Over the years, the Bing Lee Australian Open has proved the most challenging teams event on the ABT BREAM calendar. Competitors have to deal with one of Australia’s busiest waterways, the fickle nature of the Harbour bream – which turn and off seemingly randomly – and a field of talented breamers who travel from far and wide to try their luck in search of the big prize money.
Anyone can enter. Belly up the $1100 entry fee and you’re in. That’s why it’s called the Open.
Historically, the Open has seen more come-from-behind victories courtesy of astonishing last-day bags, than any other event. And in an event where an average limit is around 2.5kg, teams have topped the 5kg mark at least three times in the tournament sessions. Two of these have been by the event Sponsor – Greg Lee from Bing Lee Electrical, and the other by Wayne Reed and Adrian Neoh with a massive 6.18kg sack.
So it wasn’t unexpected when the 2009 Open was snatched from the leaders by the Franklin Plumbing/Renault team of Graham Franklin and Dean Nash. Presenting the only 4kg+ limit of the event, their 4.47kg bag of brutes catapulted them from 6th place into 1st and onto the $10,000 cheque.
Fishing shallow dirty water flats (1-2.5m deep) in the Parramatta River and Iron Cove, Franklin and Nash used a tandem lure approach, using soft plastics and hardbodies to fill their bag each day.
“We offered the bream the best of both worlds, hard and soft”, explained Franklin.
The soft plastic came in the form of a 3” Tackle Craft Prawn in a muddy green colour, while the hardbody was a mixture of shallow and deep running Jackall Chubbies in a variety of natural colour tones.
“We rigged the prawns on 1/12oz and 1/16oz HWS jigheads and retrieved them with a slow lift and drop retrieve”, explained the 2009 Bing Lee victors.
Their Chubbies showed a slight variance, with the deep model presented with a slow rolling retrieve and the shallower model worked with a rolling retrieve punctuated by pauses and aggressive twitches.
The tackle used by the pair to present their tournament winning money baits included a 6’9” Daiwa Longcast Special rod, Daiwa 2500 Certate reel, spooled with 3lb Crystal Fireline and 4lb Berkley Vanish leader.
Post victory the pair provided an insight into their hopes and possible expectations as they made their way to the weigh-in on the final day.
“We had a feeling we had the fish that might give the tournament a shake”, explained Franklin.
“We were disappointed with our small bag on day one (2.23kg) so we knew we had a lot of ground to make up to have any chance of getting near the leaders”, added Graham.
And that’s exactly what they did; moving from 15th at the end of day one, to 6th on day two, and to the number one spot on day three. Adding their names to a growing list of Australian Open champions the pair have now bolstered their career earnings to the tune of $5000 each.
“This is my first tournament win and it’s a feeling that I absolutely love”, said Franklin.
“Hopefully it’ll be the start of more things to come”, he added.
Relegated to second place and thoughts of what might have been was Team Leary’s Reandering Service comprised of Martin Richardson and Scott Lear, 15/15, 9.43kg.
Leading for the first two days of the event, the pair couldn’t have wished for more consistent days on the water, delivering 3kg bags to the scales each day of the tournament.
“It was rewarding to get good bags each day, it was just disappointing to get pipped at the post. That’s Sydney Harbour and that’s tournament fishing though”, lamented Lear.
Fishing a natural approach the pair targeted mangrove lined edges in the 4 knot zone in the upper reaches of the Lane Cove River.
“We fished a standard team tactic with Martin fishing a hardbody and myself a soft plastic”, explained Lear.
Richardson slow rolling a translucent purple coloured shallow Jackall Chubby out from the edges and Lear double tweaking and hoping a bottle green coloured 3” Juro Firebait Minnow.
“Most of the hits on the Firebait came on the pause, while the Chubby was getting the bulk of the strikes on the first few cranks of the handle when the lure was still close to the edge and the shade”, explained Lear.
The approach delivered the $5000 winning pair three upgrades on day one, another three on day two, and a total of five upgrades on day three.
