Team Pontoon 21 fishes Moreton Bay for victory
Team Pontoon 21 claimed victory at the Gold Coast BREAM Classic, with team partners Denis Metzdorf and Koi Pham delivering a 10/10 two-day tournament limit of 5.11kg to take the victory from overnight leaders Tom Slater and Georgia Williams.
On an uncharacteristically tough Moreton Bay and Gold Coast bite, teams struggled to find the bigger than average-sized fish that make this arena one of the most popular in Australia. It was Metzdorf and Pham’s ability to find a kicker fish on Day 2 that made the difference and earned them the victory and the $800 first place cheque.
Choosing to make the long trip from the Gold Coast Marine Expo at the Gold Coast City Marina to the reef flats of Macleay Island, the pair targeted shallow flats with rock and weed to fill their limit early each morning.
“We’d begin by throwing topwater lures, in the form of a Damiki Walker 70,” explained Pham. Once the sun rose and the surface bite shut down, the pair turned to subsurface presentations, using a Pontoon 21 Crackjack 48 DR, which they retrieved with a slow roll, allowing the lure to bump and crawl over the rubble bottom to trigger a strike
On Day 1, Metzdorf and Pham almost had the perfect start when they hooked an enormous fish on the Damiki Walker first thing in the morning. Unfortunately, the fish found its way around a rock and busted them off. Once the surface bite shut down, they switched gears and proceeded to quickly fill a bag using the Crackjack 48 DR.
“It was a bit of a slow morning for us, losing that big fish was frustrating and after that we stuck with surface hoping for another big bite but it didn’t come,” explained Metzdorf. The pair hit a number of spots around southern Moreton Bay, and caught fish off most spots they stopped at. It was a gradual upgrade throughout the day to weigh a 5/5 limit for 2.65kg.
Day 2 saw the pair return to the fruitful Moreton Bay flats, where the surface approach paid dividends this time.
“Within the first five minutes we had a 38.5cm fork length bream in the well. It smashed the Damiki Walker 70 and this time we were able to keep it out of the rocks unlike Day 1,” explained Pham. From there the pair knew they just had to fill a bag to be in with a good limit. “It was a lot tougher day for us on Day 2, it started well with the big one but then we struggled to find the quantities of fish we had on Day 1,” said Pham. With the kicker fish in the well, the pair managed to find one other better than average fish, which pushed their bag to 2.46kg, more than enough to dethrone Tom Slater and Georgia Williams from the top spot.
The pair’s go-to lures were used in a number of different colour patterns, with the Damiki Walker 70 in either Ghost Smog or Orange colour, and were retro fitted with swinging Decoy Dancing Jack DJ54 hooks on the tail to increase hook-ups. The Crackjack 48 DR was either Spanish Red or Ghost Gill colours, and the DR version was favoured for its ability to bump over shallow structure without snagging as much as the shallow version.
“It’s a trick we learnt a while ago, from fishing other tournaments in Moreton Bay. Anglers often used a deep diving lure in only a foot of water, so the bib of the lure was longer, and kept the hooks further away from the rocks to reduce snagging,” concluded Pham.
Netfish & Chill – close but no cigar
Partner duo Tom Slater and Georgia Williams (Team Netfish & Chill) teamed up to initiate newcomer Williams to the sport of tournament fishing. The pair held a slim 20g lead after Day 1, but were unable to hold down top spot by the end of the Day 2 weigh-in.
Also choosing to venture north into Moreton Bay, the pair targeted the reef flats of eastern Peel Island, where the wind was hitting to catch the majority of their fish.
“It was the perfect tide to fish Moreton Bay that weekend,” explained Slater, who reported the fish were more willing to bite just as the high tide began to drain off the flats. “I think the fish feel that tide turn, and realise they don’t have much time left up in the shallows around the mangroves, so they become more active and feed heavily for those few hours”.
