The final round of the Victorian leg of the 2006 Ford Courier BREAM Series finished in fitting style at the G.Loomis Gippsland Lakes BREAM Challenge, 25th-26th March, with 2005 Grand Final Champion Chris "˜Slick" Wright claiming victory, and setting a new 10/10 tournament record with his outstanding 10/10, 11.30kg limit.
Overall accolades and victory belong to Wright though who spent the majority of his tournament fishing the Paynesville area made popular at his 2005 Grand Final victory.
"I hit Hollands Landing early on Saturday morning, but only managed one fish", Wright explained.
"So I pulled the pin and headed off to Paynesville and it"s boats and docks", he added.
The approach paid dividends with Wright revealing in the fish rich conditions.
"The fish were holding tight to structure just like they were in the final last year", Wright explained.
So I largely used the same approach and presentation to temp them", he added.
For Wright this involved casting his Ecogear SX-40 (colour- green back with silver side) crankbait past the structure, before retrieve it back to the strike zone with a series of rips. These were interspersed with a series of pause, including the all important one close to structure that had the lure hanging in the bream"s face.
"That was the key", Chris explained.
"Pausing it close to them and allowing them enough time to move up on the lure and nail it was crucial", he added.
The other important measure that Wright took to facilitate the perfect presentation was the application of Dizzy Scent Wax. A wax based additive that provided the lure with just the right level of buoyancy required to draw a strike.
While the majority of Chris"s tournament winning bag came from the Paynesville area, Sunday delivered two upgrades from the weed patches, timber, and sandy flats at the mouth of the Mitchell River.
"The mouth of the Mitchell provided a nice little bonus at the end of the day on Sunday", Wright explained.
"I found a few fish, that like the bream at Paynesville were keen to eat a crankbait, and in the end they gave me a few more grams that may have tipped me over the edge and got me the all time record", he added.
The tournament winning and record claiming tackle that did it for Wright included his much loved quiver of Millerod Bream Buster rods, comprised of a 6"9", Bream Buster XF and a 6"9" Bream Buster XF Classic.
Matched of course with a pair of Shimano Stradic and Stella 1000 reels, spooled with 6lb Rapala Braid, and topped off with 4lb and 10lb Yamatoyo Flurocarbon.
Post victory Chris shared his thoughts on adding another BREAM win to his list of achievements.
"It"s always great to win, and when you do it catching fish like the ones we got this weekend it makes it that much more special", Wright said.
"Claiming the record is fantastic also. It"s just a shame that I had take to take it off my good mate Bushy", he added.
The achievement now seeing Wright holding the title of the biggest bream in an ABT BREAM event (1.99kg), and the biggest two-day limit (11.30kg).
Second placed boater Mick Rantall, like Wright creeled on big fish on day one, delivering a 5/5, 6.34kg limit to the scales to head off first on day two.
"The size of the fish on Saturday was just amazing", Rantall recalled.
"They were big and they were aggressive", he said.
These fish for Rantall came from a combination of two places, the snags at the mouth of the Tambo River and the boats and jetties at Paynesville.
"You could see the fish holding on the structure" Rantall explained.
"Then it was just a matter of making the presentation and hoping that the fish would eat it", he added.
The presentation involved a tandem hard body and soft plastic approach, comprised of a Berkley 6" Gulp sandworm (colour-camo) rigged on a 1/16 oz Jigsmith Products jighead, a Cultiva Mira Shad, and a River 2 Sea Static Shad.
The presentation of the plastic involved a standard hop n" drop retrieve, while the hardbodies took a more intermittent journey back to the rod tip.
"A stop start retrieve was the order of the day with the hardbody", Rantall explained.
"Like most black bream bites, they wanted a presentation that was a bit more erratic than a constant slow rolling retrieve", he added.
Rantall"s choice of tackle used to compiling his tournament limit included, a 7", 1-4kg, Rantall "Hopkins River Classic" Custom rod, Daiwa Airity 2000 spin reel, spooled with 6lb River 2 Sea Bass Elite line, and 6lb Bass Hard leader.
