The Queensland Open held in conjunction with the Brisbane Tinnie and Tackle show has become an exciting and important event in today’s breaming calendar. This year 15 teams battled it out for the $10,000 first prize cheque over three glorious days, weighing their bags in front of the masses that had gathered at the RNA showgrounds.
With a mix of new and old teams, this style of tournament establishes rivalries that almost reach State of Origin proportions. Especially with the likes of Team Fishing Monthly, Steve and Tim Morgan, versus the reigning champs from BushnBeach/4BC/Berkley, Chris Britton and Anthony Wishey.
Knowing that the competition would be tough, many teams set out from the Paradise Point start line and made the trip towards Moreton Bay in search of those large Bay bream. The tournament’s big bream was caught here on day one and remained big bream for the three days, landing its owner, Michael Starkey from team Gamakatsu, a $500 cheque.
The 1.06kg specimen fell to a Bassday Kangoku Shad in colour C66, worked with a twitch retrieve in the shallow rocky shoals of Mud Island.
Day one saw three limits over the 3kg mark, team BJS/Merlo Coffee led the charge with the heaviest bag of the tournament at 3.19kg. Teammates Arthur Hatzipetrou and Peter Herbst, team BJS/Merlo Coffee, fished the rocky structure around Coochie and Macleay Islands with shallow diving Jackall Chubbies, the favourite colour being salmon roe.
“Using a stop, start retrieve, the lure would hit the bottom and I would allow it to then float back up,” explained Arthur.
“This combined with the internal rattle of the lure, really attracted the nearby bream,” he continued.
His partner Peter persisted for the surface bite using a Tiemco Red Pepper Baby lure, working it with a walk-the-dog retrieve at various speeds.
“Using a 7’6” G.Loomis rod for super long casts into the shallows, I would often attract the attention of a bream,” he said.
“If I failed to hook up, Arthur would be quickly in behind the lure with a 2” Berkley Shrimp in molting rigged on a TT 1/28 jighead to ensure we didn’t miss the fish,” he said, showing the true meaning of team work.
Other highly placed teams including Team Megabass also sought the topwater bite. Using the 73mm Megabass Dog X Jnr lure to quickly fill their bag before the sun rose too high.
Sadly, for the reigning champs BushnBeach/4BC/Berkley, they too headed up the bay, but fishing the eastern side of St Helena the clear water made the bream skittish. Landing only seven legals for the day put them in eighth place and the tournament veterans knew they had their work cut out.
Starting day two almost a kilo behind, BushnBeach/4BC/Berkley reminded themselves they were in this same predicament last year and changed plans, heading to the ‘Pin and southern end of the bay early to score their bag and then moving to Macleay to upgrade.
Their day one’s plan consisted of using Berkley 3” minnows in lime tiger and 4” Sand Eels in mango ripple rigged on 1/20 Nitro Finesse jigheads worked in the shallows. Day two saw them switch to hardbody lures.
“Looking for a reaction bite and fishing high in the water column, the jighead attrition was high,” said Wishey.
This time using Lucky Craft Pencil surface lures and Ecogear SX48’s in colours 305 and 307, the boys used their milk-run of spots around Macleay to upgrade and weighed in the heaviest bag of the day at 2.71kg, moving them to fifth and only half a kilo behind the leaders.
“We upgraded seven times in the last half hour,” said Wishey, “before we had to make the hour long journey back to the tag board with weekend traffic and large cruisers everywhere”.
“When I threw out the top water Pencil, I had probably turned the lure before it had hit the water,” explained Britton.
“Once the Pencil hit the water’s surface I would start the walk-the-dog retrieve and mix it up, sometimes being aggressive. If a fish hit and missed or I had a follow, I would stop the lure and give it a gentle twitch to invoke another strike,” Britton explained.
Anthony in the mean time was working his SX48’s over the rocky and weedy structure claiming, “If you are not hitting snags, you are in the wrong spot.”
Both agree that the difference viewed throughout the day was the increase of hits with the application of scent. Both the Dizzy Wax in spice and the new Gulp Alive spray worked.
