Over 100 anglers made the trip to the Hawkesbury on May 3-4. Fine weather brought out the spectators, however, fishing was tough with only four anglers achieving their limit.
Andrew Howard, assisted by the quality rack dwelling bream he managed to put in the live well, didn’t need a limit. His 9/10, 7.12kg bag narrowly beat an in-form Russell Babekuhl.
Howard used his rack pulling Millerod Brawler matched to a Shimano Sustain 2500 and a lighter Millerod XF Finesse matched to a Shimano Stella reel. Both these outfits were spooled with 3lb Berkley Crystal Fireline and 3lb Stren Microfuse fluorocarbon.
With several kilo plus fish lured from the racks, Andrew explained what he looks for in this structure.
“Since the leases have been taken out, I look for the old posts and rails that are covered in growth,” he said.
Throwing the Shimano Stiffy in evil minnow colour between the poles and retrieved with a slow roll saw a few of these good bream wrestled to the boat. The remainder were lured by the 80mm Squidgy Wriggler in wasabi colour, smeared with S-Factor scent and rigged on a 1/12oz TT jighead.
“I threw the plastics against the posts and deadsticked the bait until a bream would pick it up,” explained Howard.
With the Sunday ban on going upstream until 11am because of a boat race, fishing was stressful for Andrew with an empty well. As soon as he was able to venture up to his racks, it only took an hour to score his first two keepers. In the final hour he scored another two and knew it would be a tight finish.
He took home $2500 for his troubles and an added $250 for being the highest placed Mercury owner, thanks to the sponsor bonus program.
Leading the NSW Angler of the Year charge was Russell Babekuhl after his $10,000 Taree Super Series win and added another 99 points to his total after his Hawkesbury second place.
Russell used a Berkley Pro Tactic 2-4kg rod and Abu Garcia Cardinal 802 reel spooled with 6lb Microfuse and 6lb Stren Fluorocarbon.
Travelling to Brisbane Waters each day he scored his limit fishing the shallow racks with Berkley Craws in camo and 2” Gulp Shrimps in natural, rigged on a 1/40oz Nitro jighead.
“When the wind came up in the afternoon, the bream weren’t so scared in the shallows,” said Babekuhl.
Noticing that the baitfish were schooling up in the backs of bays he would venture in as far as the electric would take him before hitting the bottom.
“Using a light jighead, I would fish the plastics slow, but just enough to keep them off the bottom,” he explained.
The champion non-boater for the weekend was Peter Muddle, scoring 6/10, 3.32kg and taking home a variety of sponsor goodies including a Jarvis Walker Watersnake electric trolling motor, a Starlo Stix rod and Berkley Tacklebag. A fine effort for his first ABT qualifier as a non-boater.
Muddle used a Daiwa IMZ rod matched to a Daiwa SOL 2000 reel spooled with 3lb Fireline and 6lb FC Rock leader.
Fishing the wash around rocks in Broken Bay with Norm Kemp on day one, Muddle caught his bream using a Gulp 4” Swimming Mullet in root beer rigged on a 1/16oz TT jighead.
“I cut a half inch off the head and I think this plastic has a great tail action,” he said.
Day two saw him paired with Jorg Van Husen and fishing the flats in Pittwater. Using shallow diving Jackall Chubbies in natural colours retrieved with a slow roll was enough to clinch a victory.
The tournament’s big bream weighed in at 1.32kg and was caught by South Australian angler Craig Ellis whilst fishing with Andrew Howard on day one.
Ellis used a Berkley Gulp 2” Shrimp rigged on a Lurestrike jighead to extract this beast from his oyster encrusted haven.
The Lowrance event staged at the Narrabeen Lakeside Park was a highly successful show especially with the drive through weigh-in where spectators could peruse the 50+ tournament vessels and ask the anglers all about the day’s trials and tribulations.
For further info visit www.bream.com.au or call ABT on 07 3268 7958 during office hours. – ABT