The 2017 Atomic Bream Classic Boat series Grand Final was held in the stunning location of Walpole, which in years past has produced some amazing fishing and amazing bags (for W.A). Teams looked to have the many options of vast flats, snags and three very different rivers to pick from. With 22 teams located around the various caravan parks in Walpole and Rest Point being the main holding pen for most of them, the usual stories around the camp fire was common place. Stories of big bream and in numbers you could only dream of had some of the teams dreaming of what might be, when in reality the flats were quiet and the rivers would be where all the action was at.
In true style and in stark contrast to years gone by Team Gladiator’s Shane and Steve Owens finally took home the win and trophies they had been chasing over many years. Weighing in 2.185kg on day one had them sitting in second place, and 4 spots ahead of their nearest “Team of the Year” (TOY) rival. Then when said rival brought up 3.150kg on day two, everyone thought here we go again “dejavu”, but no the scales were dragged down to 2.990kg to put Shane and Steve on top of the pile and take the win by 160gms and in the process claim the Team of the Year title as well.
When asked how the weekend had gone, Shane replied “Well it is a massive weight off our shoulders after being so close in previous years, and I was also right in the thick of things for yaks without managing to bring home the cookies in the end. After Walpole was announced and with the understanding it was uncertain on just how this grand final would play out for everyone, we felt it was important to get down for a pre-fish and have a look at the state of the system. We targeted the areas upriver and enjoyed a fantastic weekend catching around 100 or so legal sized bream. So we knew that catching legals wasn’t going to be an issue but finding that kicker fish each day was going to be what separated you from the rest of the pack”.
“The weather for day one was fantastic and the field of boats set off for a comfortable ride across the Walpole inlet. The plan was to head up the Frankland River and target some holes we knew the fish were in. We weren’t the first boat hit that area but fortunately one of our key banks on our pre fish was left vacant so we wasted no time in taking advantage of this. It payed off straight away with our kicker fish of about 35-36 cm being landed within the first ten casts of the day and we had our bag and we were in search of upgrades”.
“We eventually managed a few more upgrades on the Bait Breath rockin crabs including one of about 34 cm’s caught by dad, even though we caught plenty of fish on day one we found the bite to be a lot tougher than what we experienced on the pre fish. A highlight was watching Jack Dawson lay into a solid giant herring and watching the insane fight that followed before the speed machine buried him in the snags. We were happy with our efforts which we were confident would keep us in the hunt for not only the grand final honors but also the team of the year honors”.
“Day two and once Dad had worked out we weren’t off 21st it was game on, as we cruised across the estuary towards the Frankland River. Our plan did not differ from day one and we got the same stretch of bank to ourselves on day two, although surprisingly after the first two small legals the fish completely shut down, and it looked like it was just for us. Everyone around us looked to be pulling in legal after legal which left us very confused. We remained calm and used the next hour to work out what these fish were doing and just what we were doing wrong ,Dad wasn’t so calm and he was almost having a complete meltdown as he watched teams pull in solid fish after fish with our hopes of staying in the hunt dwindling away fast. By the time we eventually caught our bag other teams were upgrading and throwing out fish equal to our biggest, and Alex and Jack who are one of the most dangerous teams in the WA classics were doing what they do best in pulling together a cracking day 2 bag and setting themselves an almost unassailable lead”.
“As we passed Alex and jack by about 50 meters I spotted a massive school of bream in the middle of the river sitting on a very steep drop off in a depth of about 10 meters. It was the largest school I had spotted throughout my time pre fishing and on this weekend too. Instead of driving up to the next bend I stopped half way along the stretch of river and chose to work our way back a long the drop off to see if we could tempt these fish. Our hopes were soon lifted yet let down just as fast when dad lost a cracking fish. It would’ve been the perfect upgrade we needed for our very small bag at the time in which we estimated to be about 1.2 kilos”.
