It’s Time to Play
  |  First Published: November 2010

Its seem such a long time but spring is finally here, the winter fishing has been not as good as previous years as we have struggled to catch fish with the higher water level in Lake Monduran. This has not been the same case at Lake Awoonga, which seems to revel in the southerly winds that encourage bites along Lake Awoonga shores.

Lake Awoonga has become a model dam in Queensland with its stocking and this has been evident in the consistent catches throughout the year.

It can be said that the increase in water levels at Lake Monduran has put a lot of distance between the fish, whatever the issue we can only hope the summer water temperatures will bring them back to what they were last year.

The year ahead sees some promising fishing as at this time last year we were fishing points with plastics and catching many meter plus fish. The current status is that the fish have still been hard to catch. There have been some moments when the weather stays warm for days, and the fish seem to bite but the inconsistent weather seems to keep water temperatures cool. September has seen above average rain, which has kept the normal clear sunny skies of September grey, but they have kept the dams level consistent. Weed banks are growing well and with the forecasts wet summer ahead we should maintain good levels which will keep our fishing good.

Things change on the dam constantly and I’m often asked what lure to use where to fish and more. so I thought I would put a few ideas about the best things to bring and how to tackle Lake Monduran as a visiting angler.

Local information is best received from a local source like a guide. So many times I hear that people have the wrong information received through an article or a DVD. You need to know what is relevant to the time you are coming. A credible source will be someone who fishes the dam regularly and isn’t relying on reports from other people. If someone tells you that you are best to use a hard bodied lure with a slow rolling motion don’t believe it. You need better than a one trick pony.

Time to come? This is most important for Lake Monduran as you don’t want to be here when there is a cold southerly system blowing along the coast. Don’t come early in the season thinking you will catch all the fish first. The best time to be here is when the barra are biting. Reasonable weather forecast for this area are hard to come by and you need a seven day forecast which is available on the net at buoy weather or the BOM site which gives you three days. Moon phase isn’t as important as boat noise. It is best to be here when there are less boats and this is generally any time other than the full moon. Best days are weekdays away from the weekend warriors.

Lure choice is up to you but don’t buy everything you see. Consistent lures Slick Rigs in the 130 and 110 sizes. A lot is written about modifying these lures and once again local knowledge will show the alternatives to rigging Slick Rigs. Storm soft plastic work well but once again need to be modified. Hollow Bellies are good but I have a horrendous hook up rate with them and I use them when the fish are biting well. Berkley Mullets are great and best used modified. The Berkley Mullet is one of the best swimming lures for deep water. Hard bodies lures worth having are Rapala Suspend Shads and Suspending Shad Raps modified with no. 4 Owner hooks, as well as Saruna suspending lures with no. 5 Decoy split rings and no. 2 Owner hooks.

So in summing up you would want as many packets of Slick Rigs in different colours as you can afford, a packet of Berkley Mullets in the smaller size, hard bodied Rapala Suspending X-Rap, Saruna suspending lure and a B52 modified to suspend.

I almost forgot frogs these are a great side line and it’s important to fish with the right frog matched with the right hook. Best frogs by far are the Zoom Horny toads; don’t waste your time with anything less. Once again this needs a technique that requires some experience and without any experience is best left alone.

You need two combos when fishing Monduran, the first a spin rod and the second an overhead rod for casting hard bodies. I like to have both loaded ready to go as I move through changing locations. Spin reels need to be in the 3000 to 4000 range. You need to buy something from about the $300 mark upwards. Overhead reels need to be in the same price range around the 4:1 or 5:1 range.

Rods are best explained by your tackle store. What you don’t want is a short fat rod like they used in the 70s for barra. You need a light rod that will be easy to cast all day. If you have limited funds spend more on a rod than a reel as you will do a lot of casting between the catching. The best rods for barra I have are Ian Miller Rods and Loomis rods. Both are expensive but you get what you pay for in rods.

Line needs to be minimum 30lb but you may fish as low as you like at your own risk. Braid is the norm and is generally going to cost you between $50 to $70 depending on the brand.

Leader is generally 60lb plus. I use 80lb Jinkai and it has never let me down. You can upgrade to harder fluorocarbons but they interfere with the lures freedom of movement. You can also use wind on leaders and twisted leaders and these work well coming through the guides of lighter rods.

Knots. You need to know them before you get here and be proficient at them. Monduran barra sort out poor knots very quickly! Joining the leader to the braided line is very important and the best one is the Slim Beauty. You will also need to be confident with a loop knot to attach to the leader to the lure. Lefty’s Loop Knot and many others leap to mind. I use hybrid version of these knots and can’t emphasize how important it is to have the knots right. Test every one with plenty of load. Super glue is an alternative many use to finish a knot.

If you have a boat the only other thing you will need is an electric for the front of your boat. I would suggest a Minn Kota bow mount as a minimum. There are cheaper versions on the market that I don’t know anything about.

I hope I have included everything and I just realised how much I have spent of your money. It’s almost as much as an overseas trip but you will go more than once. The thing that everybody works out eventually is you get what you pay for with your fishing gear so buy the best you can afford. If you go off what I have told you will spend a minimum of $200 on lures, $600 on a rod and reel, $100 on line and leader so there is $900 on one outfit with no boat or motor or accommodation. It will cost you anywhere from $60 to $600 for a weekend plus fuel from Brisbane return could be another $100. If you choose to use a guide it will cost you around $600 per day. It all adds up pretty but I would hate to see people try this without being aware of the cost and as you will soon realise that barra fishing is tough.

The months ahead

November is one of the best months ahead as it sees the first of the trolling in the main basin and the water temps are right up seeing some great point fishing in places like the southern arm of B.

December is a great time to fish and is usually a quiet time as many of the holiday makers come after Christmas.

Bundaberg offshore

The fishing is at its best this time of year we have jack in the creeks, barra in the dams and some of the best reef fishing along the Queensland coast you wouldn’t think it could any better. The small black marlin have arrived offshore with their counterparts the sailfish. These fish arrive in our local waters around September and stay until March. The fish at the moment are in good numbers off The Spit at the end of Fraser Island. The deeper waters out further hold plenty of blue and black marlin with fish being caught over 400kg every summer.

Hervey Bay has its local game fish tournament in November every year and is a great tournament as it offers mother shipping, fuel barge and the chance to spend time on an extended trip fishing the northern end of Fraser Island check out the HBGFC web site for details.

If you would like some more info on fishing either offshore or Lake Monduran feel free to call me for details you can generally catch me on my mobile 0427 590 995 or email me at the --e-mail address hidden-- .

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