TOURNAMENT SEASON PREPARATION

February 9, 2017 | POSTED BY admin

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To say I’m stoked with my 2016 tournament season would be a pretty big understatement. I made the decision not to fish my local tournament series in 2016 but to concentrate on the Australian Hobie Kayak Bream Series. The goal for the year was to fish at least 5 Hobie events as the Angler of the Year is determined by your best 5 results for the year so this would be more realistic in testing how I am fairing against the top anglers in the country. I’ll be completely honest and say that a bit of luck went my way in a couple of the tournaments but to place 5th overall for Angler Of The Year out of nearly 300 anglers and 9th in the Australian Championships was one of my proudest achievements to date in this sport and to do it on the back of the Pro Lure product made it extra special.

My planning started as soon as the 2016 Series Calendar was released as it was important not only to study the locations that I would be fishing but the time of year was critical in the type of bite pattern I would be encountering. I predominantly fish structure and canal edges with plastics, cranks and surface lures in my local haunts on the Gold Coast, which can be very rewarding if you can cast accurately, but can be incredibly frustrating to the point that you may think the fish aren’t even there if you don’t put your lures in the hot zones. My tournament series was going to have me well out of my comfort zone fishing Port Macquarie, Lake Macquarie & Forster in winter which all fish a lot differently to my home town techniques. In saying that, Gold Coast and Bribie Island were the other two events and areas that I understood so they were really areas I’d be expected to get fish but as it is always the way in tournament fishing, doesn’t mean you will.

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Traditionally a winter bite is deep & slow targeting schooling fish which I don’t do a lot of up here in sunny Queensland and I tease my friends down south about how we take fish off the structure and surface all year round. Although there is still the deep schooling bite pattern available as the fish still spawn in the same fashion as their southern counterparts. So understanding this was a technique I really needed to improve, well actually acquire, I spent at least a small period of all of my social fishing honing my skills on sounding up schooled fish in deeper open water away from the structure and directly targeting them with blades and plastics. I also spent a bit of time fishing from the banks of the canals on foot targeting the bellies of the canals with the same techniques. This really helped me prepare for the year as I learnt a lot more patience in working my lures, especially plastics and I actually caught some fantastic fish in the process although not in the numbers I was used to by hitting the structure.

IMG_0509I must say that when sounding for fish, the best investment I have made is a side-scan fish finder. This allows you to search so much better and especially in shallower water as you do not have to go over the fish to see them on your sounder.  My favourite and most productive deep technique for the year was using the Pro Lure Grubtail rigged on a No2 1/8th – 1/12th jig head which I’d cast past the fish I had marked on the sounder then I would do a dead slow roll. The jig head would provide natural variation to the retrieve as it would bury in the sand or mud then pop out again as I retrieved. More often than not, the bream would just pick at it then I would pause immediately. During this pause, the bream would just pick the plastic up and run with it which was when I would strike to set the hook. This technique worked well for me and found it to be much more consistent in picking up the fish than the traditional hop and pause. It was also the key technique that allowed me to close out my tournament bags at both Port Macquarie and Lake Macquarie which is always important.

 

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What I love about this sport is that you never stop learning and I am lucky to be surrounded by a great group of anglers with such a wealth of knowledge that they openly share to help you improve your skills. Although my techniques varied throughout the tournament season, working hard on a technique that I don’t normally use really made the difference for me throughout the year and I actually feel it improved me as an angler overall.

Now bring on 2017!!!

2016 RESULTS

Port Macquarie 33rd Place

Lures that got the Bag

Pro Lure Motor Oil Grubtail, SF62 Pearl Shrimp & S36 Matt Black

 

Lake Macquarie 3rd Place

Lures that got the Bag

Pro Lure Pumpkinseed Live Yabbie & Pro Lure Motor Oil Grubtail

 

Forster 8th Place

Lures that got the Bags

Pro Lure S36 & D36 Cranks Custom Camo, Matt Black, Brown Gill

 

Gold Coast 2nd Place

Lures that got the Bag

Pro Lure Pumpkinseed & Mud Green Live Yabbies

 

Bribie Island 5th Place

Lures that got the Bag

Pro Lure S36 Cranks, SF62 Pearl Shrimp & Pro Lure Crystal Pink Paddle Grub

 

Australian Championships Gold Coast 9th Place

Lures that got the Bags

Pro Lure Live Yabbies

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By Michael Halliday