With the excitement of tournament angling on TV completed
for the summer, now is a good time to take a look at the winning
strategies for the tournament-winning bream pro anglers.
The series followed the teams through a diverse range
of bream fishing terrain. In Brisbane, Mercury’s Tim Morgan
took first place by fishing docks and pylons while on the Gold Coast,
Steve Starling’s Netspace team prevailed by targeting deeper
fish on river bends.
New South Wales rounds saw Quintrex’s Chris
Wright win amongst the Hawkesbury River’s oyster racks and
Sydney Harbour helped Ian Miller shine by fishing bankside floating
And, in the ultimate event of the season, Chris Wright
helped himself to a massive limit from the Yarra River’s bridge
pylons and banks to take out the Championship title.
This article dissects the top techniques of the pros
and gets down to the real details of when, where and how they caught
their fish. Will it help you catch more bream the next time you’re
on the water? You bet.
The Brisbane River is an arena previously unexplored
by bream tournaments, but historically holds good populations of
bream in summer. Traditionally, though, these fish are caught on
baits of yabbies and mullet gut at night. Tempting the summer-run
of bream on lures in a diverse array of terrain was the challenge
for the pros.
Choosing three key areas, Team Mercury local Tim ‘the
Bream’ Morgan snatched a narrow victory with a three fish
bag of 1.60kg.
Tim’s first fish came from an isolated pylon
structure in quite shallow water. Arriving at the structure at an
agreed time with fellow competitor, Chris Wright, the pair cast
and landed a fish each in a spectacular double-hook-up. The anglers
found this structure together on the practice day and made an agreement
to again fish it together on the tournament day.
Tim used a two-inch Atomic FatGrub in Brown Crawdad
colour rigged on a 1/16oz jighead to start his tally. Both Morgan
and Wright cast close to structure and, as so often happens with
schooling fish, once the first fish ate the lure the others looked
for another to have for themselves.
Moving to the oil pipeline that crosses the mouth
of Boggy Creek, Tim’s second fish snatched a Grey Ghost Atomic
shad that Tim fished on a slightly heavier jighead.
“I changed to a heavier head to get the plastic
bait down under the dirtier, fresh water that was in at the top
of the water column,” Tim said.
The bream that clinched the win for Tim came from
further upstream around the seafood market docks. Keeping with the
Atomic Shad, Tim continued with the successful technique of casting
alongside the underwater structure, letting the lure sink to the
bottom and retrieving it with a series of short hops and pauses.
Mistaking the lure for an injured baitfish, the bream take advantage
of the opportunity and attack.
Incredibly, the lures that took out the inaugural
AFC Outdoors event cost around a dollar a piece at your local tackle
GOLD COAST YIELDS BREAM TOP TO BOTTOM
On one of the busiest Sunday waterways on the east
coast, the pros took on the waters of the Nerang River on the Gold
Coast to contest the second round.
And, in a fishery that yields big numbers of small
bream from top to bottom, Team Netspace’s Steve Starling recovered
from a slow start to bag the heaviest limit of bream and walk away
with ten valuable championship points.
“I had a shocking morning,” Starling said
after the win, “but just before midday it all came together.
I’d just helped a local angler land a sizeable trevally –
my good deed for the day – when a pattern fishing ultra- light
line through deep river bends and drop offs started producing numbers
of good size bream”.
Starling fished the main Nerang river channel with
incredibly light three pound breaking strain line to start amassing
his 2.25kg limit of five bream. His secret lure was one he designed
himself – a Blue Fox Squidgie in the popular Bloodworm colour.
Starling described his most popular spot in depth.
“There was a canal system draining into the
main river at Benowa Waters and the area where the two waters mixed
stirred up the sandy drop-off, and this is where the bream were
holding. I caught several bream there by casting up-current, letting
the lure sink and hopping it back slowly with the flow.
“And, as so often happens in fishing, the pattern
became clear and I applied the same technique in similar locations
along that stretch of river to complete the winning bag,”
Starling’s five fish limit wasn’t the
only one weighed. Suzuki’s Jesse Lomas fished the maze of
canals towards Lake Intrepid to fill his limit, while Mercury’s
Tim Morgan scored a pile of smaller fish on surface lures to distil
his near – 2.0kg bag.
Just north of Sydney, the Hawkesbury system’s
reputation for producing quality bream is as strong as the river
is long. With structure as varied as rocky banks, docks, bridge
pylons, oyster leases and vast flats, competitors fished their practice
day wisely to pinpoint just what cover they would target come tournament
With the event producing several kilo-plus bream
(well over two old-fashioned pounds) it still took consistency,
rather than a large kicker fish, to take home the event win.
