Redemption is served
  |  First Published: October 2015

ABU Garcia’s Ross Cannizzaro completed a fairy tale story at the 5th and final qualifying round of the 2015 Berkley BREAM Series. The 32-year-old Sydney tournament pro secured a wire-to-wire to claim victory for the event naming sponsor (ABU Garcia) and find redemption for his loss in last year’s Hawkesbury BREAM Grand Final.

Making up for missed opportunities was a strong motivation heading into the event, Ross hit the ground running from the moment he hit the water.

“The fog thwarted my efforts to head upriver and hit my number one spot so I started off at a secondary spot, the wash boards at the racks at Marramarra Creek,” said Ross.

While it may have been his less preferable spot it only took Ross 30 minutes to catch his limit. His go-to techniques were a combination of 37mm Berkley Power Blades and 2 1/2" Berkley Gulp Crabbies.

With the fog clearing, Ross stowed his electric, started up the big motor and headed upstream to Spencer to fish natural rocks walls. A location that had been be productive for him many times in the past.

“The spot needs current for the fish to fire and when I got there the tide had pretty much maxed out at the top, so I waited an hour for the tide to start to run before I started fishing it,” said Ross.

After killing time for an hour and his money bank now primed to hit, Ross positioned his boat out from the shoreline in 30-40’ of water and bombed the bottom, focusing on the transition zone where the rocks met the silty bottom.

“The key was to keep the Power Blade tight to the bottom and move the lure with small subtle hops,” said Ross.

The approach paid off with Ross upgrading six times and weighing in a 3.71kg limit to grab the lead heading into day two.

“I was happy to be leading after the first day but to be honest I was a little worried, how can you not be when you have Warren Carter breathing down your neck in second,” said Ross.

With the fog greeting anglers again on day two, Ross once again started his morning hitting the washboards at Marramarra Creek. There was no repeat of day one’s lightning start however and with no fish to show for half an hour Ross bit the bullet and headed into the fog and upriver.

Fishing his way upriver, Ross slowly filled his bag, include two large and key fish that he picked up in Berowra Creek.

“Those two fish (37 and 36cm fork length) were crucial on day two, and very much anchored its overall weight,” said Ross.

Returning to Spencer around 12pm Ross found his location under increased angling pressure and as a result he adjusted his approach and refocused his efforts on other spots in the area under less pressure.

Adjusting his approach on the fly paid off with Ross catching three more fish and adding one more all-important upgrade to his limit. While quietly confident that he had enough to claim the win, on stage it was a different story with his nerves well and truly evident.

“You can never be too sure, and while I thought I had over 4kg it’s not until you see the numbers flick up on the scales that you can rest easy,” said a relieved Cannizzaro.

The win added another victory to Ross’ impressive tournament resume and provided a level of redemption from his 2nd place in last year’s Hawkesbury BREAM Grand Final, and his 2nd place from the Mallacoota round in June.

“It’s great to have a Hawkesbury River win to go with my Sydney Harbour win from last year. As a Sydney-based breamer there’s no two more rewarding events to win,” sais Ross.

Gillett Blades Deep

Lake Macquarie’s Shayne Gillett had a dream tournament at Hawkesbury with the 45-year-old Hobie Fishing tournament pro compiling a 10/10, 7.45kg limit to add $1,500 to his career earnings and punch his ticket for November’s Berkley Grand Final.

Fishing an Ecogear ZX Blade to catch his fish each day, Gillett started day one fishing edges near the junction of Wiseman Ferry and Berowra Creek. His first fish didn’t come until 8.30am, and despite taking some time to get it made for it in size (1.30kg), and his second soon followed at 9am. Unfortunately, that was it for the next two hours, and at 11am the fished turned on just like flicking a switch. The adage of no-run-no-fun was definitely the case, especially on the rock walls at Spencer where Gillett was fishing.

“You get a distinct bite window where the bream will bite their heads off and that was definitely the case on day one,” said Gillett.

In 30 minutes Gillett caught his limit and upgraded multiple times. The flurry of activity delivering him a 3.46kg limit and had the Hobie Bream pro sitting in 4th place at the end of day one. His day one technique involved drifting the blade down the face of the wall with current, staying in contact with the lure at all times, and imparting a series of small hops.

“Contact with the lure was crucial to minimise snagging up on the bottom and ensuring you could feel the bites,” said Gillett.

Greeted by the fog again at the start of the day, Gillett slowly fished his way up the system, spot hopping rock walls and picking up fish as he went. Just like day one his first fish of the day was a standout, another 1kg+ fish to kick start his day’s bag. Falling once again to a lift and dropped Ecogear ZX40 it was followed by more fish. By 12.15pm he had four fish in the bag, one shy of his full limit.

