Ian Seeto has rewritten the record books by becoming the first angler to be crowned the Australian Open champion twice in consecutive years. Seeto’s 15/15, 9.82kg, was enough to take the win by 310g from a fast finishing Scott Butler. Consistent tournament limits over 3kg each day paved the way for the victory and in the end the challengers were unable to prize the coveted trophy from his grip.
Seeto announced himself on the tournament fishing scene by taking out the 2012 Australian Open title, but faced an up hill battle to even stand a chance of defending his title. Surgery and the birth of his second child took precedence in the lead up to the event. But in the end, with little preparation, the competitive juices couldn’t be held at bay and Seeto returned to take on Australia’s best BREAMERS over three days on Sydney Harbour. History will show that Seeto accomplished something never before achieved. By overcoming considerable odds, Seeto’s story reminds us all that with the support of family and friends the most daunting challenges can seem achievable.
Let’s dissect how Seeto beat the odds to go back to back at the 2013 Yamaha BREAM Australian Open:
“My prefish was based around revisiting the same locations that I had fished during my 2012 Australian Open. I also explored edges, rocky points, docks and new pontoons. This was to give me a few alternatives and more importantly observe how the fish were behaving.
On day one he targeted marinas using crankbaits, specifically the Atomic deep 38 in muddy prawn colour. He would retro fit this lure with Decoy YS 25 size 14 trebles. These trebles are a wider gape and are his confidence hook. He had his five fish in half an hour. Seeto then rotated between marinas and boats. During the second half of the run-in tide, he targeted pontoons and jetties in the middle reaches of the harbour. In all, he had secured eight upgrades throughout the session.
“On day two I used the same pattern as day one. I had my limit in the first 20 minutes of the session. The second day of the tournament was far sunnier than the first, but despite this the impact on the fishing was minimal. Crankbaits were again my key lure. I upgraded 4-5 times during the session”.
Seeto knew looking at the weather forecast that conditions were going to change for day three. This was evident after the first hour as the successful pattern from his day one and two had yielded only three fish. He knew the fish had gone deeper. “During the prefish I had noticed fish holding on poles. I took a punt and decided to target fish holding deeper on this structure”.
He used a Keitech 3" Little Spider in olive green colour rigged on a 1/20oz jighead. He cast the lure tight to the pole and let it sink to the bottom. He would let it sit for 10 seconds before slow lifting the lure to check for weight. It was slow fishing. He would then cast a crankbait between targeting the poles to cover the area effectively.
By 10.30am Seeto had his five fish limit. He continued rotating between rocky points, edges and pontoons. The wind had significantly become stronger throughout the day. He made the decision to target areas that had wind, tide and wash pushing into them. His thought process was twofold; other anglers were generally looking for shelter from these conditions and as a consequence the areas were less pressured. Three upgrades followed for the remainder of the session.
“On the way to the weigh in I was resigned to the fact that my fate was in the hands of the other anglers. I saw that a number of other anglers had struggled during the session. It was a tougher session and I thought that maybe I would finish in the prize money. As the bags went through I realised it was going to be close. After I replaced Scott Butler in the hot seat I was relaxed, but still nervous. The last two anglers came to the weigh in and unfortunately hadn’t got their limit. In the end my fish were enough to take the win by just over 300g”.
“It was an emotional win. It was unexpected. I just went out to compete and enjoy myself. I think that focusing on relaxing and just enjoying the moment made a difference. The relaxed mindset certainly played its part over the course of the event”.
Scott Butler, 15/15, 9.51kg, fought all the way finishing just 310g behind Ian Seeto. Butler was the only other angler in the field to finish each day with limits over 3kg. The Queensland-based angler showed versatility on a waterway that can change at a moment’s notice, producing his best finish in this prestigious event.
“In the prefish I checked out five locations. The water was clear throughout large parts of the system. The fish were thick and I was confident of finding them during the tournament”.
On day one, Butler started out fishing the Parramatta River and Drummoyne. He was targeting marinas and pontoons using cranks. He had five key spots that he rested and rotated throughout the session. His key lure was a Zipbaits Khamsin in colours green shad and baby water dragon. He also used a topwater lure that was a Zipbaits Skinny Pop Jnr. He had his limit within 20 minutes.
On day two he started at the Parramatta River and fished the same areas as day one. The fish were holding tighter but were still responsive. He also hit pontoons near Balmain and had his bag early before heading downriver to target structure. Overall the fishing was harder and the fish were smaller in size than day one, but in the end he was able to find 8-10 upgrades.
“I knew a front was coming through and that conditions would change. I started day three hitting marinas at Birkenhead, but didn’t find fish. I had earmarked Cockatoo Island as a location for the final day. It has deep walls that the swell hits, especially when the wind is pushing in the right direction”.
Using Berkley Craws in camo colour rigged unweighted on a worm hook, Butler would cast tight to the walls and freespool the lure for 5-10 seconds. This produced four fish in six casts. He then hooked up a great fish that was on for ten minutes before coming off boat side as I was about to net it. It hurt, but he was still confident that he could find more fish.
“The spot then went quiet, so I moved to pontoons. I struggled for the next 2-3 hours, but eventually filled my bag. I then moved to pontoons on Parramatta River where I found about 20 legals but no further upgrades. Complicating the situation was my electric motor failure at around 12pm, but that’s how its goes sometimes.”
Heading back he was confident, “I had stuck to the plan, rested my big fish locations and managed my time effectively. Ideally I was looking for a top 4 finish. I knew the conditions were going to change and that the bite would be different, so to effectively manage and adapt to that situation pleased me regardless of the outcome.”
Butlers tackle consisted of LOX rods (ST 6’10” for plastics and LS 701 for hardbodies) teamed with Daiwa Freams 2500 reel. Butler used 4lb Berkley Fireline in crystal colour teamed with 5lb Sunline FC Rock leader for plastics and 4lb Sunline FC Rock fished straight through for hardbodies.
“Finally I want to single out my Simrad Nss8 touch screen sounder/GPS unit. The structure scan made it possible to locate and target fish that I would otherwise just drive by and miss, so a big thanks you for their support.”
“I knew the bite would change on day three. As a consequence on day two I hit my spots hard, knowing that I wouldn’t be going back to them on day three. There was no point leaving fish I wouldn’t be returning to catch.”
“On day three it was about adapting and adjusting as needed. Experience allowed me to make the right call and back my decision-making ability”.
Cranking – Daiwa Interline TNZ – I 662 ULFS, Daiwa Sol 2 2004, 3lb Daiwa Brave FC fished straight-through. “The Interline rod provides unprecedented cast accuracy,” said Seeto.
Plastic – Generation Black 641 LFS Pinster, Daiwa Sol 2 2508, Daiwa Hyper PE 10lb, 4lb Daiwa FC
Open Boater Results