TEBS 2023 Round 6 Report. The Bongs.

The final round for TEBS 2023 played out under a big full moon on the Mary River Billabongs over the nights of Friday 27th October and Saturday 28th October. Anglers spread as far as Shady Fresh, Mary Bridge lagoon, The Rock Hole and Corroboree. Fishing was pretty much restricted to the nights or very early or late in the day because fishing the days this time of year requires a higher level of insanity than even this group can muster. The nights on the billabongs were very pleasant with even the mosquitos noticeably absent.

The fight for series winner came down to a two horse race in Jack Oswald and Peter Cuddles Cooper. For only the second time this series, neither Peter nor Jack stood atop the podium. Cuddles had us going for a second claiming a bag of meteries. In hindsight this was clearly just his dreams at play but if someone was to do something as crazy as this, it would probably be Cuddles. When he did come clean on his score he still managed a very respectable bag for 985 points which “only” earned a 4th place.

The top 3 anglers for the round all scored over 1000 points. Exceptional results for the billabongs.

In Round 6, First place was taken out Jason Gerdes. Jason has fished TEBS for several years and this is his first win. As he said, it all came together for once. Jason was fishing with Kai Rob who knows Corroboree well and he credits Rob’s knowledge with helping put him onto fish. On Friday night they stayed in Corroboree and found some fish near the top cutting once the boat traffic had quietened down. On Saturday afternoon they had a look in the Rock Hole and found big barra on the LiveScope that at first wouldn’t eat. Luckily they came on during the night and Jason was able to bag his better fish. It was a matter of casting mostly 9 inch Irukandji Sicario or Tiger Lily 16A bombers for the hits. Jason ended up with a 90, 87, 86, 79 and 79 for a great billabong bag on 1205 points.

A common thread was the barra were biting only for short windows. Jason said they had chances for only about 20 minutes every few hours and they were regularly watching big fish following all the way to the boat, right behind the lures but refusing to hit it. The 5 hours sleep for the weekend paid off with the round win. Congratulations Jason and a great way to finish before you take a break from the comp for a year or two. See you back when life gives you some time.

In 3rd place was Ben Vidgen with a bag of 88, 83, 79, 78 and 76 for 1040 points. Ben fished Mary Bridge Lagoon with Matthew Bolitho who also placed well. The bigger fish came on the Friday night and followed up with less action on the Saturday night, even though they probably saw more fish on the LiveScope on Saturday night. Ben said they found the fish finicky and managed most of there hits actually in the “shade” of trees from the moon. Incredible. The lads were using lures such as the Berkley Shimma Pro for most of their hits.

That leaves only second place and no surprises in second is Jack Oswald. This confirms Jack as the overall 2023 Series Winner. Congratulations!!

Jack fished Corroboree with Ben Banks (yes the band is back together) in a few locations around where most other anglers were concentrated in Corroborree. He also reports the fish were very finicky, coming on only in short windows. Usually tarpon would appear followed soon after by barra. Jack did a pre-fish earlier in the week and said the fish were on big time. Infact he was trying to not put the hook in fish before the comp and was trying to rip the lure out of their way but kept hooking up! On the weekend of the comp it was quite the opposite with barra refusing to bite. In the end he starting ripping the lures fast past the fish to get their attention and a reaction hit which worked, but he also found it hard to stay connected and dropped about 6 fish in the 80s at the same time. Regardless, Jack finished with a bag of 87, 84, 81, 79 and a 75 for 1060 points to secure second place and guarantee a Series win.

2023 Series Placings

2023 was an incredibly competitive year in TEBS. Live scope technology has dramatically changed the nature of fishing in the competition (for better or for worse) and it is clear that to be a top 10 contender you need to be taking advantage of the new tech. To place in a round, scores consistently needed to be over 1000 points, with the exception of Bynoe and the Harbour where fish are generally smaller. We even saw the 2000 point mark surpassed a few times which is exceptional.

However the two top anglers in Jack Oswald and Peter Cooper, stood out clearly from the pack and operated at the next level all year.

In the end Jack came out on top in First Place with 3 wins and 2 second placings giving him a Series score of 980 out of a possible maximum of 1000 Series Points! I think it will be a long time before this level of domination is repeated.

In Second Place for 2023, Peter Cooper fought hard with 1 win, 3 seconds and a fourth place for 945 Series points. An exceptional achievement. The series came down to a couple of good fish to split the difference.

And in Third Place our Treasurer, Dwight Shepherd.  Dwight took the win in Bynoe Harbour and finished consistently in the top 5 for 860 Series points. Great work Dwight.

In Fourth Place was Tristan Christie (848 Series Points) who had a good showing in every round and to close out the top 5 we have Ben Banks (823 Series points) with a near equally consistent showing.

The remaining Top 10 were Lachlan Markey (786 points), Benjamin Vidgen (766 points), Gavin Hoult (740 points), Matthew Bolitho (718 points) and Craig Latimore (715 points). Congratulations to our top 10, showing the skills to catch fish consistently across all locations, all year.

Regardless of where you finished in TEBS we hope you had a great year, got to meet a few new people and maybe spend time on the water in locations you wouldn’t normally frequent. TEBS is meant to be far more than just the competition we see at the top of the leader board. I know I enjoyed the tight tussle at the top, which shows just how good the fishing can be if you can put it all together. There is so much to be learnt from these anglers but equally at the end of the day the raft ups, beers and laughs are what the comp is about.

We hope to see you all for the End Of Year Presentations and AGM on Saturday 11 Nov at Fred’s Pass Reserve’s Lakeview Hall from 5:30pm.