Berkley Fireline Ultra 8 – Winner ‘Best Line” ICAST 2017

Fireline Ultra 8 delivers a line that is incredibly strong and abrasion resistant yet long casting and user friendly, resisting wind knots like never before. Optimised for spin reels Fireline Ultra 8 is ideal for all light to medium lure fishing applications.

The unique fusing process using heat to molecularly bind thousands of Dyneema fibres gives Fireline Ultra 8 more body than regular braids. The body and heft of Fireline Ultra 8 delivers unique handling properties and superb manageability. More tolerant of line twist than traditional soft braids, Fireline Ultra 8 performs exceptionally well on spinning reels meaning less loose loops and less wind knots on the water.
The 8 strand fusing process also gives Fireline Ultra 8 several significant advantages.
Fireline Ultra 8 is 4X more abrasion resistant than original Fireline, often regarded as the benchmark in toughness. Ultra 8 stands up to structure such as mangroves, barnacles, reef and wrecks. That means more fish in the boat.
Rounder and smoother, Fireline Ultra 8 casts 10% further than traditional Fireline expanding your fishing zone.
Fireline Ultra 8 retains superb knot strength and near zero stretch delivering a telegraphic feel for structure and strikes.
The unique fusing process produces a round profile that resists digging into the spool under heavy loads and never separates like many standard braids.

New Fireline Ultra 8 thermally fuses 8 braided strands to create a line that is 4X More Abrasion Resistant and casts 10% further than traditional Fireline while retaining that Fireline sensitivity and manageability.

RRP 150m $34.99
RRP 300m $67.99

Fireline Ultra 8 is available in Crystal, Flame Green and Blaze Orange colourations.
6, 8, 10, 14, 17, 20, 25 and 30lb breaking strains. 150m and 300m spools.

VicBream Classic Grand Final – Marlo


The VicBream Classic grand final was held   on the Snowy River at Marlo, a system that is quite new to the Victorian team series and one that I haven’t spent any time on outside of the 2 tournament held there.

The 2016 series has been a successful year for Team Berkley (Brad and Mike Hodges), we fished 4 out of 5 rounds and finished 3rd three times and came 2nd in Team of the year.

With a restricted 4 hour time limit for prefish we had plans to fish Lake Corringle however we were greeted with extremely strong winds which meant the shallow lake was almost unfishable and somewhat dangerous for a smallish boat like ours. We tried a handful of spots in and around the rivers without even a bite, with only 30 minutes of prefish remaining we heading down the mouth and managed 2 bites converting one of them into a small 29cm bream. Our plan was simply to say the least – fish down the front.


The simplicity of this plan meant we could just focus on catching the fish and not worry about where to go next or when to move. Things started slowly but as the tide dropped the fish became easier to target. We were throwing Berkley 3B puppydog in the 12 gauge colour at the drop offs and shallow flats, although the fishing was slow we started to land the odd fish and eventually compiled a 3kg bag. At the weigh in our 3.11kg looked to be about 1.5kg off the pace, that was until the incredible bag from Team Sad –Shane Barling and Dean Gamble hit and almost broke the scales weighing a massive 6.97kg.


The weather conditions improved greatly on day 2 and this helped us hone in on the fish and present our lures with more finesse. We were getting more quality bites than the day before and with each upgrade we were heading towards a 5kg bag. Once again it was the 3B puppydog in 12 gauge that was producing the goods, my favourite rod and reel combination of Abu Garcia Salty Stage Light Casting 1-3kg rod and Abu Garcia Revo MGX20 provided the perfect match to make long casts and to impart an enticing action through flicks, twitches and pauses. As the tide bottomed out we struggled to find that really big kicker fish that would have given us the slightest chance to challenge the lead. As it turned out the fish all over the system were biting more freely than the day before and numerous 4kg + bags were bought to the weigh in. We weighed the heaviest bag for day 2 at 5.40kg and climbed 9 spots to finish in 4th. It was great to see Team Sad bring back 5 fish and take the victory.

The VicBream Classic Series kicks off next year in early Feb at the majestic Mallacoota which is favourite venue amongst many anglers. Hodgey


2017 Bream Grand Final – Brad Hodges


There’s a saying in sport ‘you’ve got to lose a Grand Final before you can win one’, and I sure hope that’s true! When St Georges Basin was announced as the ABT Grand Final location for 2016, I was really looking for to it. It’s a venue I’d always wanted to fish, but never had the opportunity to visit.

