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Bream champs!

The 2011 ABT DAIWA BREAM Series concluded last weekend with the Grand Final held at Forster on the NSW Mid North Coast.

The event hosted competitors from around the country, who qualified during one of the 13 rounds held throughout the year.

Renowned for its big, bruising, bream population, Forster didn’t disappoint the field of 48 boaters and 47 co-anglers, with more than half the field returning to the weigh master on the first day with their limit of five fish, and no less than 11 bags of 3kgs or more during the tournament.

The 2011 Champion Angler, and NSW Berkley Pro, Russell Babekuhl (15/15, 8.84kg) finished his successful year on a high, with consistent bags of fish caught in the oyster racks.  Unlike other competitors, Russell opted to fish the racks in the clean water at the bottom of the system, reasoning that in the clean water, the fish would unlikely be spread out through the racks, but rather be more concentrated tight to the structure, thereby making them easier to target.

Babekuhl fished the Berkley two-inch Gulp Shrimp in the Peppered Prawn colour on unweighted worm hooks, pitching the lures into the shady pockets of the racks.  This pattern, that he found during his practice day, required him to fish relatively light 4 and 6 pound leaders to get the bites.  He would rotate and rest his spots after catching a number of fish from a set of racks.

The final day saw Russell fish a brand new set of racks that he’d rested during the first two days of competition, a plan that worked perfectly, and saw him complete his 15/15 limit, and return his biggest bag  (3.38kg) of the weekend.

Event runner up Tristan Taylor (15/15, 8.57) from Queensland, fished a very different pattern to Babakuhl.  Having competed in the ABT Hobie and Classic Teams Grand Finals at Port Macquarie and Taree, this event was the culmination of an 11 day fishing “Grand final-a-thon”. 

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Runner up Tristan Taylor enjoyed good success on shallow flats.

Day one saw Taylor fish an early topwater bite using unweighted soft plastics over the oyster racks, before he moved to a small shallow flat in the main lake, to take advantage of a late bite.  Fishing a mid diving Atomic Crank in colour Ghost Gill Brown on 2lb leaders, he would fill out his bag, and eventually upgrade several times. 

On day two, the bite changed for Tristan.  By 11.30am he hadn’t caught a fish in the racks, and he decided to move to the shallow flat from the previous afternoon.  In five drifts, he would fill out his bag, before he was busted off on his last drift by a good fish that would have provided him with a healthy upgrade. 

Tristan’s final day saw him achieve a “happy outcome”.  He would return to the same flat where he’d fished in sight of third place getter Steve Gill (15/15, 8.2kg) for part of the weekend.  Fishing ultra light 2 pound leaders, he would lose 2 solid fish around 35cm, within sight of the boat, before eventually grinding out his bag to claim second place.

Gill was confident after a reasonable prefish, where he found big fish in the racks.  On all three days, he’d secured his bag before 9.30am, and spent the rest of the day looking for upgrades.  Day 1 had him worried, after he received a 200 gram late penalty, but in the end it made little difference, and he was happy with the final result, especially given this was his first visit to Forster.

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Third placed Steve “Gilly” Gill enjoyed a good prefish and got early bags, spending most of the comp looking for upgrades.

Gill’s success in this event bodes well for the 2012 season where he will be sponsored by Fishing World to compete in the popular BETS series.

Stay tuned to Fisho for more comp news and results over the coming 12 months.

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