The Hastings River hosted some of the country’s elite bream anglers in boat and kayak divisions for the ninth Port Macquarie BREAM Classic.
The defending champion team, Berkley, comprising national No 1 Russell Babekhul and partner Trent Fahey, had it all in front of them after a not so good first day in ninth place and apparently a long way back.
But renowned rack specialists Babekhul and Fahey came home on the final day with 2.955kg, the largest five-bream limit of the tournament, and for a short time at the weigh-in they held the lead and looked like they had done enough.
Day one leaders Koolabung Lures, Neil Chegwidden and Ross Lamotte, posted a solid 2.77kg day one limit but couldn’t find those bigger fish and their 1.92kg day 2 bag put them right behind Berkley.
But no one could contain locals Port Macquarie Tackleworld/Daiwa, Wayne Bale and Jeff Brunsdon. They accumulated 2.055kg on day 1 to sit sixth and then came home strongly with the second-heaviest bag of the tournament of 2.87kg to take the title.
Bale said, “It’s like any sport – if you want to do well, you need to practise and fish as often as you can.” Indeed he and Brunsdon put in many hours on the water in recent months preparing for this event.
Brunsdon and Bale threw their surface lures on a Daiwa Black Label Ultralight rods with Daiwa Freams 2000 reel, and a Daiwa Saegake with Certate 2506, giving them the finesse and power to present their lures to bream holding in the canals.
They targeted fish holding tight on rocky banks and beneath boats and pontoons using surface lures, with the Bassday Sugapen accounting for most of their bream.
The kayak division was also a close affair with Luke Kay again taking the title. He proved consistency pays off with his day 1 limit of three fish weighing 1.17kg and his second day limit of 1.175kg.
“It’s the best-run tournament in the country and Port Macquarie is my favourite place to visit for fishing,” Sydney-based Kay said.
Team Cranka/Samaki took out the Daiwa Big Bream prize with a 1.035kg specimen and Central Coast kayaker Jason Meech took the ’yak division with a 655g bream. He missed day one of the tournament due to work commitments.
Large crowds saw plenty of decent bream weighed in and enjoyed an entertaining and informative weigh in each day. Organisers thank all sponsors for their support – Port Macquarie Tackleworld, Mid Coast Marine, Edgewater Holiday Park, Daiwa, Shimano/Squidgy, Berkley, Damiki Lures, Pontoon 21 Lures and Samaki Rods. – David Poulton
Port Macquarie Tackleworld’s Jeff Brunsdon and Wayne Bale won the ninth Port Macquarie BREAM classic.
Kayak Champion for the second time running was Luke Kay of Lane Cove.Reads: 651