While planning for the pre-fish, I decided to play to my strengths and employ techniques that I’m most comfortable with. This led me to the shallow edges and timbered snags. My philosophy is, if I can see can fish in the shallows or holding on structure, at least I’m in with half a chance. The pre-fish went well with a few quality bream brought to the net. I went into Day 1 with a clear plan and some confidence.

The most defining moment of the tournament (for me) came about early on the first morning whilst cruising across the lake towards my first shallow target area. Seemingly in the middle of nowhere, I noticed a significant change in depth on the sounder whereby the bottom rose from 23ft to 15ft, before dropping away again. Using the Lowrance scroll back function, I quickly marked the location on the GPS with the intention of returning later in the session should the shallows fail to produce. Little did I know at the time, but stumbling across this hump (and having the presence of mind to mark it on the sounder), absolutely saved my tournament and indeed, very nearly won me the Grand Final!


Four hours in Day 1, I had exhausted my shallow water target zones for zero return. Making my way back to the hump, I was prepared to give it 20 to 30 minutes to produce, before moving on. I didn’t’ even know if it was holding bream, but half an hour or so would be enough time to find out.

In the end, the majority of my fish came within just 50m of the GPS mark! Using the Insight Genesis Social Mapping tool, similar looking areas were located and these went on to produce some vital upgrades over the following days.

The Berkley Gulp! 3in Nemesis in Pumpkinseed, Camo and Pearl Watermelon colour patterns, along with the NEW 3in Jigging Shrimp in Mudskipper, were my go-to options throughout the event. Rigged on 1/12 to 1/16oz. Nitro Bream-Pro jigheads, the key was to keep the plastic as close to the bottom as possible using a slow retrieve pattern involving short lifts and flicks of the rod tip to impart action. Most enquiries were timid, but having the confidence to strike hard at the slightest indication of a bite returned more solid hook-ups than misses.

I used long 4lb Berkley Sensei leaders and my favourite rod and reel combination of Abu Garcia Salty Stage Light Casting 1-3kg rod and Abu Garcia Revo MGX20 also added the touch and feel I needed to detect the bites but also give the hook good penetration on the strike. I have definitely noticed a huge decrease in dropped fish since the introduction of the Salty Stage range to my arsenal.

I’d like to thank my three Non-Boaters during the Grand Final – John Galea, Jesse Rotin and Luke Slavin – each day we fished as a team, working out the pattern and bouncing ideas off each other. It was a pleasure to fish with each of you and I hope I’m fortunate enough to draw you guys again sometime in the future.

In total, I was on the road for 11 days, and without the support of my wife Jade, this simply would not be possible. She was the ultimate super mum whilst I was away, working full time and looking after our two kids, coaching a basketball team and just keeping the daily routine functioning.

To cap off the tournament, my Dad (Mike Hodges) was also fishing in the Non-Boater category and he too came close to taking out the title, but fell just short. It was a real thrill and a very proud moment for both of us to finish to 2nd place!

With the 2017 tournament dates already released, organising time off work, booking accommodation and preparing for a busy year ahead has already begun.

Finally, I’d like to thank Berkley, Abu Garcia and Lowrance for their support. It certainly is an honour and a pleasure to represent these companies and use products that I have 100% faith in to get the job done.  Looking forward to another big year in 2017.

Cheers, Hodgey

Bite Makers

I’ve seen the progression of hundreds, if not thousands of people’s fishing careers and they all seem to go roughly the same way. They start wanting to know it all, then move on to thinking they ‘do’ know it all, when realistically they know just a little more than when they started (thank you internet). After a while they either give it up or find some value in fishing, whether that be via reigniting their awesomeness as a hero tournament angler or just the fact that it’s good fun. I really don’t care. But what I do care about is what people actually learn from fishing. Can you make a fish bite? Can you…really!!

If you answered yes to this and did it with confidence (not you, you can’t now say yes because you think I’m going to praise you) and you believe in what you say, then fishing has taught you something. It’s taught you to think like a fish!


A 2” PowerBait Minnow is all about you working your magic. You’ll can no help from the bait it self. But man do they catch some fish!!

Why Bite.
Why can some people catch considerably more fish than others. It’s gotta be the gear…”he has a heap better lure selection then me”! Yep, that it for sure (you idiot). Or maybe it’s time on the water! To be honest, this is quite a good reason as to why person X catches more then you! But not solely because they are ‘just on the water more’. There’s still something missing. What is it??
I’ve already said it and some people just can’t see it for looking nor will they ever! They’ll continue buying gear, fishing as hard as they can, buying more gear and a faster boat and still, after all that, end up seeing person X at the ramp just for them to be given a total schooling on how to catch them!
To be truly proficient, to be a ‘bite maker’ you first need to understand the fish you want to catch.
If you go out fishing hoping to catch ‘something’ then you’ll never get it. You need to set goals, have an idea of the spices you want to target and set a trap.

