Team Berkley Take out the 2015 Atomic Bream Classic Grand Final
The weekend of the 28th and 29th of November 2015 saw 49 of the best bream teams Australia has to offer head to Million Dollar Metung for the 2015 Atomic Bream Classic Grand Final. A new feature in 2015 also saw 5 of the top bream teams from Tasmania make the trip across Bass Strait to take on the Vics in their own backyard. The feeling from the briefing on the Friday night was that the fishing was patchy with some good fish around but they were very few and far between and getting a consistent 2 day bite would be the key to taking out the tournament. For Team Berkley's Brad and Mike Hodges their signature Gippsland lakes strategy and fishing location was well and truly already locked in well before the event started as it's a place that has been very kind to Brad and Mike over the years so their 2 day assault would take place down towards Lakes Entrance.
Day 1 Anglers were greeted with great conditions little wind and clear skies making the long runs to various locations on the Gippsland Lakes an option. For Team Berkley it was straight down to their regular location in the hunt to fill a bag as quickly as possible. Using a combination of Berkley Emotion 6"10 2-4kg and Abu Garcia Salty Stage light casting 6"10, 1-3kg rods matched to Abu Garcia Revo S20 reels spooled with Berkley Nanofil 6lb and Berkley Sensei 4lb Leaders the boys set about working a range of structure down towards Lakes Entrance including jetties, boat hulls, shallow flats and timber snags. "We started our tournament fishing a handful of jetties and moored boats with a Berkley 3' Nemesis in camo lightly rigged on a 1/32 Nitro Jighead. After missing a couple of bites we had a good start picking up a solid 900g bream and a couple of barely legal fish and then pushed deeper in the system. As we began to work the shallow banks we changed lures from plastics to hard bodies, mainly the Berkley 3B puppydog. The approach was so we could slowly and accurately work the timber structure and as we did this we slowly but consistently filled our bag and began upgrading. Just before 12pm Mike landed a fish that was pushing a kilo and after this upgrade we decided that managing our fish for day 2 was probably more important than trying for more upgrades. Our bag was a fair bit lighter than we thought and we were 1.1kg behind the top 2 teams, leaving a huge amount of work to do on day 2" Brad said. A fair bit of work to do wasn't far from the truth as some great bags of bream were weighed in on Day 1 with the stand out being the Maria Lures Best Bag for the weekend which was a cracking 5/5 bream for 5.56kg weighed in by Team Humminbird's Shaun Clancy and Jarrod Healy who found a frantic bite at the mouth of the Tambo River with only 1 hour remaining on Day 1. With a few bags over 5kg and a number in the high 4kg range being weighed in on Day 1, Team Berkley's bag of 5/5 bream for 4.43kg had them sitting in 7th place and their honey hole would have to produce its best on Day 2 for them to have a chance. The JML Anglers Alliance Big Bream was smashed on day 1 when Team JML Anglers Alliance Daniel Kent and Phil Partington weighed in a cracking bream of 1.72kg which found the Eco-Gear CX40 irresistible.
Day 2 had many of the top teams scratching their heads at the start line not sure where to focus their Day 2 as they fell very short on Day 1. With heavy cloud cover and a slight breeze anglers hopes of the fish coming on the bite more freely today were high. For Team Berkley their initial thoughts were that the changing conditions would suit the rest of the field but not them. "We headed straight back to the jetties and moored boats from day 1 and once again worked the lightly weighted Berkley 3' Nemesis. Time passed extremely quickly in the morning and before we knew it, it was 8:30am and we only had 1 fish at 32cm in the well. I made a comment to dad that if we had this fish at the end of the day we would be in trouble, thinking that we would fall out of the top 10. With big fish on our minds we continued to comb the structure, bites came consistently and the next 4 fish were boated. Our 5 fish bag would have weighed a dismal 2.2kg and that first fish of the day was our biggest, things were not looking good. We made a move into a small bay which in the end, set up our victory. We boated 4 upgrades with each fish being between 900g and 1kg. But we still had that 32cm fish and I was pretty keen to upgrade him. After working a fallen tree over with a puppydog for no result I grabbed the 3' nemesis and worked through the branches, this change in technique worked and I hooked a solid fish that I thought was every bit of a kilo, I had wrestled him into open water only to have the hook fall out just metres from the boat. Time was running out but as luck would have it, a quick stop just before it was time to leave produced the last upgrade that we were looking for. Feeling as though we had another solid bag we left hoping to make the top 5" Brad said.
The final days weigh in was a huge roller coaster with some of the top 5 teams falling short in finding the fish on Day 2 and slipping down the leader board which then opened the door for a few lower placed teams to charge home. As Brad approached the scales and heard about those teams above him falling short the nerves started to build as the main team now in his way was Team the Blue Lip Battlers who were sitting 6th overnight, but had produced a great Day 2 bag of 5/5 bream for 4.44kg giving them the lead. As Team Berkley's bag hit the scales they shot up past 4kg then 4.5kg then settled on 4.68kg and a quick calculation saw them steal victory by 210 grams and be crowned the 2015 Atomic Bream Classic Champions.
In 4 weeks times the 2016 Atomic Bream Classic Series with kick off with Rnd 1 at Marlo for the Maria Lures Sunline Bream Classic. For all the details visit www.vicbreamclassics.com.au or call Tournament Director Bill Hartshorne on Mobile: 0409 823 070