I won’t be too misleading with the title and come straight out and say that this IS NOT about Greg misreading particular beacons at the recent Bribie Island ABT event. It IS NOT about the fact that he spent several hours with his boat in a naturally formed “dry dock” due to steering his boat onto some sand. This would be fairly embarrassing and something that he wouldn’t want his little brother reminding the whole world but I’m sure that if you asked him, he’d tell you about how he played Angry Birds for a few hours.
The recent ABT event was a pretty hard slog, with angler’s, from the outset, commenting on not-ideal tides and weather which restricted access to Moreton Bay but what I will say is, that regardless of lunar phases or weather patterns, guys still got ‘em.
After a fairly productive pre-fish, I realised very quickly on the first day that my primary pattern was heavily pressured. The canals resembled peak hour traffic straight off the start, with no less than 10 boats heading down the arm I had found the fish in. My second mistake was realised a couple of hours later, as I continued to plug away, wasting what little tide was left flooding the flats in the region and valuable time.
Having wasted my opportunity, I spent the remainder of the day trying to scratch out a fish but with no success, I headed back to the start/finish line with no fish. The news from other competitors told a pretty compelling story, it was tough! When guys like Kris Hickson and Steve Morgan struggle, what hope do the rest of us have (unless you are Russell Babekuhl)?
This is always the worst part of a tournament if you haven’t done well, hearing stories of full limits (although not many) and patterns that have worked highlight the poor decisions that are made or deficiencies in an angler’s ability. This is often compounded by the decision to scrap or continue with my own (failed) game plan on the following day.
With cousin Kendall doing well, he opened up his fishing playbook and gave me a step by step guide to catching the fish he was on but I promised him that I would avoid the area he was in, I didn’t want to catch the fish he was on but that didn’t mean I wasn’t going to apply his pattern to somewhere else.
The next morning saw me adjust for my poor decisions from the previous day, and found me on some flats that I hadn’t seen anyone fishing from the previous day. It seemed like a good decision with a flathead and undersized bream coming in two consecutive casts pretty early on but it didn’t pan out well.
Now here comes the reason for the title of my story. As I drifted off a flat and into a gutter, I almost ran into a beacon at the end of one of the many channels or gutters that feed the flats. Logic came to the surface, I thought “if they are being pushed off the flats and aren’t in the gutters, they must be staging near structure elsewhere”. Rather than using my sounder to locate the undulations in the sand, I thought I’d throw a blade at this beacon and with instant success.
If you check the score sheet, you’ll see that was my only fish but what it doesn’t show is the frantic running around trying to catch the last of the slack tide as I threw my blade at the beacons and continued to miss the bites. With one in the boat, I realised that I hadn’t “fished the moment” or adjusted fast enough to catch the fish.
The beacon bite was the same as everywhere else, timid and difficult but I had found fish. Almost all of the beacons produced bites but were difficult to convert to fish and with only the slightest window of time before the tide started to push in and subsequently the fish to move from the beacons, I pulled up stumps and went back to the flats, fishing for no result.
I wish I had of adjusted my technique and plan on both days, regardless of whether I struggled or not, I realise now, how much time I wasted on a pointless pattern but that’s what I love about tournament fishing!