Sweet water is going off
  |  First Published: December 2011

The new year has kicked off in a big way! Many of the lakes that have been quiet for the past year have fired up and the fish are going off.

With so many locations to pick from, one of the hardest things anglers are faced with is choosing where to go. There just aren’t enough days in the month to fish them all so here’s a rundown of what to expect over the coming month based on my own experiences and those of other diehard fishos like me.

Last year (2011) was a top year and there are several great fishing memories I would love to share. Right up there with the best has to be locating a patch of the escaped Wivenhoe and Somerset fish in the Brisbane River.

We gained access to a couple of private properties for boat and kayak launching and then located big bass nearby. There were some awesome sessions there but the best was a standout. I landed over 80 bass for a morning session paddling around in my Hobie Kayak.

Everything I threw the fish ate and by lunch, I called it quits having experienced the hottest bass action ever in 20 years. The average size fish was around 1.5kg and there must have been 20 over 2kg. I also landed my longest ever at 56cm to the fork of the tail and over 3kg.

Something else that will stick with me has been watching my son Blake as he starts to learn and enjoy his fishing. He has loved the hot action in the Brisbane River and now knows heaps about different lure styles and how to retrieve them. He soaks the information up like a sponge and is learning lots about the finer techniques that make the fish want to bite.

The hardest thing now will be to teach him patience for when the fishing isn’t as good. I guess with kids there are some things you just can’t teach.

In a way he’s skipped a few steps to the way I started fishing. I remember running around the paddock collecting brown grasshoppers in a bottle as a kid so I could try and persuade my dad to go fishing with them.

The best experience this year would have to be a morning session down at Coolmunda Dam at the end of November. I was fishing with my brother-in-law John Bryant, for golden perch, around the timber at the start of the McIntyre Brook and Bracker Creek.

I had never experienced a hot session or nailed many fish from Coolmunda but reports flowing in of anglers bagging out on trolled lures had excited us enough to head down and give it a try.

Instead of trolling, we opted to cast Jackall TN60 to the standing timber on the 3-4m deep flats. My brother Kerry had cleaned up doing this only a couple of weeks prior. The day started out slow and we eventually racked up a tally of about 15 goldens.

While debating our next move, John fired a cast parallel to the biggest snag in the area we had been probing. Like the goldens, this fish ate the lure on a dead slow wind along the bottom except it had a lot more weight. Within seconds we knew it was a Murray cod.

The fight that followed lasted 15 minutes as John eased the fish in on 14lb braid but only 8lb leader. I held the boat in the open, constantly watching the side image on the sounder to ensure we were out in the open away from snags. All went smoothly and John never panicked each time he caught a glimpse of his monster. We netted the cod and estimated it at around 30lb – a great effort on 8lb leader.

While John celebrated by sending off a few bragging texts to his mates, I headed the boat back over to the same snag. I said to him I’d heard stories of big cod holding in pairs and four casts later, I hooked the mate of John’s fish.

The fight started out badly. The cod had my 10lb braid wrapped around a tree. I unwound the line and then it went deep into a laydown. I powered away with the Minn Kota electric and the cod came to the surface and we had our first proper glimpse.

It was well over a foot wide and more than a metre long – a real monster. Five minutes later, the cod was beat and it was time to grab hold of it for a photo. The closest bank was about 1km away, too far to tow the big fish and the approach was shallow and full of timber. I opted to lift the fish in.

John secured the jaw of the cod then I wrapped both arms around it in a big hug. Supporting it in a couple of places under its giant gut I lifted the brute onto the wet down carpet. We snapped off about six pictures and I cuddled the giant back into the water. Judging by the size and weight of this cod we guessed it must be well over 60lb, my biggest ever.

It’s true what they say about Murray cod: they really are legends. At almost 50cm wide and with eyes set a foot apart I’ll never forget the battle with my first monster cod. Like all legends, I’m sure my story will improve as the truth begins to stretch and I tell it over and over again. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

South East Queensland
Closest Towns: Toowoomba, Crows Nest

Lake Cressbrook is a tough dam to predict. The bass are mobile fish from one week to the next and fishing pressure can shut them down quite fast. Having said this, in December the dam was on fire. Some good schools were found on the point straight across from the boat ramp and also just out from the boat ramps.

These bass were willing to take cast and trolled 1/4oz blade baits and soft plastics. Blades are often one of the best options when targeting schooling bass. The bass have been spewing up bony bream on being caught and the tight vibration and profile of the blade makes a great imitation of this baitfish.