Fish are pretty silly but they are also very weary and good at escaping trouble. Most of the lures we throw at fish are far bigger than the daily food items fish actually eat, so to get this to fall in your favour, you really need to understand what makes them tick!
Fish have basic rules to life – they need to eat (first and foremost), then they need to survive and last but not least, they need to breed. And that’s it! The end. They don’t have a guest spot on the Friday arvo fishing show nor do they have to pick the kids up from karate practise. They also don’t know what time it is and or what the date is. All they see and feel is what they see and feel. Simple!
If only our lives where like that!! But the thing is, because fish can be a pain in the ass to catch sometimes, us humans have made up elaborate lies to make ‘us’ feel better about not catching them – “they where on the backside of a high barometer and that 3/4 waxing gibbous moon sure didn’t help”. Right! So basically your just shit at catching them then?! That’s what that says!
I understand that fish don’t always feed but don’t you think you would want to workout when they do. Instead of going fishing when your iPhone tells you too!?


Working a hard body is ;some of you’ & ‘some of the lure’ all rolled into one. But don’t be lazy and retrieve all lure with the same action.

Fish like food.

They really do. But they are also very conscious as to when that food is available. Firstly, a fish will not swim around looking for food if there is no food to be found. Reason – waist of energy. Energy is mass and mass wins all beats if your a fish. The bigger the fish, the more ground you own and the better the pickings from that ground. You have the ability to push other smaller fish around and or away and you get to make babies with the next biggest female fishy (yay). The only other thing you need to do in life is survive – easy-peesy!!

Why fish bite lures we throw at them is not always about being hungry. So always keep that thought in the back of your mind. Even the humbled, seemingly always scared mullet can get a little antsy at other fish if they are encroaching in on some good feeding grounds. So fighting is a particular skill that nearly all fish are good at. It’s a dog eat dog world out there!

To a fish, your lure represents several things and at least two of those things are good reasons for that fish to put your lure in its mouth – food and fight. Fortunately for us and unfortunately for the fish they need to bite things in order to work out what they are. So if you’re hunting fish with lures and you want to catch more than just the real silly ones, you need to work on your wiggle game.

Learning To Dance
It’s old news that you need to put action into your lure. It’s also very true! But how much and for how long? What does it look like and what about different lures?? Yes, yes and yes. This is the game of angling. This is where you start to learn what works for you. Just copying someone will only get you so far, the rest can remain a secret to you if you don’t think for yourself!

This is where working out what your fish is doing and what they really want comes into play. You need to know the fish personally – not rely on what you are told. What you are told has already happened and the chances of the same situation repeating it’s self are very slim (to the point where it’s quite spooky how one day on the water can be so different the the next).
You don’t have to be a super star, you just have to use your brain. Putting the pieces together is what its all about. Being told where to go and what to do will catch you fish but you wouldn’t have learnt anything from it and the next time, when its not the same, you’ll have nothing to fall back on.

The guys that do well on the water use all their knowledge base all the time, even when its easy. Working your lures is about trial and error. The only way to get good at it is to do it – and not just when you go fishing! Do you have a pool? Do you know someone that does?? Well this is the perfect place to train yourself up in the art of lure swimming.
Lure retrieving is like dancing. There’s not just one way you can do it. There’s hundreds of ways! And sometimes you need to know more then just two or three to put fish in the bag.


Tuna are all about the speed. If you can’t wind fast then don’t bother! And sometimes your fastest isn’t fast enough.

Get In
Clear water is king when you need to see what’s going on with your lure. And being able to get in with it and swim along side and behind, will really open your eyes up to what’s enough and what’s to much lure action. You can sort out a good strategy with each lure type and be emulating the action when your fishing you can start to see the benefits of all that paddling around.

Making a fish bite is all about deception, smoke and mirrors. After all, if the fish find out that you are behind this elaborate hoax it’s all over and you can go home fishless. Driving a lure through the water is an easy task but to make it worth its coin, you’ll really should be adding some extra wiggle to the giggle! Rod tip pops, hopes, twitches, spots and start are all part of the system. If your asking me to tell you exactly how to do it (and I know you want to) your missing the whole point. The rule book of retrieves is a 100 pages long but there no words on any of the pages. You are the author, you need to write the rules of retrieves down. You’re the one that has to use them so what’s the use in me telling you how it goes!? You need to get out there, in the clear water. Swim all your lures, work out which ones you think look the best and stick with them.

