakes BREAM qualifier.
Catching his tournament limit each day, Hodges compiled 10/10, 8.34kg to secure victory by 300g from day one leader Damien Domagala. With no pre-fish, Hodges drew on previous knowledge to locate the fish and return to the weigh master each day with bags over 4kg.
Fishing the north arm of Lakes Entrance, Hodges targeted fish holding around structure in water between 1-3ft deep.
“The area was very weedy. There was also underwater structure with tree stumps and other timber scattered throughout. I targeted this structure and gaps between the weed looking for fish.
“I had caught fish in this area before so I returned there hoping to find them again. I also anticipated this area being under less pressure than other popular spots. And as it turned out I had the area largely to myself for both days.”
Hodges used lures including Berkley 6” Sandworm in camo colour and Berkley 3” Bass Minnow in watermelon colour. Both lures were rigged on1/50oz Nitro Torpedo jigheads. On day two Hodges switched to a Berkley 3” Minnow in banana prawn colour.
“I would cast into the shadows looking for bream congregating in the shade. I would use three quick twitches followed by a pause where the lure would sink to the bottom. Generally if there was a bream in the area they would take the lure on the drop.
“The bite window lasted approximately 30-60 minutes each day. This would be around 9am to 10am. As the sun got slightly higher it brought the fish together in patches of cover and shade making it easier to target them effectively. Using this technique I was able to catch 3-4 fish earlier in the session. I would then use the rest of the session to secure my full limit,” said Brad.
With wind on the water producing gusts to 25knots, competitors found the conditions challenging throughout each day of the tournament.
Hodges outfit consisted of a Berkley Pro Tactics 6’7” rod teamed with an Abu Garcia Soron STX 20 reel spooled with 2lb Berkley Fireline Crystal braid and 4lb Berkley Trilene leader.
“I am relieved to qualify for the Grand Final which is to be held on the waters of my home state Victoria. This was my goal for 2010 so to achieve it at the season opening event is great. Hopefully I can carry this form into following events at Mallacoota and Glenelg,” explains Hodge.
“Heading out on day two it was anyone’s tournament. As it was my co-angler, Jordan Trusty, was also in second place. We both talked about overcoming the deficit and achieving a good result. Talking created a positive vibe that helped us go about our task and ultimately led us both to a great result.”
Taking out second place was Damien Domagala 10/10, 8.04kg. Fishing at Hollands Landing, Domagala found fish each day but fell just short of Hodges two day totals.
“Leading after day one I was nervous. I identified the location in the pre-fish and it had continued to provide throughout the two days. On the first day of the tournament the wind worked with my shallow water pattern. On the second day it was a case of not enough wind and subsequently the shallow fishing didn’t produce as well as day one,” said Domagala.
Domagala targeted fish on the edges in 2-8ft of water using a Lucky Craft Pointer 48DD in ghost Ayu colour.
“The water was very dirty. The area was littered with tea tree logs and snags. The lure was retrieved with plenty of twitches and pauses. Gently lifting the lure around and over snags kept it in the strike zone.
“On day one I had my limit by 8am and upgraded once after that. On day two the bites came progressively throughout the session. I knew the fish were in the snags so just kept working away. I knew I needed five fish. I lost fish and went without bites for up to one and a half hours. In the end I just couldn’t replicate the quality fish of day one.”
Domagala’s outfit consisted of a G. Loomis SR842 GLX rod teamed with a Daiwa Exist 2004 reel spooled with 8lb Sunline Super PE braid and 6lb Sunline VHard leader.
Jordan Trusty, 7/10, 4.58kg was a clear victor in the co-angler competition, besting his nearest rival by almost 2kg. Fishing with Spiro Spyropoulos on Day one, Trusty travelled to the Newlands arm where jetties were targeted.
“We looked to target jetties with adjacent shallow flats. Fishing in around 4-8ft of water I used a 60mm Stiffy Minnow lure in prowler colour. This shallow diving lure was used to good effect over the two days.”
After catching one legal, Trusty moved to jetties at nearby Paynesville. “The deeper water, around 10ft, held more fish than our original location. Using a Squidgy 100mm Wriggler in wasabi colour rigged on a Squidgy 2g finesse jighead I found three other fish to compile four fish for the session.”
On day two Trusty was partnered with eventual boater champion, Brad Hodges. Using the 60mm Stiffy Minnow lure in prowler colour, Trusty caught three fish to cement his first day efforts and secure the win.
“I had one legal by 8am with a further two coming at around 12.50pm. Heading back to the weigh in I felt I had done what I could to put myself in the running,” said Trusty.
Trusty’s outfit consisted of a Millerods 6’10” XF Classic teamed with a Shimano Stradic 1000 spooled with 5lb Powerpro braid and 5lb Yamatoyo Spinning Fluro leader. When fishing flats areas Trusty converted to a 7’3” Starlo Stik Tournament Pro rod.
“The shorter rod was used around docks where more finesse was required whereas the longer rod assisted with casting distance around the flats,” said Trusty.
“To qualify for the Grand Final in the first event means the pressure is off for the rest of 2010. Hopefully I will secure a boat for further events this year, allowing me to compete with the big boys.”
Cameron Whittam secured the events big bream with his day one effort of 1.56kg. Caught on a Lucky Craft 45mm Bevy Minnow in ghost Ayu, the bream was caught at the mouth of the Mitchell River at around 1pm.
“Fishing in around 1ft of water using a twitch and pause retrieve the bream took the lure. I saw it flash so knew it was the target species. The location was a shallow rock bar, but the fish headed into open water and took about five minutes to get to the net. When I saw the size I was stoked.”
Ultimately the fish helped Whittam to overall third place.
“The same lure caught me a 1.4kg fish on day two so it’s a keeper,” said Whittam.
The next round of the Daiwa BREAM Series is at Walpole, WA Feb 13-14. For information on this event or any other ABT tournaments check out www.bream.com.au , www.australianbass.com , www.australianbarra.com or contact ABT on 07 3387 0888 (B/H).
|2||Damien DOMAGALA||10/10||8.04||$700 + $250 Mercury Bonus|
|3||Cameron WHITTAM||9/10||6.86||$500 + $500 Big Bream|