The 2015 BERKLEY WA Bream Classic Series kicked off with the Tackle Tactics/ZMan Round 1 Classic held in Mandurah. Teams were greeted with near perfect weather conditions with temperatures predicted to hit 40 degrees by the time they returned for the weigh in at 2pm, making it crucial to not only find the fish but to keep the fluid levels up for the day. Most teams took advantage of the arena spreading themselves between the town canals and the Murray and Serpentine Rivers, while a few teams ventured into the South Yunderup canals in search of the big bluenose bream known to frequent the area.
With a quality field of 42 boats heading into battle, there were stories of good fish lost by nearly every team. But it was Team 13 Fishing with Chris Pfrunder and Callum Dowell limiting their losses and finding their way to the front of the pack with a 4 fish limit of 2.975kgs and carry away over $2000 of cash and products. When asked how the day went, a beaming Callum Dowell replied “We started at the top of the Serpentine River and our first six or so casts of the day resulted in a full bag, and although not big the confidence was pumping, we fished snags we have worked hundreds of times over the years and were constantly upgrading fish”.
Disaster is only ever one look in the livewell away though and after losing the smallest of their bag they headed straight to a snag they were confident would produce for them and after 15 minutes Team 13 Fishing had a replacement in the net, and back into upgrade mode they went. With Callum providing a crucial 35 fork upgrade on a Damiki D Grub in killer tomato.
“Then with a dozen or so boats littered through some of our more successful snags, Chris made a call to fish an area near the mouth that we had not fished before however had probably not seen a lure all day”. In what was probably the winning call of the day, Chris managed to wrestle a 40cm fish from hard against a nasty dead tree, having to hold the spool for the majority of the fight before Callum netted what was to be their anchor fish for the day.
With pressure at the weigh in building Chris and Callum opted for a spot on the beach away from the live weigh in and it wasn’t until the very end they knew they had gotten up by a mere 55grams.
Callum thanked his sponsor Tom Slater from 13 Fishing for providing what he calls an epic rod that gets the results. Callum fished with a EBS610ML Envy Black rod from 13 Fishing whilst Chris utilized his Duff rod with precision. Team 13 Fishing used Daiwa Exist and Certate reels, 8lb Linesystems Frog and 8lb Unitika for main line, whilst both used Yamatoyo leader in 4lb and 6lb. Thier lures of choice were Zman Grubz, Zman Streakz, ZMan Crusteaz and Damiki D-Grub, rigged on a range of TT jig heads. Chris finished off mentioning that two 32 fork fish in the dying minutes in 39 degrees is one of the most satisfying angling experiences he has had.
In second place was team Pontoon 21/Damiki which saw Cody Clements team up with Carey Nolan to weigh in a four fish limit of 2.925kg and take the $1000 that was up for grabs for 2nd place. Carey also managed to boat the Round 1 Big Bream at 1.2kg and claim the $1000 Watersnake Big Bream prize money.
Setting off from town their plan was to fish the lower Murray hoping it would be untouched by the majority of the other 41 boats, when asked how the day went Carey explained “we have had success in the lower reaches of the Murray before but had not pre-fished the area but Cody was confident we could get a couple early, and five casts later it started with us both getting two fish each within a couple of spots. Thinking we had a modest 2kg bag by 8.30am had us chuffed, but we knew there was work to do to upgrade the smaller fish and also to find that elusive anchor fish”.
With a limit in the well, the move was made to hit a favourite set of snags in the Serpentine River with Carey commenting “the 10 other boats we found fishing the area certainly added to the pressure so I tied on my rat-bait Zman motor oil Slim Swimz with a 1/28 HWS jig. The action felt a bit flat but I just wanted something different to the million grubs these fish had probably seen already. It was two casts later and slowly working the bottom when the Duffrod buckled over and the Certate screamed. With the Yamatoyo Harris Fighter in 6lb creaking as it rubbed against the nasty barnacle encrusted snag, Cody was onto it, backing us out into mid river and allowed me to fight the fish. After a few lunges and dives the beast was netted, and I just sat down shaking, staring at 1.2kg and 42cm of Black Bream, the rest of the day is a blur apart from a trademark Mike Iaconelli man-hug”.
The 1.2kg Watersnake Big Bream probably turned a 2kg bag into 2.925kg and would have jumped the team up around 10 places. Carey wanted to thank the event sponsors, Berkley, Engel, Zman, Ecogear and finally Watersnake for the amazing $1000 cash prize for Big Bream. Carey also wanted to thank his sponsor JML Anglers Alliance (Ecogear/Yamatoyo – which performed admirably on several occasions) and Cody’s sponsors of Pontoon21/Damiki.
In third place were Tim Stuart and Rod Pickering from Team Flowrite/Engel who managed another cracking 4 fish limit of 2.810kg and only being one good upgrade or bust-off from top spot.