Leaving Colac at 2:30am on Thursday headed to East Gippsland to fish the Mallacoota Vic Bream event we were hoping for a trouble free trip on the 700km trip across the state. We hadn’t even got 15 minutes out of town when one of the wheel bearings which had been replaced just last week failed and we were left in the dark on the side of the road to do the repairs. An hour or so later and with the aid of the trusty iPhone light we were on the move again. Certainly not the start to the trip we were looking for but thankfully that was the last of the issues we incurred for the rest of the trip. We arrived at Marlo just after lunch time and decided to give the boat a run, have a bit of a fish and make sure everything else was working as it should. Turned out to be a good move as the fishing was really good and Steve and I caught plenty of solid East Gippsland bream throughout the short session. The population of tailor in that system at the moment is crazy though and we got bitten off far too many times for our liking. Boat back on the trailer and a short drive later we were in Mallacoota ready to do the pre-fish the next day.
Pre Fish: We decided to start in the bottom lake and went to check out the Goodwin Sands area, upon arrival we noticed there wasn’t a lot of water on the flats themselves so started fishing around the edges of it. Marking plenty of bait, the bream weren’t far behind 10 casts later we had what would have been a small bag limit of bream, we kept fishing this area to see if there was any bigger fish about and soon had a kilo fish at the boat. Time to get out of there. Next spot we pulled up to was on the fair haven side of Goodwin sands the area we ended up fishing for the majority of the comp. Doing a couple of runs in depths varying from 2-4m of water we didn’t find a lot of fish but they were quality and we had what would have been a 5kg bag on comp day. Confident with fish spread through such a large area we would be able to get enough bites over the comp days we just relaxed and went fishing for the rest of the day. With a solid plan already in mind we checked out other areas throughout the system to see what else was on offer. We caught plenty of fish in other areas but didn’t get any more big bites adding weight to the plan to fish the Bottom lake the next day. Fishing light leaders all day our tackle boxes again took a beating from the local Tailor population.
Day 1. We took off in 15th place and went straight to the edge of Goodwin Sands hoping to fill a quick limit and get out of there. It looked like we had the place to ourselves or so we thought anyway, upon arrival the area was getting harassed by a pod of dolphins. We fished for 5-10 minutes without so much as a bite so lifted the electric motor and got out of there. We went to our big fish area from the day before and really didn’t move to far from here for the rest of the day. First fish in the well was a chunky 35cm fork length fish, 2 casts later a 37cm found its way to the net, shortly after that the hooks pulled out of a really solid fish just shy of the net, dam. Things went quiet for a little while and we worked our way back to where we started in a deeper little hole that dropped off from the main flat. This is obviously where the fish had retreated to and once we hit this mark again we quickly filled out our limit. With another 36cm chunk we really only needed to upgrade two 30cm fish to have a solid bag. It was only 8:30am so we had plenty of time. We just kept cruising around in that area trialing different runs looking for more holes and drop offs trying to key in to exactly what the fish were doing. We caught plenty of 28-30cm fish throughout the session but interestingly enough after a couple of hours we visited the deeper hole again no sooner had we got there we managed to upgrade our two smaller fish and replaced them with a 36 and 33cm fish. We didnt get anymore upgrades during the session but instead rested our key area which was probably only the size of 2 basketball courts. Steve who owns and runs Colac Tackle normally has a great laugh when the tailor population are in force and can always be heard saying whilst laughing how good they for the tackle industry when you get bitten of beside him. There was no laughing on this days as by the end of the session and as a result of some serious tackle loss we were both running very low on the Atomic Seekerz 1/11oz jigheads and grub style plastics that had been doing the damage for us. We had both lost count of the amount of times we had to re rig and re tie jigheads throughout the last couple of days. Thankfully we were able to re stock for day 2 thanks to good friends Declan, Corey, Damian and Adam for digging deep for us. Back at the weigh in we weighed 5/4.47kgs
Day 2. Taking off 2nd some 80 grams behind the leaders we were keen to get at it and put in another big day. Fishing started off ok, we had a limit before 8am, but not 1 of those fish did we want to be there at the end of the day. Had the bigger fish moved on? We decided that we would just persist in this area knowing that we hadn’t found bigger fish in many other places. Some time later after a couple of small upgrades we got a couple of 34cm fish, things were on the up and you could tell the fish where about to fire up. The bait and tailor pushed back into the deeper area and the larger bream must have cruised back in underneath for an easy meal. Another 35cm fish came aboard shortly after and we were up and about. The next 2 big bites didn’t stay connected and I pulled hooks on these fish just after the hook up. With big head shakes we know they were the big upgrades we were after. Things died off after this and we were left wondering what could have been. 12:00 arrived and so did the wind, working hard on the electric motor and fishing our key area into the breeze was difficult, I made a change and put on the 1/8oz Atomic seekerz head to ensure I spent maximum time in the strike zone and it paid off in the form of a bream just under 38cms. With the smallest fish in the well around 33cms we fished hard until the last minute trying for another kicker. Time was up and it was time to head back to the weigh in. Back at the scales our 5 fish weighed 4.24kgs giving us a total of 10/8.71kgs. Was it going to be enough. Nobody knew exactly what the day 1 leaders had weighed in so we were left in suspense to the very end. Were those 2 big dropped fish going to come back to haunt us? Fortunately luck was on our side and we were announced as the winners by a mere 30 grams. We were both extremely happy and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Steve wouldn’t be stirring me about losing those 2 bigger fish.
It was time to pack up as quickly as possible and hit the road to get home as we had been informed of possible road closures due to all of the burnoffs in the area. Just outside of Cann River we pulled over to assisst and check on Tony Curwen and Doug Evans who had the misfortune of running into a rather large Sambar Deer. We arrived home around 1:30am and got some sleep before work the next day.
Special thanks to Frogleys offshore for all of their support and the opportunity to use some amazing products, I used both the Samurai Reaction 181 and Majorcraft x ride rods on the weekend, 8lb Unitika Aorika II braid, 4lb Unitika fluorocarbon leader, Megabass lures, Atomic Seekerz, hardz, Metalz and Plazos the list goes on. There are just so many options. Thankyou also to my teammate Steve Parker, very easy going guy but a fierce competitor and with plenty of laughs it always makes for a good trip away. We have had a great start to the season going 1st, 4th, 1st in the first 3 rounds. Gippsland lakes in June is the next Vicbream event, looking forward to it.