The kicker fish in Rantall"s day one bag was of course the Go-So Big Bream for the event. Tipping the scales at 1.74kg, it was a typical example of the fish on offer over the tournament weekend, and provided Rantall with an added $500 bonus.
"The big fish on Saturday was just outstanding", Rantall explained.
"It came from the Tambo, and while it was the biggest fish I had in my limit, it was surrounded by a bunch of fish that were much, much bigger", he added.
The champion non-boater title was claimed by Victorian local and ABT Vic tournament regular Tim Atkins of Sandringham. Fishing with Shane "˜Bunga" Dyason on day one and Mark Gercovich on day two, Atkins compiled a 6/10, 6.7kg limit to secure his first tournament win for the year.
Fishing the Paynesville and New Lands Arm area on day one and the flats at the front of the Tambo and Mitchell Rivers on day two, Atkins used a combination of soft plastics and hard bodies to fill his well each day.
Under the jetties at Paynesville Atkins" gun lure proved to be a 3" Berkley Realistic Minnow (colour- watermelon), while the hot lure out on the flats was an Ecogear SX-40 in a natural translucent colour.
"A slow rip and pause retrieve was definitely the way to go with the crankbait", Atkins explained.
The presentation saw Atkins weigh-in one of the bigger bags on day two, a fantastic, 5/5, 5.64kg limit. The remainded of Atkins tackle included a 6"9" Millerod Bream Buster , a 1500 Team Daiwa S spin reel, 6lb Berkley Fireline, and 6lb Siglon leader.
The Mercury Sponsors Bonus Program proved as popular as ever with 4th placed boater Mark Mangold claiming his second Mercury Bonus for 2006.
The next event on the BREAM calendar sees the tour move to Tasmania for the first time, with the 4 Seasons Tasmania BREAM Challenge, on 8th and 9th April. For more information visit www.bream.com.au or phone ABT (07) 3387 0888 (b/h), 0427 32 64 64 (b/h).
|Ford Courier BREAM Series: G.Loomis Gippsland Lakes BREAM Challenge Boater Results|
|2||Michael RANTALL||VIC||5||6.34||1||1.32||6||7.66||1000 + $500 Go-So Big Bream + Qualify|
|4||Mark MANGOLD||NSW||5||4.91||5||4.91||500 + $200 Mercury Bonus|
|6||Jarrod HEALEY||Vic||2||1.86||3||1.89||5||3.75||300 + Qualify|
|7||Ian MILLER||NSW||2||1.64||3||2.06||5||3.7||300 + Qualify|
|8||Darren BORG||NSW||3||3.43||3||3.43||200 + Qualify|
|Ford Courier BREAM Series: G.Loomis Gippsland Lakes BREAM Challenge Non-Boater Results|
|1||Tim ATKINS||VIC||1||1.06||5||5.64||6||6.7||G.Loomis rod, Daiwa Laguna spin reel, St Mary’s Fishing Tackle Gift Voucher, prize pack|
|2||Thauan HUYNH||VIC||3||2.36||3||3.07||6||5.43||Angler rod, Tica spin reel, St Mary’s Fishing Tackle Gift Voucher, prize pack + Qualify|
|3||Ross CANNIZZARO||NSW||2||2.19||3||2.64||5||4.83||Spotters sunglasses, prize pack + Qualify|
|4||Peter KELLEHER||NSW||3||2.14||3||1.9||6||4.04||Nitro spin rod, prize pack|
|5||Stephen VAIL||VIC||4||2.95||4||2.95||Nitro spin rod, prize pack + Qualify|
|6||Andrew SMITH||VIC||1||1.43||2||1.5||3||2.93||Tica spin reel, prize pack + Qualify|
|7||Scott LEWIS||Vic||1||0.99||1||0.91||2||1.9||Shimano T-Curve rod, prize pack|
|8||Jordan TRUSTY||VIC||2||1.52||2||1.52||Shimano Raider rod, prize pack|
|9||Ben MONRO||NSW||1||1.3||1||1.3||Prize Pack|
|10||Brendan FIELDEN||VIC||2||1.29||2||1.29||Prize Pack|
|18||Graeme Ross TAYLOR||VIC||1||0.62||1||0.62|
|21||Nicolas Jason GLENN||SA|