ABT has certainly grown at a rapid rate since its’ first trial bass event in 1998, but the motto as always remained “Who Shares Wins”. Let’s look back at history and follow the growth chart of Australian Bass Tournaments P/L.
Steve Morgan and Steve Bain along with the Moreton Bay Game Fishing Club first held a trial bass event at Maroon Dam in South East Queensland. From the success of this event, the pair registered Australian Bass Tournaments as a company in 1999 and held the Humminbird Series with three BASS events and a Grand Final.
The first BASS Pro event was held at Moogerah Dam, and the Grand Final winner that year was Harry Watson. Harry narrowly beat Paul Dolan at Maroon Dam to score a trip to the USA to fish a bass event.
The first BASS Electric Series started in 2001; Jason Ehrlich winning the Grand Final.
In the year 2000, a trial BREAM event was held in torrential rain at the Tweed River. Later that year another trial event was held at Port Stephens, NSW, with the help of Peter Horrobin.
The Humminbird BREAM Series began in 2000 with Mike Delisser taking out the AOY Trophy. In 2001 qualifying events were also held in NSW. Later, VIC and WA in 2003, SA (2005), TAS (2006), to expand it to the National series as we see it today.
2004 saw a trial BARRA event at Teemburra Dam; John Schofield the ‘Bass Vampire’ taming the piscatorial cousins and claimed the win. With the help of a QLD events grant, the Daiwa BARRA Tour began in 2005 visiting Awoonga, Teemburra, Faust and Tinaroo Dams.
A 40 page, black and white production with a colour cover was released in 2003 as ABT’s first Tour Guide magazine. In comparison to 2008’s 140 plus page Tournament Angler Guide with a matt finish cover edited by Simon Goldsmith.
In the beginnings ABT had some 200 members, today we stand at over 2000 members who each receive a pack containing a membership card, AFC DVD, Daiwa hat and other assorted goodies.
In the early days competitors were happy to win a prize bag; in 2008, ABT has 6 events with a first place prize cheque of $10,000. In the ten years, ABT has awarded over $1.2 million in prize money and donated nearly $100,000 back into stocking grants.
The Australian Fishing Championships were first filmed in 2003, the same year Steve Bain sold his share of ABT to the Fishing Monthly Group and another growth phase began. AFC is currently broadcast to Australian lounge rooms over the summer via Channel Ten and the Southern Cross Network. It is also distributed internationally and can be seen on pay TV in several countries.
From humble beginnings the ABT family quietly grew. Steve Booth joined the crew in 2001 and is currently the editor of Queensland Fishing Monthly. Simon Goldsmith took on the role of Tournament Director in 2004, with Jacqui Thomas assisting in the admin role from 2005. After a 2 year stint as a casual, Marcel Krieger took a full time role in 2006 assisting Simon in the growing tournament calendar. 2008 saw the newest addition to the ABT family in Chris Byrnes. Chris is keen to learn and already has several tournaments under his belt.
So there you have it. From a trial bass event to a calendar that now boasts over 100 tournaments a year including Classics, BREAM Qualifiers, BASS Pro Qualifiers, BASS Electric events, the Daiwa BARRA Tour and numerous other annual events such as Megabucks and the Australian OPEN.
ABT has remained committed to its’ motto ‘Who Shares Wins’, helping anglers nationwide share in the spoils of tournament fishing and providing a means for Tackle and Marine dealers to market their wares. Since the introduction of the televised AFC Series, it has also introduced the ‘pathway’ for anglers to grow and become part of the success story.
For further information check www.bream.com.au or contact ABT during business hours on 07 3268 7958.