Insider’s look: Daiwa BREAM Australian Open 2011

Bream fishing comps are interesting events – outsiders mightn’t understand the considerable effort placed in pursuit a ubiquitous bread and butter estuary species, however, after spending a day on board with accomplished bream angler Russell Babekuhl during the recent Daiwa BREAM Australian Open, I was reminded that there is more to these events than meets the eye. The thought, energy and skill needed to be competitive is intense, especially when pitting your skills against adverse tides, a ticking clock and other likeminded anglers with agile watercraft who can pop up, extract a few fish then move on before you have a chance to blink.

The benefit of competition fishing is that it forces you to fish and forces you to think with a level of concentration that isn’t often present when fishing socially. I joined Russell on a morning where the tides were challenging and conditions quite windy – this particular competition was a solo angler event with a hefty entry fee which forms the cash prize pool. All entry fee proceeds were paid out to the top 20 per cent of anglers making the cash pool for total bream weighed significant while the event sponsors provided a number of prizes for the largest fish weighed daily along with random draws.

What struck me during the course of the day was the attention to detail in angling along with the constant thought and refinement as the day wore on and the hunt for a reasonable bag intensified. You have to bear in mind that any missed opportunities could cost you thousands of dollars; looking back over the scoreboard this year showed that a mere 10 grams more for the chap that finished sixth would have bumped him into the cash pool and a thousand dollar plus cheque!

Russell fished solidly throughout the day quickly finding a few fish before the activity subsided forcing a chance of tack. The casting accuracy shown and lure placement along the various natural and made structure fished was precise and his persistence was rewarded with a steady stream of fish on a day when the Parramatta River proved somewhat challenging. It was interesting to sit back and silently observe someone fishing my local waters – as a mad keen fisherman, not being able to indulge and cast a rod all day was also interesting to say the least!

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Competitor Russell Babekuhl plying his skills around a harbour jetty.

The individual angler format worked well and for the guys out there who have invested a great deal of time, effort and money into the pursuit it allows them to place their own skills against their peers – in the absence of another angler on board you’re reliant solely on your own lure choices, thoughts techniques and skill in the race for a substantial cash prize.

The three day comp this year was won by Kris Hickson who fished strongly on the second and third days of competition to claim the title ahead of John Balcomb with Russell Babekuhl finishing third.

Media representatives were invited with a large contingent from Fishing World present during the final weigh in to lend their support to the event along with Daiwa’s Brad Sissins who was on hand to present the lucky anglers with their well deserved prizes.

The event ran smoothly with tournament director Simon Goldsmith hosting a live video feed that was broadcast daily during the weigh in allowing keen anglers the opportunity to enviously watch the action unfold while stuck at work!

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Overall winner Kris Hickson took home this cool trophy that sported a lifelike bream.

For more on the event and final results click HERE.

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