Team Quintrex’s Chris Wright was the only angler
capable of landing a limit from the Hawkesbury’s waters, with
most of his fish coming from the oyster lease complexes in Mullet
Chris’s key to success was subtle but effective.
Using a Bloodworm coloured Squidgie Wriggler, but this time of a
Darter head, Chris swum the lure up off the bottom and used a series
of twitches to make the soft plastic bait look more like a struggling
fish than an invertebrate crawling across the bottom.
The bream found this irresistible and Wright’s
five fish bag toppled Tim Morgan’s three fish big-bream bag
Other competitors used hard bodied lures along the
oyster racks to land fish, but the Hawkesbury did produce some of
the singly biggest bream of the series.
SYDNEY HARBOUR SUCCESS
After three rounds and three anglers on the winners’
podium, Sydney Harbour seemed sure to produce an interesting result
– especially since only Steve Starling had lured for bream
in the Harbour before.
Sydney Harbour has, in recent years, become somewhat
of a must-go area for bream anglers. The Parramatta River, especially,
has excellent populations of structure-dwelling bream that take
advantage of floating pontoons, docks and anchored yachts that litter
Sydney’s bays and shorelines.
Mariner’s Ian Miller stepped up to the plate
in Sydney to stake his claim for the championship title and weighed
the biggest limit of the tour to that point to edge out four of
the other anglers that also compiled Sydney limits.
Miller put in the miles to target structures all
over the Parramatta River arm of the harbour and land most fish
from shore-linked pontoons and docks. Using the series’ productive
pattern of jighead-rigged Squidgies and his own brand of custom
built rods, Miller saw the win as timely.
“I’d had my share of bad decisions and
worse luck in the series to date and I’m glad that Team Mariner
finally got it all together this Sunday. I think that mathematically
I can still win the championship, but it’d mean that anglers
like Chris (Wright) and Tim the Bream would have to finish last,
and I don’t see that happening,” Miller commented.
Hog’s Breath Café’s Adam Royter
also shed some of his early-season hoodoos to register his first
competition limit and added the bonus species point to his tally.
Leading into the final event, the championship narrowed
to virtually a two horse race between Team Quintrex’s Chris
Wright (30 points) and Mercury’s Tim Morgan (29 points), and
the final arena – right in the heart of Melbourne –
was the perfect venue to do it.
In a perfect world a final tournament would produce
loads of fish and the biggest winning bag weight of the series.
This exact situation occurred on the Yarra River in Melbourne’s
Docklands. Based at the fashionable New Quay, the venue of the BIA
Summer Boat Show, competitors faced a difficult decision –
do they fish the still waters of Victoria Harbour, or the tidally
influenced Yarra River only a few hundred metres away.
Compounding the dilemma was the organisers’
decision not to allow any practice fishing for the final event.
At just after 7.00am on the tournament day, anglers were making
their first exploratory casts into the arena’s waters.
The result is now history – Wright, Miller
and Starling made the right decision and fished the bridge pylons
and banks in the main river, while Morgan, Royter and Lomas went
the wrong way and missed the hottest bite of the tournament.
With nearly 20 bream boated in the first hour, Wright
amassed a near 4.0kg bag to convincingly take out the event and
the inaugural AFC Bream Pro series.
It was also just that the lure that won so much money
across the series was the key to Wright’s Docklands win –
the Bloodworm Squidgie Wriggler.
The black bream of the Yarra were in spawning mode
and schools of these fish made easy targets in the first few hours
of light. And by the time the rest of the field keyed in to their
bad decisions, the race was won.
The best thing about bream is that they are available
all across the country – from pikey bream in the north through
sub-tropical yellowfin bream and the south’s black bream.
Grab a rod and reel and give it a go. It might be
the first step you take towards becoming one of the future AFC Outdoors
Bream Pro anglers.
In each arena, a ‘Rogue Species’ was
nominated for a bonus championship point. The rules for this section
were simple. The longest of the nominated species for each venue
took the bonus and anglers were equipped with measures to record
the lengths before release.
• More than 15,000 casts over five rounds from six
• 110 hours of raw footage captured for the series
• 142 fish caught and released
• The size/weight of the bream got bigger as the tour
Hog’s Breath Café
|FINAL CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE
||Tot. Weight (kg)
||Av. Fish wt.