Round 3 of the VIC Bream Classic was held down at the beautiful Gippsland lakes this year. This round ended up having a format we had never seen before due to the impending high winds and bad weather.
The venue of Gippsland Lakes is a huge area and has the potential for boats to travel up to 50km on the water for anglers to fish their chosen destination. With Big lakes to cross to get to almost any of the major rivers and sections of the Gippsland lakes, bad weather can have a huge impact on how rough and unsafe the waters can be. What might be a nice calm lake in the morning when setting out can be a rough white capped ocean when trying to make your way back to the starting point at Metung.
So with the bad weather imminent, Bill from Vic Bream with good reason decided to change the format to only fishing the 3 main rivers, the Tambo, Nicholson and Mitchell, all within 30 min drive from one another. With the kicker being you have to pick your river to fish for the 2 days of the comp without being able to change your mind or river.
Pre-fish day was great weather and allowed us to check out all 3 rivers to decide which one we wanted to fish for the comp. We found smaller schooled fish in both the Tambo and Nicholson, and were hoping to find some bigger fish up on the edges, as this is our preferred way to fish, but this was not to be. We headed over to the Mitchell to have a look and started seeing some fish up tight on the edges, they were only small but was a start and better than what we have seen elsewhere. Rob managed to get one legal bream off a nice snag further up river and that sealed our decision of staying in the Mitchell for the next few days.
We were obviously not the only ones who had scouted the rivers and had seen that the Mitchell had some potential, as half the field of 54 boats decided to also choose the Mitchell as their river of choice.
Day 1 started and saw us fishing near the cut, fishing edges and flats with lightly weighted soft plastics, we found a few undersize fish which were not what we really wanted so kept moving down the system to where we had seen some fish during prefish. Here we managed to pick up our first legal fish on a Gladiator shiver vibe cast tight up next to a snag on the flats.
We plugged away for another hour without any size fish and decided we needed to change tactics. We started to target and sound up some deeper sections of river in the 2-3m mark and almost instantly saw some good fish on the sounder. A few drifts over that area for the next hour saw us get our next 4 fish and one upgrade, all caught on 2.5” zman grubs on 1/8th jigheads covered with bloodworm Sax Scent.
With an hour to go, we headed to another section of river with similar characteristics. We immediately saw some good fish on the sounder, held into the current with the minn kota, and targeted that particular spot. In 3 casts we had 2 good fish both of which were our next 2 upgrades. We were running out of time so headed back to the ramp in time to get out and get back to weigh the fish in at Metung, with our 5 fish for day one giving us 3.80kg and 8th position.
Day 2 the weather turned really bad, windy as all hell and we knew it was going to make casting and drifting a lot harder, oh for a powerpole on the Hornet trophy!!
We went straight down to the flat where we had some good luck on day 1, and picked up 2 small but legal fish in the first 30 mins, after that the fish seemed to shutdown and we couldn’t find any on the sounder either. The next 4 hours saw us search around and fish edges and cast lures at some deeper schooled up fish which all ended up too small, we again made the decision to change tactics and location.
We moved up river, above the ramp for the first time in the comp and immediately came across some schooled fish in about 3 m of water looking bigger on the sounder than others we had seen elsewhere. It didn’t take long and we had a small but legal fish in the boat and we were up to 3. The next 30 mins saw us follow this school around picking up our bag of 5 and one small upgrade, which was a relief. Time was then up and we headed back to Metung for weigh in knowing we had a small but complete bag, hoping it was enough to keep us in the top 10. Again all fish were caught on 2.5” zman grubs fished on 1/8th jigheads smeared with Bloodworm Sax Scent. We ended up with 5 fish for 2.56kg, which gave us an overall position of 9th for the Competiton.
We were pretty happy with the result considering Rob had never fished the Mitchell and I had only fished there once before. Working out what certain rivers and fish do at certain times of the year can be tough and a huge learning curve, and drawing on previous experiences can be a huge help in these comp situations.
Congrats to Dan Mackerel and Steve Parker for a great win and huge 6.02kg day 2 bag of bream, was great to see a day 2 bag like that.
Nelson for round 4 in 6 weeks time, another beautiful fishery for us to test our skills fishing for Black Bream.