“The tide was later on day two and I wasn’t expecting the peak bite to kick in until around 12-ish, so I waiting until about 12.30pm until I moved to my best spot,” said Gillett.

His timing was spot on with Gillett catching seven fish in quick time. His calculating running and timing of locations paid off with Gillett weighing in a 3.99kg limit to occupy the hot seat on stage for a long time during the weigh-in before ultimately being evicted by event winner Cannizzaro.

Gillett’s tournament tackle included an assortment of Daiwa Black Label rods, and Daiwa Certate, Steez and Sol reels, black Ecogear ZX40 blades, and his beloved Ranger Bass boat.

“The Ranger makes it easy to cover lots of water fast, and allows you to spend more time fishing and less time travelling,” said Gillett.

Loftus Racks Up Win

Sydney’s Alan Loftus claimed victory at the Hawkesbury with the ABU Garcia sponsored tournament breamer compiling a 6/10, 4.08kg limit to secure his maiden BREAM Qualifier win.

Fishing with Daniel Saunders on day one, Loftus fished oyster racks near Bar Point throwing a 37mm Berkley PowerBlade along the rack rails to catch his fish.

“It was perfect coloured rack fishing water, discoloured so the fish weren’t shy, yet enough visibility that they could pick up the lure in the water,” said Loftus.

Loftus’ technique involved working the Power Blade with a series of small, slight hops. The approach paid off on a very tough day with Loftus picking up two fish for the day.

Fishing with Wayne Robinson on day two, Loftus was once again back at the rack, this time however using a different technique.

“I tea-bagged the washboard, trying to tempt the bream with a vertically presented and shaken blade,” said Loftus.

Two hours in and with very little to show for their efforts, the pair changed location and hit edges. Loftus fishing a deep running Berkley Fat Dog in bruiser colour. Another two hours followed and still with little to show, the pair moved once again, this time hitting boat hulls at Brooklyn.

Fishing a 2 1/2" Berkley Gulp Crabby rigged on a 1/24oz Nitro jighead, Loftus’ technique was textbook shutdown breaming.

“I’d cast the Crabby in tight to the hull then simply deadstick it, letting it sink all the way to the bottom, looking for any tick of the line to indicate a bite,” said Loftus.

His less-is-more approach paid off with Loftus picking up multiple fish late in the session. Try as he might, he couldn’t crack his 5th fish to deliver him his full limit, but in the end it wasn’t needed with his 4/5, 1.69kg bag enough to deliver him the win.

Loftus’ win completed the fairy tale win for ABU Garcia, with both he champion boater Ross Cannizzaro long time friends, team mates, and ambassadors for the ABU Garcia brand. – ABT

Winning Ways

Water movement was key for Ross’ fish to bite at their best. Each day he waited until the tide was running hard before he hit his number one fish spot.

Winning Tackle

Rod:6’10”, 103kg, ABU Garcia Salty Stage
Reel: ABU Garcia REVO MGX20
Line: 4.4lb Berkley Exceed
Leader: two rod length of 4lb Berkley Sensei fluorocarbon
Lure: 37 and 40mm Berkley PowerBlade (tiger prawn), Berkley Gulp Crabby (ccamo) rigged on 1/24oz Nitro jighead, 3” Berkley Gulp Nemesis (watermelon/red fleck) rigged on a 1/24oz Nitro jighead.

Austackle Big Bream

Kris Hickson secure the Austackle Big Bream claiming the $500 prize for his 1.55kg fish caught on day two on a brown coloured Cranka Crab.



1Ross CANNIZZARO10/107.90$2800 + Duffrods Big Bag
2Shayne GILLETT10/107.45$1,500
3Kristoffer HICKSON10/107.24$1100 + $500 Austackle Big Bream (1.55kg)
4Simon SCZEPANIAK10/106.13$1,000
5John TIMBRELL10/106.09$750
6Graham FRANKLIN9/105.96$650
7Nigel WHITE8/105.86$500
8Todd RICHES8/105.84$500
9Steve GILL10/105.30
10Warren CARTER8/105.27
1Alan LOFTUS64.08Berkley Pack ($750 RRP)
2Robert KNEESHAW63.71Berkley Pack ($500 RRP)
3Ben SHUEY53.65NS Black rod and Prize Pack
4Blake O'GRADY62.8413 Fishing Omen Black rod Prize Pack
5Gavin JOYCE52.80Flying Fisherman Prize Pack Prize Pack
6Shaun EGAN52.77Spotters Sunglasses Prize Pack
7Clint VOSS42.64Bass Mafia Prize Pack
8Jamie JOHNSON32.38Z-Man Prize Pack Prize Pack
9John THORLEY22.00Prize Pack
10Nicholas SCOTT21.98Prize Pack
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