St Georges Basin once again proved its popularity on the BREAM tour with a large and experienced field hitting the water for the last south coast BREAM Qualifier of the series.
With a big field it was going to take a ‘Master of the Basin’ to rise to the challenge and take the win in the fifth round of the 2012 Daiwa BREAM series presented by Hobie Kayaks. Russel Babekuhl showed that he is the Master of St Georges Basin taking back to back wins with a quality 6/6, 6.36kg two-day bag.
Day one saw Babekuhl start his session on a long section of wind swept broken weed flats on the eastern side of the lake. Rather than sit deep and fish for the standard schooled fish Babekuhl swang for the fence early in the session and went in search of larger more active fish.
He made long wind assisted casts in order to cover as much ground as possible. Once the lure hit the water Babekuhl would use an erratic twitching retrieve before allowing the lure to sink into the sandy gaps in the weed beds. Most fish intercepted the lure as it slowly wafted to the bottom.
His go-to lure for the technique was a pepper prawn coloured Berkley Gulp Shrimp rigged on a 1/30oz Nitro jighead, fitted with size 2 fine wire hook.
Once the wind dropped out the bite got harder and this was where Babekuhl’s experienced shone through.
“The bite died just like the wind did, so I switched to an area that I found during the prefish and used a technique that I thought was best suited to the situation,” said Babekuhl.
On the pre fish Babekuhl found schools of bait moving through the deeper flats adjacent to his productive shallow flat. Here he targeted the active fish holding off the edges of the bait schools, with the fish at 30ft the most active and the best quality.
His lure of choice was a camo coloured 4” Berkley Gulp Turtle Back Worm rigged on a 1/16oz jighead, a lightly weighted offering that delivered a slower rate and allowed the lure more time in the strike zone.
“I could see other anglers fishing in a similar area and knew most would opt for heavier jigheads and sometimes it’s about just giving the fish something slightly different to tempt them to bite,” said Babekuhl.
Completing his finesse approach Babekuhl added a stinger to his lure later in the session to make the most of every bite. The end result for the day was an impressive 5/5, 4.14kg bag and a comfortable lead heading into day two.
Day two didn’t start well for Babekuhl, with a change in wind direction driving his big fish off the shallow flat that he’d fish first up on day one. “I was hoping that they’d be there again, but they were nowhere to be seen so I just switched back to the deep technique that I did the day before.”
The fish were there in the deep once again but not of the size that he’s previously found.
“I wasn’t getting the big bites I had on day one. I knew I was still going to need a quality bag to stay ahead of the pack so I just focused on slowly upgrading through out the session,” said Babekuhl.
And that’s exactly what he did, the end result was a consolidating 2.22kg bag, enough to deliver him the win and maintain his perfect record in BREAM Qualifiers at St Georges Basin. Back to back to wins, both of which were wire-to-wire victories, Babekuhl has definitely penned his name in as the ‘Master of the Basin’.
For event runner-up Graham Franklin (6/6, 6.29kg) it was close but not close enough, with the Sydney breamer falling 80g short of shattering Babekuhl’s perfect record and claiming his maiden BREAM Qualifier win.
Fishing deep (4-5m) to catch his fish Franklin fished an area east of Garden Island each morning using an Atomic Metalz worked with a slow lift and drop technique.
“It was important to stay in contact with the lure during the retrieve so you didn’t miss any bites,” said Franklin.
With the fish shutting down early in the session Franklin changed tact and made the move to the southern section of the bay. The fish proved to be in a different mood, only taking the lure if it was aggressively ripped before sinking back to the bottom.
“It was key to rip the lure all the way back to the boat to ensure I got the most out of every cast,” said Franklin.
Knowing he would need over 3kg to be in the hunt for the win, Franklin made the move back to his first spot in hope of some quality upgrades. The late change was on the money, with one last upgrade coming just before the end.
On day two Franklin started his session in the same spot as day one, however this time it was a slower start with only three legal fish making their way into his livewell.
