Berkley Bream Pro Babekuhl Breaks Through for BREAM
Berkley BREAM Pro Russell Babekuhl claimed one of the few
titles that had eluded him in his illustrious tournament fishing career with an
impressive come-from-behind win in the 2011 Daiwa BREAM Grand Final. Sitting in
11th place heading into the final day Babekuhl timed his charge to
perfection weighing in his biggest bag for the event on the day when he needed
it the most.
One of only six anglers out of the top twenty to catch his
limit on the final day Babekuhl blew the field away, living up to his
prediction as one of the locals to watch in the talented field of tournament
Continuing the good form he’d show through the entire BREAM
Grand Final Week was Tristan Taylor,
with the Brisbane
breamer claiming another Grand Final runners-up title to accompany the one he
picked up at the Gold Coast Grand Final in 2009.
For event winner Babekuhl it was a perfectly executed event,
with the Wingham breamer fill his bag each day, then blowing them away on the
final the day.
“I started out in the racks down the bottom but it was just
too clear and too still, so I headed up the Wallamba River to throw topwaters
(snoop coloured Berkley Pop Dog) and hopefully fill my bag”, explained
The approach paid dividends with Babekuhl catching a string
of understand fish and many legals. With the wind starting to increase he
headed back down to the bottom and hit the racks where he started the day.
No longer throwing topwaters Babekuhl went soft, throwing a
pepper prawn coloured 2” Berkley Gulp Shrimp rigged on a size 1 Owner worm
“I’d cast the Shrimp as far as I could across the racks,
wind it back in, then stop it just as it came over the edge and sink it down
into the shadows”, explained Babekuhl.
The technique started Babekuhl’s Grand Final off in great
style, delivering him a 3kg bag and 7th place at the end of the
opening day of competition.
Day two’s start was a repeat of the day before with Babekuhl
heading straight upriver with the intent of filling his bag before looking for
“There was hardly any flow and the fish didn’t bite, all I
managed was a few undersize fish”, explained Babekuhl.
Cutting his losses Russ headed back to the racks at 9.30am and
once again threw worm hook rigged Gulp Shrimps.
“It was important to rotate the racks regular, catching a
few fish then resting it to let them recover”, explained Russ.
With his limit in the well by lunch time Babekuhl was
gunning for upgrades but they proved hard to find.
“It was hard to find the big bites, the upside though was
that I landed all the better bites I had and I didn’t get dusted up by any
fish”, explained Babekuhl.
Slipping to 11th place Babekuhl was getting
further off the pace at the front of the field, but with his A-game (un-fished
racks) still up his sleeve he had the ammunition he needed to blow the field
away, and that’s exactly what he did on day three.
“I had two full sets of racks that I save for last day. They
hadn’t been touched and they were ones that had produced plenty of big fish for
me over the years. So I was hopeful that they would fire when I need them the
most’, explained Russ.
With the wind not strong enough to have the racks at their
best Babekuhl hit some oyster sheds to kill some time and get started on
filling his limit. Hitting the shaded edges and the poles of the sheds Babekuhl
fished Shrimps tight to structure on 3lb straight through Sensei fluorocarbon
and had three fish in the well in the hour.
With the wind starting to blow Babekuhl moved and headed
straight to the racks that he had been keeping up his sleeve.
“It didn’t take long to get onto the fish, the first one I
caught within five minutes of getting there and I had another one and my limit
within half an hour”, explained Babekuhl.
His first fish was a classic Forster special. A big, old,
blue-nosed oyster munching bream that shatters anglers’ heart and keeps them
“They were tough the fish, I straighten the hooks on four
and got done over twice by fish on last day. It was the only day of the four
days I had on the water at Forster where I got out muscled by fish”, explained
While the retrieve for the Shrimp was the same as the preceding
two days, there was slight twist in how it was rigged.
“The wind was getting stronger making it hard to keep the
Shrimp swimming below the surface so I added some weight to it by rigging it on
a 1/32nd oz Nitro jighead”, explained Babekuhl.
