The 5th and final round of the 2014 Vic Bream Classics was held at Warnambool on the Hopkins River over the weekend. Such a small system can make fishing with 50 teams quite interesting and is a system known for its tough conditions and shy fish. This weekend was no exception.
Pre-fish day gave us beautiful sunny weather and a chance to check out the system to try find where the fish were and what they might be feeding on.
Pre-fish didn’t go too good for us, using Jackall Chubbies and lightly weighted Zman 2.5″ grubs we managed to find a few fish on some shallow banks and rock walls, but none of them were legal size and they were few and far between. We located a huge schools of bream in the deeper holes of the river but no matter what we threw at them, we and plenty of other teams couldn’t get them to bite. Looks like we would be concentrating on the edges. This gave us something to go on for comp day but not an ideal position to be in.
Day 1 was cooler, overcast and windy, much better conditions for the bream to feel more comfortable feeding. We went straight to a rock wall where we had some luck on pre-fish and methodically made our way along, fishing slowly and accurately trying to entice the shutdown fish to bite. We tried all the likely looking spots and changed lures about 20 times but still no luck. We had a few short takes on z-man grubs that didn’t hook up so we downsized everything but still no luck. Team Loft slotted in behind us on a particular rock wall and we saw them pull 2 good fish off where we had just fished! We knew then that we really had to change up and try figure out what lures or technique would work. We went through a lot of lures and colours on day 1, and towards the end of the day Rob managed to catch a undersize fish on a Cranka Crab, maybe this was the key? Day 1 ended with us quite disappointed as we had seen some people catch some good bream and knew we were well behind majority of teams.
Day 2 came around and we were starting in 45th position. We only had that one fish caught on day one to go with, so we did. We both fished Cranka Crabs super slow along a particular rockwall and within an hour Rob had our first legal in the boat, luckily for us the bream had picked the crab up off a rock which Rob was snagged on! This gave us a huge amount of confidence to stick with the crabs even though it was slow going. We continued to slowly fish the rock wall for the next few hours and managed to catch our 5 fish. None were monsters but a good start for such tough conditions and a much better position after day 1.
We managed a few other smaller fish and decided a move was in order to try chase some bigger fish. A hard thing to do in such a small system at the end of day 2 as you know nearly 100% of the system has been already fished. Unfortunately we didn’t end up finding any more fish but had to be happy with the huge turn around form day 1 and we ended up one of only 8 teams to get their full bag on Sunday.
We ended up coming 18th out of 50 teams, and a huge day 2 jump from 45 to 18th, these situations always leave you saying “if only we had of caught some fish day 1”, but it was not to be and we learned a huge amount from this round at the Hoppies.
Congratulations to Team Loft’s Paul Holmes and Greg Rooke for smashing out first place with some great fish and huge 5.26kg bag on Day 1, A well deserved win in what we found as tough conditions.
Thanks to Bill at Vic Bream Classics for running another great round and to all our fellow competitors for a great weekend.