Michael’s just the man to hit that fly

PHOTOGRAPHY and shooting might seem unrelated but the combination hits the target for Michael Bell.

Bell, the face of Bell Commercial Photography, has been crowned the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia’s 500-metre fly shooting champion.

Bell, 55, has won five of his eight matches, giving him an unassailable lead in the competition that ends in Brisbane this weekend.

Bell first picked up a rifle at his grandfather’s farm at West Wyalong before he reached his teens.

“It is something I can be proud of,” he said yesterday. “It’s a little known sport and you have to travel a fair bit.

“I you’ve got a rifle you can compete but unless you’ve got a good rifle you won’t be competitive.”

Bell’s custom-made rifle was crafted at Narrandera and Ken Melgaard makes his bullets — “as good as any in the world”.

Bell has had a season to remember, winning at Wagga, Melbourne, Batemans Bay (twice) and Canberra. He is the only shooter to shoot four flies (the centre) on one target and the only one to shoot seven flies in a match.

He said a good rifle, assembling your own ammunition and the ability to read the wind were the keys to the sport.

It’s a fair bet that when Bell asks people to smile for a picture, they oblige.

He said he was not in Brisbane this weekend to enjoy his triumph.