A field of 62 teams from all over the east coast participated in what turned out to be a weekend of perfect weather at Croudace Bay foreshore and the fish turned it on for the Berkley Lake Macquarie BREAM Classic.
After the first day’s fishing six boats had come back with ‘donuts’ for their efforts but then the bags of five bream started to be produced.
‘Team Messo’, (Peter and Doug Messenger) were one of those teams with five bream to weigh. Their fish were reasonable and Doug also said they had caught plenty of other species totalling 30 fish, including tailor and whiting.
‘Team Slaughter’, last year’s event winners (Rob Irons and Sean Reynolds), arrived at the scales with the heaviest bag of bream for day 1. Their total of 3.305kg was impressive and the local pair also claimed provisional heaviest bream of 1.1kg.
But the prize from Evinrude E-Tec of $200 cash was to go to Team Toronto Bait & Tackle’s John Trimbell with a whopping bream of 1.325kg. As competitors so often do on Day 1 when asked where their fish came from, John’s description was somewhat limited – he said, ‘in the water’.
At the conclusion of day 1, 162 bream had been weighed in with 16 teams achieving their five-fish limit. Teams from No 1 down to 15 all had over 2kg of fish but Team Slaughter, with 3.915kg, was going to be hard to beat.
Day 2 started with persistent rain periods and competitors had to turn back of their watches one hour to accommodate the end of daylight saving. Team Dim Sim forgot but still finished fourth overall.
By 1.30pm, the competitors thundered back to see who would take the $5000 cash donated by Berkley.
Spectators had gathered to look on at the 177 bream weighed in, a slight increase from the previous day , so the rainy, overcast conditions helped the catch rate.
Pro Bream Heroes, another hot local pairing of Chris and Jason Russell, were on the heels of Team Slaughter and weighed their bag in at just 0.11kg more. But it wasn’t enough as Sean Reynolds came up to the scales with another nice bag of 3.305kg.
Team Slaughter took out the event with a total of 7.22kg but they didn’t give too much away as to locations or techniques. The locals took away $5000 cash from Berkley as well as the ‘leading boat Day 1’ prize pool of just over $400.
But it wasn’t all sad for the Russell boys, who picked up $1000 cash for second place as well as the $200 cash from Evinrude E-Tec for the heaviest bream of Day 2 with a 1.025kg specimen.
There were only a handful of teams which didn’t register points but the most interesting comment from all the teams was the numbers of fish caught in total, including undersized fish.
One competitor reported that he lost count of how many bream he threw back because they were undersized under the tournament’s rules of 25cm to the fork of the tail.
It was hard to pin down the most effective lure but among the most popular were hardbodies from Jackall, Bassday and Daiwa.
Of course the most popular soft plastic was the Berkley Gulp range, especially 2” and 3” Minnows in pumpkinseed and mouldy cheese. Other competitors wouldn’t go past the Shimano Bushy’s Stiffy lure.Reads: 2294