The schooling bass have been 30-40cm long with very few undersized fish encountered. The fishing pressure over the bust month of January will likely be the deciding factor as to if these bass stay schooled up and willing to aggressively take lures.

Around the edges an early morning start can produce some surface munching bass for those throwing poppers but the fish will quickly move deeper and prefer spinnerbaits, soft plastics and small blade baits. The bass on the edges are likely to be smaller than those encountered in the schools in deeper water. If you are able to strike it lucky, some better bass to 40cm are there for the catching.

Redclaw have been slow to take off with traps getting up to five per haul provided they are left in place for quite some time. The bays in Bull Creek arm on the southeastern side of the pump tower have been quite productive. Still they are nothing like they were in the earlier parts of last year when the dam reopened after the flooding.

The boys at Fish ‘N’ Bits, Alderly Street, Toowoomba will be able to steer you in the right direction and have an awesome range of lures and tackle. You can also place your order for live shrimp through the store to ensure you have the best bait available.

Don’t forget your $2.50 in coins to get through the boom gate and the 8 knot speed limit which is in place.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

Last month, there were signs beginning to show the schooling bass would scatter. Big schools were still holding across the flats at Pelican Point and some of the surrounding points and flats. The warm water tends to break up the schools and bigger fish often venture out wider into the deeper water where they suspend.

Based on the fishing last month, I’d guess around half of the lake’s bass will leave the tight schools and suspend in the more open water in close proximity to the areas of major schools.

One of the best ways to locate and entice Somerset’s bass at this time of year is to troll deep diving lures or slow troll 1/2oz blade baits. The Brolga, Blitz Baga and Kezza Pluga have all been working effectively on the bass. Dark purple with white stripes and yellow and brown have been two colour combinations producing plenty of strikes.

If bass are located in schools, it pays to hold off the school and cast blade baits, soft plastics and soft lipless baits at them. When the schools move below the boat, they get harder to tempt and will occasionally fall for vertically jigged ice jigs or slowly wound soft plastics. On still days with no wind, it often pays to move on after a bite dies down and find another active patch of fish.

Occasionally, the lake’s biggest bass will school across shallow flats when the thermocline lifts higher in the water column. This occurs in January and February and if the clutter on the sounder shows at 4-5m deep, big bass may hold in numbers at the same depth across expansive flats.

The trouble with this is there are so many flats that meet this description. Sounding around is the only way to locate these monster fish and chances are they may not even venture into the shallows.

If you do encounter these big schooling bass, try casting soft lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits at them. These bigger baits are what it takes to turn these big bass on at this time of year.

Somerset’s redclaw have been pretty slow compared to last year. I have seen some absolute monsters but the numbers are certainly down. Rockmelon as bait in an opera house trap is the best way to go. Try in water 5-7m deep and if traps don’t produce after a couple of hours move them to a different area.

Closest Towns: Tewantin, Noosa

There has been plenty of fishing action at Macdonald with bass leading the charge followed closely by golden perch, saratoga and Mary River cod. Some great schools of bass have been patrolling the outside of the weed edge near the Botanical Gardens.

Closer in to the weed, bigger fish are more common and they can be extracted on metal blades and spinnerbaits.

Up in the Three Ways, bass are likely to nail a lipless crankbait fished tight to the weed. The same area is also worth exploring in the mornings and afternoons with surface lures. Last month, the Zip’n Ziggy was effective on both bass and saratoga.

Jigging ice jigs or hopping soft vibes and small blades around the Bubble Trail is a reliable way to target bass. If luring isn’t your thing, try dropping a lightly weighted shrimp over the side of the boat – the goldens won’t be able to resist.

Borer Creek has fished well for Mary River cod in recent times. Spinnerbaits are one of the best ways to excite these big fish. Work the lures through the tops of the weed and allow them to fall and flutter down the edges to deeper water as the weed drops off.

Macdonald’s Mary River cod grow to around 75cm and at this size, put up quite a fight. Beefing up the leader size to 20lb may pay off as the rasping mouth of a cod can make quick work of light leaders used for bass.

The guys at Davo’s Bait and Tackle in Noosaville have an excellent range of lures catering for the freshwater market. They can give you an up to date report on the fishing and what’s working best.

Closest Towns: Imbil, Gympie, Noosa

Borumba has been going off with stacks of bass in the lower part of the dam while saratoga have been common in the upper parts. The main basin has been holding great numbers of schooling bass. These fish can be located all over but prefer the points where they school up in numbers.

