The mid-north coast township of Forster lived up to its reputation as one of the premier BREAM tournament venues in Australia, with large and enthusiastic crowds turning out each day to see the 25 gathered teams take part in the 2006 Minn Kota MegaBREAM event.
Receiving the accolades of the raucous crowd and claiming the overall honours for the tournament was Team Lowrance, comprised of Drew Griffith and Darren Borg. Mastering the bite on offer the best over the two days, Griffith and Borg compiled a 17/20, 8.39kg limit to easily secure victory over one of the most consistent angling teams going around of Mark Mangold and Scott Towner from Team Berkley, who landed 16/20 for 7.76kg.
In expected MegaBucks style the primary emphasis for anglers was to make it onto the winner’s dais at the end of each day and take away a share of the skins cash on offer.
The Manning Valley angling pair of Peter Kelleher and Russell Babekuhl hit pay dirt on day one, fishing the racks at the mouth of the Wallamba River and around Goodwin Island, and the sand flats adjacent to Forster Keys.
Choosing a tandem approach, with Kelleher fishing a twitched and pause retrieved Ecogear SX-40, and Babekuhl a lift n’ drop retrieved 65mm bloodworm coloured Squidgy Wriggler, the pair found the fish willing and eager to eat their varied offerings.
“The bloodworm wriggler received the bulk of the hits and fish, while the SX-40 provided a choice that was preferable to the more active fish in the area. In the end it gave us the best of both worlds and I’m sure helped us catch more fish,” Kelleher explained.
Note: Scrapped the paint of their SX-40s to make them clear and transparent.
Mangold and Towner, like many in the field, hit the oyster racks in ‘The Paddock’ north of Wallis Island, fishing water ranging in depth from 3-8ft. Both opting for a Berkley Hawg soft plastic as their lure of choice, Mangold using a 2” Japanese pumpkin coloured version (rigged on a 1/16oz, size 2, TT jighead) and Towner a larger 3” watermelon coloured versions (rigged on a 1/16oz, size 1, TT jighead), they fished them along the patrolling edge of the rack, getting strikes with a fairly active double hop pause retrieve.
“The retrieve was quick and aggressive with the intent of giving them a small window of opportunity to get the lure,” Mangold explained.
The reactionary presentation paid dividends with the pair easily filling their bag, yet failed to find the fish of size needed to propel them to the number one position.
Note: Fished watermelon coloured Hawgs that they had stashed away for a year, due to the newer colour being less effective a Forster than the old shade.
Chris Wright and Kaj Busch showed once again that they’re one of the hottest teams on day one of a MegaBREAM event, hitting the racks around Regatta Island and The Paddock to fill their bag on day one.
Fishing primarily 80mm Squidgy bloodworm Wrigglers, rigged on 1 and 1 1⁄2 gram Squidgy Finesse jigheads the pair fished their offerings along the edges of the racks, using a fast paced, almost hard-bodied styled retrieve.
“The key was to make long casts then work the lure back to the boat with a quick short lift and drop retrieve, making sure that the lure didn’t touch the bottom,” Wright explained.
Keeping the lure down in the fish’s face and in the shadow of the rack paid off for the pair, with the event’s Big Bream, a 1.35kg fish caught by Busch coming in the last ten minutes of the day on a well presented 65mm bloodworm wriggler.
Note: Keep the soft plastic active and don’t allow it to touch the bottom.
Finishing in the money for the second year in a row was Craig ‘Simmo’ Simmons and Steve ‘Killer’ Kanowski, who used a rack raiding approach to fill their tournament bag.
Fishing the oyster laden structures behind Bandicoot Island the Team Stessco pair opted for a crankbait/soft plastic attack to tempt their fish, with Killer presenting his Ecogear SX-40 along and over the racks with a slow constant retrieve punctuated by the occasional change of speed, while Simmo opted for a fast, constantly moving soft plastic approach to turn the bream on. For Simmo the gun lure proved to be an 80mm Squidgy Wriggler in flash prawn colour, rigged on a light wire 1/16 oz Nitro jighead.
“It was a really aggressive as bream presentation go,” Simmons explained.
“I focused on keeping the lure off the bottom and working annoying along the edge of the rack where the bream would be. It was the perfect accompaniment to Killer’s slower crankbait presentation,” he added.
The approach proved spot on with the pair encountering many fish during the session, including seven fish that they couldn’t stop in the tough razor edged racks.
Note: They never fished any deeper than 2ft, and used long casts to maximize their stealth factor.
Claiming their share of the cash on day two was the flats fishing pair of Dave Welfare and Steve Duff. Opting for more forgiving terrain the angling duo focused their attention on the weed and sand punctuated shallow flats located throughout The Paddock at the bottom end of the Wallis Lake system.