Your far better off have a few different types of lures in good quantities and good colour selections rather than heaps of different lures types. You need to be about to work those lures and make them look real and not all retrieves will work across the board. Find a few good one’s that you know you can work and stick to them!


Vic Bream Classic – Gippsland Lakes – Brad Hodges

Our plan was to work out a pattern or two and locate, as well as eliminate, key areas that we could fish confidently throughout the tournament. I had expected the conditions to be tough for fishing with cold crystal clear water and wet wintery weather predicted over the weekend. We had a slow start to prefish but as we worked through a range of structure including moored boats, jetties, sand flats and fallen timber we had found a couple of keys areas and the 2 stand out lures were the Berkley 3’ nemesis in camo colour and the 3B Berkley puppydog.

Day 1
The fishing started off really well with a 5 fish limit being caught before 9am with 4 fish coming on the 3’ nemesis on a 1/16 nitro jighead. We were casting them close to structure and using a standard lift and drop retrieve. As we looked for upgrades we really struggled to get the big bites that we needed but late in the session we found a patch of fish that were cruising the shallows and we picked up a couple of fish each including 3 upgrades. My favourite combo of the Abu Garcia 1-3kg Salty Stage rod and Revo MGX reel was integral in making ultra-long casts which allowed us to reach fish that had not been spooked by the boat. The fish were in excellent condition and we were really happy to weigh in 4.68kg, that was until two huge 5.5kg and a massive 6kg bag was weighed in which had us sitting in 5th some 1.5kg behind the leaders.


Day 2
Everyone that has spent some time tournament fishing has experienced a difficult bite on day 2 and this was the standard day 2 of tournament fishing, the fish had seen some pressure and were starting to become very lure shy. Bites were incredibly hard to come by but as we persisted with the ever reliable Berkley 3’ nemesis we boated 3 bream by 9am. Not only was it a slower start than day 1 but the quality was also lacking. As we worked through our run of spots we were unable to boat another fish until 12pm. With a change of tactic from plastic to 3B puppydogs, we employed a slow twitch and pause retrieve which allowed plenty of time for the bream to find and eat our lures. This produced 3 hits and 2 fish were landed, both were around the kilo mark. Unfortunately time had got away from us and we were unable to upgrade. We weighed in 4.3kg and moved up into 3rd place.
This result gives Team Berkley our third 3rd in 3 events and gives us a very slight chance at the Vicbream Classic Team of the Year. The last and deciding round will be held at Nelson on the Glenelg River in early October.

Colours – What Do They Want? Adam Royter

Colours are one of, if not the most talked about and fussed over things we do with lures. Why? Do the fish really care?

An angler walks into a tackle store and straight up to the lure wall. Flicking through the racks of lures he looks anxious and a little edgy. “How are you today” the store staff asks, “I’m good but I can’t find the colour lure I want anywhere”, “What colour is that?” the store person asks. “It’s 54”, the angler says. The store attendant scratches their head and then has an idea! “What if we get 53, it’s exactly the same colour, only with red eyes instead of silver and has a matt finish paint job – that’ll do it!” “No…” the anglers gruffly says. “It’s gotta be the same, it’s the only one that’s been working!”

So what’s happened here? Why is the angler so confidant in this lure colour and why won’t any other lure – almost the same – do the same job?

Confidence; confidence in a colour is almost everything to an angler. If colour wasn’t such a big deal to humans then we’d all be driving the same colour car and wearing the same coloured clothes. The colour of a lure is generally what first catches our attention as we walk along browsing the tackle store lure wall.

What do the fish want out of this deal? It seems we’re so hung up on the colour of lures, we forget some of the other ‘more important’ things about the lures we use. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a colour hater, it’s just we put so much faith in it sometimes it’s crazy! I’m a devoted lure junky – have been forever! But for me, it’s about form and function first.

Getting the lure in front of the fish is the most important aspect of lure fishing. Without you doing this, you’ll catch nothing every time. So the function of the lure would seem to trump the colour stakes in this regard.

Then what about it’s size and shape? If a Barbie Doll had a bib mounted in the back of its head and a couple of trebles swinging from its plastic bumpy bits, would you toss it at a fish? For a joke probably! But in the real world, if you were serious about catching stuff, then hell no!

So you need your lures to resemble, or at least partly resemble a food item in the waterway you’re fishing.

So in other words, your lure needs a particular form. Is this form more important than the colour? Barbie Doll or bait fish profile? Bait fish profile please! Problem solved.



