The last weekend in January 2009 saw the 2009 Humminbird Vic Bream Classic Series join forces with the BIA Summer Boat Show at Melbourne's Docklands to hold the Yamaha BIA Vic Bream Classic. Being the first round of the 2009 Humminbird Vic Bream Classic Series and the first time a Vic Bream Classics qualifying round had been held at Docklands, a very enthusiastic group of bream anglers had converged from all over Victoria to put their skill to the test on this challenging waterway. For the 41 teams that entered, fishing this tournament meant dealing with three days of scorching heat, following the many Melbourne waterway regulations and controlling their nerves when putting on a show at the weigh in for the BIA Boat Show crowds. For the Dockland dynamos in Team Smack That's Brad and Mike Hodges months of planning finally paid off as they were able to adapt to changing conditions, weigh in a winning bag and scoop the pool of prizes for the weekend. This is their road to glory.
Anglers awoke very early on Saturday morning thanks to me bringing the start forward to 6am due to the heat, but were greeted with a picture perfect Melbourne sunrise. With wind conditions stable some teams decided to take the gamble and make the run out of Melbourne across to the Patterson and Werribee Rivers. This was the case for Team Smack That as they rolled the dice and hoped for a huge bite at the Werribee River. Being a local to the Werribee having pre-fished the living hell out of the Werribee River, Team Capitan Brad was quietly confident that this move could produce a big first day bag. After flogging the guts out of the Werribee River all morning the boys had landed no fish and with time running out Brad had a bad feeling he may have blown it. "After exhausting all our options it was 11:15am and we had nothing in the well. We pulled the pin and travelled the 25km back to the Yarra with our heads in our hands. At 12:00pm we started working the rocks walls and channel markers that line the mouth of the river. After losing the first 3 hook ups the tempers rose and time was running out. Casting Jackal Chubbys and Eco-Gear SX40's at the channel markers we eventually tempted two healthy Yarra bream in 2 casts and finally we had gotten of the dredged donut. We crisscrossed our way towards the West Gate Bridge hitting each marker with a couple of quick fire casts. On the marker just before the bridge and on the last cast of the day we pulled the all important 5th fish. Driving to the weigh in, we were more relieved than anything" Brad said. As the boys headed up to the stage to weigh in, their 5 bag of bream pulled the scales down to 3.72kg. They also set a bench mark for the Eco-Gear Big Bream with a solid fish of 1.10kg. Smack That went into day 2 with a healthy buffer on the rest of the field as the main leaders could only produce bags weighing into the 2.9kg range.
With the camera boat on board and with Team Smack not being able to produce 5 fish on Day 2 in the last few tournaments, the nerves were up as they knew they couldn't afford a slow start like Day 1. "Taking a healthy lead into day 2 didn't feel right as we had struggled for 90% of the fishing time on Day 1. We kept the plan simple, start at the mouth and throw hard bodies such as Jackall Chubbys in clear shrimp and Eco-Gear SX40's in colour 343 into the rock walls and at the channel markers all the way to the bridge and then repeat the drift" Using a combination of Berkley Pro Tactic rods matched to Abu Soron 2000 reels, 2lb-3lb Berkley crystal fireline with 4lb trilene fluorocarbon leaders the boys systematically worked the mouth of the Yarra to the West Gate Bridge with good results. "We took our time and fished slowly incorporating plenty of pauses in each retrieve. Picking up fish regularly we had our bag by 9:30am and upgraded twice in two casts at 11:00am. After that, the bite shut down and we made our way to the weigh in fairly confident that we had done enough" Brad said. Enough they had done as their Day 2 5/5 bag of bream weighed 2.44kg giving them their first perfect 10/10 bag in a while weighing 6.16kg. When the dust had settled it become clear just how good a weekend it was for Team Smack as they had not only taken out the Yamaha BIA Vic Bream Classic tournament victory but also won the Eco-Gear Big Bream prize along with the Berkley Best Bag prize for their Day 1 bag.
Next stop sees the 2009 Humminbird Vic Bream Classic Series head to Metung on the Gippsland Lakes on the 21st and 22nd of March for the Club Marine East Gippsland Bream Classic. To get your team amongst the action visit www.vicbreamclassics.com.au for entry details or call tournament director Bill Hartshorne on 0409 823 070.