The first and second yellow buoys are positioned right on top of long points extending into the dam and are the perfect starting spot when searching for bass. Here the bass are suckers for soft plastics. The 7cm Powerbait Ripple Shad and 3” Berkley Jigging Grub have been awesome taking stacks of fish when rigged on 1/4oz and 3/8oz jigheads. Hopping and retrieving 3/8oz blade baits will also tempt these bass and a heavier blade or deep diving hardbody will effectively snare them on the troll.

The steep banks in the main basin are worth exploring for bass and golden perch. One of the best ways to fish them is to hop soft lipless vibes down the face of the rocks allowing the lure to contact the bottom as it sinks deeper between each hop.

Jackal Mask Vib 60s, Powerbait MF50s and MF60s are ideal for this approach. Slowly working a spinnerbait out from the depths can also pay off. The downsized Smak Mini Coop is one of the best and they are certainly a proven fish taker in this area.

The saratoga have been going crazy up the top of the Kingham and Yabba arms. One report last month saw two anglers boat 13 fish on small diving hardbodies at the top of the Yabba arm. Small hardbodies are just one lure worth trying.

Toga will also take spinnerbaits, beetle spins, lightly weighted soft plastics and surface lures. The important thing to keep in mind when targeting these great sportfish is to keep hooks sharp. As soon as they are dull, replace them with quality chemically sharpened ones such as Owner stinger hooks.

Be sure to call in and see the guys at Davo’s in Noosaville if you are heading to Borumba or elsewhere in the surrounding area. You’ll have a good chance of catching up with bass guru, Callum Munroe, who can share some of his secrets and set you up with the right gear.

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Closest Town: Inglewood

For the last two months, Coolmunda has produced some mind blowing results. Anglers have bagged out on golden perch time and time again within a short session. Trolling has been the most reliable method and boats can be seen meandering the lake pulling fish from flats and deeper water close to the creek bed drop off.

Locating some of the better points, flats and underwater islands will certainly bring more success. A quick look at Google Maps will show the dam at a lower level than the current capacity and some great looking points and even an island to explore.

Like all fishing scenarios we face, you are bound to hear the story: “You should have been here yesterday or last week”. The golden perch can be a little temperamental. When this is the case, try dropping a live shrimp or slow down your lure presentations by casting to structure and using slower retrieves.

Shallow and medium diving lures with a running depth of 4-5m are ideal. In Toowoomba, Fish’N’Bits has been finding it hard to keep up with a supply of the Kezza Lure Mud Mouse in the smaller size. This is a proven fish taker but you will find any of the bulkier bodied hard body lures from 50-100mm in length suitable.

My brother Kerry Ehrlich tried his own Kezza lures on the golden at the end of November and found they were quite tough to entice. With hardly anyone catching fish, Kerry explored the Macintyre Brook timber where he found shallow flats full of timber and resident yellowbelly.

TN60 Jackalls were the gun lure for exploring these trees. It was a matter of moving between them and repeated casts to locate hotspots where the goldens were holding in numbers. Wandering through these same trees with shallow running trolled lures is sure to work. An electric motor is useful for this type of fishing as stealth in shallow water really pays off.

In the last month there have been reports of several undersized Murray cod. I ventured out to the lake for a golden trip and we were lucky to nail a cod over 30lb and four casts later its mate, which was 111cm and estimated at over 60lb.

These fish fell to our lipless crankbaits worked slowly across the bottom at the start of the timber. With fish of all sizes on offer, be sure to stick to the bag and size limits (undersized for all species and oversized for cod) to ensure we can all enjoy this fishery for years to come.

In the past, there have been three council blocks on the southern side of the dam wall where campers were able to pitch a tent right at the water’s edge. These blocks have been sold to a private buyer and the area is now fenced off and there is no camping allowed on this property.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 1km away from the lake. The park is just off the Cunningham Highway but far enough away from the noise of trucks to get a good night’s sleep. It offers camping sites, cabins, caravan facilities, tennis courts, a swimming pool, BBQ shelter and a camp kitchen. To take advantage of this and the great fishing opportunities in the lake and the river below, give the park a call on (07) 4652 4171.

Closest Town: Warwick

The golden perch have really fired up over the last month with the hot weather and constant water temperatures. Leslie’s goldens are a little smaller on average than some of the other lakes in the area. Fish of 35-40cm or around 2lb seem to be the norm.