On the final day, it was so close; the $10,000 was anybody’s cheque.
Team BushnBeach/4BC/Berkley headed straight to Cleveland Point where they filled their bag within 20 minutes. Moving to their Macleay milk-run of spots, the top water bite was again the preferred technique to upgrade. This time using a NW Pencil with a red head and rear prop to excite those large bay dwelling bream.
Working the shallows with broken reef and weed and plenty of cover, the boys again managed the heaviest bag of the day, including a 33cm to the fork upgrade caught by Anthony and coached in by Chris. But at 2.89kg, was it going to be enough?
Anthony thought they were definitely going to give the leaders a scare!
Back at the show in front of a large crowd, Bill Corten was managing the ‘hot seat’ out the front. Team BushnBeach/4BC/Berkley gladly took to it and had a firm grasp of the cheque.
“Unlike last year, we were not confident. We thought we were one fish short and that the first day would come back to haunt us,” said the teammates.
Seeing off team Megabass, consisting of David McKenzie and Tristan Taylor, weighing in 2.56kg, there was only the leaders left in BJS/Merlo Coffee needing 2.5kg to stay on top. Their limit hit the scales at 2.3kg and in a moment of angst and jubilation, the teammates had made history winning two year’s in a row. A tight affair with only 100g separating the top three teams.
“Going to the bay is a boom or bust proposition. It can mean making you a hero or missing fish and ultimately a loser,” said Britton.
“You need to fish for three days consistently, the bay is tide dependant and with the long weekend’s boat traffic and fishing pressure, you need back up plans,” he continued.
“I think our key was not losing any of our fish and hooking up on surface to those big ones,” explained Wishey.
The tackle used by the victors include Berkley Protactic 6’10”, 2-4kg rods matched to Abu Cardinal 802 reels and a longer 7ft rod in either the Protactic 2-5kg, or the Berkley Dropshot 1-3kg. Using 3lb Stren Microfuse and 4lb Trilene Fluorocarbon for their plastics and hardbodies and either 4lb or 6lb Stren Magnathin monofilament for the surface lures.
The next top money earning tournament on the BREAM calendar is now the Forster Megabucks on May 17-18. It kicks off a weeklong fishing carnival and is not to be missed, with plenty of prizes thanks to the major sponsor Minn Kota.
The Tinnie and Tackle show is always a great tournament for sponsored teams to show their wares after the weigh ins, with many interested attendees visiting the parked vehicles and asking a myriad of questions to the tournament anglers. Can the team from BushnBeach/4BC/Berkley make it a three-peat? Only time will tell.
For more information visit www.bream.com.au or phone ABT during business hours on 07 3268 7958. – ABT
|Place||Team||Anglers||Total Fish||Total Weight|
|1||BushnBeach/4BC/Berkley||Chris Britton/Anthony Wishey||15||7.85|
|2||Megabass||Tristan Taylor/Dave McKenzie||15||7.78|
|3||BJS/Merlo Coffee||Arthur Hatzipetrou/Peter Herbst||15||7.75|
|4||Stratos/Cunninghams Marine||John Meiers/Andrew Howard||15||7.67|
|5||Queensland Fishing Monthly||Steve Morgan/Tim Morgan||15||7.3|
|6||G Loomis||Mick Horn/Will Horn||14||6.65|
|7||TT Lures||Jay Perham/Darren Borg||15||6.62|
|8||Hinterland Marine||Nick Whyte/Wayne Peeters||15||6.31|
|9||Pure Berkley||Nigel Webster/Trent Short||15||6.2|
|10||E-Tec HO/ Lucky Craft||Mike Connolly/Simon Barkhuizen||13||5.89|
|11||Gamakatsu||Mick Starkey/Dean Silvester||13||5.83|
|12||Ecogear||Gavin Dunne/Ben Godfrey||13||5.69|
|13||Integrated Group||Trent Mander/Nathan Sewell||15||5.2|
|14||Couriers Please/Sporty's Fishing||Darrin Crowley/Tyson Robertson||10||3.51|
|15||River City Marine||Peter Leggett/Peter Morgan||5||1.99|