The change in approach was perfect for the conditions and
the prevailing bite with Russ landing twenty legal fish for the session. Hitting
the stage early during the weigh-in Babekuhl set the mark for the others to
beat. His 3.38kg limit set the field back on their heels, was 850 grams larger
than any other bag weighed in, and gave him a lead that was never bettered. The
only angler to come close was event runner-up Tristan
A week after the win Babekuhl was still coming to terms with
what he had achieved.
“I still can’t believe that I managed to win from as far
back as 11th. It’s a win that will be impossible to top”, explained
The tackle the 2011 Daiwa BREAM used to secure his greatest
win included a Berkley Tournament Pro TP-721-35 rod, and an ABU Soron 4000 reel
spooled with 12lb Berkley Nanofil line. His choice of leader varied throughout
the tournament, fishing 8 and 10lb Trilene on the first two days then down
sizing to 6lb on the last day when the fishing was at its toughest.
For event runner-up Tristan Taylor
it was another BREAM Grand Final win missed, with the Brisbane dentist falling 280grams short of
claiming his first GF win. Compiling a 15/15, 8.57kg for the event Taylor like many anglers
in the tournament fished a combination of flats and racks to catch his fish.
Fishing oyster racks behind Bandicoot
Island on day one was where it all
started for Taylor, with the 2011 QLD Lowrance
Angler of the Year throwing modena
bone coloured Megabass Dog X Jnrs.
“The approach was simple, throw the lure as far as you could
across the racks, and when a fish ate it, wind like crazy so you didn’t get
bricked”, explained Taylor.
With 2 ½ hours elapsed and three fish in the well Taylor
changed location and hit the flats at Wallis Lake to crankbait up the rest of
his bag. Slow rolling Atomic Hardz Crank 38s (mid) in ghost gill brown and
ghost green shad colours Taylor
struggled early and didn’t find any consistency until late in the session.
“It was definitely a late bite, I didn’t get my limit until
12.30pm and the most action I found was on my last three casts of the day (3 x
upgrades)”, explained Taylor.
Weighing in 2.99kg Taylor’s
late bite paid off and had him sitting in 8th place heading into day
The start of day two was a repeat of day one, all bar the
fish biting, with Taylor
struggling to find fish willing to his topwaters in the racks.
“I cut my losses 1 ½ hours into the session and headed out
to the flats (2-4 feet deep). But it was for nil return and I didn’t catch any
first fish until 12pm”, explained Taylor.
Fishing away from the masses Taylor picked up a fish a drift with the
clumps of bright green weed the hot spots to target.
“They were the gun places to fish, if you were going to
catch a fish from anywhere it was going to come from the bright green, wide
leafed weed”, explained Taylor.
was keyed in on the fish better than any other angler on day two and weighed in
a 3.11kg limit, pushing him into second place and within striking range heading
into the third and final day.
Bypassing the racks of the first two days Taylor headed straight to the flats and kick
started his game plan for day three, to fish hard, all day, and right through
to the very end.
“I knew it was going to be a late bite, but by 8.30am I was
beginning to get ancy so I moved locations and tried a couple of different
flats”, explained Taylor.
By 10am and with nothing to show Taylor moved once again, this time heading
back to the racks, followed by Hells Gate.
“All I had to show was one bust off for all my running
around, so I headed back (11am) to my original flats and just put my head
down”, explained Taylor.
Once again slow rolling his Atomic Crank across the flats Taylor had bites from
seven legal fish, but landed only five.
“The two fish that I missed are the ones that I will
remember forever. One of them popped my leader knot while the other I lost at
the net. It’s definitely the most stressful day I’ve ever had on the water”, explained
may lament his missed opportunity his podium finish and finishing the year as
the highest money winner ($10,075) should bring some solace for his year on the
The tackle he used to catch his Forster fish included a
Samurai Reaction 203 rod, Megabass Caiyen 256 reel, spooled with 8lb Aorika II
PE, and 6 metre long 2 and 3lb Silver Thread fluorocarbon leader.
Claiming the non-boater title at the 2011 Daiwa BREAM Grand
Final Series was 37 year old year old northern rivers angler Heath Blakie
(10/10, 6.58kg). Fishing with Don Johnston on day one and Mark Mangold on day
two Blaike fished a combination of soft plastics and hard bodies to catch his
On day one with Johnstone the pair hit Wallis Lake
throwing topwaters early. Blaike’s lure of choice being an Atomic stick bait
that he worked with a constant walk-the-dog retrieve.
