This year is starting to feel a bit like déjà vu. Once again it took Scott and I to the last round to qualify for the BETS Grand final. It was a tough journey throughout all 6 rounds with a lot of ups and downs in our results. What mattered is we got enough points to qualify. Finishing up 20th position to make the cut into the final 20 that qualified.
Our long journey started out with the first round at Sydney Harbour. Who would have thought that we won here at the Grand final then finished 65th in the first round only managing two fish. What a shocker. We just threw everything out the window and thought that most teams would fish the location we won the Grand final at so was defiant not to go and fish there. There were a lot of lessons to be learnt out of that round for us on a personal level.
Round two was held at Lake Macquarie, which is becoming one of our most favourite places to fish. We had a cracker of a day and couldn’t do a thing wrong with big fish on our pre-fish which carried through for us on tournament day. We ended up finishing 3rd position, finally one good result to start our Grand final Pursuit.
Round three was at the Hawkesbury. Normally a bite that agrees with us and we would normally do well. “OMG” we came in with donuts (nil fish). We were fishing on the flats where people were hooking fish all around us. We just couldn’t do anything right, we didn’t hook any bream. As the saying goes maybe “we weren’t holding our mouths right”. The road to the Grand final was starting to look slim with 3 out of 6 rounds completed and some terrible results in our most favourite locations. The rule to this is stay positive and never give up.
So the road trip to Forster was a must to shake our Hawkesbury finish. Forster is one of our least favourite locations to fish. It is a place we often struggle. We found our way to some flats and were able to scrape together a small bag of 5. After our last round it was great feeling to know that “yes” we can still catch bream. We certainly got rid of round three with a 35th placing.
Round 5 and finally it was a short drive to the prestigious South Coast held at St Georges Basin. We had recently had a 4th place finish in a bream competition a couple of weeks before, so our confidence was still running high. We had a good day catching plenty of bream just struggled to find size. Achieving 28th position for our day’s effort.
Checking the point’s table we were at 28th position with 1 round to go. Once again we needed what I thought was a top 20 finish at Lake Macquarie. We were primed after a 3rd place in the first round and scraping through in the top 20 last year at Lake Macquarie we were positive we could do it.
The week and half leading up to the tournament I had come down with a niggling cough, which then progressively got worse and turned into a chest infection, I had burst an ear drum in a coughing fit and my head was clogged full of a cold. As much as I wanted to still fish, I knew if I went I would just go downhill health wise again. I left it as late as Saturday afternoon to finally make the decision not to go. A quick call to Josh Carpenter to see if he would substitute for me, the deal was done. I waited by the phone all afternoon to hear how the boys had placed. Scott informed they got 19th, I was oohing and aahing hoping that would be enough. Looking up the results on the computer Scott had made a mistake and we actually finished 17th.
Throughout the whole evening it was a nervous wait. The point’s table was pulled down to be updated, so we couldn’t refer to it and try and calculate the points ourselves. Whilst chatting to Tracey Mammem she let me know that we made it through. Apparently her finger was on the pulse as the point’s table went live again. The feeling of elation went through our hearts again as we gave each other a big hug and kiss, it was a long journey to get there. People have asked whether we feel the pressure being the winners last year. The answer to this question is “no, not at all”. We feel proud to be part of the best top 20 anglers in the country competing in a fabulous arena. It is a real buzz and we will just enjoy every moment and do what we love doing together and that is to fish.
We wish to congratulate all the other 19 teams that achieved a Grand final Position and good luck to you all. As far as I can say we are all winners to have got this far.
I end this article with a saying: “don’t count your chickens before they hatch”
Vicki Lear is a self confessed fish-a-holic and works as a real estate agent to support her habit. Far from being a “one trick pony” she excels at many diverse styles of fishing from land based game fishing to offshore gamefishing. As well, she kicks most guys butts at Bream and Bass fishing.
Read more of Vicki’s stories here