2015 Gippsland Lakes ABT report

by  Dan Mackrell

pics courtesy of lureandfly.com

In early June I travelled to Metung in East Gippsland to compete in the ABT qualifier event.

Pre Fish: Normally when I fish this area the water is a good deal warmer and fish can be spread out throughout the whole Gippsland Lakes system, but with the onset of winter I spent all of my prefish time looking in the rivers as I figured the fish would be starting to school up in pre spawn mode. The first place I stopped at had lots of fish marking up in the deeper water but they seemed to have lock jaw and I couldn’t get them to bite. Moving closer to the edge and targeting the base of the snags with Bassday Kangoku Vibes I finally caught a bream and at over a kg it was certainly one that I would be happy to catch on the comp days. Replicating this method and also employing a 3″ motor oil grub on an atomic seekers 1/16oz jighead I caught a few more fish on the same sort of structure on different banks in the river. With every fish being 1kg or better I was confident I had cracked a pattern that would work over the coming 2 tournament days. I continued on and fished quite a few other areas, at Painesville I caught another solid fish from under a jetty and found plenty of smaller legal sized fish in the deep water of the  Tambo River happy to eat Atomic Metalz.

Day 1. I had Paul Siemazsko fishing with me as a non boater as we blasted off the start line to head to the first fishing spot. After a quick but very cold trip we arrived and deployed the electric motor to start fishing. Picking up 4 fish in the first couple of hours things were going pretty well, the size of the fish was down on the ones I had found on prefish day but I was confident that with time up my sleeve I would be able to find the fish I was looking for. Then things changed the area I was fishing had flowing water as time went on the flow picked up rapidly to a point where I was unable to present my lures suitably to the fish hiding deep in the snags, persisting thinking, wishing and hoping I could get some more bites I persisted. At 12:30 I left that area and went back to Metung confident I would be able to find a few fish around the jetties in the area, wrong again and at the end of day 1 I only had 4 fish to weigh in. Weighing in 4/2.33kgs I was sitting in 10th place. It seemed that the bite was really tough around the whole system so I was still sitting reasonably well amongst a quality field of anglers.

Day 2. Joining me for Day 2 was Tanya Consul, my plan was to repeat what I had done the day before and just like day 1 I quickly put 4 fish into the boat this time though when the flow picked up and it became unfishable I decided I would make a move and maximise my time in other areas I had caught fish to ensure I weighed a full bag of fish. Taking off I had some engine troubles and was unable to visit these other areas, instead limping back to Metung and spending the remainder of  my time there hoping again to find that final fish. Again, just like the day before I was unable to secure my 5th fish. Weighing 4/3.08kgs I had to wait and see how everyone else had faired on day 2. Again it seemed that Gippsland lakes had fished tough and my combined 2 day weight of 5.41kgs was enough to push me up into 4th place.

* The area I caught all of my fish over the tournament days is no place for the usual light bream gear so  I had to up the anti and use 2 Samurai 302 6-12lb rods 17lb Unitika light jigging braid with 10 & 17lb Unitika Aiger leaders. Drags were locked and as soon as a bream bit I had to strike hard and wind furiously to get the fish out of the snags.

All in all I had an enjoyable time on the water and I would like to thank my non boaters both Paul Siemazsko and Tanya Consul for being great company. I was absolutely stoked to see my good friend Declan Betts turn it on and fish his way to his maiden abt victory with a massive day 2 bag of 5.44kgs. Awesome stuff mate.


Tournament winner Declan Betts with 2 fish out of his 5.44kg day 2 bag. Declan used his Samurai 101 rods to softly lead the fish out of heavy structure and into the net.