TWENTY-NINE year-old Tim Morgan finished strongly in the Top Five Shootout to emphatically claim his first BREAM Grand Final title at Forster by over two kilograms. With Forster’s racks distilling 40 of the nation’s best bream anglers down to a final five, Tim finally triumphed after finishing second twice previously. His 15/15 bream, 10.20kg bag taken from Forster without a single shredding.
In doing so he earned a top-shelf boat package, including a Quintrex 475 Hornet Eclipse, 75hp Mercury outboard, 82lb MotorGuide electric and Sea-Link trailer, valued around $30,000.
Refining a pattern based on washboards on the outside of oyster leases, Tim outdistanced local young-gun Kris Hickson (12/15, 7.93kg), Queensland’s Jay Morgan (11/15, 7.93kg), Ballina’s Trent Short (12/15, 7.10kg) and first-year BREAMer, Clayton Gusmerini (11/15, 7.00kg).
FAT GRUBBING WITH CONFIDENCE
Tim’s confidence bait was an Atomic 2″ Fat Grub in Brown Crawdad colour that he fished on a Tackle Tactics 1/12oz, size 1 jighead and covered with MegaStrike scent.
“On the practice day, I got busted up twice in one lease, but nearly every line of washboards I fished had bream willing to eat the Fat Grub. I also landed a limit of bream off the bridge, but the tides during the event weren’t suitable for bridge fishing,” Tim explained.
He fished the Atomic on a Millerods 7′ Finesse Bream Buster rod, Shimano Sustain 1000 reel, 4lb pink Fireline and 10lb Berkley Vanish leader.
“So, on day one, we went to the racks from the practice day and landed a reasonable limit there in around three hours. We them moved to fish washboards for the rest of the day and upgraded most of the early fish,” he continued.
“The washboard pattern was reasonably simple. I’d drift with the tide and cast as close as possible to the boards. Half of the bream landed hit the lure on the drop, so I’d watch for any irregularities on the sink first. Because I was using 1/12oz heads and a small profile lure, I think that I got deeper than other competitors fishing the same areas, because the other half of the bream came from the first couple of hops up off the bottom,” Tim explained.
“The run-out tide was definitely the trigger. That’s when the bream moved from the racks to the holes at the bottom of the washboard poles,” Tim said.
Tim also found that that when he hooked bigger bream, he could fight them out into open water, and during the tournament, he kept his bust-offs to zero.
Day two saw Tim sticking to the same game plan, but the racks yielded only two bream by 10.30am.
“When that tide changed, though, the washboards fired again. Off one line of boards we landed six legal bream and finished up with five lines of boards that all produced. We upgraded both of the early fish,” Tim continued.
Day three, though, was the day he broke away from the rest of the field.
“I landed one legal bream off the bridge early on, but then I went straight to the washboards and rotated between the productive five. I had my limit plus an upgrade by 10.45, but then all went quiet for the last two hours of the run-in tide.
“The last hour, though, was awesome – I upgraded three times and landed my biggest bream of the day at 1.45pm!” he beamed.
Tim’s attributed his success on the final day to his experience in previous grand finals.
“I knew that I had a good game plan and that I had to stick to it. I relaxed as much as possible when fishing and just had fun. I had two great non boaters – Ben Roberts and Bill Karayannis – and it’s just awesome to finally win a Grand Final!” he concluded.
Taree’s Kris Hickson impressed the crowd with his first day 3.92kg limit and he caught all of his bream on hard-bodied lures. In fact, a gold coloured Piranha X-Lure was his confidence bait for the entire tournament.
Kris fished his X-Lures off several Design Rods built on Samurai blanks 001 to 006, loaded with Team Daiwa SCU2000 reels, 4lb Platypus SuperBraid and 6 to 14lb Yamatoyo Harris Fighter Fluorocarbon leader – depending on the situation.
The real difference in his technique, though, was in his choice of location. He fished flats riddled with oyster banks and beds in less than a metre of water.
“The first day of the tournament was perfect for this style of fishing – overcast and rough, so that the bream aren’t as spooky,” Kris explained.
“I’d make a long cast and use an aggravated retrieve with lots of shakes and pauses. The action would attract the bream and often they’d hit it as it floated back to the surface. Lots of times, the bream would suck it off the surface, and that’s awesome fishing.
“I landed around 10 legal bream on that first day, but all of the big fish came early. The second day was a lot tougher with calm water. The fish bit more timidly and I dropped a lot of fish during the fight,” Kris said.
When asked what got him on to the pattern in the shallows, the response came quickly.
“During the pre-fish ban, I fished the nearby Manning – my home river – and the bream were all over similar areas, so I just transferred the theory,” Kris said.
On day three, like many others in the top five, Kris’ fish dried up.
“I landed three fish early fishing hard bodies around poles, but after 8.30 in the morning, I didn’t land a legal bream. It’s a bit disappointing, as I dropped two, kilo-plus fish that would have made it pretty close, but that’s fishing. I can handle losing to Tim – he deserved this win,” Kris concluded.
AMATEUR DIVISION AND STATE CHAMPIONSHIP
Champion Amateur, Ben Roberts from Batemans Bay took home a Quintrex Explorer 385 Trophy with a Sea-Link trailer and Motor Guide bow-mount electric motor for his 10/10, 7.46kg bag while second placed Daniel Brown (10/10, 6.31kg) is the proud owner of a new Evinrude E-TEC 40HP outboard.
With the ‘shared weight’ concept, both the Pro and the Amateur drawn together recorded the weight of their best five bream collectively. This encouraged Pros and Amateurs to work together as a team and proved a great success at the event.
Queensland’s top four boaters after the second day (25.66kg) narrowly beat NSW (24.68kg) for the State honours. WA landed 16.59kg while ACT landed 5.25kg and VIC 3.56kg.
Local Area Sponsors: Graham Barclay Marine, Forster Beach Caravan Park.