Lures can look completely different when view from the side in water. This is how most fish see your lure – not from above the water looking down. Fish eye view.

So we have just established that function and form are more important than colour…congratulations!

The simple fact being fish live in water, and water being a totally different substance to air, should tug a little at your science strings. Water is the great evil to almost every colour we see. Water doesn’t really like to play with dull colours; black, brown, purple and blue. The colours that are first to be distorted below the surface are red, orange, yellow and green. Not gone, just differing from what we see them as above the surface. Luckily though, the water depths most of us play in are too shallow for below surface colour transition to take full effect. Although, the subject of water clarity – now there’s a subject you can sink your teeth into!


The clarity of the water around your lure and what and the colour of your lure, can have a resounding effect on your catch rate. In super clear water, let’s say 5 metres of visibility, a keen-eyed predatory fish will be looking for any signs of movement that equals food. If however, your lure swims into this territory and it’s the right shape but totally the wrong colour, this fish might not even move out of the structure for a better look. The thing to remember here is, the fish can see your lure very well and even from a great distance has made the decision not to attack based on the fact that the lure isn’t what the fish was looking for. Fish won’t waste their energy for no return.

The thing about fish food, is it doesn’t swim around with a neon sign on its back saying ‘Come Eat Me!’ The predator in this clear water environment is looking for things that it can hardly see because of good camouflage on behalf of the bait. Bait wants to blend in, not be seen by hungry fish!


Big fish aren’t any smarter than small ones. They just don’t need to take as many risks. Fooling big fish is a matter of what you know not who you know.

So in this scenario, the best option is the most natural colour you have in your lure box, preferably with a slight hint of background colour. Clear body lures are also a good option, as are lures with chrome sides. One of the best camo’s in the world is a mirror. A mirror will reflect everything around it whether it be the water colour or structure. Where this type of camo fails slightly for the poor bait fish is when they have to move, picking up and reflecting sunlight, creating ‘glints’, and then it’s time to run (or swim!)

Give fish the credit they deserve. They are great at what they do for a job; eat stuff. And in order for all this eating to happen, the visual abilities of fish far out way our own.

Let’s a have a quick look at a discoloured water scenario. Fish in this environment have to make adjustments and decide which of their body’s functions must be prioritized at the top of their list. Smell and vibration take priority in this water type, but sight still plays a major part and therefore the colour of your lure is just as critical!


In this low light where everything looks the same, your lure selection is critical – rattles, no rattles, bright, natural?? Time on the water is what you need.


It stops being a matter of whether the fish can see your lure, but rather that you need to make the fish see your lure. In this case you’ll find two very different colour schemes will work.

The bright and aggressive colour will help punch through the sediment by reflecting bulk amounts of light from fluorescent paint. But the real winner here is something called ‘ultra violet light’. Fish see this wavelength of light far better than we do and use it to good affect – sometimes…

If the bright and loud isn’t getting you any attention, it could be having the opposite effect and shying the fish away. In this situation I call forward the ‘darks’. Dark colours (black, brown, purple etc.) are the silhouette makers. Discoloured water is very rarely black. It still has an element of light passing through it, making it light in colour. So by placing a lure that’s black in the mix, you immediately create a contrast.

It’s this contrast that makes your lure stand out, making it visible. Keeping in mind it still needs to travel quite close to the fish for it to be seen, but the fish will have its lateral line switched ‘on’ to high beam, so it will already know what’s coming!

Make no mistake, fish know what’s around them. If they don’t they get eaten!


Colours have their place in the system and we all need to feel confident that we have made the right choice. Having confidence is the most important thing about colour selection. You still need to get the lure in front of the fish.

In the big world of lure colours, the can be categorised into three distinct types; naturals, brights and darks.

If you have a selection of these with you at all times, then you’re ahead of the game already. It doesn’t really matter if your lure has a scale pattern or not. Or whether it has gold or yellow eyes. The fish really don’t care that much.  And when you look at a lure swimming in the water, you can’t see the difference anyway. If the fish could and they cared, I’m pretty sure those two or three trebles hanging off your lure would upset them first.


I’m still catching fish and I’m sure you are too.









Luring BIG Bream: Part 2 Metal Blades. Brent Hodges



An ever-expanding range of lures suitable for bream exists on the Australian market. Each design has a specific purpose best suited to prospecting particular forms of fish holding structure. Seasonal variations, as well as the combination of tidal flow or current, structure and food supply, generally dictate where bream are likely to be lurking in any given system. This provides a clue as to the type of lure required to at least attract some attention. For example, there is very little sense in tying on a surface presentation (designed to imitate a fleeing prawn skipping across a shallow weed bed or sand flat) here in Victoria during the winter months. With the water temperature at its lowest point, most southern black bream will be bunkering down deep in preparation for spawning. In this instance, a vibrating metal blade worked close to the bottom is a far better option.



