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Babekuhl’s treasure on Bribie Island
  |  First Published: October 2012



Russell Babekuhl (9/10, 4.25kg) secured his second BREAM qualifying win for 2012 at the Ecogear Bribie Island BREAM Qualifier, August 11-12.

Babekuhl lead from start to finish with his 5/5, 2.37kg day one tournament limit giving him a 280g lead that was never headed. Even with only four fish on the final day, Babekuhl secured the win by 610g from his nearest competitor.

“During the prefish I targeted the Pumicestone Passage. Conditions looked as though the bay would be shut, so I focussed my efforts on finding fish in the canal and flats areas.

“Heading out on day one my goal was to find fish in the canals. Moreton Bay was shut so I knew the areas would come under increased pressure. Once I started fishing the canals I realised the fish were spooked. I worked out the fish were sitting deep around the bases of poles at the back of pontoons.

“My key lure was a Berkley Gulp Crabby in camo colour. I switched to a heavier jighead (1/50oz to 1/12oz) and focussed only on pontoons with poles. It was fairly slow fishing, with my fifth fish coming around 11am. I stayed until 12pm, finding one upgrade.”

Babekuhl then went out to the flats, where he used unweighted plastics. Given the water clarity, he made the change to a stick minnow. It proved to be a fortuitous move, with the biggest fish for the session coming soon after and a further two upgrades coming in the remainder of the session.

“On day two I went straight back to the canals. The fish were very picky straight from the start. I started in a section of the canals that was recently developed; the thinking being that most anglers target the older, barnacle encrusted areas rather than the newer, cleaner pontoons,” said Russel.

By 12pm the going was slow with only two fish to show for the session, so he decided to travel to the flats but the water was too shallow at that point.

“Around 1.40pm the water had got high enough to target areas with a stick minnow. I needed added casting distance and the extra weight of the 3B Berkley stick minnow in heyou colour provided the necessary range. I found two fish before I had to return for the weigh-in,” said Babekuhl.

Even though he had only managed four from five fish for the session, the fish were good quality. Given the buffer hehad from day one he knew he was in with a chance of a good finish.

“I was very happy to take the win, especially given it was only my second time fishing in Pumicestone Passage. For me it’s about performing on waterways away from home, to challenge yourself in foreign conditions against quality competitors and perform to the best of one’s ability.

“The technique with the plastics was to let the lure sink to the bottom, give it a little shake, pause and then retrieve. If the fish were there they would pick it up off the bottom. With the stick minnow I would cast it into shallow water and keep the lure very close to the surface. If the lure went too deep it would catch on weed or algae, so it was about keeping it in the zone.”

“Finally a big thankyou to all my sponsors who help and support me. These include Pure Fishing, Spotters and Lowrance. Without their assistance I wouldn’t be able to do what I do,” said Russel

Welcome to the Pros

Nabeel Issa (8/10, 3.64kg) finished as runner up in the boater division. A late charge on day two saw Issa vault from equal twelfth position after day one to second overall. After previously taking out the non-boater title at Bribie Island in 2009 and 2010, Issa took the step up competing in the boater division. Using his previous experience and knowledge Issa was able to locate and target bream that earned him his best finish as a boater.

“For my prefish I hit some locations inside Pumicestone Passage, which were quiet. I also ventured just past the Bribie Bridge, where I managed to find some fish. My plan was to go to Moreton Bay for the tournament, but as it worked out the decision was taken out of the angler’s hands.

“On day one I headed to the Ningi flats area looking to grind out my limit. I was fishing in around 4ft of water, looking for cleaner water with current. Unfortunately there was a lot of algae around, so finding clear water was the key.

“My first fish came around 9am on an Ecogear Aquaprawn rigged on a TT 1/40oz jighead. From that point a fish came every two hours. The remaining two fish I caught fell to a 36mm Cranka Crank in flash prawn colour.

“On day two I headed back to my day one locations. I quickly worked out the fish were holding in deeper water. The Cranka Crank accounted for five fish and one upgrade between 9.30am and 11am. As the wind died so did the bite, and only smaller fish came. By 11.30am I was resigned to relaxing and just managing my fish and enjoying myself.”

The bites were very subtle so as a consequence on day two, Issa retro fitted his lures with ultra light trebles (Owner size 16). As a result most of the bites stuck and he was able to find his limit. He added S-factor scent to his lures throughout the session.

His technique was long, wind assisted casts followed by a constant, slow roll retrieve. The flash prawn colour of his lure proved the difference. Also the very soft action of his rod helped to keep his fish connected. In many cases the fish were lip hooked, so having that buffer was very important.

