Twenty four anglers head off into the Perth post dawn light to begin the second WA qualifying round of the 2005 Triton BREAM Series. The Swan River was the tournament venue and their goal was to catch their four largest bream each day, for two days.
41 year old Walpole resident Mark Halse showed he was up to the task, delivering to the weighmaster a 5/8, 2.06kg, two day tournament limit to capture victory, and the rewards that accompany it.
Finishing a close second was event runner up and day one leader, and Tackle Store Salesman, Andrew Herden, who found things a little tougher on the second and all important Sunday pay day.
For Halse his experience and proficiency fishing the shallows and flats proved the difference come weigh-in time. Utilising his shallow water skills Halse spent his time targeting fish holding on the flats and shallows in the Maylands reach of the Swan.
Positioning himself out from the shoreline, Halse would make repeated fanned casts, presenting his lure tight up against the bank before beginning a super-slow rolling retrieve.
"There was nothing special about the retrieve", Halse explained.
"The key to catching them I found, was the type of location and the depth of water", he further added.
The most important thing Halse found in choosing a spot were the tell tale signs of bream presence and activity, namely the dig holes they make when they feed on cockles (aka pippies).
"This was a must. If you found holes, and especially fresh ones, the bream were there", Halse explained.
"I also never fished water any deeper than 1.8 may 2 metres", he added.
The most successful location for Halse proved to be a stretch about one kilometre long. This proved to be his most productive beat on the second day, and provided him with his tournament winning second day fish.
The money lure for Halse was a locally produced and incredibly popular Halco Laser Pro (colour- gold/ black back), modified to suspend with the removal of the lures middle treble.
The equipment used by Halse to present his offering included a Black Diamond Flats Ranger, 7", 2-5kg rod, matched with a Shimano Stella 1000 reel, spooled with 2lb Platypus Braid, and finished of with 4lb Rio leader.
Victory not only provided Halse with a $500 bonus to his bank account but also a berth into the Triton BREAM Series Grand Final in October.
Boater divison runner up Andrew Herden showed his fishing skills extended beyond the four walls of work, in compiling a 4/8, 1.9kg tournament limit.
In contrast to Halse, Herden focused on the timber and weed lined deeper banks, targeting his fish with a soft plastic fuelled approach. Utilising a standard slow rolling retrieved punctuated by the occasional lift and drop, Herden presented 1/32 oz jighead rigged biodegradable Eyeball Tails to fill his tournament bag.
For Herden the majority of success and fish came from a 20 metre stretch that turned it on for an hour on day one, providing him with a 4/4, 1.9kg, day one bag, and a lead of 680 grams leading into day two.
The surprise packet of the event proved to be 16 year old high school student Brody Laroux. Capturing the non-boater title with an impressive 6/8, 2.60kg tournament bag, Laroux would have easily claimed the boater title had he chose to fish the division.
Fishing with David Beer on day one, Laroux spent his time working the timbered banks and rock walls in the Marylands reach of the Swan. Utilising a variety of soft plastics including, 3" Snapback Jerkbait (colour- watermelon), and biodegradable Eyeball Tails (colour- pumpkinseed), rigged on 1/22 oz TT jigheads, Laroux proved to be one of only three anglers good enough to compile a four from four first day limit.
Sunday saw Laroux target the shallows dwelling bream on the flats with ABT regular Miriam Melis. Once again using a soft plastics approach Laroux added 2" Berkley Grubs (colour-pumpkinseed), and 1" Nymphs to his Snapbacks of day one to scrape together the two fish that would take him to victory.
The last of which came from the desperate last spot stop, 50 metres from the weigh-in site and two minutes before the end of the session.
The Go-So Big Bream title once again was hotly contested before coming to rest in the hands of Robert Harvey with his $500 winning 800 gram specimen. Falling to an all too regular 3" Berkley Bass Minnow, the fish came from the run down and decrepit remains of an old bridge in the Canning River.
The next event on the BREAM calendar sees the series move to Queensland for the E-Tec Tweed River BREAM Challenge, on 28th and 29th May. For more information visit www.bream.com.au or phone Simon Goldsmith (07) 3387 0888 (b/h), 0427 32 64 64 (b/h).