Where and When
As the water temperature begins to fall, southern black bream gradually move away from the shallow flats and edges in favour of deeper haunts. Sounding is the key to locating the dense schools in open water, however, it is worth commencing the search around more subtle fish holding features such as ledges, drop offs or sloping banks, adjacent to a prominent weed bank or mud flat. Sweeping bends, points, feeder creek junctions, patches of reef or gravel and depressions or mounds also attract schooling winter bream.


Tackle Specifics
Much of my success over the past few winters can be attributed to Berkley Power Blades (37 & 40mm) in Midnight and Shell, as well as the original Big Eye (34mm) design in the Tassie Tiger and Watermelon pattern. During the cooler months, there seems to be a distinct preference for black, which is likely to more closely resemble the type of shell bream feed on at this time of year. A pair of split ring pliers and a spare supply of needle sharp Owner treble hooks help to ensure even the most tentative takes remain connected. Long nose pliers are also vital for the safe removal of those sticky trebles from an angry bream’s molars.


Retrieve Patterns
The most basic retrieve involves casting down breeze ahead of a slow drift. As the blade descends, keep in contact by maintaining a slight bow in the line. If a bream bumps, nudges or intercepts the offering before it reaches the bottom, the line will flicker or twitch ever so slightly, which is your cue to set the hooks. If the blade makes it through the school without getting hit and comes to rest on the bottom, the line will relax. A short, but relatively fast rip of the rod tip, lifting the blade no more than 20-30cm, followed by a pause to allow it to return to the bottom, is the way to go. At times, a double hop may elicit a more aggressive response. Similarly, three to four short sharp jabs, barely lifting the blade, but at the same time generating plenty of energy and vibration, followed by a pause, often attracts some attention. Most bream intercept a blade as a sinks (on the drop) either immediately after casting or in between imparting some action. Others will pick it up while it’s lying motionless on the bottom.


Casting Equipment
Recently, I’ve been enjoying the versatility of the Abu Garcia Salty Stage Light Casting (1-3kg / 1-piece) spin rod. At 6’10” in length, this extra light blank offers enough power in the tip to get a blade up off the bottom and vibrating with energy, but also some give to cushion and protect the tiny hook holds. The KR-X Light Casting series feature a powerful composite construction (98% carbon / 2% glass), Fuji SiC guides with Alconite inserts, a hybrid cork / EVA grip as well as a host of other cool features, including a very slick finish. Balance this outfit with any of the new Abu Revo thread-line reels, spool up with 4lb Berkley Fireline or Nanofil, tie on a rod length of 4lb Sensei fluorocarbon leader material and you’re in business.


Tackle Summary
Rod / Reel: Abu Salty Stage 1-3kg / Abu Revo MGX 20
Main Line: Berkley Fireline 4lb
Leader Material: Berkley Sensei Fluorocarbon 4lb
Metal Blade: Berkley Power Blade (37 & 40mm) & Berkley Big Eye Blade (34mm)

Luring BIG Bream: Part 1 (Bibbed Minnows) By Brent Hodges


So, you’re keen to catch big bream on lures, but don’t know where to start. I remember that feeling. Perhaps you’ve caught a few relatively modest specimens and it’s now time to tackle the big bruisers.  Admittedly, figuring out all the subtle intricacies from scratch can be a somewhat perplexing exercise. To help simplify and accelerate the process, lets take a look at when, where and how to apply some proven big bream lure designs and techniques. First up in this three-part series – the diving bibbed minnow…


Where and When

A relatively slim profile diving bibbed minnow, such as the 3B Crank Puppy Dog series, is a highly versatile tool capable of pulling bream from snags, oyster leases, moored yachts, channel markers, rocky edges, as well as wide open shallow flats. In southern parts of Australia, bream tend to be most active in these areas during the warmer months, anytime from say October-November through to April-May. Prawns, shrimp, crabs, yabbies, worms and even small baitfish are all fair game, which brings the ever-reliable Puppy Dog into play.


