Father-and-son team Jim and Kris Hickson of Taree’s Manning River Marine Team took out the top prize at the third annual Sundowner BREAM Classic on November 18 and 19 at Port Macquarie.
With 52 teams taking part from Rockhampton south to Ulladulla, competition was always going to be tough. Manning River Marine took out the $1000 first prize and around $1000 worth of tackle by compiling the only 10/10 bag limit over the weekend with a weight of 4.29kg.
Twelve teams brought a limit of five bream to the weigh-in on Saturday so the Sunday session was always going to be hard-fought. The 2005 winners, Karl and Tate Shaw, led after day one with a 5/5 limit of 2.74kg. But all teams struggled on Sunday and the cream rose to the top with the Hicksons climbing from seventh place to victory.
Kris and Jim were more than happy to pass on their secrets to the waiting crowd and other envious competitors.
“It was a pretty simple technique” Kris said. “We fished the deep banks in the Maria River, mainly the coffee rock edges.”
Positioning the boat with the bow right into the bank, the Hicksons cast deep-diving crankbaits parallel to the bank. “You had to be real close to the bank,” Jim said.
On Saturday the pair had their five fish in the first 20 minutes but failed to improve on this bag for the rest of the session. “We found fish and could see good-sized ones but we couldn’t get them to bite,” Jim said.
But rounding out the tournament on Sunday with another limit of 2.06kg and a total of 4.29kg was enough to give them the title.
Getting five fish in the first session will always have a team in contention on the final day. Team Morrisset Outboard Services also finished strongly to jump three places to take second prize with a 9/10 limit with 4.17kg. Vince Gavin and Des Owens were very happy with their performance.
“We upgraded four times on Saturday yet we struggled on Sunday,” Gavin said. “It’s a top weekend and Port Macquarie is a nice place to visit,” The pair mainly used Berkley Gulp 2” Baby Shrimp in natural colour on 1/16oz and 1/24oz jigheads cast at the pylons on the Settlement Point Road bridges in the Back Channel behind Pelican Island.
The local Wurth-Hollis team of Dean Seaborne and Daniel Frost took third place with a 7/10 limit of 4.11kg. After holding the title of big bream on Saturday with an 830g fish they felt confident going into Sunday and they climbed from 15th to third by fishing the upper reaches of Limeburners Creek using 3” Gulp Craws cut down to 2”. They were one of only four teams to weigh in five fish on the final day.
The lead in the Shaw’s Kitchens $500 Big Bream Prize changed hands through out the final weigh in. Port Macquarie Tackle thought they had it in the bag with a 960g fish caught by Chris Blanch, until Anthony Nyberg from team Catchya weighed a 970g bream caught around Narrow Gut, just below Wauchope.
The Manning River Marine team mainly used Daiwa Procaster Z rods, Daiwa SOL 200 reels and deep-diving Jackal Chubby and Lucky Craft crankbaits. “Getting close to the bank and casting long was the key,” Kris said. “Then I’d put my rod deep into the water and slowly wind the lure to get it as deep as possible and fish just climbed on board.”
The win was all the more special for both anglers because it’s the only time they get to fish in a tournament together all year. “It’s an invaluable experience to fish a competition with my son,” Jim said.
Thanks go to the sponsors, especially the Sundowner Breakwall Tourist Park, Port Macquarie Tackle, Mid Coast Marine, Port Macquarie Holidays, Koolabung Lures, Taylor Made Lures, Atomic lures, Gamakatsu hooks, Shimano, Daiwa, Shaw’s Kitchens, Kipawa and Design Rods. Start planning for this year’s Sundowner BREAM Classic.
– David PoultonReads: 1785