Name: Jonathan Chen
Occupation: Environmental Health Officer
I started fishing at a very young age with my parents and grandparents almost every weekend. I have fond memories of being placed in the middle of the wharf holding a rod. Most of my childhood was spent bait fishing at wharfs and rock walls. I first started land base lure fishing on the local lakes and rivers for Golden Perch, Murray Cod and Redfin in the ACT. I was lured into being able to target species on lures on family holidays down the South Coast where I was hooked on catching Flathead and Bream from a surf ski. In 2007 I purchased my first Kayak a Hobie Revolution. The kayak gave me the freedom to fish with my hands while still being able to move with freedom. The kayak also gave me the opportunity to get into areas that could not be accessed with boat or other people and target fish that may not have seen a lure before.
In 2008 I entered my first ABT bream kayak fishing comp. Since then I have learnt a great deal of how to catch Bream consistently and I am still learning today. I have been bitten by the fishing comp bug and enjoy being able to share techniques, learn new tricks, talk about general fishing and compete against some of the top Bream anglers. I enjoy the challenge of catching Bream on lures and also just being out on the water and being outdoors.
I started using Damiki and Pontoon 21 products at the start of 2010/2011 and they have assisted me in catching a number of fish that I believe to have contributed to my success in fishing. I was lucky enough to win a Damiki prize from a photo competition and I was provided with some great looking soft plastics, a number of blades and some hard bodies. This contributed to wanting to use more of the Damiki and pontoon 21 products.
2.5” Monster Miki – Skin Blue
Air Claw – Skin Blue
Ripper – Ox Blood Red
D Grub – Skin Blue
Cracker Jacks – Wakasagi, Crash HG Silver Amago
2014 Daiwa Hobie Kayak Bass Series
Round 1 Tallowa Dam, NSW 15th
Grand Final, Lake Macdonald, QLD 9th
2014 Daiwa Hobie Kayak Bream Series
Round 3 Marlo, VIC 2nd
2014 Kayak Fishing China Open Championship Shengzhong Lake 10th
2014 Hobie Fishing Worlds IV, Netherlands 8th
2013 Daiwa Hobie Kayak Bass Series
Maroon Dam, QLD 2nd
Grand Final Toonumbah Dam, NSW 1st
2013 Daiwa Hobie Kayak Bream Series
Bemm River, VIC 1st
Burril Lake, NSW 10th
DAIWA-HOBIE KAYAK BREAM – R2 – Ballina – 2nd
DAIWA-HOBIE KAYAK BREAM – R3 – Sydney Harbour – 20th
DAIWA-HOBIE KAYAK BREAM – R10 – Marlo – 9th
DAIWA-HOBIE KAYAK BREAM – R14 – St Georges Basin – 9th
DAIWA-HOBIE KAYAK BREAM – Grand final – Port Macquarie – 21st
SQUIDGY SOUTHERN BREAM SERIES – R5 – Sydney Harbour – 6th
SQUIDGY SOUTHERN BREAM SERIES – R7 – Tuross River – 3rd
SQUIDGY SOUTHERN BREAM SERIES – Grand final – St Georges Basin/Shoalhaven – 2nd
ACT based Field Staffer Jonathan Chen held on to take his first win of the 2013 Daiwa Hobie Kayak BREAM Series with an impressive 6/6 fish for 5.28kg. Below is a quick summary of our the weekend panned out
ABT Kayak Comp - Bemm River Vic 16-17 February 2013
Took the Friday off work which meant an early start from Canberra 4am start so I could get down to Marlo for a relaxing fish and determine roughly what lures the bream were chewing on. Arrived at 8:30am and hit the water straight away I was surprised to see at least 6 other kayakers and lots of boat traffic on the water being a Friday. Everyone must have had the same idea. I found a couple of legal bream that took a liking to the Pontoon 21 Greedyguts in the 66cm and 55cm and the New Damiki Shrimp soft plastics. This would be my starting lure of choice and game plan for comp day.
While setting up I received a couple of lures that I got pimped by Custom Lure Art – Craig450. They looked amazing and Craig450 did a great job. I just had to try them during the comp and tied on a Greedyguts 66 in the pimped secret colour. I had a bit of a game plan coming into the comp as I had fish the Bemm River for the Grand final and had found a lot of fish on a flat. Not too sure what the area was called but it felt like the furthest point from the launch spot next to the river that runs to the sea. The flat is made up on sand flats and broken weed bed and drop offs. As soon as we were allowed to go I made my way to the spot and started a slow drift with the sea anchor. I made long casts first throughout the day and when drifted off the flat I would peddle into the wind and start the drift again. I started out with the Greedyguts 66 in the pimped colour and first cast I landed my first legal bream that went 34cm. The flat was about 1.3m, the Greedyguts started to get caught on weed so I switched to the Damiki Shrimp Soft plastic in Ox Blood Red and Skin Blue and within the first cast got hammered by a 37cm Bream. A few more cast later while ripping through the weed I felt weight big headshakes and knew I was onto a good fish. The fish went on a few awesome runs with the love noise of the drag zzzzzzzzz and it weird feeling how much stretch you get fishing 3lb Sunline sniper straight through. The fish didn’t want to swim out from underneath my kayak but after a good fight it was finally in the kayak and soon after into the live-well it well 38cm to the fork. It was a good feeling having a bag of fish before 8am and took a lot of pressure off my chest. By then I had drifted on to a sand bank and started casting the Greedyguts again and managed a couple of 30-33cm bream. I then got smoked and lost the Greedyguts which I hope wasn’t to a big bream. I keep telling myself it was a flathead. I then tied on the Crackjack 48 deep in the same pimped colour. I cast a long winded cast the lure landed in the water and within 2 cranks the reel was screaming and line was pealing from the reel and I pulled in the sea anchor with one hand and had to chase the fish down. After an awesome tussle the fish gave up and swam into the net I was stoke to upgrade the 34cm to the tip with a 39cm to the fork bream. On the way back to the start line I found a drop off from around 2.2m to 1.3 and caught another 5 legal bream on the Damiki shrimp ranging from 30-35cm. It was good to see almost all competitors catching fish and majority with full bags. I excitedly weighed in my biggest bag to date breaking the 3keg mark and was stoked. Well done to Michele Carmody on a cracking bag of bream as well.
