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Up And Over The Wall
  |  First Published: May 2011



Fishing at Lake Monduran is still sketchy but we are continuing to catch fish occasionally in some of the upper reaches of the dam.

Despite my concerns that all the fish had gone over the dam wall, local guide Rob Howell said he was seeing them consistently on his side scan. With this in mind I decided to go and search. I found them congregated in groups in areas of the southern arm of B and the 2 Mile. My faith was further restored with a few catches of barra, which confirmed images on the side scan.

I confess that I can understand how people can create a little hysteria when commenting on the fishing the impoundments; especially when dams like Awoonga have lost so many fish over the wall and are caught in the lower reaches of the rivers and streams below in their hundreds. However, the reality is there are a lot of fish in these dams and not all the barra go over the wall. Winter is just around the corner and the fish will move up into the shallows and should be easy to catch again.

The worst kept secret in barra fishing at the moment is the rivers below the dams are loaded with barra that have gone over the wall. The likes of the Boyne have kept guides in business while the dams have flopped. The fishing was extraordinary to start but now has tapered off and only a few in-the-know locals and guides seem to be catching a lot of the fish.

Guide, Jason Wilhelm, has used his intuition to catch fish at their toughest. Jason is exceptionally good at this and has been instrumental at developing techniques to catch barra for years. The technique is tough and, with out trying to give too much away, using lipless crankbaits and blades will encourage these fish to bite. The fishing is highly technique sensitive but can produce many fish over a day.

The chartering at the Boyne is extremely tough at the moment with boats moving in a close proximity can create some conflict between anglers. I had a great time with my anglers up there but most of the fishing will slow down and revert back to the impoundments.

Lake Monduran flows into the Kolan River system, which doesn’t have the access that the Boyne River does but you can still catch barra and bass. Be careful not to break laws and fish on private property.

Stocking

After the deluge, the stocking group needs more funds to restock the dam with fingerlings. Rob Howell Manager of the Lake Monduran Holiday Park has organised in conjunction with the Gin Gin Chamber of Commerce raising funds to stock the dam over and above the SIPS funding, which is so well maintained by our local stocking group MASA.

Funds will be held with the Local Gin Gin Chamber of Commerce to add some credibility to the business owners collecting money for the fish.

We need to raise around $100,000 per year to increase the stocking over the next five years. Rob and myself have faced continuous pressure from visitors and locals to increase the stocking at Lake Monduran. We have had an unbelievable amount of support from local businesses and fishers like Morris Browning from Toowoomba who regularly fishes the dam has donated $1000. This has given us a total of around $8000 already raised.

This is your chance to put your money where your mouth is and donate some dollars to maintain the stocking of this dam. For those who fish the dam regularly, you can buy your own fish. These fish only cost 50c each so a few dollars can go a long way. Tackle giants and tackle stores who profit from these dams, this is your chance to invest in your future business. If you would like to donate you can phone me on 0427 590 995 or Rob Howell on 0410 599 147.

Side Scan Sounder

I'm often asked how I use my side scan sonar to find fish, so I would like to show you my settings for my Humminbird 798 CI sounder. I'm not an expert but I do receive a great picture sounding plenty of fish so I thought I would present my setting and you can draw your own conclusions.

First I use the gold colour background, as this give me the best results in all light conditions.

Settings: Si sensitivity 14, Si range 100ft Chart Speed 10, Si colours Amber1, Si Enhance Sensitivity 14, Contrast 08, Sharpness Off, Down scan sensitivity 14, Lower Range – Auto this lower range can be lifted up manually to increase your view behind the boat

When searching I use left and right scan with down scan, I sometimes bring in the right corner sounder.

I receive a great picture at this level of unit but I’m upgrading to a bigger unit which has 800kHz that receives a much better resolution. But it all depends on your budget.

As mentioned previously the barra fishing is tough, but the future shines bright for winter anglers chasing fishing in the shallows. There are plenty of natural weed beds that will provide some great cover for winter barra so fish the edges in the shallow warmer bays of the dam.

Weed less rigs are best to use, throwing them to the top of the weed and collapsing the rig as it falls off the side of the weed edge. Shimano Slick rigs worked out from the edge and will produce results, as will the Storm Bait and Switch.

Try smaller plastics for winter fishing. I recommend using hardbodies in the tree-lined edges, suspending for best results. I like Rapala X-Raps and Shad Raps and Saruna suspending lures.

Offshore

We have had a great season with sailfish turning up in September and blue marlin in October, despite the La Nina and destructive weather. The black marlin didn’t turn up like previous years, but who knows maybe next year will be different?

The reef fishing is always exceptional. I have received some excellent photos from anglers catching large red emperor. The months ahead will provide perfect weather conditions to explore some of the reefs, which is where I’ll be as the gamefishing is finished until September.

With Queensland copping most of the brunt of the floods and destruction Queenslanders are really hurting. Firstly the people who have lost loved ones and homes alike will never recover from such a deluge. We need to bounce back and we really need to get the communities of Queensland going again. Lots of Queenslander’s rely on Tourism and related enterprises to provide income for their families. So start travelling, filling the motel and caravan parks and help generate income for the locals that rely on it.

Hope to see you in our town soon!

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