After hosting several BREAM Qualifiers, a BREAM Grand Final and last year’s BREAM Megabucks, the town of Forster on NSW’s mid-north coast boasts an incredible bream fishery and some of the keenest breamin’ fans in the country.
And they turned out in force to witness 29 teams battle for lucrative skins podium places at the 2005 Lowrance BREAM Megabucks event, filling the park holding the live display tank and stage, and cheering as team after team raised the bar.
The skins format – two separate tournaments in two sessions – allows teams to recover from lacklustre performances. That’s just what happened over the sessions, with the three money-winning teams from Saturday being displaced by three improved teams on the Sunday.
Snatching the $5500 Saturday skin was Team Sportsfish.com.au’s Kaj ‘Bushy’ Busch and Chris ‘Slick’ Wright. Backing up from their skin win last year, the pair was beaming after presenting the weighmaster with a 10/10, 6.20kg bag.
Bushy and Slick caught every single one of their weighers on their ‘money-bait’ – a #2 Squidgy Wriggler in bloodworm colour rigged on a 1.5g Finesse Squidgy jighead.
“We just cast these things into some of the worst country you could imagine – for getting fish back out, that is,” explained Bushy. “Both of us were using the same technique – getting these soft plastics as close as possible to the racks, under the racks, across the racks – anywhere we thought there would be a bream hanging out,” Kaj continued.
Bushy said that because the bream were reasonably spooky, long casts were needed and the longer the cast, the more chance the bream had of towing them home. While over 15 legal bream made it back to the boat, more than 10 won the battle and shredded their lines and leaders.
Targeting the boundary between the crystal-clear ocean water and the stained river water, the pair chose places that were marginal on the practice day.
“We found plenty of fish in the lower end of the system in the cleaner water, but we saw that plenty of other teams found these fish too,” Bushy said. “So we picked places where we found fish – just not in the same concentrations – because we knew we’d pretty much have them to ourselves and could do our own thing. And that’s basically what happened.”
Both anglers used Millerods, Shimano Stella reels, 6lb Squidgy braid and 12lb Stren Magna-Thin leaders.
It was hard for Bushy to stop extolling the virtues of the bloodworm Squidgy.
“There are only a few lures that will consistently catch big bream as well as the smaller ones you need to fill out limits in events like these, and the Squidgy is definitely one of these,” he said. “It’s won plenty of money for Chris and me over the last few years and I’m sure it’ll win plenty more for competitors in the future.”
After a disappointing five-fish bag on the first day, Team Quantum Pro’s Darren Borg and Ross Lamotte turned the tables on Sunday to present the largest limit of the tournament and take the skin. Their 10/10, 6.38kg bag was over 1.3kg ahead of the nearest competitors, and earned Darren and Ross $5500.
“We did exactly the same thing on Sunday as we did on the Saturday,” Darren said. “Ross had a hunch that the bream would come on the chew and that’s exactly what they did. That bloke’s amazing – he picked it in one.
“After drifting down the lower lake washboards we had seven bream in the well by 35 minutes after the start. We then moved to the bridge and completed the limit by 9am – what a way to start the session!
“We then just bounced between these spots and some floating racks that held some bream upriver to keep upgrading our limit. We must have upgraded a dozen times during the day.”
With their flash new Quantum tackle, the boys cast mainly Berkley Gulp Minnows (3” in Smelt and Pumpkinseed) and 4” Minnow Worms on 4 and 6lb Berkley Fireline. In tough country they used 8-10lb Yamatoyo leader while in the open water, they dropped the leader size to 4lb.
Ross, however, stuck with 1/20oz to 1/16oz heads all day, while Darren used 1/8oz to 1/4oz heads to target different zones in the water column.
Peter Kelleher bought the lure that caught him the Big Bream from his sponsor’s shop on the day before the event. The hard-bodied Rebel Crawdad may have cost less than $20, but it secured him the $2500 Big Bream payout for the weekend.
Peter caught the fish early in the Sunday session on the flats in the lower lake. Pete and his partner, Russell Babekuhl, were making long casts targeting sandy breaks in the weedy flats when the 1.32kg bream engulfed the Crawdad.
Fortunately, the big fish was hooked in open water and Peter was able to take his time getting it to the net and safely into the livewell.
“After coming 5th and 6th in the two sessions and third overall, it was good to get a payout from this fish,” Pete said.
Mark Mangold and Scott Towner topped the combined field for the event, with their 20/20 bag hitting 10.71kg. However, overall consistency doesn’t necessarily win you the most money; the two teams that won over $5000 both burned brightly on one of the two days and faltered the other.
Mango and Scott fished leases in the lower half of the system and had plenty of stories of shreddings and of ‘what could have been’.
The ABT BREAM Tour moves next to the Tweed River, where anglers will again be able to qualify for the National Triton Boats BREAM Grand Final. Call (07) 3268 3992 b/h for more details.
