2013 BETS FINAL – Gary brown

Dave and I qualified in 19th position of the BETS grand final. The start was from Five Dock Bay in Sydney Harbour Dave trying to work out where we went wrong on day two  The author with a couple of stud bream from the fist days bag of 5 bream for 3.4 kilos

A review of the 2013 BETS Bream Tournaments Grand Final

Since the inception of the BETS Bream Tournaments I have teamed up with a mate Dave Tosland from Tosland Building for over three years. In 2011 we finished 23rd, just missing out on a place in the grand final. 2012 was a year not to remember from memory I think we finished about 64th, but in 2013 we did make the grand final in 19th place.

It was such a great thrill to actually make a BETS Grand Final and to be able to compete against 19 other great teams. Once the realisation had set in, straight away we started planning our assault on the $20,000 first prize. Well we can all dream. Many a day was spent fishing all the spots on Sydney Harbour that we knew would normally produce fish for us, but our main objective was to fine tune our plan for the Grand final which would take place on the first weekend in August 2013 at the Sydney Boat Show.

What we didn’t want to do was pressurize our favourite spots and hook every bream we came across, but to just keep an eye on the coming and going of the bream and at what stage of the tides would work best on the two days of the grand final. While out on the harbour we were also putting together a couple of back up plans in case our Plan A fell apart.

The tides for Saturday the 2nd of August was a high tide at 5.54am and a low tide at 11.29am, Sunday’s tides were a high tide at 6.39am and low at 12.14pm. On both days there wasn’t a great deal of tidal movement between the low and high tides. It was only a difference of about 60cm on both days. The fishing time on Saturday was from 7am to 3pm and Sunday fishing times were from 7am to 2pm.

Once we left to starting blocks at the boat ramp at Five Dock Bay in 19th place we decided that the first spot we would try was the deep water drift from Cockatoo Island to Long Nose Point at Birchgrove. Now due to the drift being a bit slow and there being no breeze Dave set the Minn Kota I Pilot to a speed that would give us the ability to move around a fair bit and work the edges of the drop-offs with a combination of Berkley Power Blades, Strike Pro and Eco Gear Blades. Our main choice of technique was to cast out as far as we could, allow the blade to hit the bottom and then slowly lift it off the bottom in a series of two or three hops. All of the blades we used were smeared with combination of Gulp Re Recharge mixed with a small amount Vaseline or the Pro-Cure Super Gel (Bloody Tuna or Shrimp) or the Squidgy S-Factor. For the first hour Dave managed to catch plenty of legal sized snapper, flathead, whiting and two or three small bream. Now, as for me I never caught a thing for the first one and a half hours. Not even a small snapper. So we decided to regroup and move.

Now the move was not far as we decided to go to the opposite side of the Parramatta River and fish the entrance to the Lane Cove River and see what that would bring us. It was on the first cast that I caught our first legal bream of about 600 grams and we were away. It wasn’t long before our second, third and fourth bream came aboard. All we need was our fifth bream and we could start up grading. By 9am we had our bag of five with the biggest being 37cm to the tail and the smallest was 26.5cm to the tail.

Over the next couple of hours we managed to upgrade some of the smaller fish by a few centimetres. Once the tide started to really slow down the bream went off the bite. So we decided to have a bite to eat until the tide start to pick up speed on the run-in. During this period of time we managed to get silver trevally to 50cm, sand whiting to 41cm, legal snapper, flounder that were so big they wouldn’t fit onto a normal dinner plate and the biggest painted grinner I have ever seen.

It wasn’t until about 1pm that we started to upgrade our smaller fish, not by millimetres, but by centimeters. So much so that we actually had three double hook ups in a very short time. After the weight-in at 3pm we were placed 6th with a bag of 3.4 kilos. This was 790 grams from first place and we felt we were within a podium finish on day two if everything came together.


Day 2 of the BETS grand final we started in 6th place. We were within striking distance of the 20 grand fisrt prize

Sunday arrived and we were sure that we could put together another bag like Saturdays, so off we headed to the entrance to the Lane Cove. The plan was to get our bag of five, then go and look for bigger up grades at our other spots we have caught fish at. What a difference a day makes. During the first hour of the comp I managed to boat three legal bream on the new Power blades. We thought, here we go we are well on our way to getting a bag of five. Then, all of a sudden the bream bite then slowed down. So much so, that all we managed to catch were flounder, snapper, whiting, trevally, more painted grinners and bream around 10cm long.

