Graham Franklin (10/10, 6.19kg) took out the Fins Braid Lake Macquarie BREAM Qualifier, 14-15 July. Targeting fish in the mouth of Wyee Bay, Franklin put together two consecutive tournament limits over 3kg to secure the win by 180g from his nearest competitor.
Franklin explains how his tournament unfolded.
“After a fair prefish where I found fish in three locations I refined my spots down to one key area – Wyee Bay at the southern end of the lake. During the prefish it produced a lovely 38cm fork length fish. I also lost a fish that had crushed the trebles of my lure so I was confident they were in the area.
“I started out in second position on day one. On arrival at my location I found the bait still present in the area which was showing up clearly on my sounder. The bite came early and I put together a decent bag by 9.30am before the area became quite congested. I decided to leave the location to ease the pressure and hoping to leave something for day two.
“My other locations produced a couple more fish including one upgrade which concluded my day. Heading back to the weigh in I thought my bag might get me into the top five, but as fishing was pretty tough all round I was leading heading into day two.”
Heading out on day two Franklin knew that it was imperative that he got to the location as quick as possible before the traffic moved in. Seeing how the bite changed on day one he knew he would only have a short window before the traffic put the fish off the bite.
First throw of the day produced a legal fish and by the end of his first drift he had five fish in the livewell. By this time six more boats had arrived and conditions were already changing. He completed another couple of drifts which produced a couple of legal fish and one upgrade. The bite had died down considerably due to the traffic so he moved wider to get away from the pressure, which turned out to be a wise move.
The following drift produced two more upgrades including a 38cm fork length specimen. The bite came to an end around 11am with only the odd fish coming in after that.
“Having the combination of the Samurai Reaction 203 rods and Unitika Silver Thread FC 2lb and 3lb fluorocarbon was the telling factor. The 203 rod helped me to get those long casts out there and provided the strength and finesse to fight the fish on 2lb and 3lb fluorocarbon. I used a range of (unnamed) blades and vibration baits including the Atomic Metalz 35 in silver shadow colour and Bassday 45 range vib. The technique used was small hops while staying connected to the lure all the time. The occasional pause was employed when the fish where not as aggressive. I would especially like to thank those anglers that showed some etiquette on day two and gave me space around where I was fishing,” said Franklin.
“It feels great to finally convert an opportunity and achieve my first win in an ABT qualifier against such a quality field. A big thank you to all my sponsors. Without their help I couldn’t follow my passion and compete in these tournaments.”
Having displayed great form at the St Georges Basin ABT tournament before taking the win at Lake Macquarie Franklin is definitely one to watch heading to the Grand Final at Bribie Island later this year.
Local angler Peter Macor (10/10, 6.01kg) finished in second place. Macor’s first day tournament limit had him sitting in third place overall, a mere 230g from the lead. Leaving nothing in the tank he produced the tournament’s largest bag on day two with 3.15kg. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for the Buttaba local who fell just short of his maiden win.
“I didn’t get the chance to prefish and just relied on my knowledge of the area.” On day one he headed to a back of a bay [unnamed] on the western side of the lake and found fish schooled in 20ft of water. His bag came quickly, then he moved to Chain Valley Bay for up grades.
The outfit Macor used was a Abu Garcia 1-3kg Veritas rod teamed with a 2000 Pflueger Patriarch reel spooled straight through with 2lb Trilene FC.
He used various (unnamed) metal and polycarbonate blades including Berkley Big Eye blades. Macor would interchange these with (unnamed) plastics including 2” Berkley Gulp Shrimp in pepper prawn and banana prawn colour rigged on a 1/6oz jighead with the addition of a stinger (no. 20 Owner treble).
“I knew the fish wouldn’t be too far away so it was a matter of sticking close to the bait. Also the water temperature (17ºC) was slightly higher than the lake in general. Finally the retrieve I used was geared to the bottom structure, in this case mud,” said Macor.
Jeffrey Espiritu took out the non boaters title after a day two charge. After day one Espiritu had no fish and languished in equal 21 position. Testament to his ‘never say die’ attitude Espiritu bounced back on day two with a 5/5, 3.02kg tournament limit that allowed him to better his nearest competitor by 310g.
After a disappointing day one, Jeffrey said, “On day two I was paired with Scott Bilton. We headed south to the Chain Valley Bay area where we targeted fish in deep water for around 30 minutes. I was alternating between an Ecogear VX Blade and a Berkley 2” Shrimp in pepper prawn colour rigged on a 1/12oz TT jighead.
“By 10.30am I had my five fish limit, with soft plastics accounting for my last three fish. The rest of the session didn’t produce any upgrades, but with my smallest fish being 26cm to the fork I was happy with what I had achieved.”
Espiritu’s soft plastic outfit consisted of a custom rod teamed with a Daiwa Steez 2508 sooled with Sunline castaway 10lb and two rod lengths of 3lb Yamatoyo FC leader. For hardbodies the outfit was a Daiwa Luvius 702 ultralight rod teamed with a Daiwa Certate 1500 reel spooled with Sunline 3lb basic FC fished straight through.
The event’s Big Bream (1.41kg) was shared by two non boaters, Tom Deer and Andrew Stubbs. Each angler placed in the top ten courtesy of the kicker fish in their tournament bag.
Deer caught his fish on day one using a Bassday Kangoku shad in colour c124. He fished Chain Valley Bay in around 2m of water using a slow roll with twitches retrieve.
Stubbs found his fish on day two using an Ecogear VX35 in colour 409 fished on 3lb FC straight through. The fish came from mussel beds near Morisset in 15ft of water. Stubbs placed long casts across the mussel beds then retrieved the lure with tiny lifts near the bottom.
We now look to the last ABT qualifier at Bribie Island, QLD, to be held on the 11-12 August. This is the last opportunity to directly qualify for the season ending Grand Final to be held at the same venue on the 9-11 Nov. With Grand Final invites going to the top nine placed AOY anglers valuable points will be offer for qualification as well as the prized national AOY title (boater and non boater).
Samurai Reaction 203 rods and Unitika Silver Thread FC 2lb and 3lb fluorocarbon using a range of (unnamed) blades and vibration baits including the Atomic Metalz 35 in silver shadow colour and Bassday 45 range vib.
The technique used was small hops while staying connected to the lure all the time. The occasional pause was employed when the fish where not as aggressive.
|1||Graham FRANKLIN||10/10||6.19||$3200 + $250|
|5||Steve MORGAN||10/10||5.06||$850 + $400 + $250|
Non Boater Results
|1||Jeffrey ESPIRITU||5/10||3.02||Prize Pack|
|2||Jack DIHM||4/10||2.71||Prize Pack|
|3||Richard CONSTABLE||4/10||1.94||Prize Pack|
|4||Tom DEER||2/10||1.76||Prize Pack|
|5||Scott MARCINKOWSKI||3/10||1.72||Prize Pack|
|6||Grant CLEMENTS||2/10||1.62||Prize Pack|
|7||Declan BETTS||3/10||1.52||Prize Pack|
|8||Nathan TUSKES||3/10||1.51||Prize Pack|
|9||Vaughn LEWIS||3/10||1.44||Prize Pack|
|10||Andrew STUBBS||1/10||1.41||Prize Pack|