The weekend of the 5th and 6th of February saw an intimate field of 35 teams converge of the BIA Summer Boat Show to battle it out on the Yarra and Maribyrnong Rivers for the Engel BIA Bream Classic. Being Round 1 of the 2011 Humminbird Bream Classic Series all teams were eager to get some early points on the board. After the pre-fish on the Friday there were some promising signs amongst the field with some quality bream being found, but with in minutes of the completion of the briefing the heavens opened and the Melbourne region coped in excess of 80 mils of rain in just under a few hours. With the Yarra and Maribyrong River now in flood and highly discoloured all games plans were turned upside down. The teams that could find clean water would now have the advantage to take out the tournament and for Team The Old Boys Brian Pelle and Mark Geddes that's exactly what happened.
Anglers awoke of Saturday with a major challenge on their hands, being how to get to the boat ramp to check in. With many major roads around Melbourne still in flood, just making it to the check in on time was a victory in itself. With intermittent rain still falling, strong winds and a stream of mud and debris coming down both rivers many teams were left scratching their heads as to how to fish these challenging conditions. For Team The Old Boys the only thing on their minds was to find the clearest water possible. "There was only one place that sprung to mind where we thought the water may be cleaner than the rivers and that was Edge Water on the Maribyrnong River as this man made lake off the main river system was some what protected from the main current and we hoped that the water would be cleaner and hold feeding fish" Brian said. The boys suspicions where correct as when they arrived at Edge Water they water was noticeably cleaner than the main river system. With part A of the plan right it was time to see if the bream were there. Using a combination of G-Loomis GLX & IMX SR 842's matched to Daiwa Steez 2508 reels, spooled with 3lb Berkley Crystal Fireline tied to 4 & 6lb Famell and Sunline fluorocarbon leaders, Brian and Mark set about trying to put 5 bream in the well. " We decided to tie on the Eco-Gear SX40 in colour 345 which is black with an orange belly as we felt this would stand out the most in the dirty water. "Casting close to the edge then pulling the lure down about 30cm, pausing and then twitching the rod back in a very slow retrieve we succeeded in getting our bag within 30 minutes which was a dream start" Brian said. As the day started to slow down the boys also used the 80mm Squidgy Bloodworm Wriggler rigged unweighted on a No. 4 worm hook loaded with S-Factor and this method also account for some quality fish.
Heading to the weigh in on day 1 many teams who had landed quality bags were totally shocked to see just how many other teams had good bags. It seemed that the terrible conditions hadn't really deterred the black bream and it seemed that they were determined to feed no matter what the conditions which was welcome news to all the anglers. With a bag of 5/5 bream for 3.40kg that would win them the Atomic Bassday Best Bag prize for the weekend, Team The Old Boys had set a cracking day one lead that would be hard to beat. Sitting close in second position with 3.10kg on Day 1 and securing the Eco-Gear Big Bream with a quality fish of 1.08kg landed on a Cinnamon coloured Damiki MGrub was Team South East West Fishing Magazine's Michael Peachey and Brett Stokes.
While Day 2 of competition started with much calmer weather the bad news was that the extra 24 hours had given all the run off more time to move down and dirty most areas of the system. For Team The Old Boys they found that when they got back to Edge Water which had given them great success on Day 1 the water clarity had deteriorated significantly along with the bream bite. "The fishing was much tougher on day 2 and we had to work extremely hard all day to just get our bag as getting upgrades was never in the picture" Brian said. With all teams finding the going a little tougher on Day 2 some teams chose to experiment a little and with all teams receiving a free $150 Atomic/Bassday lure pack at the briefing on Friday they had plenty of new lures at their disposal. One standout lure that many teams told the crowd at the weigh in that they used to great effect was the new Atomic Semi Hardz. The Atomic Semi Hardz are 40 to 55mm stick bait with a rubberised outer coating. Sinking with a very attractive fluttering action the anglers found they worked extremely well cast along the edges and especially deadly when cast and left to sink along structure like pylons, boat hulls and rock walls. Even though there were a number of teams making a charge for the lead on Day2, with a solid bag of 5/5 bream for 2.62kg giving them a total of 10/10 bream weighing 6.02 for the weekend Team The Old Boys Brian Pelle and Mark Geddes were able to hold on and were crowned the 2011 Engel BIA Bream Classic Champions.
If you are interested to join the 2011 Humminbird Bream Classic Series and compete against some of the best bream anglers in Australia then log onto www.vicbreamclassics.com.au to get all the detail or call Bill Hartshorne on 0409 823 070.