Atomic Prong wins First Comp for Connor Duffy

“It was no ABT but hey, we all started somewhere”

You could say the release of my “Sight Casting Big Bream on Atomic Hardz Bream Shads” video has sparked my addiction to competition style fishing. After receiving praise from anglers and a local Sport Fishing Club (the hosts of the Corio Bay Classic), I was soon branded as a fanatical Bream angler. This drove me to fish better than I ever have before, dedicate all of my time and effort into one small fish and push the boundaries of what’s known as the dark art, Bream lure fishing. Hours upon hours were spent on the water studying the movement of the fish at different tidal periods, lure colour and profiles, treble designs, the effect of UV, retrieves, the list was endless. But the behaviour of the schooled fish in the chilled winter water and the irrepressible weather conditions proved to be our biggest contender.

The 28th of June came, with it the overwhelming pressure of my first Bream Tournament and the expectation from other anglers to do well. The weather and tidal situation couldn’t have been further from what we desired with a high tide just before kick-off and low water predicted for when we were due back. A predicted easterly of up to 50km/h was expected throughout the day, virtually ruling out all open water options until the tide dropped out……that doesn’t mean we didn’t try it. We arrived an hour before kick-off at of 6:00am to beat the rush of putting in. We were soon joined by other anglers itching to get out on the water as the welcome warmth of the sun just began to peak up over the horizon.

Soon enough we were on the water and the untamed winds began to reveal their fierce power in the easterly orientated stretches of the creek. The plan was to fish a shallow rocky outcrop in the centre of the bay and put up with the wind long enough to get a few early confidence boosters. With metre swells submerging the Motor Guide Xi5 and a few fishless casts, I broke my previously established rule, stick to the plan and stick to what I know. We made the ‘life or death’ decision to move into a small sheltered creek on the northern side of the bay, a system I had never ventured into before this day. Armed with the Atomic 3” Prongs rigged weedless on a 2/0 Gamakatsu G-Lock and a #10 Single Lure hook as a trailer, Pikey Bream were on our target list. Tough was an understatement, but we boated our first legal fish within the first hour on the tide change (tidal change is delayed the further you venture up the creeks). A chunky, 28.5cm pikey was taken on the trailer hook of a Prong in Red Pumpkin colour sunk deep into the ‘pressure’ side of some gnarly timber structure.

Timber ridden banks caused the fish to be few and far between with the second fish coming in just over half an hour later. Utilising a weedless presentation and skip casts between branches of fallen timber found the weak point of our second legal Pikey Bream. A violent surface eruption saw the lightly weighted Atomic Prong completely engulfed by the 29cm specimen, the confidence was on the rise at this stage.

Before long, the tide was rapidly dropping so we decided to brave the swells and make a move to the mouth of the bay while the tide was still high enough to skim over the many troublesome sand bars. The plan was find our third bream to make our bag (combined length of three bream) with the possibility of a few larger Silver Bream on the flats closer to the mouth. Like the two Pikey’s, the third, a Silver (yellow fin) Bream, fell to the irresistible Atomic Prong slow rolled around the pressure side of a large rock situated on an oyster gravel bed. Yet again, not the 40+ model we were after but on a day as tough as what it was, we knew if you got your three then you were doing pretty well. All stress and pressure was finally relieved knowing we were now on the board, an awesome feeling.

The final few hours were spent searching for a few upgrades in the deeper water on the Atomic Metals, Vibes and heavily weighted Prongs. Unfortunately only similar size specimens were found to be willing to feed and our 89.5cm bag was the end of our breaming success. With the old man due to work an afternoon shift we unfortunately had to make our way back to the ramp earlier than most of the other crews.

Due to our sparrow’s departure, we never got a chance to meet the sociable faces of the other crews before the event. Slowly but surely, the relatively small area began flooding with anglers as the final boats arrived to register their quarry. As a respectable gauge of the difficulty in the conditions, not one other angler boated three Bream on lures for the day. As you may have gathered by now, I took out first place for the Adult Bream Lure category, an awesome result from a difficult day.

Coming out of the event, it was clear that the subtle yet sufficient action of the Atomic 3” Prong was the undoing behind our three largest bream. Without the aid of the Gamakatsu #10 Single Lure hook rigged as a stinger, an incomplete bag of only two bream would have been boated. By using anything between weightless and a ‘00’ size ball sinker in the loop knot, the weight of the bait could be sufficiently matched to the water depth and current flow. By fishing a light weight, the Prong could be cast several metres up current of a chosen snag and allowed to subtly sink to the strike zone by the time it reached the timber. This technique proved to be effective on a large array of timber dwelling species in the 1-3m water column and can be manipulated to apply to a variety of water depths, structure and species.