Engel Round 2 of the 2016 Hobie Kayak Bream Series was located on the mighty Blackwood River and kicked off in near perfect conditions for the 44 competing anglers. Come the 10am start and anglers were greeted with plenty of sunshine and a rising tide, the only obstacle was going to be the possibility of an increasing wind throughout each day’s session.
Most of the anglers had made the trek down to the Blackwood River the day before to take advantage of the navigation only day. This allowed anglers to get out on the water and have a look at the conditions in the areas they were hoping to fish and make a plan if they had not already done so.
Come 5pm and whilst a fantastic crowd watched the completion of day one, most of the stories had a common theme amongst the returning anglers, and this was of big bust-offs and what-ifs. Which is certainly not uncommon for the Blackwood River with the resident bream quite angry and unforgiving when it comes to Kayak fisherman, so those that were able to tame a few beasts were certainly going to come out on top.
Finding himself at the top of the leader board on day one was Massimo Salomone with a great bag of 3 bream for 2.090kg; Massimo targeted the deep snags that line the river around the ski area to compile his bag of keepers, although not getting big numbers of fish, he had one 39cm bream that held the overnight lead for big bream coming in at .905 grams.
Sitting in second place overnight was Barry Brownrigg who compiled a nice bag of 3 bream for 1.925kg; Barry went with a different plan and chased a surface bite on some of the numerous flats that surround Molloy Island.
Holding down third spot and putting himself in pretty good position for day two was Brett Ozanne with 3 bream for 1.730kg; Brett also targeted the flats and snags around Molloy Island and the lower reaches of the river.
With the bacon and eggs sandwiches, coffee and lunch packs the 44 anglers (some looking worse for wear) were raring to go come the 7am chase start. Most of the anglers were aware that if you could find, hook and actually boat a couple of the beasts the Blackwood is renowned for then the tournament could still be anyone’s.
Presenting himself to the weigh station at least three hours early at 11am was Greg Cooper, who was experiencing a few issues with his live-well and also his kayak filling with water. So with a small crowd in attendance and all his fellow anglers still on the water, Greg brought up to the weigh master the biggest bag of the weekend with 3 bream for 2.720kg, his bag also included a contender for Big Bream with his biggest bream weighing in at .960 grams.
Sitting in 10th spot overnight with 3 bream for 1.225kg, Greg’s day two bag of 2.720kg gave him a combined total of 6 bream for 3.945kg, and put him right in the thick of things for top honours. He just had to wait three hours before watching every angler fall short of the mark he had set (at 11am).
And fall short they did, Greg stormed from 10th spot on day one, to win by over a kilo. When asked how his weekend had gone and whether he had followed a plan, Greg replied “I did a pre-fish a while ago out of my tinny, so I got to have a good look at a lot of the ground, which certainly helped me plan my weekend. On the first day I headed upriver and fished around the ski area, I pulled my first keeper at 11am on an OSP Dunk in Gold, I was just working the deep snags with a constant slow roll trying to stay near the bottom. But to have a 32cm in the well after an hour I was pretty happy with my start to the day. After that it was slim pickings for me, but I managed to boat two small keepers to give me a bag. To be sitting in 10th place after day 1, I was pretty happy with that”
“Day two I had a bit of a different plan, because I was fishing out of a Malibu Kayak. It meant I was restricted to paddle power but also meant I could get up on the flats and fish a fair bit shallower than the Hobie kayaks. I wanted to target the flats around the back of Molloy Island as it would also have been out of the wind (which gave me plenty of grief on day one). It was pretty early, roughly about 7.30am when I pinned my first keeper on and OSP Bent Minnow in the G76 colour”.
“I was retrieving it with some slow twitches and plenty of pauses but I was happy to have one the boat early and just moved around targeting the sand patches amongst the shallow weed. I filled my bag with two more quite early and added four or five upgrades before 10.30 when I noticed I was having dramas with my live-well. When I was monitoring that I noticed my yak had also filled with plenty of water. So the decision was made to leave them biting and try to make a mad dash back to the weigh-in, which I only just managed without sinking”.
“So to come in at 11am whilst leaving them biting I didn’t think I was much of a chance, especially sitting in 10th, but after weighing in 2.720kg I would have been very happy just to make it into the top 3 or 5, but to take the win and qualify for the Australian Kayak Championships I’m very happy”.
Greg used a Protactic Copper Head 5kg Rod and an Edge ISR 703 Rod, each of these were matched to a Daiwa Certate 2500 that was loaded with Varivas 14lb Egging braid. At the business end was 8lb Bream special leader. Greg also used an FG and loop knot as his go to knots for the weekend.
“When asked if he had anyone to thank, besides the organisers he made special mention of his superannuation which has given him the most freedom to chase bream”.
This also being a World Kayak Championship qualifying round, Greg (along with others) has the choice to travel interstate and chase two more good results in World Kayak qualifiers, and possibly make it into the top 6 (best 3 of 5 rounds) who will also get a World Kayak Championship berth.