These yellowbelly have been attacking lures all over the dam with some of the better catches coming from the points in the basin and the drop off out from The Black Boys. The ever faithful lipless crankbait has been doing plenty of damage and small hardbodies like the 3m Poltergeist are perfect for a golden attack.

Some boys have reported hooking some big cod on spinnerbaits cast to the edges but losing them during the fight. The edges will also produce some yellowbelly on cast lipless crankbaits as well.

Closest Towns: Meringandan, Toowoomba

Lure fishing at Cooby Dam has been ridiculously tough. The golden perch and cod are very hard to tempt. Baitfishing close to the drop-offs out from the boat ramp and up towards the dam wall with live shrimp will be the best way to score some fish.

You can pick up your supply of live shrimp from Highfields Bait and Tackle, only 15 minutes away from the dam. The store is behind Subway on the New England Highway.

Wide Bay and Burnett Region
Bjelke Petersen
Closest Towns: Murgon, Goomeri

Finally Bjelke is starting to show some signs of life since the floods last year. If the water level remains stable without any major inflows we can expect to see more fish caught over the coming months. The action is steady with smaller bass from undersized up into the low 30cm size bracket taking trolled spinnerbaits at the bottom end of the dam in deeper water.

Golden perch have also made a reappearance. Bait fishing with live shrimp has been the most successful method but moving between spots is necessary. Even today’s productive spot can fail tomorrow so be prepared to move about. The best success on the goldens has been around points, trees and logs.

The redclaw crayfish activity has been slowly ramping up and will peak over the next couple of months. If big rain creates any flows into the dam expect the redclaw to go crazy.

Matthew and Lucas at Bass to Barra in Kingaroy will be able to give you any of the latest news on Bjelke Petersen. They keep a close eye on the place and will have heard any of the latest reports so be sure to call in to the store and say hello.

Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

The awesome action at Boondooma is likely to slow down as the schooling fish scatter and suspend. This means experienced anglers will drop from up to 100 fish sessions back to more modest numbers. Still expect to catch a double figure number of fish if you have some idea of the movements of the fish and what you are doing.

Golden perch and bass will be easily targeted on trolled lures. The fish will be suspending at around 6-7m deep in water of all depths. The overall water depth isn’t all that important. The key is to run lures that dive to the depth the fish are holding.

As conditions warm and the thermocline lifts in the water column these suspended fish are likely to hold even shallower at around 4-5m deep. One of the most successful lures is the Smak 12 in purple, black or green. While some anglers are happy to troll around blindly, picking up a fish here and there, switched on guys will be able to pinpoint the better concentrations of fish.

Search out from major points in the dam basin anywhere from the wall down to The Junction. When better patches of fish are found, they can be caught on cast and jigged lures. Casting 3/8oz blades to the fish will be quite effective but it is important to keep them at the right depth by counting them down based on their sink rate.

This is also the case if you use soft plastics. A good idea is to take the average depth of the suspended fish and head to an area where the lake bottom is the same depth and let the lure sink to it while you count. Count your winds and the length of time the lure takes to get back to the bottom. Remember this retrieve and use it out in the deep on the concentrations of bass and you’ll have much better success.

An alternative is to jig ice jigs or drop live shrimp down to the suspended fish. It is quite easy to measure line out as you lower the lure or bait down vertically to the fish. A good sounder will even show them dropping if you lower them in the transducer cone.

Early and late in the day, it may be worth tossing some lures around the steeper banks. Golden perch and bass can be caught here on spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits but don’t expect the action to last through the heat of the day. When it warms right up, the clarity allows plenty of light into the shallows so the fish vacate.

In the timber, the best action has been found in the Stuart River arm where you’ll pick up a mixed bag on live shrimp, worms or frozen prawns.

Local guide and tackle shop owner Matthew Mott has offered a useful tip for anglers visiting the lake: based on the fact the fish are suspending in open water and not holding close to structure, they will move a lot more. If you head out be prepared to look around. Where you’ve previously caught fish may be quiet so use your sounder to relocate the best spots.

To pick up some more advice or the right gear for the job, call in and see Matthew or Lucas at Bass to Barra in Kingaroy. Bass to Barra also have a shop in Dalby so be sure to catch up with the guys if you’re heading out.

Isis Balancing Storage
Closest town: Bundaberg

Isis has been on fire, providing some of the best surface fishing for bass imaginable. Several anglers have reported sessions of 30-40 bass on topwater lures in the early parts of the morning. These bass are commonly caught to 40cm but there is the odd bigger fish with a fork length over 50cm so be prepared to battle it out close to the thick weed beds.