As Franklin moved to his second spot he noticed a large amount of bait showing on his sounder, so he stopped for a quick fish to see if there was any bream nearby.
“I had a couple of fish in my bag that I really felt I needed to upgrade to hold a good finish,” said Franklin.
Finding active fish holding on the edges of the schools, Franklin once again fished an Atomic Metalz down deep (4-5m) worked with a slow lift and drop. Just like the day before staying in contact with the lure was the key to success.
Franklin’s tackle selection included an Atomic Metalz 35mm in dark knight colour, presented with a Samurai Reaction 203 rod, combined with a Daiwa Certate 2500 reel spooled with 3lb Unitika Silver Thread flurocarbon.
Sydney angler Rebecca Fazio stepped up to the plate at St Georges Basin to claim her maiden non-boater win in a BREAM Qualifier. Compiling a 10/10, 5.66kg to secure the win, she, like many anglers in the event, fished deep (5-8m) to catch her fish.
Fishing deep flats Fazio would make long searching casts before allowing her favourite Ecogear VX35 (colour 445) to sink to the bottom before starting a slow lift and drop back to the boat.
“It was important to work the lure all the way back to the boat. Some of the larger fish would hit the lure under the boat so you needed to make sure you worked the lure right to the end,” said Fazio.
Fazio tackle of choice was a Shimano T-Curve rod matched to a Stradic C14 reel spooled with 4lb Varivas Light Game FC leader and Light Game PE.
“It was really great to get my limit both day, and felt great to upgrade for the first time on Sunday. I have to give a big thanks to Warren Carter, who is my fishing mentor. I encourage anyone thinking of getting involved in tournaments to jump in, it was only 12 months ago I picked up my first lure,” said Fazio.
With the fifth round of the Daiwa BREAM Series at St Georges Basin run and won attention now turns to the next stop of the tour at northern NSW’s Tweed River. The scene of many close events in the past, anglers will be keen to tap into a predicted spawn bite and secure one of the coveted Grand Final berths on offer. Visit www.bream.com.au for entry forms and event information.
Non Boating regular Phil Nix took out the Daiwa Big Bream with a cracking 1.41kg fish caught on day two.
Nix used an Asakura S Hornet 35 shallow crankbait in clear yamame colour. Casting across a shallow flat on the southern side of the bay Nix used a slow rolling retrieve with an erratic twitch.
“As soon as it hit I knew it was a good fish. It played nice and went deep, from there it was just a case of playing the fish and staying patient,” said Nix.
Rod: Berkley Venom Copper Head
Reel: Abu Revo 3000
Line: 3lb Berkley Sensie FC
Lure: 2” Berkley Gulp Shrimp- pepper prawn, 4” Berkley Gulp Turtleback Work- camo, Nitro jighead 1/30oz (shallow) 1/16oz (deep).
“Using the lightest possible jighead for the depth will give your lure more time in the strike zone,” said Babekuhl.
|1||Russell BABEKUHL||10/10||6.36||$3200 + Mercury Bonus $250|
|2||Graham FRANKLIN||10/10||6.29||$1600 + Ford Bonus $250|
|7||Steve MORGAN||10/10||5.82||$600 + 1st PRO $400|
|1||Rebecca FAZIO||10/10||5.66||Prize Pack|
|2||Rodney THORPE||10/10||5.59||Prize Pack|
|3||Steven CEFAI||10/10||5.24||Prize Pack|
|4||Rohan SOULSBY||10/10||5.07||Prize Pack|
|5||Nick GEORGIADIS||10/10||4.97||Prize Pack|
|6||Simon MCALPIN||10/10||4.85||Prize Pack|
|7||Brad ROBERTS||9/10||4.71||Prize Pack|
|8||Trent PORTEOUS||9/10||4.58||Prize Pack|
|9||Vaughn LEWIS||9/10||4.50||Prize Pack|
|10||Peter GODFREY||8/10||4.40||Prize Pack|