In second place and becoming a regular at the Australian Championships was Rob Sgambelluri weighing in 6 bream for 2.925kg. One of the very few anglers who had never fished the river before he really didn’t come down with much of a plan, he was quite wary of the angry bream after stories he had heard, but didn’t suffer the same problems as many of the other anglers.
Rob found himself sitting just outside the top 10 after day one and when asked how his day had gone he replied “I pulled my first keeper about 30 minutes into the session, I’d only ventured up river to just before the ski area and was throwing an OSP Dunk. I was just working it deep with a real slow twitch before hooking what ended up being a 28cm, I was expecting a better fight after some of the stories but I didn’t have any issues boating my keepers”.
“Within 30 minutes I picked up another two keepers in the same area all around the same size, it was pretty slow for the rest of the day before I got my only upgrade in the late afternoon, this came on a darker colour OSP Dunk. I was happy to have 3 in the well when I headed back, and quite content to be around the top 10 for a river I had never seen before”.
When asked how day two went, Rob replied “I thought I would just head back to the same area I had fished the day before, hitting a few likely spot on the way. Probably about 7.30am and about 300m from the start I hooked my first keeper on the first cast of the day, I was surprised to get one so early and it certainly helped with the confidence”.
“It was probably another hour before I pinned my next keeper, this was on an Ecogear SX-48 whilst I was casting parallel to a reed bank, I was working the lure back a lot faster than I had been and a nice bream couldn’t resist it. It was probably another 30 minutes before I secured my third keeper, which was back on the OSP Dunk, it was a good fight and I really thought he would be bigger than what he actually was”.
“I picked up two more small upgrades over the next couple of hours but after that it went quiet, and I didn’t hit another keeper for the day, the hot bite for me was early and it really shut down from 11.30am onwards. I headed back to the weigh in not sure where I would finish up, I thought some big bags would come in today and I’d be happy to break into the top 10, but to finish up in second is awesome”.
Robert used a 2-4kg Catana rod, matched to a Shimano Stradic 2500, this was loaded 10lb Daiwa braid and finished off with 7lb Fluorocarbon leader attached with a FG knot. Rob thanked Getaway Camping for sponsoring the event as well as the organisers for their efforts.
In third place and only angler to maintain a top 3 position from day one was Barry Brownrigg, Barry backed up his day one bag of 1.925kg with two keepers that weighed .990 grams and kept him in front of a packed leader board. In fact Barry only secured 3rd place on a count back from renowned bream angler Alex Griesdorf. This was separated on the biggest individual day bag, which went to Barry on his fantastic day one bag that had him sitting in second place overnight.
When asked how his weekend had gone Barry replied, “Day one went fantastic, I pre-fished about four months ago, so I came up with the idea to try and fish surface all weekend, and target the shallower flats around the lower reaches and Molloy Island. I pinned my first keeper at 11am on the Hurricane Banana, I would throw a couple of twitches in and then some big pauses before they would smash it. I got my second keeper about 30 minutes later doing the exact same thing, before changing to a Zipbait Tiny in Red, I would fish it around the shallow snags and try and slow roll it back to the yak. That proved the undoing of my third keeper, so I was happy to have a bag of 3 on day one”.
“I picked up about four upgrades for the afternoon – nothing big, just bit by bit. Three came on the Zipbait Tiny and the other on the Hurricane, so to weigh in 1.925kg and be sitting in second place was fantastic.”
When asked how day two had gone, Barry replied “not quite the same as day one, I tried to replicate what I did on day one, but it just wasn’t working. I changed to the Zipbait Tiny and pulled two keepers out of the shallow snags. Besides that it was rats for the rest of the day, when I got back and heard what Greg’s bag of 3 had gone, I wasn’t holding much hope of staying near the top of the leaderboard. Then to beat Alex in a countback and qualify for the Australian Kayak Grand Final, I am very excited.”
Barry used a T-Curve 1-3kg rod matched to a Shimano Sustain 1000, this was loaded with 10lb Castaway braid. Barry’s other rod of choice was his Gladiator Cyborg 1-3kg, matched to a Shimano Stradic 1000, this was loaded with 6lb Nanofil. On the business end of bnoth combos was 6lb VHard leader attached with an Improved Albright knot.
Barry wanted to thank Getaway, Hobie and WAFM for all their efforts in bringing the comps to WA.
The Getaway $250 Big Bream was taken out by the eventual winner Greg Cooper with a very nice bream of .960 grams, this was part of his day two bag and fell victim to the OSP Bent Minnow.
Taking out the Womens division and making it two on the trot was Michelle Pardini, whilst the Junior division was taken out by Mirek Soucek and last but not least was the Senior division that was taken out by Steve Owens, who actually missed the top 5 by 20 grams.
A big thanks goes to all the anglers for making the effort to head to the Blackwood River for this round, as well as the Sponsors for this round, Getaway Outdoors. Their support of the kayak events is very appreciated. We look forward to seeing you all in the next Kayak or Boat round coming up soon. For more info go to www.westoz.fish or www.breammaster.com