Beware the Jabberwocky!

GF WInners

It was the weekend twenty teams had worked,wandered and waited for – the 2016 Berkley Evinrude Team Series Grand Final! Lake Macquarie was at its glistening best, its sunny waters disguising the fact it was Lake Macquarie in winter. Sometimes a challenge in the best of seasons the Lake in cooler months can be a real tester and even the best prepared anglers came with a sense of trepidation. The two day format would be a curse to a few, a saviour to others but ultimately there was only one question. Who’s bream would reign supreme!

Day One is the quieter of the two days and is often consider the anglers day. No crowd’s, no presentations just a chance to secure a good position. It’s the day that sets the standard of bags to be expected and allows teams to get their focus. Going in to the evening it was Team PowerBait/Nitro Jig Heads’ Tim Staunton and Rocky Hodges having set the standard with a 4.30kg bag that included a 1.29kg kicker fish. With Team TT Lures/Hobie Fishings’ Kris Hickson and Daniel Brown just behind with 4.24kg and a third place tie between Team Berkley and Team Parko on 4.04kg it was very apparent a four kilo bag was not only possible but most likely required on Day Two to have a shot at the title. With likely glassed out conditions for Day Two no-one could relax however and   any it was still an event almost anyone could win.

Fortunately Day Two was marginally better for fishing that expected with a little breeze bringing a ripple to the surface and some patches of cloud cover casting shadows over the water. Pub talk amongst the teams the night before saw a general consensus. Someone would need to bring back over 3.8kg to win. As the weigh-in came down to the final few teams only a few four kilo bags had been seen and with the two top teams overnight still to weigh the tension was mounting.

Team Parko’s Andy Parkinson and Adrian Soto had both helped and hindered their pursuit of a Grand Final win. The help came from the 4.04kg bag the team presented on Day One taking them to equal third place. The hinder came from the minor mishap that saw the team’s bow mount electric self deploy and shatter the shaft! It meant the team would have fish the drifts with no real control and in the calm conditions that was going to be a challenge. As it turned out the slight breeze allowed the pair to maintain as gentle drift through the five metre deep water that had provided their Day One bag and using a mix of dragging and gently lifting a Berkley Big Eye blade in Jabberwocky colour the team secured the five quality fish they needed to at least have a hope of challenging for the title.

Meeting Mango and guest speaker Michael Guest from TV’s Reel Action on stage the pair had a quiet confidence and when the scales settled at 4.00kg securing the lead it was clear the gauntlet had been thrown down. All that was left was for the final team to weigh. It was with some nervousness that Team PowerBait/Nitro Jig Heads Tim Staunton and Rocky Hodges came to the stage. Needing 3.70kg to take the win the pair knew they had in excess of three and a half kilos. The question was how much in excess? As hush fell over the crowd the weigh basket settled on the scales an agonising 120 grams shy of the required weight. Team Parko’s Andy Parkinson and Adrian Soto had won the 2016 Berkley Evinrude Team Series Grand Final.


After a consistent run in the round stages of the Series the pair first Grand Final win was great reward for a team that have fished nearly every BETS round since its inception.  Weighing a total of 8.04kg In addition to the title the pair took home $10,000 in BETS Cash and of course the much sort after novelty Winners Cheque.

In falling short by a mere 120 grams the Second Placed team, Team PowerBait/Nitro Jig Heads certainly gave it their best crack. Finishing the series strongly with a Second Place in Forster and a First Place on the lake in the weeks prior Tim and Rocky certainly brought their “A” game to the Final. In holding the lead overnight and getting within a whisker of the title, the teams 7.88kg was a cracking effort and earn the guys Second Place and $6000 in BETS Cash.


Bringing up Third Place was a team generously described as the most experienced team in the Series. Team Hi Tec Batteries/Frankins Plumbings’ Greg Silva and Graham Franklin qualified for the Final in fourteenth place and displayed a very relaxed approach from the get go. Weighing a respectable 3.46kg on Day One the pair approached Day Two will a similar “just going fishing” approach and this time it paid an even better dividend! Presenting 4.08kg the team weighed the second biggest bag of the day to finish with 7.54kg in total, securing Third Place and $4000 in BETS Cash.


At every even there’s a big fish or two and the biggest fish normally qualify for a crack at the Hi Tec Batteries Big Bream Award. Little did anyone think however the biggest bream of the Final  would also be the biggest bream record in the Team Series. Jason Mayberry of Team Compleat Angler Bateman’s Bay/Shimano captured a absolute beast of a fish weighing 1.83kg. The only bigger fish seen at BETS was a 1.91kg fish in the Berkley Challenge. It earn’t Jason a pair of Hi Tec Batteries Deep Cycle cells valued at $800 and was an absolutely fitting way to end the Series.


The other award presented on the day was the Power Pole Team of the Year Award. Presented to the team that secured the most points over the entire Series, it was taken by the ever consistent Team Abu Garcia/Evinrude’s Ross Cannizzaro and Codie Stewart. Amassing 475 points from a possible 500 the pair missed out on the top ten only once throughout the Series. Valued at $2500 the presented Power pole was a demonstration the reward pure consistency can bring.


And with that the Series came to close and what a way to finish. With every team taking a prize thanks to the generosity of sponsors like Lowrance, Engel and Hi Tec Batteries no-one left empty handed. Three teams made the journey home with $20,000 in cash available to them. It was an epic weekend!  Huge thanks to our hosts for the weekend Chris and Jennie from the Wangi Point Holiday Park for all their help and support in organising the weekend. Thanks also to Michael Guest who joins us on stage for the Grand Final – a true celeb! A massive shout out to our generous sponsors who keep the prizes flowing – they are all there on the website. Do show your appreciation by supporting them back wherever you can.

Above all every angler from every team that has taken part should give themselves a huge pat on the back! BETS is the most competitive Series out there yet year on year teams turn out to challenge themselves against some of the best in the business. its the anglers that make the Series what it is – pat away!

So a little quiet time now. Details of the 2017 Series will appear in months to come. In the meantime check out Mango’s interview with the winners below and of course the happy snaps in the Gallery. Until next year………

The BETS Team


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