Forster Beach Caravan Park’s Mark Healey and Karen Scully etched their name on the winner’s trophy with a comprehensive cash filled victory at the Minn Kota Forster MegaBREAM, March 12-13.
While claiming overall honours (10/10, 7.61kg) to finish the event the top of the tree, Healey and Scully further stamped their dominance on the event as the only team to finish in the top three each day, and in turn head home $6150 richer.
The only team that came close to threatening their dominance was day one victors Wayne Reed and Adrian Neoh from Team Damiki/Duffrods/Hypermarine (10/10, 7.03kg) with the event runners-up producing two consistent days on Forster’s Wallis Lake system to finish the event $3900 in the black.
Drawing first blood in the opening skins session Reed and Neoh like many of the recent MegaBREAM winners hit the weed flats to catch their bag.
Using a cruising for active fish approach the pair covered plenty of water and threw a combination of Damiki and Lucky Craft surface lures to call in their session winning fish.
“The retrieve of the lure was vital to get the big fish. If you used a softly softly approach you only caught small fish, but if you worked it hard and fast the swoosh swoosh sound that the lure generated would get the bigger fish worked up and climbing all over the lure,” said Reed.
When a big fish moved in on the lure the pair would pause their retrieve, if the fish had a go at the lure a hook-up was almost guaranteed. However if the fish sat there looking at the lure and not keen to commit they’d crank up the retrieve again and the fish would fire up and chase down the lure.
“It was mind blowing stuff to see the fish light up and mow down the lure,” said Reed.
The approached delivered the pair approximately 60 fish for the session, an impressive catch card that included 30 legals.
“It was one of the best days of bream fishing I’ve ever had. The fish were plentiful and climbing all over out surface lures,” said Reed.
The only team to break 4kg on day one Reed and Neoh would be the team to watch heading into day two. Could they make it a clean sweep of the event just like Starkey and Morgan did the year before?
Lures: Damiki Tukun in phantom colour and Lucky Craft Gunfish 75 in colour 250/chartreuse shad. The Gunfish was retrofitted with a size 6 or 8 Owner ST11 on the middle eyelet and a size 10 Decoy treble on the rear.
Notes: The bigger fish were hitting the lure head on so Reed and Neoh used a larger sized middle to ensure a successful hook-up. They also covered plenty of water to find the active packs of feeding fish.
Like all teams in the top three on day one Healey and Scully fished the flats, in particular a 1-7ft deep, weed laden flat in Wallis Lake.
“It was a spot that had produced for us plenty of times in the past so we went straight there with the goal of catching our limit then go looking for upgrades,” said Healey.
Healey’s tournament winning Cranka lure from Tassie two weeks earlier produced once again with the pair filling out their limit by 10.30am. The retrieve for the Cranka involved a dead slow rolling retrieve followed by a long patient pause.
“It was a lot like Tassie with the fish hitting the lure on the pause,” said Healey.
With five in the well the pair swapped lures and hit the surface throwing an assortment of Lucky Craft topwaters. One lure quickly identified itself as the go-to with the 52mm NW Pencil catching the lion’s share of the fish.
“The fish were taking the lure relatively tentatively, so the hook-ups weren’t always great on the topwater, but the fish were bigger than on the crankbaits so we just kept on throwing them,” said Healey.
The last team to hit the stage on day one Healey and Scully hoped that history didn’t repeat itself from last year when they fell 10g short of picking up a cheque. Needing 3.43kg to sneak into third the pair did it easily, weighing in 3.81kg to claim second and $2250. The rewards didn’t stop their with pair value adding their winnings by $500 by winning the day one Big Bream.
Lures: Crank 35mm Shallow Crank in wicked prawn colour, Luck Craft surface lures with the standout performer the NW Pencil in colour 250/chartreuse shad.
Notes: They didn’t get to prefish due to boat problems and spent eight hours driving to pick-up a borrowed boat from Adrian Neoh.
The last team to pick up a place getters’ cheque on day one Chapman and McInnes hit the flats (4-6ft deep) with crankbaits, and focused most of their attention on the small sand patches scattered throughout the flat.
“The fish were everywhere but the biggest concentrations were on the patches,” said Chapman.
With the hot spots pinpointed the pair threw Zip Baits Kamsin using a super slow, rolling retrieve. The combination of a tried and true technique and a long time favourite location was an approach that delivered the money winners 30 fish for the session, multiple legals and four upgrades.
“It was just a good fun day on the water, and you can’t ask for much more than that,” said Chapman.
Lures: Zip Baits Kamsin Jnr in brown as well as red and green colours.
Notes: Fished an old track on their GPS that had produced fish in the past.
Despite weighing in a limit 10g lighter than the day before, Healey and Scully went one place higher and picked up the top prize in session two. While their bag was almost a carbon copy of the day before, the location and technique differed.
“We returned to the flat where we caught them the day before and only managed to scrape up one small 26cm fork length fish by 11am,” said Healey.
