Russell Babekuhl, 9/10, 6.40kg has taken out the Strike Pro St Georges Basin BREAM Qualifier.
Babekuhl’s pattern involved targeting bream around Garden Island before moving to windblown banks located on the southern edge of the basin.
“During my prefish I was looking to find a pattern. In the end I caught two fish, one in 20ft of water, the other from a shallow edge, around 3ft deep, on the southern side of the basin,” said Babekuhl.
Based on the overall tough prefish and having limited knowledge of the arena, these two catches made his mind up as to where he would fish during the tournament.
“The bite in the shallows came as I was sight fishing the area. I could see good concentrations of bream, but with little wind blowing I knew the chance of catching them was greatly reduced. As it turned out the wind blew enough each afternoon to bring the fish on the bite,” he said.
On day one Babekuhl headed to ‘The Islands’ straight away. Fishing in 20ft of water using a Berkley 4” Turtleback Worm in camo colour fished on a 1/8th Nitro jighead, he secured a good fish early before moving to the banks on the southern edges.
Once there he targeted points in 3ft of water; alternating between a Berkley 2” Shrimp in pepper prawn colour and 3” Minnow Grub in camo colour, both rigged on a 1/30th Nitro jighead. In the end Babekuhl caught four fish for the session.
“I was relatively happy as I knew how hard the arena was fishing. Also my key spot was reliant on wind that hadn’t really eventuated at that point in time.”
On day two Babekuhl headed back to “The Islands” but had no luck. So he headed to his spot from day one, this time fishing a deeper edge around 20ft deep. The wind, which was initially dull, slowly built throughout the session. He moved slowly into shallow water, 2-3ft feet deep, and was rewarded with a good fish that ultimately secured him the event Big Bream prize (1.19kg).
“The fish was just hooked by a stinger attached to my lure (No 16 Owner treble),” said Babekuhl, “The fish were concentrated in patches so it was a matter of resting the areas for 30 minutes after catching a fish.
“Conditions became increasingly overcast, which helped given the good water clarity. By rotating my spots across points, bays and flats in the area, I caught my limit and managed to take the win.”
The win secured Babekuhl the coveted NSW Angler of the Year trophy, his first AOY in his tournament fishing career.
“I am excited about securing my first AOY title. It has been a long term goal to take out this very prestigious honour. Heading to Forster to contest the Grand Final is a dream come true. Forster was the location of my first ever social fish, so it has a special place in my memory.”
Babekuhl used two outfits depending on his location. For flats he used a Berkley 7’4” Venom Mexican Racer teamed with an Abu Soron 2000 STX reel. In the deep he switched to a Berkley Pro Tactic 2-4kg rod teamed with an Abu Soron 2000 STX reel. Both reels were spooled with 3lb Berkley Sensei FC fished straight through.
“Finally a big thanks to Pure Fishing for their support. Without their assistance I wouldn’t be able to do what I love to do,” said Babekuhl.
Chris Wright, 10/10, 6.01kg secured second place in the tournament. Wright fished the far northeast corner of St George’s basin, targeting a run of cockle bed patches to find and catch his tournament limit each session.
“I had a terrible prefish unfortunately so I was heading out without a solid game plan,” said Wright.
The area he fished for the tournament was a 300m drift over cockle bed patches, with the depth varying between 4-15ft.
“In the end I got my five fish with no upgrades. I dropped three fish before getting my fifth and final fish, so the relief was palpable getting my limit in the first session,” he said.
On day two he headed straight back to the same spot. The fish came progressively through the session with the main bite window being from around 10am-12pm.
Wright’s lures included the Ecogear VX35 in colour 405 and a Shimano lure project 5 gram vibe in colour red/gold.
“The action with both lures was slow gradual hops back to the boat. I would lift the lure only about a foot off the bottom.”
Wright’s outfit included a Millerods long cast 7’3” rod teamed with a Shimano Stella 1000 reel. On day one Wright used 4lb PowerPro braid teamed with a 6m long leader of 4lb Sunline FC. On day two this line and leader combination was changed to straight through 3lb Sunline FC.
“Given the water clarity and calmer conditions I made the decision to fish straight through to limit my visibility.”
Having already qualified for the ABT Grand Final in Tasmania, Wright was happy with his result and looks forward to traveling to Forster to challenge the other qualifying anglers.
“I am very excited qualifying for the Grand Final. Forster is a brilliant fishery. I can’t wait to tangle with some big bruisers in the racks,” he said.
Mark Hayes, 6/10, 3.78kg, took out the non-boater division. Fishing with Ian Miller on day one and Chris Wright on day two, Hayes bolted out of the blocks producing one of the overall biggest bags of the tournament (5/5, 3.32kg).
On day two Hayes found the bites, but couldn’t convert with only one fish hitting the deck. Fortunately for Hayes his lead was enough to take the win by 430g.
“The lure is used exclusively was the Smiths Seabullet in colour 17. It really was my go-to lure for the weekend,” said Hayes.
On day one he caught his limit with two further upgrades. The fish came early then a bite window delivered the bulk of my fish before everything started getting quiet from around 12pm onwards.
On day two he used the same setup but the fish weren’t sticking. In the end, he had plenty of bites but could only convert the one fish.”
Hayes used a Smiths prototype 6’10” LFS rod teamed with a Daiwa Exist 2004 reel spooled with 3lb Berkley Fireline in crystal colour and 4lb Varivas light game shock FC leader.
“Having already qualified for the Grand Final in both divisions my goal is to take out the non-boater AOY. As such I am very pleased with this result and look forward to remaining Classic events and the season ending Grand Final, said Hayes
ABT now looks to the next BREAM event, the rescheduled Mercury Gold Coast BREAM Super Series, August 25-28. For more information check out www.bream.com.au or contact ABT on (07) 3387 0888 (B/H).
Strike Pro St Georges Basin BREAM Qualifier Boater Results