Berkley round 8 of Hobie® Kayak Bream Series 9 took place at Port Macquarie, on the New South Wales mid north coast on 10 -11 June. 47 anglers from Queensland (Qld), the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), Victoria (VIC) and New South Wales (NSW) headed to one of the series’ favourite locations to compete on the Hastings River system.
On both days anglers headed off from the Power Pole starting line in Kooloonbung Creek, which is situated close to the mouth of “the Hastings”. The forecast was for the heavy showers, that had rained down consistently through pre-fish, to continue into the two days of competition. However, the rain eased on both mornings of the tournament and anglers started under very heavy, low cloud, but fortunately, no rain.
As the morning progressed on day one, it became very wet, with an icy breeze and the air temperature well below predictions. The water temperature sat around 20 degrees Celsius, and while it was uncomfortable for anglers, the conditions were ideal for a good bite. Sunday looked ominous with heavy rain falling as anglers prepared for the day, but midway through the 6:30am briefing the rain eased and after a few scattered, morning showers the weather broke and patches of blue began to appear in the sky around 11:15am. There remained a reasonably widespread cloud cover, but the wind fell away, and the bite became slightly tougher to entice than it had been on day one.
Both days had fantastic starts, with all anglers getting off the line cleanly. Fifteen to twenty kayaks headed up the left channel towards the moorings, marina and an alternative course to the punt that crosses the main channel. The rest of the field headed out into the main channel of the Hastings, some stopped to hit the rock wall that lines the north-eastern side of the river mouth. The majority who headed in that direction used the stronger flow, of the incoming tide, to assist them in the 20 to 30minute pedal up stream to Lineburners Creek and the back lake, with their oyster racks, poles and paddocks. Just a few competitors headed into the small canal system lined with rock walls, wharfs, floating pontoons and boat hulls, in the end this proved to be a wise choice.
The pre-fish reports of plentiful fish and a good bite were confirmed with an early bite on both days, that saw many anglers bagging out, with four fish, before 9am. Sunday was a little tougher than day one, but a high percentage of anglers brought home full, or near full bags, on both days.
After the day one weigh-in Queenslander Luke Rogan was heading the field. Sitting very close to Rogan in second place was another Queenslander, Tyson Hayes, and in third place was Glenn Allen from New South Wales, and well within striking distance of the top two.
Day One Fish Caught: 128
Day One Anglers with Fish: 41 from 47
Day Two Fish Caught: 114
Total Fish Caught: 242
Total Weight: 115.03kg
Total Cash Payout: $3 410
ROGAN THE CANAL CRUNCHER
Luke Rogan made his long trip, travelling down from Queensland, worthwhile, with a convincing win in Berkley round 8 of Series 9. Rogan finished with a day one bag of 2.89kg that took him to the lead of the field. He followed that up with 2.87kg on day two, giving him a two, day bag total of 8 fish for 5.76kg. He took home an excellent sponsor prize pack and a cash payout of $1440 for his efforts. He also gained a place in the Australian Championship in Western Australia and accumulated 100 Angler of the Year (AOY) points.
Rogan gave us a brief rundown of his weekend in Port Macquarie.
“On Saturday, I headed up to the canals. I would fish and then move really, quickly, hitting pontoons along the way through the first canal system. I got some good fish and I saw a lot of other good fish as I moved about. So, with the bag that I had, which I thought was pretty good, I decided to leave the fish there alone, so I could come back to them on day two”.
“On Sunday, I headed straight back up to the canals (with my fingers crossed all the way) hoping the fish were still where I left them. When I got into the canals, the fish were there and they were biting. I was crank baiting the pontoons with ZipBaits and I was throwing crabs around the poles”.
“The wind was a little stronger on day one and that seemed to make the fish a little less scared to come out from under the structure. On day two they were a little, more, timid so I just had to slow everything down, and that seemed to be all I needed to make things work”.
Rod: Major Craft Volkey VKS-63UL 6’3”, 3-7lb, 1/32-1/4oz
Reel: Daiwa Steez
Line: 6lb Unitika straight through
Lure: Khamsin Zip Bait, Cranka Crab in olive
TYSON SEES THROUGH THE HAZE
Tyson Hayes also travelled down from Queensland and finished in second place, 340 grams behind the winner. Hayes finished with a day one bag of 2.88kg. He held onto that place at the end of the tournament with 2.54kg on day two, giving him a two, day bag total of 8 fish for 5.42kg. Hayes won a major sponsor prize pack, a cash payout of $860 and gained himself a place in the Australian Championship in Western Australia as well as accumulating 99 AOY points.
