The only true national kayak fishing series in Australia, the Hobie® Kayak Bream Series presented by Daiwa, culminated on Sunday 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, and two from China, as they gathered at the Broadwater Parklands event site around 5:30am for breakfast and the 6am registration.
During the 6:30am 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 New South Wales, 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 New South Wales. A draw was held for all anglers who were unable to catch a bream on day one, with the $100 “Donut Dough” prize going 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 a change of fortune.
SOMERTON’S SOVEREIGN SUCCESS
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 when he noticed some shags sitting 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 around 500g and an excellent 720g kicker. He probably only 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 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 got in behind, and in between the pontoons pitching short casts not much more than one or two kayak lengths at the structure letting it sink under 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 him to the lure, the fish rushed the presentation but unfortunately snubbed it at the last moment. Despite missing the kicker that was two and a half the times the size of the average fish in the system, he had filled his bag by around 11am and was able to work on upgrades for the rest of the session.
His day two 5 fish for 2.54kg bag, on top of his 4 for 2.17kg on day one, turned out to be enough to win 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 he did his research to formulate what turned out to be 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.”
- Rod:Duffrods 1–4kg HySTIX
- Reel: Daiwa Certate
- Line:8lb Daiwa Evo 8 braid
- Lure: Cranka Crab
Down south the other main contenders Kris Hickson from Port Macquarie in New South Wales (NSW), was sitting in second place just 20 grams short of Somerton and Glenn Allen from the NSW Central Coast in third place, were working different areas of the same Marina and both were 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, bi-catch was a consistent pest to their hopes of landing the target species of bream. Despite that, and the presence of a lot of smaller bream that were faster to the lure presentations than the larger fish, each bagged out quite early. Although they both considered their bags small they were sitting in comfortable positions and nothing was certain until the fish hit the scales at the weigh-in.
Hickson wasn’t at all confident with his bag and considered he hadn’t had a great day at all, he felt he had just lost too many good fish to make an impact. His senses turned out to be accurate with his day two bag of 2.06Kg falling short of Somerton’s, but 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 Marina’s were open I just thought I’ll go for broke, you’ll either win it or lose it and I nearly won it.”
- Rod: Daiwa Interline
- Reel: Daiwa Silver Wolf 2000 reel
- Line:10lb Daiwa Evo 8 braid
- Leader:4lb Gamma FC
- Lure: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 2.64 bag that he had built up throughout the day catching an incredible 50 fish to make the Australian Championship record books.
2016 was the eighth Hobie Fishing Series since its inception back in 2009, and it will go into its ninth season next year even stronger than the record breaking year just completed. 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 2017 Hobie Bream Series 9 Australian Championship will be held in Western Australia.
Thanks to all of the anglers for competing in the series though out the 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, TT Lures, Yamatoyo, Ecogear, Power-Pole, Hog’s Breath Café, Mortgage Corp 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, Fishing Monthly and everyone else who helped out over the course of the event.