Once again we tried moving around to find the bream, but the harder we tried we couldn’t locate them. Jokingly I said to Dave “I will just check the live well to see what a bream looks like as it may help us catch a legal one?”

To my horror disaster had happened! One of the three bream had died. It was as stiff as a board. Now we were back to two bream in the well. Not good! The only thing I can think of is that it came out of the depth (14 to 15 metres) of water we were fishing in too quickly.

Then the tide slowed and all the fish went off the bite. We decided to stay and wait for the tide to pick up, but in hind sight this was the wrong thing to do. We should have left where we were and gone and picked up our other three bream at other spots we had on the list. What else could go wrong?

It was then a number of things really started to go pear shape, we started to miss bites by working the blades and soft plastics too quickly. The blades also started to roll in the air as we cast them out and get tangle up. This was also causing us to not concentrate on how tight the line should have been going onto the spool, which was causing loops on the spool and then allowing extra line to come off when we cast. At one stage Dave had so much braided line over him I thought he was going to strangle himself with it. And as for me I couldn’t stop getting knots in the braid.

We eventually moved to try a number of the spots we had in mind. I think by now we were up to plan K, with no success. As stated early we should have moved, but when we did we started to second guess our discussions until it was too late.

While moving around we came across Daniel Bray and Michael Milburn (Team Berkley 2) who had their bag of 5 for the second day and were in the process of upgrading. They suggested that we fish near them and try and get our three fish to make our bag of five.

This was a great gesture on their part, but we decided to leave them alone to keep upgrading, which put them in a final position of 7th overall with a bag of 10 bream for 5.93 kilos. We move to our last and final spot to attempt to get the three bream to make our bag of five. But as they say, “The horse had bolted!”

BETS 2013 Grand Final winners Ross and Alan

Even though we only weighted in two bream and we dropped from 6th to 12th on the final day of the grand final we learnt so much from competing against the other 19 elite teams and listening to what they had to say while up on the stage at Darling Harbour.  The eventual winners of the BETS Bream Grand Final were Ross Cannizzaro and Alan Loftus, and it was what they told everyone at the weight-in that will stay with me.

What they did different this year, to previous years was that they fished the whole day on Saturday east of the Harbour Bridge and on Sunday they put their efforts to fishing the whole day on the western side of the Harbour Bridge on Sunday. What they too in previous years had done was put their eggs into one basket and didn’t get a better bag on the second day.  This is one great lesson that we will take into next year’s BETS Bream Tournament.

If you would like to see what the final results were for the BETS Bream Grand Final 2013 you could click onto the link below:


Or if you would like to view some of the great photos taken go to the following link:


Or you can go to the video link of the BETS grand Final to find out how Ross and Alan did it to take away the $20,000 first prise.

The gear that I used throughout the six rounds and the grand final is as follows:

Outfit 1.          Pflueger Trion PFLT-SP702L, 2 to 4 kg rod, mounted with a Pflueger 2500s spinning reel spooled with 6.6 pound Fireline Exceed.

This outfit was mainly used when using soft plastics in deep water, in the oyster racks, rock walls and over the flats.

Outfit 2.          Pflueger Medalist PFLM-7P70LDS, 2 to 4 kg rod, mounted with a Pflueger 2500s spinning reel spooled with 6.6 pound Fireline Exceed.

This outfit was mainly used when fishing blades.

Outfit 3.          Berkley IM6 Dropshot DS4721-24, 2 to 4 kg rod, mounted with a Pflueger Abor 7430SW spinning reel spooled with 3.3pound Exceed.

This outfit was mainly used when fishing over the flats when plenty of distance was required.

Outfit 4.          Berkley IM6 Dropshot DS4702-13, 1 to 3 kg rod, mounted with a Pflueger Supreme 8230MG spinning reel spooled with 4 pound Fireline original (gun smoke grey).

This outfit was use when fishing the surface.


Gary Brown





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