THE ARRIVAL of a new year sees ABT polished, revamped and rearing to go for 2004. The season kicks off in early February with the first event of the Bass Electric series at Clarrie Hall Dam on the 8th of the month. The popularity of the series sees the total number of events expanding to 12, and the introduction of the MotorGuide Bass Electric Convention as the climax of the session.
The ever-evolving Quintrex BREAM events are going from strength to strength, with their growing popularity seeing the NSW rounds split into a northern and southern division, providing a total of four qualifying rounds in NSW. The first event for the year will see the BREAM tour move to the expansive waters of the Gippsland Lakes for the first time, and takes place on February 14-15. The first round of the southern NSW division will be held two weeks later on the Clyde River on February 28-29. The Queensland BREAM events kick off once again on the Gold Coast with the Quintrex Gold Coast Bream Challenge on the weekend of May29-30.
The Yamaha BASS Pro series begins its year on the big bass waters of Lake Glenbawn on March 13-14. This year sees a total of four qualifying rounds, and competitors have the option of dropping their worst event when vying for a place in the this year’s Grand Final.
The new season also delivers a host of other new rule changes, with the new BREAM event format seeing ‘Pros’ and ‘Amateurs’ incorporated into the Grand Final and both competing for new boat packages. Qualifying rounds will also see the first four Pros and Amateurs gain entry into the Grand Final, with anglers now fishing for the state in which they live, rather than in which they qualify.
Yamaha Bass Pro events will now see the first two anglers from each round qualify for the Grand Final, with the remainder made up from the Angler Of The Year points table. The Bass Electric Series has been expanded and now encompasses three states, with the number of anglers allowed to fish from each boat being increased. The ability to fish two per boat frees up the option to fish with a partner or introduce someone new to tournament fishing. The entry process for the electric events has also been changed, with entries only receivable on the day of the event. The absence of pre-fish bans also adds to the appeal of making the tournament a weekend away rather than just a day trip.
Continuing this year will be the premier tournaments of the calendar – the Megabucks events. The MegaBREAM event will take place on the fish-rich waters of Wallis Lake at Foster, with the BASS version held a little further north on the equally productive waters of Bjelke-Petersen Dam. Joining these events this year will be the inaugural BREAM Teams Challenge event, The Australian Open, held on the picturesque waters of Sydney Harbour and run in conjunction with the 4WD and Fishing Show in March.
Complementing the rule changes for 2004 is the consolidation and development of ABT, which is now fully operating out of the Fishing Monthly offices in Brisbane and supported by a full-time staff member. The developments across the board mean that this year will be the best yet for tournament competitors and ABT.
An outline of what’s in store for the year is available in the newly released ABT 2004 Tour Guide. It contains all the information you’ll need for this year’s tournaments, and a heap of material on the successful techniques and tactics used by the champions in 2003. The guide is a must for those both old and new to the tournaments, and it’s available from all Fishing Monthly stockists and via mail order from Fishing Monthly ($12.50 inc. p&h). The rulebook inserts in the guide are also available separately on mail order from Fishing Monthly ($2.50 inc. p&h).
All tournament and entry enquiries can be directed to Simon Goldsmith on (07) 3268 3992. -ABTReads: 455