Simmons edges to victory on Manning
  |  First Published: July 2005

The Northern NSW leg of the 2005 Triton Boats BREAM Series kicked off with the running of the Stessco Manning River BREAM Challenge on June 11-12.

Craig Simmons, a 40 year Chuwar (Qld) resident, showed he was more than just a bass angler, adding the Manning win to his 2002 BASS Pro Grand Final victory. Snapping close at Simmons’ heels was event runner-up and Manning local Chris Martin.

Simmons compiled an 8/10, 4.42kg bag to secure the $3000 first prize cheque and the first of four Grand Final berths on offer at the event.

Spending the duration of his tournament fishing the Lansdowne River, Simmons targeted the fish holding tight against the edges and the mangrove stems littered along the shoreline.

“The key was to get the lure under the overhanging branches, right up against the edge and into mangrove roots”, Simmons explained.

“In many cases I had to skip the lure off the water’s surface two or three times to get it far enough back into the shade where the fish were sitting.”

Simmons cracked the pattern during the Friday prefish, where one stretch of bank produced two memorable bust-ups and one landed fish. The active nature of the shade-dwelling and edge-holding fish continued throughout the tournament, with Simmons’ day-two kicker coming in the form of a sight-cast fish that inhaled the lure moments after it touched down.

Simmons’ tournament winning lures once again came from the popular Berkley Gulp range, with the 3” Minnow Grub in pumpkinseed colour proving the standout, and the 3” Minnow in smelt colour coming a close second. Both were rigged on 1/24oz Nitro jigheads.

His assortment of tackle included 841 and 840 Angler spin rods matched to Shimano Stella and Sustain reels, in 1000 and 2500 sizes. The smaller was spooled with 4lb Fireline and the larger with 4lb Platypus Superbraid. The leader of choice was 8lb Yamatoyo fluorocarbon.

When quizzed about his fantastic final day limit, Simmons largely put it down to the poor returns that most of the field got from the Lansdowne on day one.

“A lot of the guys didn’t get much up there on day one, so come day two I largely had the place to myself,” Simmons explained.

“All the banks that I fished, I did generally without the company of others. Not having to fish second-hand water was such a bonus, and that played a big part in the fish I got in the final session.”

Using his extensive local knowledge to great effect was the second placed boater from the event, Chris Martin of Croki. The 44-year-old tackle store salesman drew on a string of back-up locations to compile a 7/10, 4.23kg bag to secure the $1500 runner-up prize and the adulation of the parochial local crowd.

Fishing the middle to lower reaches of the Manning, Martin began each day fishing a small island near the Dawson River before beginning a spot-hopping rotation of locations.

The most productive technique for Martin proved to be a finesse approach featuring a considerable amount of dead-sticking of the lure during the retrieve.

“It didn’t take long on day one to work out the fish weren’t overly active,” Martin explained. “I slowed things down to see if that would make a difference, and it did.”

Martin’s arsenal of tackle included a Strudwick Sic Stik rod, Daiwa TDA reel, 4lb Squidgy Braid and 8lb Gillies fluorocarbon.

His choice of lure, like many in the tournament, was soft plastics, alternating between a 1/16oz Squidgy jighead rigged, 3” Berkley Bass Minnow (pearl/olive), and a resin head rigged Squidgy Flick Bait.

The Go-So Big Bream Prize was claimed by non-boating angler Craig Griffis with his outstanding 1.22kg specimen. Captured by the Taree resident on day one of the tournament, the big fish fell to a well-presented pumpkinseed coloured 3” Berkley Bass Minnow, and was wrestled from the Harrington Breakwall towards the mouth of the Manning.

The title of Champion Non-Boater was claimed by ABT debutant Brian Paff, who captured the title by a mere 10g over non-boating runner-up Brent Delaney.

Compiling an 8/10, 4.54kg bag for the tournament, Paff saved the best for last, presenting a second day full limit to the weighmaster to leap-frog from 9th to the top spot.

The next event on the BREAM calendar sees the tour move to the Gold Coast for the Triton Boats Gold Coast BREAM Challenge on July 30-31. For more information visit www.bream.com.au or phone Simon Goldsmith (07) 3268 3992 (b/h) or 0427 326 464 (b/h).

Non-Boater Results

1Craig SIMMONS84.42$3000 + GF Qualification
2Chris MARTIN74.23$1500+ GF Qualification
3Steve MORGAN84.16
4Tim MORGAN74.02$800
5Ross LAMOTTE93.99$700+ GF Qualification
6Scott TOWNER73.95$600
7Ian MILLER63.75$500+ GF Qualification
8Martin RICHARDSON73.72$400
9John STARTIN63.57$400
10Jay MORGAN83.56$300

Non-Boater Results

1Brian PAFF84.54Prize pack + GF Qualification
2Brent DELANEY74.53Prize pack + GF Qualification
3Craig JOHNSON74.12Prize pack + GF Qualification
4Troy OEHLMAN64.04Prize pack + GF Qualification
5Todd YOUNG74.03Prize pack
6Mark PEDERSEN73.99Prize pack
7Craig GRIFFIS63.8Prize pack
8John SMALL73.62Prize pack
9Joe PIETRASZKIEWICZ83.51Prize pack
10Ian PALMER63.45Prize pack
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