Franklin/Renault Team Swoops at Bing Lee Australian Open
  |  First Published: February 2009

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



PlaceTeamAnglersFishWeight (kg)Payout
1FRANKLIN PLUMBING/RENAULTGraham Franklin/Dean Nash15/159.86$10,000
2LEARY'S RENDERING SERVICEMartin Richardson/Scott Lear15/159.43$5,000
3TACKLE POWERJohn Balcomb/Ben Godfrey15/159.06$4,500
4WINDSOR BAIT AND TACKLEBen Turbott/Aaron Horne15/158.96$4,000
5FISHING MONTHLY MAGAZINESSteve Morgan/Tim Morgan15/158.96$3,000
6DAVID TOSLAND BUILDINGDavid Tosland/Jorg Vanhusen15/158.66$3,000
7SQUIDGY PRO RANGECraig Simmons/Kristoffer Hickson15/158.45$2,000
8BUDDS BAIT AND TACKLE/TT LURESDaniel Brown/Darren Borg15/158.4$2,000
9SQUIDGYBill Karayannis/Chris Cleaver15/158.06$1,500
10AUSBREAM.COMBill Maguire/Richard Robson15/157.93
11BASSCAT BOATSWayne Reed/Greg Beattie14/157.77
12RAPALA/SLAM LURESMichael Collins/Joe Crust15/157.48
13SPOOKY FISHINGMichael Passau/Matthew Taylor13/157.32
14SKEETER BOATS/WWW.BASSBOATSHOP.COM.AUJosh Batterson/Dino Taglieri13/157.05
15HIGHLAND SCOTCH WHISKY & COLAAlan Loftus/Ross Cannizzaro13/156.87
16ENGELRichard Fitzgerald/Michael Fitzgerald11/155.76
17SNAP LEVEL 2/BIG COLOURIan Seeto/Chris Seeto12/155.66
18STIFFYS LURES/MILLERODSChris Wright/Ian Miller12/155.35
19GAMAKATSUMichael Starkey/Jay Morgan10/155.34
20BERKLEYMark Mangold/Scott Towner10/155.11
21BIG COLOUR IMAGINGLeigh McKenzie/Greg Seeto9/154.98
22JOYCE MAYNE WARNERS BAYChris Russell/Mitchell Birt9/154.60
23MRB COMMUNICATIONSBill Boyton/Tony Bourke6/154.41
24DIE HARDMark Riddell/Adam Sczepaniak9/154.31
25LOWRANCE/PFLUEGERAndrew Homann/Neil Foley6/153.51
26BING LEEGreg Lee/Patrick Debattista4/152.08

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