The Clyde River round of the Southern Bream Series is traditionally a tough tournament, and Sundays event was no exception. A massive tide littered the system with flotsam debris dislodging from the banks, providing additional on water hazards alongside some heavy waterway traffic. While this in turn left some angling hotspots high or dry the overcast conditions still provided entrants a great day prospecting the rivers flats, racks and rocky edges in search of the elusive Bream quarry.
There are many ways to fool a Bream, slow rolling lures, vertical vibe presentations, top water surface offerings and pitching soft plastics to name a few. Venues like the Clyde River offer all the above angling applications and a lot more but with the systems strong tidal flow the timing of a technique is imperative. Windows of opportunity develop when the tide is running but quickly dissipate on turn of the slack, add to that a monster tide height and the arena is thrown wide open.
The term ‘One trick pony’ in short means someone or something that is skilled in only one area. This may sound like a harsh assessment of our teams performance but every spot we managed to locate fish all fired at the same time. It wasn’t our angling skills or tournament preparation that let us down, our previous tournaments and a successful prefish dictated that results were available. The Clyde River simply threw us a curve ball, and relying on prefishing results can be a tricky affair.
During our prefish we discovered some new areas holding good numbers of fish. Squeezing our boat behind floating racks Bream were head down, bum up flashing on the rocks. This was a sight casting affair, throwing hardbodys right up against the shore and employing a slow roll/high stick approach. As the fish were sighted in large numbers we left the area promising to return in similar tidal conditions to stake a claim on a narrow stretch of bank purpose built for our team strengths.
Prospecting other potential areas during prefish uncovered plenty of rocky edge bites with little commitment from the Bream. Following lures tentatively they would span fins and pause at any opportunity of an easy meal. Various scent applications and fine treble changes provided proof that until the tide drained many of these fish were simply being territorial and their attitudes went going to change. Furthermore, one particular spot highlighted this mannerism with plenty of defensive enquiries including bumps, pull backs, swipes and general pack intimidation.
Our teams ace in the hole was a spot 30km upstream from the main bridge, a draining creek featuring the remnants of a rocky, manmade fish trap. This area wasn’t prefished as we were quietly confident it could provide ample opportunity as the tide started to run. With this in mind the results of our prefish efforts had uncovered a few timing problems subject to the following days tide delay. However, what we did uncover during actual tournament hours was that areas we overlooked during prefish also held quality fish and a day’s wandering antics proved the key.
During the initial hours of the tournament rather than focus on an particular area with an unfavourable tidal flow we explored further afield. Looking for similar draining and filling traits around the entrance to the creeks we discovered shoal like piles providing some deviation in current. These areas simply screamed fish, couple that with some rack relics from days gone by and all of a sudden we had our first fish early. Beau Inkpen came up tight on a Bream that buried him deep in a hole, hooked solidly on a his ‘Old faithfull’ Austackle Sakana XD40 in Bondi Brown. Some bouts of panic ensued, got to love an angler who is more worried about losing his favourite lure than a tournament Bream!
As the day ground on we achieved numerous follows akin to the previous day’s results, a LOT of follows and a lull period at slack tide. Rotating lure colours and patterns failed to raise a scale but Beau’s lures larger profile was providing some promising results. Time and time again I swear black and blue the profile of the Sakana’s bib is too large for the bite conditions dictated by our south coast estuaries. Once again he proved me wrong, landing our only tournament Bream, followed in quick succession by a few undersized specimens and the unfortunate loss of what would of been our second legal.
After looking at the clock we fired up with anticipation and flew upstream to our honey hole, only to find we were far too early due to the tidal delay. Normally, given the indicated time of high it would have turned and began to expose its cover. Instead we found slow swirling froth and our tanin stained structure well below the waterline devoid of life. While the plan was simplistic in approach it had a simple flaw, failure to once again take into account the additional tidal height. When the tide begins to push out all manner of techniques seem to work here, but try as we might we just couldn’t get a touch. Sizing back our profiles to 40mm Austackle Rangers we redirected our focus and hastily revisited our ‘Blaze of glory’ floating rack approach.
Making our way into position I quickly noticed while the tide height was correct we were still too early for an applicable run out. With an hour to go we could only hope to hedge our bets and encounter a couple of hungry specimens hiding in the silty runoff. We both had a couple of chances to change our bag, or perhaps I should say Beau did. The boy could do no wrong and was really unlucky to drop a legal with 30 minutes to go (Coming back for a second attempt). Even though we were both using the same lure, the same colour, the difference in our approach was Beau’s ‘never say die’ attitude. While I was cursing missed opportunities he was still enjoying the days fishing.
Back at the weigh in I was a little surprised many of our SBS peers had struggled. As a team we both drew solace from this fact with Beau weighing in proudly. Our one fish bag was enough to secure us 28th place, placing midfield in a pool of talented anglers and securing our first series points. After missing the first two rounds It was good to get on the 2015 board and catch up with some old and new friends alike. As cruel as the Clyde can be I will always return full of optimism, perhaps its years of social fishing payback for skipping over the system in favour of a return on the days investment?
A big thanks to Mike Cole and Tracey Mammen from Austackle for their ongoing team and tournament support. The Basinlureandfly Southern Bream Series is one of the friendliest sports fishing tournaments Australia wide, catering to both the novice and advanced anglers. If you are thinking of taking the tournament plunge I urge you to attend an SBS weigh in and have a chat to the committee. While my word is bond its probably best to stay out of my way come the shotgun start though, some of these boats are so fast I find myself struggling to keep up (let alone navigate the water).
Boat, boat, wake, wake, WAKE, boat, Luke Kay, bird, bird strike, WAKE, wake, boat… Boat…
Full Round 3 results can be found here:
Derek ‘Paffoh’ Steele