AS much as I love my bream fishing I had never really considered competing in a bream
tournament, but that alI changed recently when I received a phone call from my good
mate Rohan Soulsby. Rohan owns and operates Castaway Fishing Charters at Port
Stephens and was keen to fish the Forster round of the Gamakatsu team series and asked
me to join him.
I had been wanting to have a crack at Forster’s oyster lease bream for ages and it was an
excellent opportunity to check out the world of tournament bream fishing so I didn?t take
After a couple of weeks of planning we found ourselves in Forster the day before the
event. Our plan was to get on the water and hopefully find some fish that were keen to bite so we could go back and catch them on comp day.
As we drove into town and crossed the Forster Tuncurry bridge we were greeted by the sight of a chocolate brown tide, the unwanted by product of recent heavy rain. I had never fished the area before and Rohan had only fished it couple of times himself, so the sight of all that brown water did little to inspire confidence.
We hastily launched Rohans 5.0 metre Hornet and managed to find a couple of good
looking oyster leases that held a few fish as the tide was rising. We also fished some
fences on the outside of leases that were in deeper water with a little more current moving
past them. Our plan was to fish these fences first up in the morning as the tide would be
low. As the high water pushed in we would then move up into the racks and concentrate
on extracting some cranky Forster bream from their razor sharp oystery homes.
Five thirty Sunday morning we were at the boat ramp for registration with 40 other
teams. After registering we launched our boat and managed to navigate the small harbour, without running into any other competitors, don’t ask me how, because it was a little chaotic with so many boats in such a small area. The fleet then filed past the jetty so crew members could draw their starting numbers. Rohan gave yours truly the duty and the
pressure was on! I plunged the hand in and pulled out number 29. Not that it really
mattered as the big horsepowered boats in the fleet would only blow our hats off as they
blasted past us anyway, so we were happy.
We fished hard all day and stuck to our game plan, ending the day with our bag of five fish. In the world of competitive bream fishing it’s all about catching five of the biggest fish you can stick hooks into and land on the day. We had three nice size fish and two that were just over the minimum 26cm, so we knew we were going to be well off the front runners bag weights, but we had a great day nonetheless.
Rohan Soulsby and an average sized Forster yellowfin bream.
Back at the weigh-in we ate sausages, swapped tales of woe with fellow anglers and
watched the scoreboard as teams weighed their bags. Our bag of five tipped the scales
at 2.3kg to put us in 16th place. When it was all over Team Berkley’s Russell Babekhule
and Trent Fahey took out the coveted number one spot with a bag of five fish that weighed
3.45kg. Russ and Trent had concentrated their efforts in the racks fishing with lightly weighted Berkley Gulp Craws and Grubs on the top and down the shadowed sides of the leases to produce the tournament winning bag.
So the big question I hear you ask is, would you do it again Captain? Absolutely, I think the one day team format of the Gamakatsu and BETS bream tournaments is fantastic as you can do the events without taking time off work if you don’t have to travel too far. The other big bonus is you can fish with whoever you choose. Don’t think for a minute that you need a $60,000 dollar bass boat to compete, although a craft that’s set up with a bow mount electric, a good live well and decent electronics is a must if you want to have half a chance.
A live well is essential for keeping your bream in good shape for release.
So if you have been thinking about giving it a go, take my advice and don’t hold back.
Grab a mate and get out there. Who knows you might even win some bucks or some new
fishing tackle, just for doing something you enjoy.