Hobie / ABT Kayak Tournament - Sydney Report

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Hobie / ABT Kayak Tournament - Sydney Report

Post by paffoh » Tue Jan 20, 2009 7:36 pm

The first inaugural Hobie / ABT Kayak Fishing series was held with great success at Bayview Park, Sydney on Saturday the 17th of January 2008. With less than ideal weather predicted I was more than pleasantly surprised to find the event car park quite full around an hour before competition began. The smiles on competitor’s faces faded off threats of contempt from the wind gods above; attendees knew the time had come to secure Kayak Fishing Tournaments in Australia a bright future… Rain, hail or shine!

Many people had become obsessive with the idea of etching themselves in tournament history, the range of skills shown from yak anglers pre fishing the competition showed that the Bream were there, but finding them may prove difficult. Whispers of spread out destinations that held fish threw a few off there game plan early (Including yours truly) but that was nothing to what the 30 knot gale precluded. The main objective was to obviously find the fish but avoiding the weather soon became our number one priority.

The various competitors were drawn from far and wide, seasoned societies with backgrounds in Kayak Fishing all the way down to individuals new to the sport. As a proud member of the Hobie State Fishing Team I was keen to do my bit, talking to people before the start and gauging opinions on what constituted a good tournament. I know at first concerns were raised over entry fees and live well capabilities but these seem to disappear once on the shore, anticipation was sky high with the stage well and truly set.

ABT run a great event, organising plethoras of individual tournaments every year. The rules and regulations were carefully explained to all participants with Steve from Hobie outlining his future plan to one and all. It was stated by Steve Morgan that to access wether a tournament was viable they required a minimum of 20 anglers to set a field. With over forty Kayak Fishing enthusiasts lined up for a shot gun start they indicated they were more than impressed, certainly many intense thoughts for years ahead.

Friendly bantering began among handshakes and a head nod, the one thing a Kayak Fishing community does well is cohesion. Live wells were checked; safety devices noted and with friendships set to flourish the event began in earnest at bang on 6am. An excited crew manned the plastic fleet and literally took off under sail, destinations were shared freely and groups became acquainted with the situation. The Parramatta River is a heavily used waterway however the early signs were only an indication of the traffic to come.

With gaggles of entrants powering into the shallower basin the field became split, my destination was based on others predicted hot spots and my own agenda. The Cabarita Marina was my first port of call, working it solidly with soft plastics and bladed lures. Competitors shared elbow room and flogged it quickly before moving on, concentrating on its edges and structure. Watching another State member jostle perfectly for place was intriguing, Carl Dubois (Cid) has previous quality experience and so has his Hobie Sport.

The wind was deciding my future, pushing me across the bay in discomforting ways. Spotting a rowing club in the distance an outline of moored boats appeared including one or two ‘Scrubbers’. My Hobie Quest appeared to be the only one of its type to be paddled in the field’s entourage, with a weight capacity pushed to its limits I felt comfortable knowing it has been tested many times before and came out glowing. Holding position close to pylons and boats became easier as I relinquished the winds strengthening grip.

The area was holding plenty of anglers with one or two securing fish by peppering offerings under the wharfs. I joined QLD Hobie State member Paul O’leary throwing Gulp Sandworms and Shrimps in an area that pre fished well for him and others. As the students of the private mooring began their weekend routine I hooked up, signs immediately pointed to a species of the wrong dimension and sure enough the first of many undersized Flathead graced my deck for the day.

Depth was something my presentation wanted to avoid; a slower sink rate on 1/32 ounce jig heads were required and in hindsight, perhaps even a hidden weight system. Quickly switching lead I spied the eventual tournament winner hitting the moored boats close to my new destination. Without saying a word I tried to replicate his ideas a few boats beyond but became distracted and left the area when Scott Lovig (Victorian Hobie dealer and competitor) sounded in the distance around his previously successful arena.

Traffic became slowly evident when the first of the big cat ferry’s trundled towards a terminal. Avoiding serious wake whilst following Paul towards Scott we hit said terminal and I pulled in my first Bream for the day. Measurement showed an undersized Bream was due to be released ( By only .5cm mind you ), I started cursing the fact I neglected to purchase an official ABT ruler considering I always had doubts in my yellow Juro rule. With a few more taps drew lost rigs, swaying confidence (And then Scott moved in!).

Whilst mentioning previously dialed scripts at this exact location he was promptly smoked by what could only be described as a ‘Money fish’. It didn’t take him long to get over a significant loss with a quick fish placed in the well. He shared thoughts and offered company across the river towards the d’Angelo Marina and on to another ferry terminal. Being the eager kind I moseyed on behind keeping an eye on the boat traffic, my body told me to return to closer, calmer waters but my head craved action.

The d’Angelo Marina looked promising but was still well and truly in the wind, only the larger moorings provided significant coverage to get a cast or two in. By this stage the waterway was in full swing, schoolyard scullery, pleasure craft, yachts and the ABT Skeeter boat with the tournament directors on board. Caught up with the two Steve’s
who were checking on bragging rights, taking images and checking distances of entrants from the safety of the ramp (A professional touch, adding additional security to the event).