Like many of the teams over the weekend the pair used a crankbait and soft plastic approach, with Duff using a Strike Pro Pygmy (colour- XBB0) and Small Fry (colour-905G), and Welfare a minnow styled soft plastics, rigged on 1/48 oz, 1/0 Pigs Jigs jigheads.
Duff’s presentation involved retrieving the lure with a series of aggravated twitches interspersed with pauses, while Welfare imparted a fast ripping retrieve to induce strikes from the shallows roaming fish.
“The strikes were hyper aggressive on the soft plastics,” Welfare explained. “With the hook-ups in most cases coming hard, and on the first hit of the lure,” he said.
The pairs approach proved insightful and showed that Forster bream can be caught in places other than the racks.
Note: Fish water no deeper than 4ft and used soft action rods to reduce the likelihood of hooks on fish.
Two of ABT’s most recent debutants began their BREAMing career in fitting style, with Ricky Cooper and Darren Georgeston picking up cash with a fine second day performance.
Fishing the natural banks behind Wallis Island, between Wallis and Regatta Island and near Piper’s Bay, the pair fished a super slow crankbait presentation to fill their well. Using old school Teeny Weeny shallow running Rebel Crawdads, one scented and one unscented, the pair presented their lures using a slow rolling retrieve to tempt their fish.
“It was slow methodical fishing with the retrieve just fast enough to make the lure swim,” Cooper explained.
Note: Pause the lure when a hit is received, and wait for the rod to load as the fish swims away with lure. - ABT
|1||Lowrance||Drew Griffith/Darren Borg||7/10||3.96||10/10||4.43||17/20||8.39||1000|
|2||Berkley||Mark Mangold/Scott Towner||10/10||4.79||6/10||2.97||16/20||7.76||2250|
|3||Central Coast 4x4 Wreckers||Darren Georgeston/Ricky Cooper||7/10||2.92||10/10||4.81||17/20||7.73|
|4||Tica/Strike Pro||Stephen Duff/Dave Welfare||6/10||2.23||10/10||5||16/20||7.23||2250|
|5||Stessco||Craig Simmons/Steve Kanowski||4/10||1.89||9/10||5.23||13/20||7.12||4500|
|6||Lamotte Craft/ Perth Roofing Company||Ross Lamotte/David Beer||7/10||2.76||9/10||4.29||16/20||7.05|
|7||Bream Destructors||Andrew Howard/Ian Filleul||9/10||4.37||5/10||1.96||14/20||6.33|
|8||Sorensen & Caldon/Waites Tackle/Bruce Langs Butchery||Chris Martin/Craig Moore||4/10||2.88||7/10||3.39||11/20||6.27|
|9||Humminbird||Tim Morgan/Steve Morgan||7/10||3.25||6/10||2.98||13/20||6.23|
|10||Taree Builders Bargain Centre||Peter Kelleher/Russell Babekuhl||10/10||5.36||2/10||0.79||12/20||6.15||4500|
|11||Squidgy||Kaj Busch/Chris Wright||8/10||4.44||3/10||1.71||11/20||6.15||3000|
|12||Waites' Wombats||Peter Rich/John Startin||4/10||3.59||5/10||2.55||9/20||6.14|
|13||Morisset Outboard Services||Vincent Gavin/Joel Norman||5/10||2.9||2/10||1.61||7/20||4.51|
|14||Twin Towns Marine Team||Chris DelandMichael Simpson||5/10||2.86||1/10||0.74||6/20||3.6|
|15||Carlton Mid/Bellevue Hotel||Murray Allport/Wayne Burley||3/10||1.53||3/10||1.47||6/20||3.0|
|16||Barclay Marine Team||Max Frost/Peter McKinnon||2/10||1.3||3/10||1.38||5/20||2.68|
|17||Forster Beach Caravan Park||Mick Metcalfe/David Seaman||4/10||1.65||1/10||0.69||5/20||2.34|
|18||Fuji Film Digital||Bill Delaney/Glenn Helmers||1/10||0.77||2/10||1.53||3/20||2.3|
|19||Quintrex - E-Tec||Dean Hammond/Daniel Brown||2/10||1.14||2/10||1.16||4/20||2.3|
|20||Get Reel Fishing Tackle||Darryl Armfield/Tony Vitnell||4/10||1.75||1/10||0.43||5/20||2.18|
|21||Minn Kota||Mick Mee/Rick Patterson||3/10||1.22||1/10||0.45||4/20||1.67|
|22||Barclay Marine - Evinrude E-Tec||Adam Ward/Josh Batterson||2/10||1.03||1/10||0.63||3/20||1.66|
|23||Oblivienne Sportsfishing Charters||Chris Cleaver/Zachias Crombie||2/10||0.87||1/10||0.45||3/20||1.32|
|24||Dutch Harbour||Ross Canizzaro/Bic Von Fox||1/10||0.44||0/10||0||1/20||0.44|
|25||Off Again||John Fitzgibbon/Brad Writer||0/10||0||0/10||0||0/20||0|