To say I had a good night sleep would be a lie. I was tossing and turning and took me a long time to finally settle down. Day two started and I was the last to leave number 70. I arrived at my spot to find a couple of people already there. It was really a mental game watching everyone leave first and not being able to get to your favourite spot first. It was tough going but managed bag of 3 bream to 30cm by 8:30am and it again took a lot of pressure off and I could just relax. All the bream were caught on the flats on the Crackjack 48 deep in the pimped colour I had changed the leader to 6lb as I didn’t want to lose it and continually checked and changed the leader because of that. I then persisted on the flat for a couple of hours and upgraded all the bream to all 32cm bream. The wind died down and the fish stopped biting on the flats. I was starting to get a little stress with only having a smallish bag and I knew I needed to upgrade. I went searching for greener pastures I peddled over to around 2.2m of water and started bladed and managed a small bream. I then decided to move towards the start line were I found bream towards the end of day one and after a couple of hours blading and I was stoked to pull in a 34cm bream, a few more casts and up graded again to a 37cm to the fork bream. I knew I just needed one more upgrade to stay in the lead. After a couple of small bream and about 40 casts later I got that upgrade I needed a 37cm to the tip bream with only 20 minutes to go. Got off the water and it was time to play the waiting game being asked to be the last to weigh in was nerve racking and watching all the nice bags being weighed in wasn’t making it any easier. Getting to the stage last and having to get at least 2kg to beat Steve Fields and knock him off the top was nerve-racking my legs and arms felt like jelly. I had my toes crossed that it would reach the magic 2kg mark. When the bag hit the scales and 2.27kg went up I was stoked I couldn’t get the smile off my face. Being able to hold onto top spot coming into day two and beating some of the top bream anglers is an awesome feeling that will definitely keep me buzzing for a long time to come. Well done to all the top finisher.
Thanks to Elliot from ABT, Lure and Fly and Hobie for running a great well run event. Thanks to my sponsor Searing tackle suppliers of Damiki, Pontoon 21 and Fish Arrow. A big thanks goes to Craig450 that runs Custom Lure Art and pimping my Lures for me I owe you a couple of beers.
Recap of the event
Round 7 of the Squidgie Southern bream Series – St Georges Basin NSW
The Squidgie Southern Bream Series is a well-organized and friendly bream competition run by the Basin lure and Fly Angler committee.
I didn’t end up doing a pre-fish of the basin due to moderate winds, and with the basin being a large lake, it’s difficult to find much shelter, and that isn’t too much fun in a kayak. I ended up fishing a river off lake Conjola and managed to get a few fish on the new Damiki Umpa Popper 40. That was promising as it was the first day of spring and the water was still cold. Once the water starts warming up this lure will be deadly on the flats.
On the day of the competition I had a game plan in place to go to a couple of spots and blade all day. This did not play out, because as soon as the siren sounded and the kayaks were off, I went in the opposite direction. I have a bad habit of doing this.
The weather was sunny with no clouds and some gusts of wind. The water was crystal clear which added to the fish being shutdown. I started my day exploring new areas, thinking about the upcoming grand final. I went through the arsenal of blades, hard body lures and soft plastics. I was fishing a brown vault 42 off a drop off with a hop hop pause technique and I got a hit by a bream and lost it at the side of the kayak at about 9am. I was pretty devastated to say the least. I only had a couple of follows after that and by this time it was about 12pm. I finally found some warmer water that was being pushed off a flat into deeper water around 3-5m. I decided to use a Damiki vault 42 in the flashgil colour. I changed the hooks to a couple of w hooks to reduce the amount of ribbon weed fouling the hooks, and within 3 casts I got hit by what seemed like a train. I took my time trying to tire the fish out not wanting the same experience as earlier in the morning. After a nice fight with the fish I finally got the bream into the net, and then into the live well. The fish was 38cm to the fork and had some huge shoulders. I didn’t get any more bream after that.
At the weigh-in the bream went 1.32kg, and it is my current personal best for a yellow fin bream! The bream was the biggest caught on the day from both the kayaks and boats. It won me the Big Bream prize, and 2nd place out of the kayaks. It was a very tough day at the office.
I would like to thank Searing Tackle for the support, the committee at the Basin Lure and Fly Angler for running a great event and the Camping World in Philip ACT for help with my Hobie kayak.
Lure that did the damage: Damiki Vault 42 – FlashGil
Rod: Pontoon 21 Seven and half 2-6lb
Reel: Shimano Stradic Ci4 1000 spool with 4lb fireline and 4lb Sunline FC Rock leader.