The only true national kayak fishing series in Australia, the Hobie Kayak Bream Series presented by Daiwa, ended with an amazing final day to the Series 8 Australian Championship on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
Exceptional weather greeted the 53 qualified anglers from across the country, two from China, as they gathered at the Broadwater Parklands event site around 5:30am for breakfast and the 6am registration.
During the briefing, tournament director Steve Fields announced that the bag limit for the final day of competition would be increased to five fish, as opposed to four for the day before, and the minimum length would be reduced to the state legal size of 25cm, a drop of 1cm from the previous day.
At the conclusion of the briefing, a short presentation ceremony took place to award Glenn Allen from NSW, the angler who caught the biggest bream on day one, a $250 prize. The Angler’s Choice Award, chosen by their fellow anglers, was presented to duel winners Neil Carstairs from Victoria and 2016 Angler of the Year Carl Dubois from NSW. A draw was held for all anglers who were unable to catch a bream on day one, and the $100 Donut Dough prize went to Jonathan Chen from the Australian Capital Territory
All fired up and eager to get amongst the fish, the competitors hit the Power-Pole starting line at 7am in absolutely perfect conditions. Many travelled to their successful locations from day one and others sought out new ground in the hope of better luck.
Richard Somerton from Victoria, who was leading the tournament after day one, led the charge north, heading 12km to Sovereign Island under the Sovereign Mile Bridge at Paradise Point, stopping to fish in a few locations along the way. On day one, he noticed some shags in amongst a patch of mangroves. He tested the location out and caught quite a few small fish.
When he passed by on day two, he worked the area once again and picked up two good fish – one weighing in at 500g and an excellent 720g kicker. He spent around a half an hour with his line in the water along the way to his planned final destination.
Beyond the Sovereign Bridge Somerton, he hit another small patch of mangroves. He threw a few casts, moving slowly along its edges without a hit, and then pedalled his Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 kayak into the canal systems he had been aiming for.
He sight fished along the edges of the pontoons and boat hulls, and then got in between the pontoons to pitch short casts – one or two kayak lengths at the structure. He let it sink before a short retrieve. After a few flicks with no luck, he’d withdraw using the reversible MirageDrive 180 to back his way out of the section.
At one point, he spotted a relative monster (for these waters), which he estimated to weigh-in around 1.2kg, chewing on the rock wall a few metres in front of his kayak. Somerton enticed it to the lure and the fish rushed his presentation, but unfortunately snubbed it at the last moment. Despite missing this double-sized kicker, he filled his bag around 11am and was able to work on upgrades for the rest of the session.
On day two, his five fish made a 2.54kg bag, on top of his four for 2.17kg on day one. This won the brilliant Victorian angler the Australian Championship for 2016, adding to his impressive list of achievements including the 2013 World Championship.
Somerton had never fished the area before, but did his research to formulate the championship winning plan of attack.
“I looked at Google Maps and I thought the flats would be a bit busy on the weekend, so I planned to stick with the canals. On day one, I mainly fished the canals at the end of Sovereign Island where I got my bag and then upgraded my bag a couple of times on the way home. It worked for me, so I stuck with the strategy and did the same again today, and it paid off.”
Down south, the other main contenders were Kris Hickson from Port Macquarie NSW who scored second place just 20g short of Somerton, and Glenn Allen from the NSW Central Coast in third place. They worked different areas of the same Marina and were both looking good with two fish by 7:30am.
The short hop to the marina gave them a lot more fishing time than Somerton, and while there were plenty of bream to keep them in the same vicinity for most of the day, by-catches were a consistent pest. Despite that, and the presence of many small bream that hit lures faster than larger fish, each bagged out quite early. Although they both considered their bags small, they were sitting in comfortable positions. Nothing was certain until the fish hit the scales at the weigh-in.
Hickson wasn’t at all confident with his bag and thought he hadn’t had a great day at all. He felt he’d lost too many good fish to make an impact. His senses turned out to be accurate when his day two bag of 2.06kg fell short of Somerton’s, but it was big enough to maintain his second position.
“When it’s your time it’s your time, and it wasn’t for me. This weekend it was definitely Richard’s time. I had a ball. Once I found out the Marinas were open, I just thought I’ll go for broke. You’ll either win it or lose it and I nearly won it.”
Hickson fished with a Daiwa Interline rod and Silver Wolf 2000 reel, 10lb Daiwa Evo 8 braid and 4lb Gamma FC leader. His lures of choice were the Ecogear Aqua and 2.5” ZMan Grub.
While Glenn Allen bagged out at 1.52kg, Queenslander Stephen Maas screamed up the leaderboard, from his 15th position on day one, to snatch third place from Allen with his 2.64kg bag that he had built up throughout the day. He caught an incredible 50 fish to make the Australian Championship record books.
This year was the eighth Hobie Fishing Series since its inception back in 2009, and it will go into its ninth season next year, even stronger. The program for next year is yet to be released, but Getaway Outdoors executive Matt Williams flew across the country to the Australian Championship site on the Gold Coast to announce that the Hobie Bream Series 9 Australian Championship will be held in Western Australia.
Thanks to all of the anglers who competed in the series this year. Like all of the events in the Hobie Bream Series, the Australian Championship would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors – Daiwa, Berkley, Atomic, Lowrance, Rhino-Rack, Strike Pro, Austackle, TT Lures, Yamatoyo, Ecogear, Power-Pole, Mortgage Corp, Hog’s Breath Cafe and ABT.
Special thanks to Mal, Trish and the crew from Sunstate Hobie, with assistance from Totally Immersed Watersport, for providing dealer support. Also thanks to ABT, and everyone else who helped out over the course of the event.
– Hobie Kayak Bream Series
|Rod||Duffrods 1-4kg HySTIX|
|Line||8lb Daiwa Evo 8 braid|
The new Hobie Bream Series Champion, Richard Somerton with his award.
Anglers came from all over Australia, and even China, to attend the final day of the Bream Series.
Kris Hickson scored second place, just 20g short of Somerton.
Kris Hickson in action.
This year’s Bream Series was finished at the Gold Coast – looks like fun!
All fired up and eager to get amongst the fish, the competitors hit the starting line at 7am in absolutely perfect conditions.Reads: 423