Nitro Powered Baiting!

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The letter “f” was a feature in the week prior to the last BETS event. “Fifth and Final”, “Foul Forecast”, “Freezing”, “Fishless!” All and more were heard in the run up to the event as a cold winter blast was predicted to make Engel Round Five a miserable experience for all concerned.  With Grand Final points and places on the line this event was to be “it” for many teams and just days out it did not look good. As it turned out the best use of the letter “f” was in “False Alarm”! The wind had dropped, the sun was out and Lake Macquarie was picture perfect. Okay it was a little chilly but hey! Now the only “f’s”of importance were in the words “fish” and “fest” and being the last round it was time to hit the throttle and go hard. Time for a bit of nitro power perhaps?

Lake Macquarie is the lake to make or break. Even a local can find the going tough and Rocky Hodges and Tim Staunton of Team PowerBait/Nitro Jigheads being a local and nearly local have experienced both sides of Lake Macquarie on many occasions. Early on it was the “break” face of the Lake on show with the pair being taunted by the landing of a couple of quality fish in exchange for hundreds of fishless casts. This however is where experience of the “make” face can drive you on and as the pair honed in on a combined Gulp! Minnow Grub and Gulp! Shrimp approach it became more a question of matching the right weight Nitro jig head to the chosen location. Fish were hard to come by but when they came they were solid specimens, each powering the bag closer towards that prized four kilo mark.

At the weigh in the gauntlet had been thrown down well before the team reached the scales. A weight of 4.20kg had been recorded already and with some good fish were hitting the scales the challenge was certainly on.  To win however you just need to register the highest weight by even the smallest a margin – and that exactly what Tim and Rocky did! Weighing 4.21kg, Team PowerBait/Nitro Jig Heads took First Place and the $3000 prize by just ten grams. Following a Second Place at Hobie Round Four the pair are certainly finishing in fine form and with a BETS Grand Final place back at Lake Macquarie guaranteed what better way to end the round stages.

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That closely pipped team? That would be the ever consistent Team Abu Garcia/ Evinrude Australia of Ross Cannizzaro and Codie Stewart. Their 4.20kg bag of solid fish certainly set the bar and reinforced their reputation as on of the teams to beat on the BETS circuit. The bag secured Second Place and $2250 in BETS cash.

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Another team to beat is Team TTLures/Hobie Fishing’s Kris Hickson and Daniel Brown. Choosing to sacrifice a local Port Macquarie event in favour of a last crack at making the BETS Grand Final the pair ran a milk run of spots in the lake and whilst not setting the world alight in terms of numbers a quality bag was accumulated. Weighing in 3.93kg was enough to score the Third Place and $1500 in BETS cash.

There were plenty of challengers for the Hi-Tec Batteries Big Bream Award with the first six teams weighing a fish in excess of the magic kilo mark. Whose bream reigned supreme? That would be Team Lamberts Breamers’ Matt Babbage with this 1.41kg cracker! This fish wins the team a pair of Hi Tec Deep Cycle Batteries valued at $800.

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So thats it! The round stages of the 2016 Berkley Evinrude Team Series are now complete. Twenty invitations will head out to the top twenty teams based on their best four results. Keep an eye on the BETS website and Facebook page for details of BETS Grand Final on the 13th and 14th August. It will be a great weekend of fishing and a team will leave on Sunday afternoon $10,000 richer!

A huge thank you to all the anglers who have taken part in the round stages – do come and see the Grand Final weigh-in and support your fellow anglers.

In the meantime check out Mango’s interview with Tim and Rocky, the winners of Engel Round Five below.

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