“Out of curiosity Alex asked what jighead sizes we were using, once we told him we were using 1/16 ounce jigheads he threw us a pack of 1/8th of an ounce TT jigheads and said this will get down faster and help you out. On the pre fish we didn’t have any issue with 1/16’s and caught plenty of nice fish on them but when Alex and Jack have 3kg’s in the live well we decided to follow suit and replace our 1/16’s with the heavier jig heads, and boy oh boy did our fortunes turn”.
“Shane get the net!! is what followed from dads mouth after just the first cast! We felt the first weight rise off our shoulders, the day was rolling on by this stage and the time on the clock had just hit 11. Yet with a 38 cm kicker fish in the well there wasn’t a chance in hell I was going to panic and nor was dad after his great capture. We then went on a roll adding a 36cm right when the bigger fish were shutting down for everyone else. Dad mentioned to me that if we can just get another solid fish we would be right up there to at least secure our lead that we had in the race for the Team Of The Year, with the bigger fish definitely shutting down it was very critical that I didn’t drop this fish I had just hooked into, and it was another 36 cm fish! After a bumpy trek back to the weigh in site at Rest Point we beached our boat on the sandy shorelines and made our way over to the weigh in stage to exchange how our days went and at the same time watch teams weigh their fish. Plenty of bags went over the 2kg mark in which only three bags went over 2kgs on day one, to drag the scales down to 2.990kg was enough to get us home”.
“I’d like to give a very very special thank you to Ian , his wife Kate also to Nick Cuccovia and Richard Davie for your magnificent efforts in producing what has been the greatest tournament series that the WA anglers have been ever so fortunate enough to compete in. It’s been a privilege to take part in what has been such a professional and organized series of both kayak and boat classics”.
“Secondly Congratulations to the Top ten place getters especially the top five in Alex Greisdorf and Jack Dawson in finishing second and showing they’re a deadly force where ever they compete together. Also to third place getters Graeme Kovacevich and Szarn with a very consistent two day performance, and fourth place with Kim McIntyre and Benjamin Scott with a cracking day 2 bag to shoot right up the leader board and last but not least two of the nicest guys in the scene Paul Siemaszko and Ben Pountney for your brilliant two day performance matched with your great company for the weekend”.
“Last but not least our two ever so supportive and loyal sponsors in Stephen Blackmore from Gladiator and Tyrone Yahiya from Tackle HQ. You guys have been amazing.
In second place and not quite sure about the saying of “he who shares wins” was Team Lowrance/Tackle Tactics Alex Greisdorf and Jack Dawson weighing in 4 bream for 1.865kg on day one, followed up with a cranking 3.150kg on day two for a two day total of 8 bream for 5.015kg, to just miss holding off Team Gladiator whom they had to beat by two positions to claim team of the year honors.
When asked how the weekend had gone, Alex replied “Well what can I say, what a great way to end the WA season by fishing one of my most hit and miss systems, and I have to say it’s one of the most picturesque rivers I have ever seen and this was by far my best Result. Our day one just didn’t go to plan, even though we caught many fish using a variety of lures from Zman grubz and streakz to cranka vibes but we just kept catching 28cm after 28cm after 28cm and just couldn’t find those bigger beasts we knew were in the area somewhere. I know we made the mistake by starting at the wrong spot, but we at least weighed in an ok bag that kept us in the hunt for a reasonable finish, we just had to smack them on day two, and bigger fish than day one”.
“Our day two was the complete opposite; we smacked them and would have caught in excess of 100 keepers for the day, the only disappointing bit was that we could not make them bite like that on day one. Jack managed our best keeper on his favourite watermelon Berkley power hawg which he fishes everywhere quite successfully, I was mixing it up between Zmans and vibes for most of the day. The key really was fishing 1/8th to 1/12th jigheads so we could get down to the strike zone”.
“A big thanks to all our sponsors Tackle Tactics, Lowrance and Getaway Outdoors for the fantastic support throughout the season”.
In third place after holding the lead on day one was Team Savages Szarn Tink and Graeme “Belmont” Kovacevich weighing in 8 bream for 4.755kg, and only miss the two leaders by one decent upgrade. When asked how the weekend had gone Szarn replied “Friday saw us doing the long but easy drive down to Walpole where we arrived at the Rest Point Caravan Park, stopping the car we quickly noted that the water was brown from the past month of rain which made for some interesting decisions”.