SESSION 1 WINNERS
|1.||Sportsfish.com.au||Kaj Busch/Chris Wright||10/10||6.20kg||$5,500|
|3.||Crewman||Mick Walsh/Chris Deland||9/10||5.71kg||$1,500|
SESSION 2 WINNERS
|1.||Quantum Pro||Darren Borg/Rosss Lamotte||10/10||6.38kg||$5,500|
|2.||Lakeside Resort Forster||Travis Davies/Trent Short||10/10||5.07kg||$3,000|
|3.||Stessco||Craig Simmons/Steve Kanowski||10/10||4.98kg|
|1||SHIPTON TRADING/||ECO PRODUCTS/ STRUDWICK RODS: Mark Mangold & Scott Towner||10||6.15||10||4.56||20||10.71||"$3,000 + 1/4 Page Advertisement in Fishing Monthly"|
|2||CREWMAN: Chris Deland & Mick Welsh||9||5.71||10||4.89||19||10.6||"$1,500 "|
|3||GRAHAM BARCLAY MARINE 2: Peter Kelleher & Russell Babekuhl||10||5.1||7||4.21||17||9.31||"$2,500 Big Bream"|
|4||LAKESIDE RESORT FORSTER: Travis Davies & Trent Short||10||4.1||10||5.07||20||9.17||"$3,000 "|
|5||TILEPOWER: David Otway & Andrew Howard||10||5.22||9||3.94||19||9.16|
|6||SPORTSFISH: Kaj Busch & Chris Wright||10||6.2||5||2.62||15||8.82||"$5,500 "|
|7||QUANTUM PRO: Darren Borg & Ross Lamotte||5||2.15||10||6.38||15||8.53||"$5,500 "|
|8||MILLERODS/ MINN KOTA: Tim Morgan & Ian Miller||10||4.36||9||3.82||19||8.18|
|9||STESSCO: Craig Simmons & Stephen Kanowski||5||2.6||10||4.98||15||7.58||"$1,500 "|
|10||FINE HORSE CONSTRUCTIONS: Ross Cannizzaro & Michael Collins||10||4.82||3||1.49||13||6.31|
|11||RAY WHITE: Daniel Brown & Dean Hammond||4||2||8||3.94||12||5.94|
|12||AIRLITE: Darryl Schroder & Adam O’connor||5||2.41||8||3.28||13||5.69|
|13||GLADIATOR: Drew Griffith & Stephen Blackmore||6||2.99||6||2.68||12||5.67|
|13||MANNING RIVER MARINE/ LES MITCHELL EARTHMOVING: Kristoffer||Hickson & Martin Richardson||6||2.85||6||2.77||12||5.62|
|15||SPORTSPOWER: Vincent Gavin & Wayne Reed||5||3.02||5||2.47||10||5.49|
|16||ECOGEAR/ YAMATOYO: Lance Sulkowski & Joe Crust||8||2.91||5||2.28||13||5.19|
|17||TICA: Kevin Gleed & Ian Rickard||6||2.59||6||2.39||12||4.98|
|18||BERKLEY: Natalie||Grima & Chris Cleaver||5||2.6||3||1.94||8||4.54|
|19||FULL BOAR BOATS: Tyson Detheridge & Mitchell McGovern||4||1.73||4||2.36||8||4.09|
|20||INLINE FISHING CHARTERS/ DUFF PAINTING: Stephen Duff & Craig Seignoir||6||2.42||3||1.35||9||3.77|
|21||CRAIG'S COASTAL LANDSCAPING: Shane Duffy & Luke Smith||3||1.29||4||1.64||7||2.93|
|22||GRAHAM BARCLAY MARINE 1: Adam Ward & Chris Hibberd||2||1.2||3||1.46||5||2.66|
|23||FISHING MONTHLY: Steve Morgan & Peter Morgan||4||1.98||1||0.59||5||2.57|
|24||BUSH AND BEACH: Chris Britton & Anthony Wishey||3||1.3||2||0.96||5||2.26|
|25||ANGLERS MARINE ANDSPORTS: Scott Lear & Vicki Winter||3||1.66||1||0.54||4||2.2|
|26||ST MARYS FISHING TACKLE: Vic||Brinkley & Alan Simpson||2||0.81||3||1.21||5||2.02|
|27||SPOTTERS SUNGLASSES: Adrian Lindsay & Steven Down||2||1.21||1||0.71||3||1.92|
|28||FORSTER BEACH CARAVAN PARK: Michael Metcalfe & Chris Metcalfe||2||0.75||1||0.63||3||1.38|
|29||MAINTEK: Matthew Worboys & David Alexander Marples||0||0||1||0.66||1||0.66|
Competitors set out in perfect Forster conditions.
Team Quantum Pro filled their limit out quickly on Sunday.
Forster locals came in their droves to see the weigh-ins.
Teams wait to weigh their bags.
Mark Mangold and Scott Towner weighed the most bream overall.
Team Sportsfish.com.au (Bushy and Slick) won the first skin on the Saturday - $5500.
Team Quantum Pro (Darren Borg and Ross Lamotte) took the Sunday skin – and $5500 – easily.