Day 1 saw the pair start on their chosen location, where Slater would throw a topwater lure and Williams follow up with a shallow crankbait to cover the maximum amount of water
“The first morning we caught a good kicker on surface early, and one other small fish and then struggled for quite a while,” explained Slater. “It was only when we made a small adjustment to come further south to where the brunt of the wind was hitting the island that we began catching more fish and filled our limit.” Braving the gusty conditions to venture to Peel Island proved to be successful, as the pair weighed the largest limit of Day 1 to lead by a slim 20g margin going into Day 2.
The second morning started much better than the first, with Slater and Williams catching a small limit by 8am. “We actually sight-casted every fish we had in our bag early that morning,” said Slater. “The bream were active under the slightly cloudy skies, and had moved out from the mangroves onto the flats and were chasing prawns. I was really just waiting until I saw one slurp at a prawn, then I’d cast my topwater to the area and hook-up almost immediately.” Although small, the early limit allowed Slater and Williams time to look for upgrades, and they were able to upgrade a number of times before getting the bite they really needed. Williams had already put one nice upgrade in the well when she hooked a huge fish on a sandy patch in the middle of the flat. The 36cm fish was a huge upgrade for the team but unfortunately it was one of those fish that just don’t seem to like being caught, and failed to live through the afternoon and make it to the livewell.
“It was such a big fish, and we landed it fairly quickly and got it in the well straight away, it wasn’t hooked deep but sometimes there’s just nothing you can do,” explained Williams. Unfortunately, as their kicker fish expired, so too did their BREAM Classic dreams. They replaced the fish with a much smaller 27cm fish and travelled back to the Gold Coast Marine Expo knowing they would probably fall short without the Moreton Bay kicker. Weighing a light 2.02kg limit, they did indeed fall short, but managed to hold onto second place and the $400 cheque that went with it.
The pair’s two-prong approach revolved around two key lures. In the morning, a Daiwa Silverwolf Slippery Dog 65 topwater lure in Citrus Herring colour to target the prawn slurping bream in open water. Once the sun came out, the pair both turned to the shallow Cranka Crank in a variety of colours, which they slow rolled around the flats, bumping the lure through the rocks. The pair chose longer rods of over 7ft, namely 13 Fishing ENVY Black 71LM to increase casting distance, and they retrofitted their lures with a newly released ‘super slide’ treble from BKK, which has a special Teflon coating to make the hooks supremely slippery. “Those hooks are the deal,” explained Slater. “I didn’t really think a coating on a hook could make that much difference, but they are so slick it’s incredible. Plus they are strong! Those Moreton Bay bream are big and fight hard, and it’s no place for flimsy hooks”.
The Gold Coast BREAM Classic was run in conjunction with the Gold Coast Marine Expo, as an exhibition tournament allowing patrons of the expo to witness the sport of tournament fishing. Every team said eager patrons wanting to pick up a few tips of their own to improve their fishing approached them, which is exactly the reason these sorts of events are on the calendar every year.
The Queensland Open which runs a similar format will be run later in the year and feature the same tournament arena, information on this tournament will be published soon on www.abt.org.au.
|1||PONTOON 21: Denis Metzdorf & Khoi Pham||5||2.65||5||2.46||10||5.11||$800|
|2||NETFISH AND CHILL: Tom Slater & Georgia Williams||5||2.67||5||2.02||10||4.69||$400|
|3||LOWRANCE: Nick Whyte & Nabeel Issa||5||2.17||5||2.19||10||4.36|
|4||DAMIKI: Michael Maas & Peter Gibson||5||2.24||5||1.77||10||4.01|
|5||DONUT KING: Brandon Gosbell & Shane Davison||5||2.08||5||1.91||10||3.99|
|6||JACKAROO BOATS: Scott Corby & Tony Moore||5||2.05||5||1.77||10||3.82|
|7||LOWRANCE/JML: James Howarth & Tom Pearson||0||-0.75||5||2.47||5||1.72|