“Day one we thought we would try all the spots that had historically produced for me, which meant we were on the flats. We tried coalmine, the flats around the deep, and even had a look at skippy rock. In the end we had to head upriver where we put a bag together on Zman grubz and slim swimz. We also added two upgrades, right amongst where everyone was fishing, so to be out front of the pack on day one was a grat start. We just had to back it up on day two”.
“Day two was brilliant; you can’t go wrong with a hot breakfast of bacon and eggs with hot coffee, we as per the rest made the move upriver to where we had been successful the day before. We knew we would not be there first, but plugged away and put another bag together, it was a little chaotic at times but we managed to fish amongst the others and bag out. The bank and hole we found the bigger fish in was already taken by one of the faster boats, so we just worked the area along with the rest of the boats and compiled what we thought would be a competitive bag”.
“A big thanks to Ian , Nic , Richo and the lovely Kate plus all the other people behind the scenes that have done a fantasic job over the last few years, a huge effort!!”.
HOBIE Polarized BIG BREAM for day one was taken out by Team Savage with a great fish of 710 grams that helped them secure the day one lead, day two HOBIE Polarized BIG BREAM was taken out by Jack Dawson with his 39cm beast dragging the scales down to 940grams, and knock off the 2-3 other candidates for the day.
A big thanks to all the sponsors for their tremendous support, Samurai/Atomic, Getaway Outdoors, Gladiator and Gosen, Hobie Polarised, JML Anglers Alliance, Yamatoyo, Samurai Fishing Rods, Watersanke, Ecogear, Dragon, Gamakatsu, Platypus Fishing lines, Tackle Tactics, Quantum, Mustad, Mako Eyewear, Shimano, Grannys Pies and Pastries, Halco, Z-Man and Bait Breath.
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|Place||TEAM||Skipper||Co-Angler||TOTAL Fish Caught||TOTAL 2 DAY WEIGHT|
|1||Gladiator/Tackle HQ (RD1)||Shane Owens||Steve Owens||8||5.175|
|2||Lowrance / Tackle Tactics (RD1)||Alex Griesdorf||Jack Dawson||8||5.015|
|3||Savage (RD1)||Szarn Tink||Graeme Kovacevich||8||4.755|
|4||Ecogear/JML (RD2)||Kim McIntyre||Ben Scott||8||4.465|
|5||Prostrike||Paul Siemazko||Ben Poutney||8||4.405|
|5||DG||Jayden Webb||Adam Smart||8||3.980|
|7||Searing Tackle||Dror Pietsch||Jesse Choy||8||3.705|
|8||Phenix Rods||Suzie Siranovic||Dave Ecclestone||8||3.425|
|8||Nomad Tackle||Brendan Chua||John Sorrell||8||3.290|
|10||Hack / Tackle HQ||Michael Sammut||Mitch Clements||7||2.960|
|11||Outback Bearded Breamers (RD2)||Callum Dowell||Dan P||8||2.910|
|12||Grab A Grannys||Andrew Manson||Steve Yarwood||6||2.330|
|13||Keen (RD1)||Shardi Biahgi||Paul Furlong||5||2.075|
|14||DJILBA||Nigel Kelly||Stephen Dimmer||4||1.975|
|15||Lucky Last Cast (RD2)||Mathew Jeffrey||Brendan Madaus||4||1.685|
|16||Blue Lip Skipping||Tom Harders||Jo Gardener||4||1.430|
|17||Purple Ducks||Brendon Harkness||Melissa Harkness||4||1.195|
|18||Bream & Tonic||Ryan Wainwright||Dean Wainwright||3||0.895|
|19||Anchor Management||Brett Dowsett||Ben Gooch||2||0.835|
|20||Breammaster||Geoff Spadacinni||Nathan Jones||2||0.575|
|21||Filthy Oars||Ben Paris||Andrew Beech||1||0.380|
|22||Samurai Tackle Rats (RD2)||Joe Franco||Thys McCarthy||0||0.000|