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.

VicBream Classic Round 1 – Marlo

Vicbream Classic Round 1 – Marlo

Marlo is a unique system for us Victorians, it has fast tides that greatly affects the fishing, we’re not really use to fast flowing water so lure presentation and boat position is added to the challenge. The system itself is made up of a main channel that is dotted with islands and creeks, 2 shallow lakes that at low tide are almost impossible to get in or out of and 2 rivers that flow pretty hard. With plenty of water to cover, our prefish was fantastic with plenty of fish found on a range of structures. But our go to plan was to fish the rock walls and a shallow creek nearby with Berkley puppydogs, a technique that both dad and I enjoy using.

Day 1 started slowly with both the rock wall and creek not producing any fish for the first 2 hours. We were hoping that it was a tide related bite and that being patient would pay off. So to kill some time and to hopefully find some more options we fished our way to the mouth, picking up a solid fish along the way. We were sounding fish but without any more convincing bites we headed back to the rock walls with the rising tide. This decision almost paid off with 3 x 1kg fish making it to the net. We also lost a couple of fished and dad got roasted by a big bream in the snags. With only 4 fish to weigh in we were happy to still be in the mix with 3.94kg and sitting in 7th place.

Day 2 was a real struggle, we headed back to the rock wall and after 3 drifts we only had 2 bites which resulted in 1 fish. With the tide dropping we headed back to the fish we sounded the day before and began the slow grind of throwing Berkley Bigeye blades in watermelon and 3” nemesis in camo. After 40 minutes of nothing, we had 3 bites in quick succession resulting in 2 solid bream and a huge 1.5kg Estuary Perch. The excitement of thinking we had hooked a potential winning fish only for it to have a large bucket mouth really knocked the wind out of my sails. With 3 good fish in the well, we went back to the rock wall in an attempt to get lucky and pull a couple of monsters from the heavy structure and catch the leaders to steal the win. But luck didn’t play nicely. With time running out we went back to the schooled fish and pulled two legals on 3” nemesis which saved our day.

We weighed 3.64kg and snuck onto the podium to take 3rd place, a result that really doesn’t reflect how tough we found the fishing. As this was only the second time we have fished Marlo we definitely learnt a great deal about the system. The Vicbream Classic Grand Final will be held at Marlo this year so hopefully we can use what we have learnt to produce the quality and quantity of fish that will be required to be competitive.

– Hodgey




Team Berkley wins VicBream Classic GF – Gippsland 2015

VicBream Classic GF – Gippsland 2015

As the 2015 year comes to a speedy end, the last event on the calendar was the VicBream Classic Grand Final. A total of 49 teams including 5 from Tasmania were ready to battle not only each other but the Gippsland Lakes’ bream in an attempt to take victory and hold the Champions Teams trophy a loft.


I think the key to our weekend was our prefish day, over the past couple of years I have refined my prefishing strategy and the confidence I get out of cracking a pattern has been paramount to getting 5 quality fish in the boat each day. On prefish we were able to identify a couple of fish holding areas and were confident that a light weight plastic and hardbody approach would work well. The lure technique was very standard for us, a camo nemesis on a 1/32 jighead and a puppydog worked with a twitch and pause technique. But the key piece to the puzzle was that the fish seemed to be holding on sunken timber, however each log only seem to have one fish on it. Knowing this meant that casts needed to be perfect, within centimetres of the structure, anything outside of this range was off target and not going to produce the fish.


Day 1 – It was a frustrating start with the first few bites being missed and then when I finally hooked a solid fish, it had me wrapped around a pylon within seconds, I flicked the reel into free spool and after some crafty teamwork we had the line free but the hook had fallen out. Luckily within the next few casts we had a solid 900g fish on board which eased the pain of losing the first fish a little. We were throwing the 3’ Nemesis which has fast become a tournament favourite lure of ours. As we moved between the jetties and moored boats we picked up a couple of barely legal fish and then pushed deeper in the system. As we began to work the shallow banks we changed lures from plastics to hardbodies, mainly the Berkley 3B puppydog. The approach was to slowly and accurately work the timber structure and as we did we slowly but consistently fill our bag and began upgrading. Just before 12pm Dad landed a fish that was pushing a kilo and after this upgrade we decided that managing our fish for day 2 was probably more important than trying too hard for more upgrades. As we weighed in I was pretty annoyed with our decision as our bag was a fair bit lighter than we thought and we were 1.1kg behind the top 2 teams, leaving a huge amount of work to do on day 2. Our bag weighed 4.43kg and we were in equal 7th position.


