Iluka on the Clarence River hosted 28 teams for the 2011 Gamakatsu Teams Series Grand Final.
With rumours of small fish, it sounded like it would be a tough comp and it proved to be harder than most people expected. With such a close field there were no favourites heading out on the water.
The teams were completing for the largest teams series prize in Australia, a classy $36,000 Attack 470 tournament boat equipped with an Evinrude E-Tec 90hp engine, Humminbird sounder, Minn Kota electric motor and Flow-Rite livewell system, all fitted out by Ballina Marineland.
On Day 1 the Atomic/Unitika team of James Ison and Steve Eldred took the lead with a bag of 2.59kg. Using Atomic Hardz and just moving around a lot, they hit banks that looked like they had and managed to get five decent fish in overcast, windy conditions.
In second spot was Team PFC, who also only just managed to get their five. Both teams were worried that they did not catch many fish so it could be difficult to come back with another bag the following day.
Only a few other five-fish bags came in from the rest of the field on Day 1 and with only 470g separating first from fifth, it was anyone’s game.
On Day 2 everyone was worried at the bright sunshine and very still conditions.
As they had feared, the top two teams from Day 1 struggled to get their five fish, making the fantastic Attack boat anyone's for the taking.
It came down to be the closest finish in GTS Grand Final history with only 270g between the top five teams.
Local knowledge proved to be the difference. Team TT, Darren Borg and Tracey Mammen, had the winners’ chair for a while with 4.31kg but were pipped at the post by Matt Finney and Anthony Duff of Al’s Mechanical, with a larger second-day bag of 2.33kg for a total of 4.47kg.
Finney and Duff spent Day 1 fishing cranks along the slipway walls, finding it very hard until the tide changed and at 11am they started to get good bream. Around midday the boys changed to 2” soft plastics on 1/8oz TT heads.
The next day they had the same plan on the slipway walls and this time the fish came on early, with the boys bagging out by 8am and failing to catch another fish all day.
They used the new Dobyns Champion series rods for plastics and cranks and thanked sponsors EJ Todd and Sunline.
Second place and $1000 went to TT’s Borg and Mammen, who fished below the interface with the fresh coming down. They rotated between the walls at the bottom of the river and Browns Rocks, casting soft plastics and hardbodies before moving onto the flats to cast hardbodies and surface lures.
Third was team Big Wiggs, Brendon Hughes and Scott Greentree taking home $500 after fishing the flats and in Oyster Channel with Megabass Dog X Jr surface lures. They also caught fish on shrimp plastics using 1/28oz and 1/16oz TT jig head. They thanked Tackle Power Charlestown for support throughout the year.
GTS thanks Attack Boats and Evinrude, Ballina Marineland and BLA for the prizes, and was grateful to the local crowd that got behind the event. They also thanked their helpers for giving up their personal time to help run the series, including John Starkey, Jay Morgan and all the other helpers. – GTS
|1||Al’s Mechanical (Matt Finney/Anthony Duff)||10/10||4.47|
|2||TT (Darren Borg/Tracey Mammen)||10/10||4.31|
|3||Big Wiggs (Brendon Hughes/Scott Greentree)||10/10||4.29|
|4||Berkley (Trent Fahey/Russell Babekhul)||10/10||4.25|
|5||Ballina Pre-Cut Kitchens (Grant Clements/Chris Lynch)||8/10||4.20|
|6||Big River Bait & Tackle (Joe Urquhart/Allan Rooks)||10/10||4.15|
|7||Ballina Marineland (Jake Stewart/Michael Corbett)||10/10||3.98|
|8||Samurai Reaction Rods (Tristan Taylor/David Mckenzie)||10/10||3.87|
|9||Manning River Marine (Kristoffer Hickson/Emily Burgess)||10/10||3.75|
|10||Fillet & Release Angling (Tony Thorley/John Thorley)||10/10||3.57|