Atomic Forster BREAM Qualifier | Floods, Free Food & Fish

Forster 2

Debris scattered due to high seas and flooding – Image by Grant Manusu

The wild weather that has lashed the NSW coast hasn’t missed the coastal towns of Forster and Tuncurry, the location for the sixth round of the Costa BREAM Series. The town has seen over 160mm of rain in the past 48 hours, and a number of the rivers feeding the system are currently in flood. This is likely to subside slightly by the weekend, just in time for the tournament. The event is presented by Atomic, and will shake up the PowerPole AOY when it concludes on Sunday.

Manning River Marine’s Jim Hickson, says he doesn’t think the rain will deter the fish too much.

“The fish haven’t really left the system yet, they’ve been catching nice bream up the rivers, and this rain will likely flush those fish out into the lake or the racks closer to the ocean”.

Local anglers Russel Babekuhl and Kris Hickson believe the fishing could be tough, but both imagine that there will still be fish to be caught.

“Going on past experience from fishing post flood, I still think there is a possibility that the fish will be a little spread, even at this time of year,” said Hickson.

Babekuhl is a little more pessimistic,

“I’d say there will be late flurry of activity from about 11am, when the run-in pushes some cleaner water into the system.”
Both agreed the vast system of Wallis Lake isn’t likely to be affected to any great significance, since there are no major tributaries flowing directly into the lake.

“The lake will be pretty much the same as always, it’s not as susceptible to the effects of floodwater as the paddock or the mouth is,” Babekuhl explained.

ABT’s Simon Goldsmith says,

“The recent fresh through the system will throw anglers a curve ball, but Forster being Forster, it’s one of the best fisheries on the east coast, so I’d still expect a winning weight of around 7kg for a full tournament limit.”

Forster has a long standing history as one of the premier yellowfin bream fisheries in Australia. The current ABT record of 1.99kg came from Forster and was caught by ABT and AFC legend Chris ‘Slick’ Wright way back in 2004. Kilo bream are not uncommon at Forster by any means – getting them out from the oyster-encrusted racks and poles is the hard part.
Another local favourite, Grant Manusu says the current conditions have caused a bit of localised destruction.

“It’s been that bad here that there are rocks from the break wall in the car park at the boat harbour.” On the fishing front, he believes the conditions could make or break the event. “The fish from upstream may be pushed down with the dirty water, and the bream that have been out on the beaches and rocks may be in the system looking for shelter. I think the conditions are going to level out the playing field quite a bit, a lot of the locals have never experienced conditions like this.”

Young guns Todd Riches and Jack Dihm are confident the event will be a highlight of the year long Costa BREAM Series.

“Forster is always a popular venue, it’s been fishing pretty well lately but the recent weather has definitely thrown a spanner in the works,” said Dihm. Riches is still confident the best BREAM anglers in the country will find enough fish to keep them busy.

“I don’t think the conditions will affect the fishing too much at this time of year, it’s more about the adjustment to target areas people need to make to match the conditions.”

If there’s anything we’re sure of, it’s that the Atomic Forster BREAM Qualifier will be a well attended, well run event and a true test of Australia’s best. The PowerPole BREAM AOY will start to take shape, as we have a number of anglers in the running for this season’s top prize.  Atomic’s Michael Starkey will be attending and competing in the event, and has previously had great success in Forster MegaBREAM events in the past.

“Even with all this rain over the past few days, I still think these guys will find the fish that we’ve come to expect from Forster,” said Starkey. “This could be an event where something like our Atomic Crank 38 could take victory. A wide wobbling crankbait displacing a ton of water will help fish find it in the dirty conditions, it won’t be a tournament for super stealthy finesse techniques that’s for sure.”

Atomic will also be kindly putting on pizzas for dinner on the Friday night during the briefing. Company Director Michael Starkey apologises for not being able to make it to the briefing, but hopes the pizza dinner courtesy of Atomic will keep attending anglers well fed ready for a long weekend of bream catching action.

For any last minute tackle requirements, ABT tackle store partner Manning River Marine is located only 30km north of Forster and stocks everything the travelling BREAM angler would ever need.

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