Day 2 – The great thing about day 2 is that you can fish hard and work every piece of structure with no thought of managing fish, there no point in holding back and big fish were definitely needed. Time passed extremely quickly in the morning and before I knew it, it was 8:30am and we only had 1 fish at 32cm in the well. I made a comment to dad that if we had this fish at the end of the day we would be in trouble, thinking that we would fall out of the top 10. With big fish on our minds we continue to comb the structure, bites came consistently and the next 4 fish were boated. Our 5 fish bag would have weighed a dismal 2.2kg and that first fish of the day was our biggest, things were not looking good. We made a move into a small bay which in the end, set up our victory. We boated 4 upgrades with each fish being between 900g and 1kg. But we still had that 32cm fish and I was pretty keen to upgrade him. After working a fallen tree over with a puppydog for no result I grabbed the 3’ nemesis and worked through the branches, this change in technique worked and I hooked a solid fish that I thought was every bit of a kilo, I had wrestled him into open water only to have the hook fall out just metres from the boat. Time was running out but as luck would have it a quick stop just before it was time to leave produced the last upgrade that we were looking for. Feeling as though we had another solid bag we left hoping to make the top 5. As we carried our weigh bag to the bump tub it was becoming apparent that it had been a difficult day for most and all of the top 5 teams had failed to bring in 5 fish. Our bag weighed 4.68kg and we jumped into first place and secured our second VicBream Classic Grand Final Champions trophy.


Gear used

Rods: Berkley Emotion 6”10, 2-4kg, Abu Garcia Salty Stage light casting 6”10, 1-3kg.

Reels: Abu Garcia Revo S20.

Line: Berkley Nanofil 6lb and Sensei Leader 4lb

Lures: Berkley 3’ Nemesis in Camo rigged on a Nitro jighead 1/32, 3B Puppydog




Vicbream Classic (Round 2) – Metung

Round 2 of the Vicbream classic series was held at Metung on the mighty Gippsland lakes, a huge body of water that provides anglers with countless options and possibilities. In a system so large the field can spread out and quality fish and large bags are usually needed to be in contention with 10kg for 10 fish the aim.


Our plan for the prefish was just to check out the surrounding areas for possible back up plans. I was pretty confident that we would find fish, it was more about managing the spots to ensure we could put 2 bags together that were going to be competitive. We fished a range of shallow flats, boat hulls,  pontoons and timber snags with some success. Although we didn’t find anything major that was going to change our strategy, it did give us a couple of quick spots to try before we really got started in fishing our tournament water.

Day 1

We decided to give 3 spots a quick 5 minutes each before we really started fishing and we got off to a great start with a solid 1kg fish from the second spot. We then moved to the edge and started firing in Puppydogs in pointer and camo worms to the weed patches and fallen timber. Dad had the fish dialled in early, boating 4 out of the first 5 fish. Besides the first 1kg bream we figured that the rest would all need upgrading to be in contention.  Casting in tight to the structure and working the lure with aggressive twitches followed with long pauses proved to be the order of the day and we managed to upgrade the other 4 fish. We weighed in 4.50kg and were sitting in 5th place overnight only 110grams behind the leaders. With the top 10 tightly packed, staying at the pointy end of the field would require another 4kg bag at least.

Day 2

Unbelievably day 2 started in the same fashion as day 1 with a fish taken within the first 5 minutes in the exact same spot. We then settled into working the structure and edges and had 5 fish in the boat very quickly. Unfortunately they were all on the small side and would have to be upgraded to challenge the lead. As the day progressed we upgraded numerous times but it wasn’t until the last hour that we landed a couple of 1kg plus fish, one on the ever reliable camo worm on a 1/32 nitro jighead and the other on a Puppydog in pug colour. At this stage we thought that we had just over 4 kilos but I was pretty sure it wasn’t going to be enough to steal victory. As we weighed in it seemed that the lack of wind and sunny conditions had slowed all but one team down.