“I tried a walk and pause retrieve but the takes were half
hearted, so I just kept it moving to get the fish worked up and willing to take
the lure”, explained Blaike.
The retrieve was spot on with Blaike catching a 33cm fish within
the first 20 minutes. The topwater bite waned and rather than preservering catching
only undersized he swapped to sub-surface and began using an Atomic Hardz Crank
38 mid, catching two more fish, including on legal.
“I tried a few different things, including working the lure
faster but could only catch undersize fish so I followed Don’s lead and tried
more minnow styled hardbody and worked it with a twitch, pause retrieve”,
The chang was spot on with Blaike adding another quality
fish, this time a 34, to the bag courtesy of a Bassday Kangoku Shad. At the end
of the day he was sitting in second place and primed for a big day two.
Fishing with Mangold on day two, Blaike started where he
left off on day one, throwing a crankbait in shallows of Wallis Lake
“I began with an Atomic Hardz but the water was a lot
clearer then where we were fishing the day before, so I had little to show for
the first couple of hours”, explained Blaike.
Swapping to a soft plastic Blaike used a wasabi coloured
75mm Squidgy Lobby rigged on a 1/20th oz Atomic Seekerz jighead cast
up into the shallows and fished with a slow lift,
drop, pause retrieve.
“The fish were very tentative picking the bait gently up of
the bottom”, explained Blaike.
Going softly, softly on them Blaike make long stealthy
casts, aiming at areas where he saw bait movement, and in the sand pockets
scattered amongst the weed. The approach produced a hand full of undersize
fish, but it was Mark’s kicker fish that was the most memorable.
“We saw some bait flicker in the shallows so Mark threw straight
in there and this fish nailed it”, explained Blaike.
At the scales Mangold’s and Blaike’s bag weighed 2.84kg,
delivering Blaike the event win and an ecstatic end to the 2011 season.
Heath’s assortment of tournament winning tackle included
custom made Samurai rods, Shimano Symetre and Sedona reels, 3lb Sunline FC
Sniper fluorocarbon (crankbaits), and 3lb Berkley Exceed Fireline and 3lb
Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon leader (soft plastics).
The Daiwa BREAM Grand Final at Forster was the final chapter
in the 2011 ABT BREAM season and for anglers attention now turns to the BREAM
Classic events held over summer, and preparation for tournament season 2012. Dates
for the 2012 season will be released in November 2011. Visit www.bream.com.au for all the latest
tournament information and results.
|Daiwa BREAM Series: Daiwa BREAM Grand Final Boater Results|
|1||Russell BABEKUHL||NSW||5||3||5||2.46||5||3.38||15||8.84||BassCat Sabre boat, Mercury 115 Pro XS, Minn Kota 80lb
Fortrex, Humminbird sounders
|2||Tristan TAYLOR||Qld||5||2.99||5||3.11||5||2.47||15||8.57||Engel Fridge/Freezer|
|3||Steve GILL||NSW||5||2.95||5||2.72||5||2.53||15||8.2||Blue Eye Sunglasses|
|4||Dean GAMBLE||VIC||5||3.09||4||2.88||3||2.03||12||8||Blue Eye Sunglasses|
|5||Don JOHNSTON||WA||5||3.74||5||2.48||2||1.5||12||7.72||Blue Eye Sunglasses|
Series: Daiwa BREAM Grand Final Non-Boater Results
|1||Heath BLAIKIE||NSW||5||3.74||5||2.84||10||6.58||Hobie Pro Angler kayak|
|2||Tim OLSEN||ACT||5||2.8||5||3.11||10||5.91||Daiwa Prize Pack|
|3||Dan STEAD||QLD||5||3.08||5||2.82||10||5.9||Engel Fridge/Freezer|
|4||Andrew DIBLEY||Vic||5||3.09||5||2.8||10||5.89||Lowrance HDS 5|
|5||Richard LINOSSI||VIC||5||2.95||5||2.48||10||5.43||Blue Eye Sunglasses|