On the day that our cricketers won their third successive World Cup over in the Caribbean, another battle was raging on the Manning River, Taree: ten anglers were competing for $25,000.
The Super Series is new to the ABT qualifying events for 2007 and the Berkley Taree event proved to be testing with drenching rain and elusive legal bream.
One angler proved that consistency is the key, and with an oversized novelty cheque for $10,000 now firmly in his grasp, Scott Towner has become the new all-time highest money winner and current 2007 No.1 ranked angler.
The champion 2006 AFC Berkley team member and this year’s Tasmanian Angler of the Year alternated between a plastic and hard-bodied lure presentation to acquire his 15/15, 7.76kg bag.
Towner used a Berkley Pro Tactic 2-5kg rod matched with an Abu Cardinal 802 reel spooled with 6lb Berkley Fireline and 4lb Berkley Vanish. Scott chose to fish the Gulp Sandworm in camo plastic rigged on a Nitro 1/16 jighead.
For throwing his hard-bodied lures he used a Berkley Pro Tactic 6’10” 2-4kg rod with an Abu Cardinal 802 reel. However, he spooled this with 4lb Berkley Vanish, a tip he learned from fishing the QLD Open with Steve Morgan. The Ecogear SX40 (colour 339) was his lure of choice, and he lost four of these lures to aggressive bream over the three-day period.
Heading upstream in the morning and fishing the banks of the Manning, Towner pitched the Gulp Sandworm close to the edge, letting it drop before giving the lure a few quick hops, always watching the line for tentative bites.
Once the current was pushing out sufficiently, he headed downstream, fishing stretches of the islands. Depending on the depths showing on his sounder, he alternated between this plastic method in the deep and slow rolling SX40s back to the boat when in 5-6ft of water.
“Quite often if I missed a bite, I would pause the lure, finding the bream would come back and give me a second chance,” Towner said.
“I think sticking with my game plan and chipping away, waiting for the tide to be right and the bite to come on was my success. I only boated five legal fish on the last day, losing three good fish. Quite often I would fish a 300m stretch for no touches, then a fish. Netting the fifth fish, I told my observer this fish could be worth $10,000,” he continued.
Second place, and $5000 richer, was Darren ‘Dizzy’ Borg with 14/15, 7.6kg. Borg used Angler Stealth 840 and 841 rods matched to Angler 2000 sized reels. Like Towner, he spooled one with straight through 4lb Platypus mono and the other with 4lb Berkley Fireline and 4lb Yamatoyo fluorocarbon leader.
Fishing the deep holes and rock walls at the bottom of the river, Borg alternated between a plastic and a hard body depending on the bite pattern. Using the Berkley Gulp 2” Shrimp, Borg would open several packets combining the colours into one packet so he could randomly rotate the colour and continue to catch fish.
Borg used Zip Baits hard-bodied lures in green and orange, choosing the Riggy 35 for the flats and the Riggy 46 (a sinking lure) for the rock walls.
“I would throw these tight to the walls followed by a rip, pause retrieve. As the lure sank in the water column, the rip action often turned into a hook-up,” Borg explained.
“I rub Dizzy Wax on all my lures, aniseed on the hard bodies and the aptly named CLF (catch lotsa fish) by Scott Towner on my plastics,” he continued.
Starting first on the final day with a small lead and finishing third was Queenslander Robert Kwiatkowski with 15/15, 7.34kg. Using a custom built G.Loomis and Shimano Stradic 1000 reel, Rob also chose to switch between plastics and hard bodies.
Rob would throw an Ecogear SX40 (colour 307) close to the river edges with a slow rolling retrieve and jigging the deep rock faces at the mouth with a Berkley 2” Shrimp in new penny rigged on a Nitro 1/16 jighead.
Winning non-boater for the weekend and scoring a Jarvis Walker Watersnake electric motor, Shimano Sedona reel, Manning River Marine voucher and an Ugly Fish Sunglasses sponsorship was Neil Chegwidden with 5/10, 2.87kg.
Acquiring all five fish on the first day, Neil fished the south arm twitching Berkley 2” Shrimp in moulting down the rocky retaining walls. He rigged the soft plastics on hidden weights and used the tidal drift to his advantage.
The $500 Go-So Big Bream for the event came on the first day, caught by non-boater Brad Goyen and weighing an impressive 1.19kg.
Using the popular Berkley 2” Shrimp in new penny and hopping it over the oyster racks, Goyen was able to tempt the fish and extract it with Berkley 6lb Vanish leader.
With many sponsors putting their wares on show on the Sunday, it was encouraging to see the crowd gather and take advantage of the giveaways on offer. With celebrity angler Adam Royter running a fun-packed casting competition, budding young anglers could learn some valuable tips.
The ABT bus never rests and it will soon head off to Forster for the Humminbird/Minn Kota Bream Mega Bucks Event. With the Reef Science tank on show and some more large cheques on offer, it is building to be another event not to be missed.
Catch all the results on www.bream.com.au. – ABTReads: 1357