Shoalhaven River R1 Round Up.

The Shoalhaven River has a reputation for being a tough venue and that proved to be true for the first round of the Hobie Polarized Southern Bream Series held there on Sunday 29th January. 57 boats and 26 kayaks started out and 37 of these frustratingly returned a donut.

The winning boat team, Flickn4Five – Mark Thompson and Zac Stojanovski however, managed to unlock the river bringing home a commendable 4.35kg bag.

Here’s Marks wrap up of the day.

“The Shoalhaven always worries me when it comes to bream comps, in pre fish it’s seems like any other system but on comp day, it can bring tears to your eyes. But not this time, we worked out our plan in the car on the drive down and stuck to it this time and it paid off. Tides were the critical factor as it runs hard here but also determines what area to fish and how to attack it. We planned to hit the front early and work the incoming tide using light jig heads and plastics over the shallows of the reef but it was already running so we went deeper and heavier, matching the speed of the current with different ig head weights and picked up 2 good bream. We caught a few reddies and a stinky pike, and once I caught that, I never got another bite on that rod and put it away.

The current got too strong so we hit the rock walls above Broughton Creek with only and few hits but no hook ups, this time using surface and hard bodies, mainly Jackall minnows and after an hour or so, we went back to the front for the turn of the tide. We stopped briefly at some racks, but saw no action and moved on.

This time we only fished deep again, matching jig head weights to the current, 1/12th, 1/8, and 1/6 doing the damage on 4lb and 6lb leader. We did get busted off by at least 5 good fish but heavier leader produces a big belly in the line and in this current, just doesn’t work. As the tide change happened, so did the short window of opportunity and we boated around 15 fish in approx. 45 mins to an hour then the bite shutdown. Constant upgrades and fighting the Southerly and waves from boats coming in was a bit bumpy but well worth it. We both fish similar gear and style using 13 fishing Envy Light 6’10” and Sunline 6lb PE, Sunline leader 4lb or 6lb, Shimano Stella and Sustains in 1000 size to some peoples horror that they are too small.

We always fish hard but we always have fun, joke around, sing loudly to the radio, put shit on each other and enjoy the day, I think it would be too hard with a partner that was just 100% serious all the time.

One tip would be don’t run your aerators and pumps all day with the radio if you’re not starting the main motor a lot! You’ll find you have a choice, turn off your pumps and risk the fish dying or start paddling. Once the motor had a run, the battery was back to charge and all was good.

We are looking forward to Sydney Harbour, another huge and challenging waterway, but we’ll make it fun.

Thanks to all the SBS crew, yourself Lynne as I said, you have a big few months ahead of you, and of course Crommo for being so shy on the microphone.

In summary, 2”gulp shrimps, Z man 2.5” grubs and matched to Z man and Berkley Jig Heads from 1/12 to 1/6, matching the speed of the current.“

Mark and Zac limped back to weigh in early, losing any chance to upgrade further.

Kayak fisher Sam Blundell started off his Tournament fishing career on a high coming in first with a totally bag weight of 1.31 kg and also tied with team Father and Son, John and Isaac Galea in the big bream prize with a 0.97 kg bream.

“In the lead up I was super nervous yet I believe all preparation I could have done I managed to squeeze in, as this was my first tournament round of my career I wasn’t expecting a result, in all honesty to just weigh fish was going to be enough for me, boy was I stoked!

I was fortunate enough to be able to head down late Friday night and sneak in a pre fish Saturday before the event having not fished the area before I felt as though this would play a vital key in anyone’s books, novice-pro. My morning started off by scouting both locations of racks, the ones tothe north east fished poorly in all respects of attack ( surface, deep/shallow cranks, plastics ect ) so I quickly cancelled this out of my list of places to hit come comp day. Around mid day Saturday I had re located to the lease system east of the greenwell point launch and almost immediately surface lures produced for me, I had two legal bream within 10 minutes of eachother in the livewell. Unfortunately I couldn’t produce a full 3:3 bag as the wind came up terribly from the NE and I headed in to prepare for the next morning, game time.

After a quick prestart chat in the morning from the wonderful organisers, the boats headed off at pace and left us fleet of kayaks to make our slow but sure way to our predetermined destinations, I knew exactly where I was heading from the get go and powered there first off as the conditions had made themselves prime for an early surface bite over the racks on the incoming tide along with the edges nearby. Within half an hour I had my first fish coming from an outcrop edge muscled out on a sammy65 surface lure and 6lb leader and landed himself in the livewell at a welcome 30cm. The combo I was fishing was a shimano Maikuro 2-4kg spin blank paired with a sustain 2500 5lb braid, my go to lure setup.

It was slow going for the next few hours, cast after cast on the surface as the conditions held out all day to my surprise, a few followers that couldn’t be teased to eat (most likely small undersize fish )

My luck turned around 11:00am on the top of the tide when suddenly the same Sammy65 was engulfed by my next fish who ran me through racks, under the kayak and down to the weed bed but was landed after a nervous fight on 6lb leader again, netted and in the live well at a very welcome 40cmtip, my PB to date, I was over the moon. Now it was game on to finish my bag but unfortunately cast after cast until ten minutes before the return time I was unable to land another fish, I was happy with my weights but unsure of how others had gone, i knew it was a tough day, I was in for a chance.

I held my position as each kayaker weighed their bag, I missed a couple of bags and so I was unsure how I had done, to my surprise and gratefulness I was called as first place! This was after tying with another young boater for the Big Bream category with my fish going 0.970g. What a way to open my tournament account, I couldn’t be happier!

I would like to thank the running committee of the southern bream series for holding an awesome event, it was professionally run smoothly and was an incredibly fun event, I was lucky enough to meet a few awesome people and felt very welcome and comfortable as the rookie/newbie. I would in a heartbeat, recommend anyone with a desire to compete to come and have a go at any SBS round this year as you will not be disappointed!

A massive thankyou goes out to the sponsors of the event, in my opinion it wouldn’t be possible to run such events without these amazing contributors throwing such awesome prizes at a bunch of fishos!

So thanks again for everything everyone has already done and can’t wait for the next round and what is in store for the rest of the year! “

An amazing effort from Sam and we hope to see his face at many more SBS competitions. Round 2 is in Sydney Harbour on March 5th visit for further information.

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