Hayes briefed us on how he attacked the Hastings River bream.
“This was my first round for the season and it turned out to be a good two days, it was well worth coming down for”.
“On day one I started up river in the canals, from there I went further up fishing floating racks, I was fishing them with unweighted plastics, Zman Slim Swimz in multiple colours, the bloodworm and the pumpkin seed. I had 2.88kg on Saturday and I was pretty, happy with that. On the second day, I knew there would still be fish out there. I went up an extra 1k (kilometre) and that paid off for me, I got 2.5kg into my livewell. I was fishing with the same stuff as I used on day one, the same unweighted plastics under floating racks, but just further up the system. I also got some of them on ZipBaits and throwing Cranka Crabs at the poles”.
Rod: 13 Fish Omen Black J-30T, Med Fast 2-6lb, 1/32–1/4oz,
Reel: Daiwa Luvias 2004
Line: Plastics – 6lb braid, Hardbodies – 4lb FC straight through
Lure: Zman Slim Swimz in bloodworm and pumpkin seed.
Third place went to Glenn Allen from the central coast in New South Wales who, like the top two, held on to his day one position. Allen pulled in 2.77kg on day one and 2.03kg on day two giving him a tournament total of 8 fish for 4.80kg. He bagged a valuable sponsor pack, $510 and 98 AOY points, which has taken him up to 4th place on the AOY leader board for the series, so far, this year.
ATOMIC BIG BREAM
Paul Hardiman from the ACT won the Atomic Big Bream prize, for the biggest fish of the round. He pulled his 960g bream by delicately crawling a black Pro Lure crank, over the top of oyster covered rocks and “Hoping like heck” he could pull it out.
Rod: CF CustomZ NorthFork Composites 7”, Fast 4-6lb, 1/32 –1/8oz
Reel: Shimano Stradic ci 4
Line: 3lb FC straight through
Lure: Pro Lure S36 Crank in Matt Black
Jack Gammie from NSW was the top performing youth with a day one bag of 4 fish for 1.56kg, on day two he brought back a 4-fish bag weighing 1.60kg giving him a two, day total of 3.16kg. Gammie finished in 14th place overall.
The winning woman was Michelle Carmody from New South Wales, with a day one bag of 2 fish for 0.65kg and a day two bag of 2 for 0.70kg, giving her a two, day total of 1.35kg. Carmody finished in 35th position in the Open Division.
Lex Court from Davistown in New South Wales was the best performing Master with a day one bag of 4 fish for 2.14kg and a day two bag of 2 for 0.77kg, giving him a tournament total of 2.91kg. Court finished in 9th position overall.
PA 17T Tandem Division
The sponsor prize pack winners in the division were Cullen and Francis DiMattina from NSW with a day one bag of 4 fish for 1.73kg, on day two they brought back 4 fish for 1.64kg, giving them a two, day total of 3.37kg.
Steve Currey from Queensland caught fish on both days to total 2.05kg.
MORTGAGE CORP MONSTER MOVER
Paul Dunlop won the Mortgage Corp Power Pack, jumping from zero fish on day one to bag 1.45kg on day two and finish in 34th position on the Rhino-Rack leader board.
BERKLEY BONUS ROUND
At Port Macquarie, a new prize was introduced, the “Berkley Bonus Round”. A name was drawn from the list of competing anglers who did not feature in the top ten. If that angler was present at the weigh-in, they receive a “Free Entry Coupon”, allowing them to fish any one of the remaining rounds, free of charge. The first to receive the “Berkley Bonus Round” was Trent Rogers from NSW. Well done to Berkley and congratulations Trent!
See you all at Strike Pro round 9 on the Gold Coast in Queensland on July 22-23
Thank you to Hunter Water Sports, located in the Newcastle suburb of Belmont, for their dealer support and for the pizzas, garlic bread and drinks on both Saturday and Sunday.
Thanks also to our sponsors Daiwa, Berkley, Atomic, Lowrance, Rhino-Rack, Strike Pro, TT Lures, Pro Lure, JML Anglers Alliance, Mortgage Corp, Power-Pole, Hobie Polarized for their much, appreciated support.