“To qualify for the Grand Final as a boater for the first time is great. As a boater you make all the key decisions, where you start, how you fish and when to move or stay. To qualify in this quality field makes it all the more special. Heading to the Grand Final on the back of this result gives me a lot of confidence,” said Nabeel.

Issa’s outfit consisted of a 7’ Nautic Stage sharpshooter 4-8lb rod teamed with a Daiwa Certate 1500 reel spooled with 2lb Sunline Sniper FC.

Hamilton Hauls to Win

Troy Hamilton (7/10, 3.05kg) took out the non-boater title at the tournament. During the prefish Hamilton observed the differences between bites and honed his feel and technique to match the mood.

“On day one I was teamed with Peter Leggett, an absolute gentleman. We started at the canal entrance and worked our way through the system hitting likely looking docks. I had one fish early, but the going was slow. Two more fish, one legal, followed around 12.30pm. The fish fell to a Berkley Gulp Crabby rigged on a TT HWS 1/40oz jighead.

“On day two I was paired with Steve Wilson, a great angler and one of the nicest blokes you could hope to meet. We headed to rock flats near the start line, but found no fish. We then headed to a flats area where we targeted fish in water between 0.5-1m deep. I used the Austackle Sekana lure in ghost browney colour.

“As weed became an issue I changed to a Berkley Turtleback worm in camo colour rigged on a TT 1/24oz jighead. The technique was to shake the lure across the bottom with pauses. The bites were coming on the pause.

“The fish came in patches with the last one hitting the deck with 10 minutes to go in the session. This is my best result in an ABT event and I am very pleased to have qualified for the Grand Final. I don’t know where this leaves me in regards to AOY, but it has been a good year regardless of the outcome. This result has really lifted my confidence heading into the last event. Depending on conditions it could go anyway.”

Hamilton’s outfit consisted of a 7’ Austackle dominator rod 1-3kg teamed with a Daiwa Freams 2000 reel spooled with 4lb Berkley fireline in crystal colour and a 20ft long leader of 3lb Sunline FC Rock.

The Bribie Island event was the final qualifying round of the 2012 Daiwa BREAM Series. ABT now looks to the BREAM Grand Final to be held at Bribie Island, 9-11 November. Congratulations to all competitors who have qualified for this season ending extravaganza. With a quality field assembled who will come out on top in the race for the title of Australia’s best bream angler? Stay tuned to www.bream.com.au to follow all the action as it unfolds in November.

Big Bream

Glen Sturrock took out the Daiwa Big Bream for the event with his day two effort of 930g. The bream fell to an Atomic Hardz bream shad 40 mid in bluegill colour.

“The bream came late in the session, around 1.15pm. I was throwing a deeper model, but was continually getting caught up in algae. I changed to a shallow running lure and five casts later hooked up. The retrieve was a slow roll with no pauses. I was using 2lb leader for the first time, so was taking it easy. In all, it took around 10-15 minutes to get the fish onboard.

“The fish was my tournament PB. Five minutes after the catch we had to make our way in as the session was ending. I guess if you are only going to catch one fish for the tournament it might as well be the biggest!”

Winners Tackle

Abu Garcia Vanguard 7’ 2-4kg rod teamed with an Abu Garcia 3000 Revo reel spooled with 3lb Sensei FC fished straight through.

Winning Edge

Identifying fish holding deeper around pontoon poles. Also using stick minnows on the flats; excellent casting distance, the perfect sink rate and great hook-up ratio.

Boater Results

Place Angler Fish Weight(kg) Payout
1 Russell BABEKUHL 9/104.25 $2700 + Mercury Bonus $250
2 Nabeel ISSA 8/103.64 $1,700
3 Matt WILLIAMS 10/103.51 $1250 + Yamaha Bonus $300
4 Drew MCGRATH 10/103.35 $900
5 Kendall SOO 10/103.27 $700
6 Peter CASHMAN 7/103.20$575
7 Mick LEE 9/103.14 $500 + $250 Ford Bonus
8 Matt FRASER 7/102.82 $500
9 Tracey MAMMEN 7/102.78 $375
10 Steve ELDRED 5/102.63

Non-Boater Results

Place Angler Fish Weight(kg) Payout
1 Troy HAMILTON 7/103.05 Prize Pack
2 Lex IRWIN 6/102.23 Prize Pack
3 Bryce BEECHEY 5/101.90 Prize Pack
4 Karl REMBACHER 5/101.86 Prize Pack
5 Todd BURGESS 4/101.81 Prize Pack
6 Philip NIX 4/101.22 Prize Pack
7 Keenan GILLIGAN 3/101.18 Prize Pack
8 Scott ANGEL 3/101.15 Prize Pack
9 Shane LING 3/101.05 Prize Pack
10 John SIGGS 2/100.94 Prize Pack
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