Having resigned themselves to the fact that this might be as good as it gets on day two the pair were contemplating throwing the small fish back and accepting the fact that they may in fact weigh nothing in for the day.
“It was close, but we decided to have one more crack and fish one of our old spots,” said Healey.
Having seen no one fish it all weekend, Healey and Scully thought there was a good chance that there’d be fish on it and that they’d been keen to bite since they hadn’t been hit.
“There was bait everywhere when we got there and it looked real fishy. So we didn’t waste anytime, we just went straight to the surface lure and threw one that matched the hatch the best that we could,” said Healey.
They didn’t have to wait for too long for success with the first fish landed within the first few casts and a full limit in the well within 30 minutes of deploying the electric motor.
“It was such a dramatic turn around from the first half of the day when we couldn’t buy a bite. Heading back to the tag board we were quietly confident that we might have enough to get another cheque,” said Healey.
As the results show it was more than enough to get another cheque and it was in fact 360g enough to deliver them first place in the session. Post victory Healey and Scully were overjoyed to claim victory in an event they have fished and longed to win for many years.
“I’ve been coming to Forster for 29 years and to finally claim a win in this MegaBREAM is very satisfying. To do it for Forster Beach Caravan Park and Chris Maconachie makes it even more special,” concluded Healey.
Lures: Lucky Craft Gunfish 75 in colour 238/ghost minnow. The same lure that session one winners Reed and Neoh used.
Notes: Fished a location that had received minimal angling pressure and picked a lure that best matched the hatch of the baitfish that were prolific in the area.
For session two runners-up Team Gladiator is was soft plastic approach on a 3ft deep weed flat that delivered them their first cheque in a Minn Kota MegaBREAM event. Using a green coloured 7cm Gladiator Smash Bait the pair fished their way through the area throwing their plastics at the small sand patched that punctuated the weed.
“The small holes were the honey holes. They were a little deeper (5ft) and the fish would hold up in them waiting for food,” said Anthony.
The retrieve involved sinking the lure to the bottom after the cast, giving it a quick short rip, then letting it sink to the bottom again. As expected the fish hits came on the drop.
“The hits were quite aggressive with the fish smashing the Smash Bait as it glided back towards the sand,” said Anthony.
The approach delivered the pair a legal fish on each drift, a limit by 10.30am, eight legals and three upgrades. Had it not been for a big fish that they lost due to a busted leaded scuffed up by a long tom they may have come close to winning the session.
Lure: 7cm Gladiator Smash Bait minnow rigged on a 1/28th oz, 1/0, TT HWS jighead with a size 8 Owner Mosquito stinger hook.
Notes: Fished a location they had caught fish on the past and fished it on the prefish to confirm that there was still fish there.
Stepping away from the flats pattern that dominated the majority of the field, Corby and Holman fished a weed fringed drop off in Wallis Lake to catch their fish.
“We had one spot that was about 500m long where it dropped off into 5ft of water and we just fished that over and over,” said Corby.
Using shallow running Jackall Chubbies as their go-to lure, the pair alternated coloured, changing colour on each passing drift.
“We fished through and catch them on one colour, then swap and fish through and catch them on another colour,” said Corby.
The colour change worked perfectly with the Corby and Holman continuing to catch, something that may not have happened had they persevered with the same colour. The evolving approach delivered them 30 fish for the session including two upgrades.
Lures: Shallow Jackall Chubby in varying colours including muddy prawn and ayu.
Notes: Fished racks on day one but found it difficult to land fished (2/5, 0.88kg) in the rugged terrain so changed location on day two to an area where they had a better chance of landing fish and catching a full limit.
Four teams excepted the Pro Up challenge with Teams Minn Kota (Tim Morgan and Michael Starkey), Boxfish Restaurant/ Graham Barclay Marine (Chris Deland and Grant Manusu), Gamakatsu/Unitika (Craig Simmons and Andy Smith) and Civil Plus (David George and Bic Fox) shelling out the extra $500 to be in the running. Team Gamakatsu/Unitika grabbed day one honours picking up the $1000, while day two say last year’s clean sweepers Team Minn Kota walking away with $1000.
The Big Bream Prize topped the one kilo mark each day of competition with Team Forster Beach Caravan Park picking up $500 on day one for their Lucky Craft NW Pencil eating fish, while on day two Team Damiki/Duffrods/Hypermarine added another $500 to their event winnings with their 1.24kg kicker fish.
Cash wasn’t the only reward on offer with an assortment of Minn Kota chargers and electric motors shared amongst the field. Teams Daiwa/Lureandfly.com and TT Lures/ Daiwa both shared in the spoils picking up an electric motor each, while Bruce Flavel from Tullamore was the lucky winner of the random drawn Minn Kota electric motor at the Sunday afternoon presentation.
With the popularity of Forster as a tournament venue growing and the cash and prizes on offer at the Minn Kota MegaBREAM the best in the business, the 2012 is set to be one of the richest and best on the calendar. Stay tuned to www.bream.com.au for all the information on next year’s event. – ABT
Day 1 Top 10
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