Isis bass still love the Zip’N Ziggy. Other 50-75mm walk the dog actioned stickbaits would also be worth a try but it’s hard to beat the performance and dollar value of the Zip’N Ziggy. The surface action has been tapering off around 7am and hotter days may see the bass shy off even earlier so it pays to hit the water at first light.

As soon as the fish slow down on top it’s time to explore subsurface or venture deeper to keep the action happening. Spinnerbaits and small blades wound so they tip the tops of the weed as it tapers off into deeper water will produce some of the better quality bass during the day.

Some weed has died off in the timber and the edges are now more defined. This makes the area suitable for deeper presentations around the remaining weed and standing trees.

Schooling bass will be holding on the outside of the defined weed edge. These fish are usually smaller than their weed-dwelling mates but provide plenty of action on small trolled lures, soft plastics and blade baits. The ¼ ounce Little Max blade is one of the best and its small sharp hooks give a great hook up rate on these smaller mouthed, tapping bass.

The guys at Saltys Tackleworld in Bundaberg have an awesome range of fishing gear to cater for both fresh and saltwater anglers. You’ll find the boys really know their stuff and love their fishing. The store is located at 22 Quay street Bundaberg.

Closest Town: Monto

The guys at Cania Gorge Tourist Park have had some very happy visitors over the past month. Golden perch, bass and saratoga are providing some fantastic fishing. The upper reaches of the dam seem to be the place to explore with numbers of fish coming from the timber. Trolling and casting lures will produce results.

The warm conditions should see the saratoga and bass willing to take a surface offering early on those beautiful still mornings. Walking and blooping lures out from the edge and concentrating on keeping lures close to structure should pay off. Shallow bays are also worth exploring. A stealthy approach with an electric motor will ensure you don’t spook any fish in the shallow water.

To find out more about the lake or to book some great accommodation nearby, call the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park on (07) 4167 8188. There are excellent facilities including camp sites, cabins, a playground and swimming pools. It’s worth a visit to the park just to see some of the rare and beautiful wildlife that regularly drop in and live in the area. With regular events such as wood fired pizza night, wine tasting, camp oven dinner and outdoor movies on each week, there is plenty to do when you’re not wetting a line.

Closest Town: Biloela

Finally! For the last couple of months, I have been predicting Callide Dam to be one of the hottest barra locations for South East Queensland based anglers. Reports are now starting to flow in and the barra are there in numbers.

Last month a local angler and his son managed to land six fish for a short afternoon session. The biggest barra was estimated to be close to a metre long. On the following afternoon, the pair returned and racked up an impressive tally of 16 barra with the biggest fish measuring 84cm.

As with all barra fishing the sessions also had their share of lost fish and missed strikes. Now I’m sure this pair will be keeping this spot a closely guarded secret but I can offer some advice to those looking to land a Callide barra based on what I have heard.

Shallow diving hard bodies are perfect for the lake’s smaller class of barra. These are perfect when fished as these boys do from the shore. Casting the windblown shallow bays in the timber that offers plenty of standing and submerged structure will put you in with a good shot.

At close to 80% capacity, the lake level is slowly dropping and this will have the barra falling back and moving into new areas as the water level recedes. Exploration and pinpointing key areas will be the way to find success with so many places to fish. While the barra activity level is high, it may be the case that only one in ten bays or points actually hold fish.

Late afternoon sessions or even fishing into the night can be a big help as a boofing barra or two smashing the surface will often give away the location of good numbers of fish.

Norm at Creek to Coast tackle store in Biloela will be able to give you the up to date reports and a few hints on where to find the barra. Creek to Coast stocks a great range of barra fishing tackle so if you forget something or don’t have the secret weapon to catch them, be sure to call in and say hello.

Closest Town: Gin Gin

It is hard to find words to describe the fishing at Monduran other than to say it is hit and miss. While some anglers are finding great numbers of small barra others seem to be missing out altogether.

These smaller fish that average between 50-60cm call for smaller lure presentations. Bombers, B52s and Tropic Anglers are all shallow running lures that produce plenty of fish when they are located.

The hot conditions and working the same areas in the middle of the day can call for a deeper running lure. I have found the Tilsan Barra an awesome barra catching weapon in the past. You can trick these lures up with heavier gauge hooks to make them suspend or fish them straight from the pack.

Being one of the few mass-produced timber lures, their buoyancy level is slightly different depending on the density of the timber. After a few fish they can start to soak in a bit of water but it just doesn’t seem to affect their fish catching ability.