Retrieve Patterns

Southern black bream generally respond best to an erratic twitchy retrieve. Cast long on the flats or in tight at structure, engage the reel to swim the lure down to its optimum running depth and stop winding. A couple of short flicks of the rod tip, followed by a short pause, should have the Puppy Dog darting about left and right, much the same as a wounded baitfish on its last legs. Take up any slack line and repeat. Hits generally occur when the retrieve is momentarily paused and the lure stationary or suspended below the surface. Eastern yellow-fin bream prefer a more continuous steady paced roll, but will at times also react to a twitch and pause retrieve. When an enquiry transfers through the rod tip (usually by way of a subtle pluck or tapping sensation), simply continue winding until the sticky Owner trebles take hold. Once connected, apply some pressure to ensure the hooks set securely and hang on! Whereas big blacks give you a chance by initially shaking their head (in an effort to spit the lure) before realising what’s happened and attempting to flee, most yellow-fin bream immediately bolt for the horizon upon hook set.


Tackle Specifics

As a silent runner with no inbuilt rattles, the 3B Puppy Dog is well suited to targeting wary fish in clear or highly pressured environments. Out of the box, it is ideal for both slow rolling or a twitch and pause style retrieve (as described above), diving to a maximum depth of approximately 1.2-1.5 metres. Upgrading the standard Owner #14 ST36BC trebles to #12’s will add just enough weight to transform this versatile little lure into a true suspender – a good option for searching a little deeper in the water column or whenever a longer pause is the order of the day. The Mongrel colour pattern is one of my absolute tried and trusted big bream favourites and has been for a number of years. Over the past month or so, the new 12 Gauge design has also accounted for several sizeable bream, well and truly earning its place in my tackle kit.


Casting Equipment

In terms of selecting a suitable light-casting outfit, I’ve been enjoying the performance of the Berkley E-Motion (1-5kg / 1-piece) spin rod of late. At just 6’8” in length, this unique blank offers a highly responsive tip, with some serious pulling power through the midsection – perfect for pitching small diving minnows at structure. Matched to an Abu Garcia Revo SX 20 thread-line reel spooled with 4lb Nanofil and connected to a rod length of 4-6lb Sensei fluorocarbon, this combo has indeed become my preferred option when targeting bream holding in tight to cover, be it timber snags, rock walls, yacht mooring lines and the like. The E-Motion series feature Fuji guides, a comfortable soft touch reel seat design and a very reasonably price tag. Another option is the Abu Garcia Salty Stage Light Casting (1-3kg / 1-piece) spin rod, which at 6’10” in length, is well suited for work out on the wide-open flats. Teamed up with an Abu Revo MGX 20, this ultra-lightweight outfit adds metres to my casting, which is essential when prospecting the shallows.


Tackle Summary

Rod / Reel 1 (Structure): Berkley E-Motion 1-5kg / Abu Revo SX 20

Rod / Reel 2 (Flats): Abu Salty Stage 1-3kg / Abu Revo MGX 20

Main Line: Berkley Nanofil 4lb

Leader Material: Berkley Sensei Fluorocarbon 3-6lb

Bibbed Minnow: 3B Crank Puppy Dog (Mongrel & 12-Gauge)





































Round 3 VicBream Classic  – Mallacoota. Brad Hodges


As we always do, Dad (Mike Hodges) and I were looking forward to heading out to far east Victoria to fish the mighty Mallacoota inlet. Over the past few years the fishing has changed at ‘coota’. In the past, 5kg bags were needed to be in the lead and 10kg plus often won the comp, however these days bags over 4kg are great and if you have 2 consistence days you are in with a very good chance of a podium finish.

Prefish was all about finding the fish, we wanted a couple of high quantity spots that would produce a bag of fish quickly. We fished the bottom lake for the majority of the morning, pinpointing 3 keys areas that would hopefully produce that quick and easy bite to get 5 fish in the boat early. As we continued to search for more fish we were lucky enough to get side tracked on a large school of surface feeding yellowfin bream. In glassed out conditions we could hear the bream sipping and slurping from more than 100m away. Once we heard a fish, it was a case of putting the electric on full bore and making a long cast to the active fish. We had tied on a Berkley subdog which can be cast further than any other lure I own and it can also be worked as a quick surface lure by keeping the rod tip pointed to the sky. I was using my favourite Salty stage light casting 1-3kg rod with my Abu Garcia MGX20 spooled with 4lb nanofil and 4lb sensei leader. This combination saw us entertained for a couple of hours, we caught plenty of bream and the size was really good. Amazing, we never returned to this spot during the tournament, we figured it was unlikely to be that easy come day 1 and we didn’t want to waste time looking for fish that may not have been there anymore.