After chatting with the event sponsors I fished the terminal alone, last cast into a retreat saw some exploitation after the Ferry left the terminal. Two Bream in successive casts promised a bag limit but after once again measuring and coming up short, they were released unharmed. It was nearing the final two hours so figured I should paddle back towards the ramp and fish the flats behind the Tea Factory (Along with everyone else). Long, swirling paddles aren’t my cup of tea (Excuse the pun) and for once I dearly wished I owned an additional pedal craft, as others flew around me in relative ease.

The Cabarita Marina appeared as a haven compared to my initial touch of the place earlier this morning. Hugging in tight I allowed myself to cover the deck walks, pylons and drift into the nearby boats. In the middle of a flat I hooked my fourth Bream and smallest yet, dead sticking a Gulp 2” Shrimp into the gob of a 20cm beast. This was getting frustrated and clearly not my day, was I finally ruing the fact I didn’t stick to my researched game plan… An overcast day spells surface action but all fellow reports mentioned no luck.

Some people gave me a wide berth until I mentioned my tally for the day, then they were more than encouraging to help out. One such case I would like to mention is Stuart Burn who kindly offered his top water drift location which immediately paid off. Whilst I only secured two small, undersized Bream on a Storm Hopper Popper I missed a cracker and was eventually moved on by the odour of the Tea Factroy, wafting across the small Bay. Feeling worse for wear and slightly crestfallen it was time to face my demons and beach.

By the time I returned nearly all competitors were back from the six hour outing, some suffering battle scars (Topping’s, broken Mirage drives from excess pressure etc) some pacing nervously and some whispering about some prime evil sized Bream. Sooner or later all keys were placed on the board and the weigh in could begin. This is the time as a participant I enjoyed the most, as apart from the comradery shown to each other it was a great time to put faces to names and an even better time to spy some outstanding fish.

With the first fleet returned safe and sound, along with 27 successfully targeted species, the weigh in commenced in front of a stream of entrants, adoring supporters and inquisitive onlookers. The ABT wash and weigh tubs were stationed just up the slope from the beached yaks with the podium style hill used to project placement. Many moaned in the past of wasted money. It was a magnificent setting, honored with some great bags that easily eclipsed many weights from the previous days Bing Lee Australian Open final.

That was a five fish limit and this mind you was only two, judging from the final Tournament results fish were weighed down to 18th place with the top 10 placements securing some quality prizes. AKFF member and moderator Ken Raley rounded off the top 10, followed closely by the first of many two fish limits, NSW Hobie State Team member and 9th place getter Carl Dubois. Keiran Smith took out 8th with a respectable 1.1kg two fish bag, making way for Chris Byrne to receive 7th place and Greg Lewis 6th (Both receiving Okuma X Factor travel rods).

The top five were separated by as little as a few grams, David Tinsdale (SBD to his mates) looked delighted with a 1.21 limit, $100 and Berkley Diablo rod. Hobie dealer Scott Lovig’s efforts paid off with fourth place, a grand final berth, $100 cash prize and another Berkley Diablo rod giveaway. Stewart Dunn upped the ante by pocketing $150 and the last available Berkley Diablo, entering the top 3 places. Gary Cooke missed out on the ‘Big Bream’ award by minuet amounts, he knew second place was a brilliant result considering the depth and experience in the field and gladly accepted $250 for his effort.

The man many had watched pepper boat hulls for hours swept the field easily, winning ‘Big Bream’ and the Hobie / ABT Bream Kayak Event Sydney round with a huge 2.12kg bag of bulging Bream. Wayne Robinson’s prize included a grand final berth, free accommodation for the final event, $400 cash prize, $100 1.32kg ‘Big Bream’ cash prize and the joy of penning the opening paragraph of Australian Kayak Fishing Tournament history. Wayne explained to the crowd the years he had spent fishing the area out of his Perception Minnow, before recently upgrading to a new Hobie Sport / Live well combo.

The lucky random prize draws rounded off an epic day, alongside Sailing Scenes BBQ bash and the Hobie free drinks. Praise was once again handed down from Hobie’s Steve Fields who was very impressed at the dedicated turnout. The next instalment of the hugely successful Hobie / ABT series travels to the Mooloolah River, Queensland’s Sunshine Coast on February 22nd. For more details on remaining Hobie Kayak Tournaments for 2009 or any future and past ABT events please visit the following links:

http://hobiefishing.com.au, http://www.bream.com.au or http://www.fishingmonthly.com.au

Derek ‘Paffoh’ Steele
ACT Hobie State Fishing Team Member

(Images to come)
Last edited by paffoh on Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Hobie / ABT Kayak Tournament - Sydney Report

Post by Steve Morgan » Wed Jan 21, 2009 8:35 am


We appreciate your very comprehensive report! ABT might have to give you a job .....


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Re: Hobie / ABT Kayak Tournament - Sydney Report

Post by flairj » Wed Jan 21, 2009 2:29 pm

Yes, very well written mate. Plenty of detail but still and easy read. It also made me super keen for the upcoming QLD rounds.

If everybody in the history of mankind thought the glass was half full, we'd all still be sitting in a cave with half a glass

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