It seems most barra have been lurking around the structure from the middle reaches of the dam further into the sticks. The Rainforest near the first cut through has been a popular area and there has been plenty of action in the south arm of “B”.

If you’re after some help or need to stock up on the right gear, call in and see the locals at Foxies Barra Pro in the town of Gin Gin. Foxies carry a great range of barra lures, rods, reels, lines, hooks and maps to help you score that fish of a life time. An up to date report could make all the difference on your next trip.

If you are after a charter with an experienced guide, try the local guide Rob Wood. Rob runs a Skeeter bass boat and has plenty of knowledge to share. He can be contacted on 0427 590 995 or check out his regular column in this magazine.

Accommodation can be booked through Lake Monduran Kiosk and Tackle Shop. They look after all the cabins, houses, powered and unpowered camp sites, as well as house boats and boat hire. The kiosk’s number is (07) 4157 3881.

Capricornia Region
Closest Towns: Benaraby, Gladstone

Awoonga Dam has still been fishing tough. Many of the barra actually being caught are smaller specimens. Larger fish have been showing on the sounder in numbers but they just refuse to play the game.

Close by, the barra fishing in the Boyne and Calliope rivers is off limits while the barra are protected during the closed season. The rivers are open to fishing for other species but barra aren’t to be targeted until the season opens again at the beginning of February.

This three month break will give the barra a break from the hordes of anglers chasing them. Come February 1, after the break in fishing pressure, they should be more than willing to take lures such as Transam 95s and suspending hardbodies.

For your accommodation while in the area give Lyn and Mark from Awoonga Gateway a call on (07) 4975 0033. At Awoonga Gateway you’ll find clean, modern cabins and your hosts will be full of useful advice to help you try to land that barra of a lifetime.

Whitsunday Region
Closest Towns: Proserpine, Airlie Beach

Proserpine has been a standout lake all year. Prior to summer, the action was hot in the timbered areas in the deep trees and across the shallow flats. Now the hot water has tempted the lake’s monster barra to the deeper water of the main basin. Here, these monster fish are easy targets for pros and novices to the sport. Their open water location makes them easy to target, hook and land.

Trolling diving hardbodies is by far the most productive way to entice these metre plus monsters. Concentrating on working lures early and late in the day or even through the night around the full moon will see you fishing the peak periods.

A fast troll of 4.5-6km/h gets lures vibrating like crazy and the barra interested. This faster troll also covers a lot more water than the slow troll you would usually use for barra and this is what it’s all about when you are fishing the deep water in the open dam.

Local fishing guide, Lindsay Dobe, compares this style of fishing to chasing saltwater pelagic species. He recommends working close to any bait schools showing on the sounder as the barra are usually nearby regardless of the water depth.

Some of the best lures to troll have been the Laser Pro 2m 190, Laser Pro 6m 160 and 5m Reidy’s Big Boss. Bigger lures like the Laser Pro 190 are especially effective during the night. For sessions extending into daylight hours, try probing a little deeper with a lure, which really thumps out vibration. The RMG Poltergeist 80 may be smaller in profile but the barra seem to love it during the day.

Closer to the edges of the dam, there has been plenty of action in the shallows. The shallow points and flats in the timber are great places to explore with surface lures and shallow diving hardbodies. While the light level is low try working topwater lures like the Rapala Skitterpop or Halco Rooster Popper 80 or 105. These blooping lures will provoke some explosive strikes.

The more subtle walk the dog action of the Tango Dancer can also work wonders across the top of the dam. As soon as the surface bite slows down, try casting shallow diving hardbodies. With so much focus on suspending lures these days, anglers often forget the benefits of a shallow running floating hardbody lure.

Floating lures can be popped on top, pulled under and allowed to float back to the surface before the retrieve begins. One of the best in the business is the Scorpion 90 Skin Deep. The rounded bib of this lure allows it to walk through weed and snags like no other hardbody. It can be blooped on top like a popper or ripped or wound down below the surface like any other shallow running hard body. Being able to attract the fish first with a bloop and then looking for a subsurface strike during the retrieve is dynamite on barramundi.

If you are planning a Proserpine Dam assault call in and see the boys in town at Proserpine Bait and Tackle. Lindsay Dobe has spent years running charters on the lake and has a good idea where the barra will be and how best to catch them. If you are interested in a charter make sure you get in early with your booking. Lindsay can be reached through the store on (07) 4945 4641.

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