With the Costa BREAM Grand Final only a few days away, what better way to preview the year’s biggest event than by taking a look at our Top 10 Angler of the Year finishers, and their chance at ABT’s richest pay day.
With this year’s AOY crown already at home on the mantelpiece, Warren Carter doesn’t need to do much more to prove he’s one of the sport’s best anglers. He’s won in almost every state ABT has been to, so he’s more than capable of figuring out a new arena. Will he be competitive on St Georges Basin? Definitely! Carter is one of the most prepared anglers in the game, we wouldn’t be surprised to see him cap off the year in perfect fashion.
Cameron Whittam is another name that comes to mind when thinking about ABT’s greatest anglers. He’s been at the top of the
game since the early days of ABT, and that experience always holds him in good stead for the big events. With a win already this year at Mallacoota, Whittam has the taste for victory. He’s proven his ability when travelling with podium finishes in fisheries much different to what he’s used to back in Victoria. With the geography of St Georges Basin mimicking some of Cam’s favourite Victorian fisheries, we suspect him to be towards the pointy end once again.
Mark ‘Crommo’ Crompton has flown under the radar, all the way to becoming one of the best anglers in the country. His two
breakthrough wins in 2015 announced him as a future star, and he backed it up in 2016 with another win at Forster. He’s about as local as they come for the 2016 BREAM Grand Final, with plenty of experience on the Basin from years of social and tournament fishing. One of the genuine nice guys of the sport, Crompton deserves every bit of success he gets, and word on the street is he has been practising hard for a chance at the $50,000 prize.
Steve Morgan is synonymous with ABT. He’s one of the sport’s most decorated anglers. With one BREAM Grand Final win
already under his belt and a number of AOY titles, Morgan knows how to win. He proved that this year by returning to the winner’s circle after a few year’s of absences when he blitzed the field at the Hobie St Helens BREAM Qualifier in Tasmania. Morgan is arguably the best topwater angler in the field, and with an early December summertime bite expected, Morgan should land somewhere close to the top, unless his attempts to fish ‘off the wall’ locations don’t pan out.
Steve Gill is a name that has been touted as the ‘one to watch’ as we count down towards the BREAM Grand Final. Gilly has
probably as much or more experience on the basin than anyone in the field. Gilly passed on the last two events of the year, meaning he’ll be chomping at the bit to get back on the tournament horse and what better way to do it than in the biggest event of the year with the biggest payout ever in the history of ABT. Don’t be surprised if Gilly stands atop the podium after three days of fishing, especially if the bite is tough.
Kris Hickson’s 6th place AOY finish is probably the worst he’s had in a number of years. Long standing as the #1 ranked BREAM angler in the country, Hickson is always a threat no matter where we go. With an up and down year on both the BREAM and BASS circuits, Hickson will be looking to redeem himself after what he would characterise as a year of missed opportunities. Plagued by dropped fish all year, if Hickson keeps everything he hooks connected, he’ll be a challenge to overcome.
Russel Babekuhl has the best ABT record on St Georges Basin of anyone
in the Grand Final field. Over the fifteen-year history of ABT BREAM events, we’ve run two previous events
in the enclosed waters of St Georges Basin. Both times, Babekuhl has come out on top. Not often do anglers win back-to-back events on the same waterway. If the bite is on shallow we tip Babekuhl to find the fish again, he has a habit of catching big ones. If he can fill a full limit, he’ll be hard to stop.
Graham Franklin is a veteran of the ABT BREAM Series and he’s no slouch on St Georges Basin. Franklin finished runner-up to
Babekuhl in 2012, falling just 80g short of snatching the title. In that tournament, Franklin relied on the plethora of St Georges Basin’s deep spots to put together a great limit. If the bite turns on in the deep this weekend we’d expect Franklin to use his local knowledge to pole a few big bream into the boat. His experience over the years will treat him well, this could be the year that Franklin wins on the biggest stage of the circuit.
Jason Harlock finished the year ninth in the Power-Pole Angler of the Year, his best finish in the year-long points race. Harlock has come a long way over the past year and is genuinely one of the BREAM series’ keenest and most dedicated competitors. He’s got good experience on the Basin and we’d suggest he’s put in more than his fair share of time since the end of the season practising. Don’t be surprised if Jason is towards the top of the leader board, a new boat is normally good luck!
Chris Seeto is a regular face on the Costa BREAM Series, often seen taking photos of the other competitors’ fish. He’s a Sutherland Shire local, so St Georges Basin is only a short drive south. He’s been in the field for the last two St Georges Basin ABT Qualifiers, so that experience will serve him well. There’s also not that many sandbanks for him to end up stranded on during pre-fish or the tournament. Seeto is a great hardbody fisher, and if the shallow bite is on Seeto will be on the fish, no doubt.
Liam Carruthers is last year’s BREAM Grand Final champion. He’s been absent this year due to his work in the Navy, coming home just in time for the BREAM Grand Final on his home waterway. Liam cut his teeth bream fishing on St Georges Basin. Could he be the first angler in ABT history to go back-to-back in the BREAM Grand Final? We wouldn’t put it past him. His absence this year has made him hungry for a win!