With 3 spots locked in we decided to start day 1 on a shallow edge throwing Berkley puppydogs in the colour 12 gauge. On the first cast I hooked up to a hard fighting fish, but after the initial 20 seconds of head shaking and peeling drag it starting to circle the boat and I had that horrible feeling that my kicker bream has just turned into a trevally, major disappointment. 20min later dad and I had both landed a bream each but the bites had stopped so we moved to deeper water were we immediately found the fish feeding just like in prefish. Our lure of choice for fishing the deeper water was the Berkley 3’ nemesis on a 1/12 nitro jighead. We rotated through 3 colours during the weekend with camo, pumpkinseed and pepperprawn all being equally effective. We caught our 5 fish bag and upgraded a couple of times. After visiting our 3rd spot we had a healthy bag and we decided that hunting the fish on the edge was our best option for further upgrades, this move paid off and we landed 4 upgrades which pushed our bag over 4kg and we were sitting in 4th with 4.33kg.


The plan for day 2 was to do the same as day 1. We started slowly with nothing in the shallows so we moved to the deep and landed 2 solid fish start away but with only a couple of other bites over the next hour we made a series of moves that saw us fill our bag we small fish. We eventually made it to our 3rd spot which had some of the most aggressive taylor and flathead I’ve seen eating everything that touch the water. After retying from multiple bust offs I had just about had enough when I hooked into what I thought was a larger salmon at first. I turned to dad and said ‘Once I’ve landed this fish we are out of here’. Half way through the fight I was 99% sure I had a solid bream but didn’t want to tempt fate but saying it out loud. It turned out to be our biggest bream of the weekend and over the next 40min we upgraded multiple times and knew we had over 4kg. When the bites slowed we went hunting edge fish again only to land a couple of small bream, then with only 20mins left I pulled the hooks on 2 fish that looked very much like upgrades. It was a bitter end to an amazing weekend of tournament fishing. It was always going to be a close finish with plenty of quality teams in the running, we weighed 4.27kg which was enough to take 3rd place just 110grams from the winning team.  Hodgey

Berkley E-Motion Review – Todd Riches


Berkley E-Motion Rod Review

I have been using the Berkley E-Motion performance series range of rods over the last 6 months and to say I am amazed with the quality of these rods is an understatement. For such a cheap price tag (Under $100 in some places!), you get a rod that is strong, lightweight and sensitive, which makes them perfect for casting lures. Berkley has released a rod range that covers a vast range of species, accounting for everything from bream and whiting to snapper in the salt, or trout to bass and Murray cod in the fresh water. I thought I would do a quick review of each model I’ve used, to help you gain a better understanding of the actions of each particular rod.


6’6” 1-3kg (661XL) – The short length of this model makes it a really good rod for casting around tight structure such as timber snags, pontoons and bridges. I would say this model has a “medium-fast” action, with enough whip in the tip to cast very lightly weighted plastics easily and accurately, but with enough grunt to pull the fish from structure once you hook them.

6’10” 2-4kg (6101L) – This model is a great all-rounder. It has a fast action, which allows it to be really sensitive in the tip while still maintaining a high level of strength in the butt section.  I have been using it for everything such as flicking top-water lures over shallow weed flats, throwing un-weighted plastics in shallow water and even fishing down deep with heavy jig heads for schooled up bream. If you could only purchase one rod in the range, this would probably be the one you would want to choose.

6’8” 1-5kg (681LM) – This model is similar in action to the 6’10” 2-4kg model. It still has a fast tip, but is shorter which allows for more accurate casting, and has noticeably more grunt. I have been using this rod for fishing tight structure such as oyster racks and washboards with leaders in the 6-10lb range. It is perfect for this situation as the shorter length of this rod allows for accurate casts, which helps you increase your catch rate in this situation. This rod is also really good for flicking plastics for big flathead.

7’ 1-3kg (701XL) – The “open water” model! This rod has a slower action to the others that have been mentioned, which makes it great for casting hard-bodied lures, sinking stick baits and blades which often have small trebles. The slower action of this rod allows for a more parabolic curve once hooked up to the fish, which prevents the small trebles pulling out of the fish’s mouth. The extra length of this rod also allows for a greater distance on your casts, helping you catch more fish.

7’ 3-6kg (701LH) – The whopper-stopping model. This rod has a fast action and some serious power for pulling fish out of places where you don’t usually pull them! I have been using it for fishing oyster racks with surface lures, with 4000 size reels and leaders up to 14 and 16lb. Cast 3 oyster trays deep and hang on! This rod would also be great for pulling big bass out of heavy timber.

Well there you have it, there’s a short description on the models that I have used. As I have said, these rods are amazing quality for such a cheap price. Get down to your local tackle store and have a feel of them, you won’t leave the shop without one!