It was a consistent performance by the pair, with 36 year old Lear, and 50 year old Richardson claiming their biggest prize cheque to date.
“By best performances last year were two fifth places on the BREAM tour, while this year I’ve already had two second places to kick start the season”, explained an invigorated Lear.
“Hopefully I can crack it soon and break through for my first win”, he added.
2009 delivered anglers with their richest Bing Lee BREAM Australian Open to date, with $35,000 in cash and $5,000 in prizes awarded to the 26 team field. None cash winning teams shared in the spoils, with four Canon EOS 1000D cameras randomly drawn and presented to those lucky enough to have their name called.
In total 316 bream graced the scales for a total weight of 175kg, with an average weight of 0.55kg. The next event of the 2009 BREAM Season sees anglers head north to Taree for the opening round of the Ford Ranger BREAM Series, 24/25 January. For information and entries visit www.bream.com.au or call ABT (07) 3387 0888 b/h. – ABT
|1||FRANKLIN PLUMBING/RENAULT||Graham Franklin/Dean Nash||15/15||9.86||$10,000|
|2||LEARY'S RENDERING SERVICE||Martin Richardson/Scott Lear||15/15||9.43||$5,000|
|3||TACKLE POWER||John Balcomb/Ben Godfrey||15/15||9.06||$4,500|
|4||WINDSOR BAIT AND TACKLE||Ben Turbott/Aaron Horne||15/15||8.96||$4,000|
|5||FISHING MONTHLY MAGAZINES||Steve Morgan/Tim Morgan||15/15||8.96||$3,000|
|6||DAVID TOSLAND BUILDING||David Tosland/Jorg Vanhusen||15/15||8.66||$3,000|
|7||SQUIDGY PRO RANGE||Craig Simmons/Kristoffer Hickson||15/15||8.45||$2,000|
|8||BUDDS BAIT AND TACKLE/TT LURES||Daniel Brown/Darren Borg||15/15||8.4||$2,000|
|9||SQUIDGY||Bill Karayannis/Chris Cleaver||15/15||8.06||$1,500|
|10||AUSBREAM.COM||Bill Maguire/Richard Robson||15/15||7.93|
|11||BASSCAT BOATS||Wayne Reed/Greg Beattie||14/15||7.77|
|12||RAPALA/SLAM LURES||Michael Collins/Joe Crust||15/15||7.48|
|13||SPOOKY FISHING||Michael Passau/Matthew Taylor||13/15||7.32|
|14||SKEETER BOATS/WWW.BASSBOATSHOP.COM.AU||Josh Batterson/Dino Taglieri||13/15||7.05|
|15||HIGHLAND SCOTCH WHISKY & COLA||Alan Loftus/Ross Cannizzaro||13/15||6.87|
|16||ENGEL||Richard Fitzgerald/Michael Fitzgerald||11/15||5.76|
|17||SNAP LEVEL 2/BIG COLOUR||Ian Seeto/Chris Seeto||12/15||5.66|
|18||STIFFYS LURES/MILLERODS||Chris Wright/Ian Miller||12/15||5.35|
|19||GAMAKATSU||Michael Starkey/Jay Morgan||10/15||5.34|
|20||BERKLEY||Mark Mangold/Scott Towner||10/15||5.11|
|21||BIG COLOUR IMAGING||Leigh McKenzie/Greg Seeto||9/15||4.98|
|22||JOYCE MAYNE WARNERS BAY||Chris Russell/Mitchell Birt||9/15||4.60|
|23||MRB COMMUNICATIONS||Bill Boyton/Tony Bourke||6/15||4.41|
|24||DIE HARD||Mark Riddell/Adam Sczepaniak||9/15||4.31|
|25||LOWRANCE/PFLUEGER||Andrew Homann/Neil Foley||6/15||3.51|
|26||BING LEE||Greg Lee/Patrick Debattista||4/15||2.08|