After a week of Sydney weather extremes, 56 teams were greeted to the southern shores of Pittwater with near perfect conditions for Round One of the Berkley Summer Series. With a light breeze, clear skies and a water temperature of around 25ºC, the 112 anglers were clearly looking forward to having a crack at one of the great waterways.
Whilst the aim was to secure a decent bag of five fish for a shot at the prize money, the first challenge was to decide whether to make the Bing Lee “Dash for Cameras" and try to secure a pair of Olympus digital cameras generously donated by the Bing Lee organisation. The rules were simple, the first legal bream to be presented to the Team Berkley Evinrude E-Tec powered Skeeter parked off Scotland Island would collect the prize. There was great speculation as to when this would happen but nearly two hours into the event Wayne Kesby and Vic Brinkley of Team Windsor Golf submitted their first fish, a meaty 32cm specimen to take the prize. A little surprised but delighted none the less Wayne and Vic headed off to chase their bag hoping that one fish wouldn’t cost them at the final weigh in.
In the meantime teams had spread through-out the Pittwater and Hawkesbury system. In search of quality fish in slightly milky water many teams chose to fish the flats off Palm Beach and the rocky headland and it was here in the Barrenjoey washes that Team Skeeter Boats/bassboatshop.com.au secured a number of fish that was to take them to the top of the table.
Fishing from a Skeeter I-Class powered by an Evinrude E-Tec 225HO, Josh Batterson and Matt Webb found quality fish in the rock washes and holes around Barrenjoey Headland, Box Head and towards the back of Lion Island. Using GLoomis 820 GLX Dropshot rods paired with Shimano Stella 1000’s, Team Skeeter cast Berkley Gulp 3 inch minnows in Pearl Watermelon and Moldy Cheese colour in to rocky washes and adjacent kelp beds and found good fish in all three areas. Leaders in the 4lb class and 1/12 jigheads ensured hook ups and both anglers had an incident free session.
Batterson was humble in victory saying “Any one of the 56 teams could have won the tournament, everything just fell into place for us today”, adding “When that happens, whoever it is, that’s how you win”.
And win they did, presenting a superb 4.00kg bag at the weigh-in to secure 1st place and a cash payout of $2000.
In contrast Team Fishing Monthly made the long run up river to the Smith’s Creek and Coal and Candle Creek areas to pursue their bag of fish. Stopping briefly in Pittwater to have a shot at the Bing Lee “Dash for Cameras, Steve Morgan and South African visitor Roger Donaldson giving bream fishing a go for the first time fished under boat hulls only to take a fish that was “Just too big to give away!” Returning to the plan the pair continued on and was soon fishing the rocky banks of the upper creeks.
Using a selection of custom rods, topwater and small stick minnow type lures were used on 3lb fluorocarbon line fished straight thru to the lure. Cast in to rocky and weedy shores the lures were ripped across the surface for several metres, enticing the bream from their hidey holes. Strikes came strongly and three hefty fish were lost using the light line.
Partner Donaldson on his first bream fishing sortie was full of praise for the Pittwater arena amazed not only at the “beauty of the waterway” but also at “the amount of boat traffic, reminiscent of some of the busiest waterways in South Africa!” A couple of stops back in Pittwater an the way home saw Team Fishing Monthly present at the weigh-in with a quality bag reaching 3.25kg, securing second place by some 200g and taking home $1200.
Bringing up third place and one of only four teams to exceed three kilos was the Windsor Bait and Tackle duo of Ben Turbott and Aaron Horne. Fishing the Berowra arm of the system Turbott and Horne weighed in 3.09kg to grab third by a whisker and take home an Engel Fridge/Freezer combo and cool storage products.
Amongst the range of prizes and giveaways generously donated by sponsors throughout the presentation, the award for Big Bream always attracts much attention and Team Reel N with Paul Newcombe and another first time bream fisho, Stewart Goodall took the podium with a great 1.39kg specimen. Stewart’s first ever bream took a blue and silver Yo Zuri lure and landing such a great fish also landed the duo a handheld GPS provided by sponsor Lowrance.
So that wraps up Round One of the Berkley Summer Series. The top five teams have secured a place in the ABT Classic Grand Final towards the end of the year and the race is now on for the $1500 Berkley Cash prize. With the points allocated from this round its all to fish for in Round Two on Sydney Harbour come 15th February. Not to be missed!
Many thanks to the sponsors of this event, Berkley, Engel Fridge and Freezers, Bing Lee, Evinrude E Tec, Blue Eye Eyewear, Lowrance Sounders, Skeeter Boats, Windsor Bait and Tackle, Gabes Bait and Tackle, Australian Bass Angler, and Fishing Monthly Magazine. Thanks also to Western Sydney Bream and Bass Fishing Club for providing assistance and a fantastic sausage sizzle for lunch. Much appreciated by all involved. – Chris Gates
|1||Skeeter Boats/Bassboatshop||Josh Batterson & Matt Webb (EVINRUDE)||5||4.000||100|
|2||Fishing Monthly||Steve Morgan & Roger Donaldson (EVINRUDE)||5||3.250||99|
|3||Windsor Bait & Tackle||Ben Turbott & Aaron Horne||5||3.094||98|
|4||Culburra Bait & Tackle||Grant Kime & Brad Balding||5||3.033||97|
|5||Franklins Plumbing||Graham Franklin & Phil Nix (EVINRUDE)||5||2.906||96|
|6||Flowin||Brendon Hughes & Scott Greetree||5||2.795||95|
|7||Squidgy||Chris Cleaver & Bill Karriyanis (EVINRUDE)||5||2.732||94|
|8||Pflueger||Gary Brown & Angus Ramsey||4||2.666||93|
|9||Zero||Michael Milburn & Daniel Bray||4||2.650||92|
|10||Squidgy / Hunts Marine||Scott Lear & Vicki Winter||5||2.601||91|