Yunderup, Western Australia, Friday November 21, 2014 – The 2014 Hobie® Kayak Bream Series Grand Final presented by Daiwa got off to an excellent, start this morning as qualifying anglers pedaled off on the waters of the Murray and Serpentine River systems in mild conditions with moderate, gusty winds and overcast skies that cleared later in the session.
The tournament venue of South Yunderup is located approximately an hour’s drive south of the beautiful Western Australia capital city of Perth and is nestled on the Murray River with its estuary opening at a small island delta broken into three channels where it empties into Peel Inlet. The river flows through lightly urbanized and bush habitat with large snags and overhangs lining its banks, reeds grow in some reaches and small densely populated man made canals systems don other sections. With light tidal movement, bridges, wharfs, jetties and pontoons, sand flats, shallows and deep cut channels, the system has almost every option that a bream angler could want.
Today’s start of the Hobie Kayak Bream Series Grand Final was a first for WA, a new experience for most east coast anglers and a perfect location to culminate a year of the brilliant Hobie Fishing Series tournaments that were held across the country.
South Yunderup was hopping this morning as anglers from across Australia prepared for their first session on the tournament arena. The Lowrance Navigation Day provided the opportunity for competitors to closely check out the venue prior to Saturday and Sunday’s competition and for locals to have a look at the spectacle that was taking place in their hometown.
Hobie Cat Australasia have supplied and kitted out 55 brand new 2105 model Hobie Pro Angler 12 kayaks, which were recently released in Australia, and were seen for the first time in a tournament on Australian waters today. Grand final qualifiers were buzzing when they arrived at the beautifully prepared Daiwa Event Site and feasted their eyes on the brand new kayaks they would be using in the tournament as well as the razzamatazz that surrounds such a prestigious event.
Competitors picked up their key tags, official tournament jerseys and signed on for the day before heading to the Pro Angler 12 that was assigned to them.
At 10am the excited anglers headed off to explore the waterway, each in a boat that was stickered up with sponsor decals. The yellow, dune and olive kayaks were a sight to see as they congregated together on the Atomic Launch Site beach and headed out onto the water to get the Lowrance Navigation Day underway.
No fishing tackle was allowed onboard the kayaks in this session. Anglers were only permitted to make visual observations and to gather information by using the Lowrance Elite-5 CHIRP sounders that were mounted on the H-rail of the Hobie kayaks. They surveyed the topography of the riverbed and canals, located and identified underwater structure, vegetation, food sources and fish. They got a feel for distances, travelling times and water quality around the fishing arena as well as the effects of tide and wind.
Reigning 2013 Hobie Kayak Bream Series Grand Final champion, Darryl Head from Basin View in NSW, was glowing after today’s Lowrance Navigation Day.
“I’m the defending champion from Marlo last year. I flew over all the way from my home town in New South Wales to Western Australia yesterday and didn’t like the flight that much, I don’t like sitting down that long, but when I saw this venue, well it’s fantastic! Accommodation is right next the event site, two river systems that are awesome, heaps and heaps of snags. The river gods are really going to get their lures this weekend. The West Aussie guys, well it’s theirs to lose really. They fish this area all of the time. For us it’s going to be a real struggle to find the fish but for them they know where they are, if they don’t then they haven’t been doing their job properly. The Lowrance Navigation Day was a fantastic day out, I did a leisurely 20km today in the new Hobie Pro Angler 12. The Lowrance sounders are working very good, as usual, and the new CHIRP model is awesome stuff”.
Two time Hobie Kayak Bream Series champion Daniel Brown from Taree in NSW had this to say about the navigation session, his first time on the Murray-Serpentine River System.
“It’s the first time I’ve been to Western Australia and the first time I’ve seen the area. I was quite surprised because when I was looking at it on Google Earth I thought it was a bit longer to the mouth and up river compared to what it really is, so that is a good thing. There is plenty of structure, which is really good too and I like the colour of the water. The arena is looking really good, a bit of wind, the right tide. I’ve heard that this is one of the biggest tides that they get here all year so they have more movement than any time, so hopefully that will bring the fish on and turn them on for a bite. Today was a day to just have a bit of a prospect around, I saw a few fish and I’ve got a plan for tomorrow”.
Four time grand finalist and the 2014 Western Australia state champion Shane Owens from Perth offered these thoughts about the arena and his interstate rivals.
“I’ve come down here to compete against the best of the best in Australia. It’s an absolutely fantastic opportunity to compete against these guys in my own backyard. We’ve had to travel over east in previous years and to compete against them over here this year is a great opportunity. The area holds some very good fish and this is the best time of year to fish here. There’s plenty of structure, there’s snags, jetties, even flats, boatsheds, there’s a whole variety of structure for anyone to use different styles, there’s something for everyone. I hope to go alright it is one of my local waterways but everyday is different”.
The inaugural Hobie grand final winner Scott Lovig from Mornington in Victoria, was enthusiastic about his prospects in the tournament after today’s session on the water.
“Ding, Ding, Ding you’re talking to the King! I’ve been out on the water and it looks fantastic. There are all sorts of structure up and down the river, the backyards have all got boats tied up out the back with pontoons and pylons. There are rockwalls everywhere it looks like bream paradise actually. Being over here in Perth is fantastic, the weather is always great here and this venue is the bomb. We’ve got accommodation and meals right at the launch site, you couldn’t ask for a better set up. I’m here to catch some fish and there are 50 other blokes who have got the same idea. I think it’s anyone’s game”.
The word is that local East Fremantle angler John Sorrell is the dark horse to take out the 2014 title. He was so excited coming into today he was chomping at the bit. He was even more, edgy and excited after getting out on the water today.
“Today the first thing I did was to tune my sounder, it took me about an hour and a half, I tried every single setting and played with it till I saw everything I wanted to see. Then I went out to try and find fish. I covered as much ground as possible. I went probably about 15km, in and out, up and down. Eventually, I found a couple of good schools and a few solid single fish out on the banks so that was my plan today. Basically, I’ve fished this area for the last, well nearly four years, I love it, it’s one of my favourite areas. I’ve been pretty disappointed that I haven’t been able to fish it for the last four weeks because of the pre fish ban. I don’t know how much I’m going to sleep tonight because my mind is going to keep going over that first cast tomorrow. I just can’t wait to get out there”.
Tonight is one of reflection where competitors will assess all that they learned on the water today and they will formulate or modify the plan of attack that will see them through a tough, competitive day when the tournament kicks off at 7am tomorrow morning.
Today was a fantastic opportunity for interstate anglers to get a close look at the tournament venue and the fishing arena. Tomorrow it’s just, all action.
The Hobie Kayak Bream Series Grand Final could not have gone ahead without the great support of our tournament sponsors Daiwa, Lowrance, Berkley, Rhino-Rack, Atomic, Strike Pro, TT Lures, Ecogear, Austackle, Power-Pole, Yamatoyo and Hogs Breath Cafe.