We weighed in 4.27kg but it was no match for Team Lowrance HDS bag of 5.16kg which relegated us into 2nd position. A really pleasing result and an amazing weekend spent tournament fishing.


Luke Draper wins ABT BASS (Non-Boater)

With little pre-fishing at Lake St Clair leading up the first round of the ABT, I was confident that I would catch fish. On Friday morning (pre-fish day) I went out with Steve Duff and we went to the edges with weed. Both of us caught plenty of fish using blades.

On Saturday sessions, I had Dave Diggins as my boater. Saturday morning was a bit overcast with sunny conditions. We pulled up at a nice weed edge, feeling excited knowing that I could catch fish using blades. Within 10 mins, my boater had caught 3 fish and I still hadn’t had a bite. So I switch to a jerkbait with rapid results with 2 cast, I had my 2. First one was a 47 cm long and the other one was 41 cm long. With a bag like that was pretty hard to beat as only little fish was getting caught. We then started to look for spots for the afternoon session. We did find a flat holding a lot of fish which we were confident to catch them for the afternoon session. Going in to the weigh in, I knew I had a nice bag but not as big as I though. My total weight was 2.20 kg with the big bass at 1.19 Kg.

Saturday afternoon session, we head out to the flats that we found. Within 10 mins, I lost a nice fish in the tree. After about 30 mins of fishing hard, I got a 41 cm on a blade and I was excited, knowing all I had to do is to catch a rat. We didn’t catch any other fish on the flats so we made a moved to a school that Dave found in the pre fish. I got one on the first drop on a Berkley Gulp-Camo after another 30 mins, we decided to move back to the weedy edge. First cast, catching a fish which was about 37 cm. As I opened the live well, the 41 cm looked very sick and would not survive another 2 hrs. I threw out the 41 cm and kept the 37 cm knowing that 2 fish will weigh more than 1. Back at the weigh in, just made it with 10 sec spare. My fish weigh in at 1.53 kg.

Sunday morning session, I had Brian Everingham as my boater. He ask me what me what did I wanted to do and I told him to the weedy edges and stay there till the sun was fully up. So he could what he wanted to do. I caught 2 fish straight up within the first 30 mins. They were decent size fish. As soon as the 2nd fish was in the net. I knew straight away, that I couldn’t be beaten. As I had a decent lead from all the other non boaters. Back to the weigh in, my fish weight in at 1.49 kg.


Luke’s proud moments with his Aussie Bass at ABT

My total weight for 6 fish was 5.12 kgs . I won the non boater, the biggest bag, 2.20 kgs and the biggest bass, 1.19 kg

I was using a Duffrod, 1-4kg with a Abu Garica Revo 10 with 6lb Berkley Fireline Crystal with 6lb Berkley Vanish.

Pirtek Fishing Challenge – Sunday 22 March 2015

Berkley sponsors the Pirtek Fishing Challenge in 2015.

Berkley is proud to continue its partnership with Australia’s biggest fishing competition – the Pirtek Fishing Challenge.

Since inception the Fishing Challenge has raised over $635,000 for Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.  The money raised has been used by PCFA to fund research and awareness campaigns for prostate cancer.



Last years donation to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.


This year the Pirtek Fishing Challenge will support two organisations which are leaders in medical research.

The Peter Duncan Neurosciences Research Unit at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney has recently been lauded as the number one Neuroscience Research facility in Australia.

Named after Pirtek’s founder and Executive Chairman, Peter Duncan, the focus of the Unit is to study adult stem cells and their role in causing and exacerbating neurological diseases. The goal is to find and apply new neuroscience techniques for patients suffering from diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s, and other neurological infections and stroke.

Continuing our association of the past seven years, the Pirtek Fishing Challenge will again assist the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia to continue vital work in the fight against prostate cancer.

In Australia, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men, after skin cancer. Over 20,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year, which accounts for over 30% of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in men, and is the second most common cause of cancer-related death in Australian men.

Get involved!