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Small barra prevalent
  |  First Published: December 2012



Lake Monduran is a great lake and is still fishing well. The only downside is that the fish are smaller than previous years with barra from 45-87cm being caught in the backs of bays around the black wattle trees.

Nevertheless, despite the prevalence of small fish I still believe that there are plenty of big fish around; it’s just that there is so much water between them! Small barramundi need to feed everyday and are much easier to target on smaller hardbody lures when schooled up in the backs of bays. As the fish move around, the smaller ones around 45cm have stayed in these areas and have become the predominate fish to catch.

Using my side scanner, I have noticed that the bigger fish we were catching in the winter are schooling up and moving around the more open areas and can be seen chasing bait schools around like pelagic fish in the ocean. These fish are harder to target as they are constantly active and it’s near impossible to target them.

The representations I see on my side scan are incredible small baits schools balled up; like the ones in the ocean constantly being harassed by tuna and dolphins. This leads me to believe that the older larger 1m+ fish of yesteryear are solitary feeders moving through the lake and, with water levels so high and bait numbers unfathomable, they could be anywhere. In the past, when the dam was less than 20% and bait was scarce, these monsters would hunt the shallows pushing bait up along the weed edge making them easy targets for anglers throwing hardbodies and plastics along the edge.

Gear

The most popular lure at the moment for dam barra is the Jackal Squirrel. It’s been catching good numbers of fish, along with other hardbodies, such as Rapala and Halco.

Baitcaster reels are the best by far for this type of fishing and the small Shimano Curado or Abu Revo reels are reasonably priced and will stand up to what most barra fishing holds. A light baitcaster rod will suffice something around the 6kg mark are perfect.

Braid is expensive, but I have the best results with Suffix as it lasts the longest. Other brands, like Castaway, are great as well but don’t seem to last as long. If you only fish a couple of times a year then don’t bust the bank on this stuff. All you will need is 10-15kg braid and if you only want to fish 6kg then just use your bass gear.

Leader is anywhere from 10-30kg. Fluorocarbon is great as if offers better resistance to cuts and abrasion and is much stiffer. You generally only need to use half the size than with normal mono leaders. I prefer to use a softer 40kg leader. You can probably get a really good combo for under $500 this year fully loaded and for the budget minded and post-Xmas specials you could even get two combos for around $600.

If you want to fish dams, new areas especially, try to book a guide it will save you a lot of heartache.

Offshore

It’s no secret that after last year’s great heavy tackle marlin season in Cairns and the weather pattern change along the coast from La Nina back to El Nino, the juvenile black marlin have turned up like rats of the ocean along the Queensland coast.

There have been unprecedented numbers off Bundaberg and Hervey Bay recently. These fish start their journey from the Coral Sea working there way down the coast from Townsville, 1770, Bundaberg, Sunshine Coast, Coffs Harbour, South West Rocks and then down to Port Stephens by February. What a journey and what a sports fish?

These fish can be caught on small pusher style lures or garfish rigged trolling baits. On the north western side of Fraser Island from Rooneys Point to Wathumba Creek, you can catch them in sheltered waters in small trailer boats. For better numbers, head out over the Thirteen Mile crossing and fish 2 miles to the north east in 20-40m of water. GT fishing and reef fishing is also great out here in the summer months.

Goodbye

This will be my last article for QFM as I will be moving to Airlie Beach to live out the rest of my days.

I write this last article with a tear in my eye as I remember the great times I have had with my son Tommy, as we have fished together from the time he was four.

Fishing holds a lot of fond memories for me, and none more so than the clients and friends I have met on the water and doing the ABT BARRA Tournament series. This last year has been tough and without the support of my friends and family I wouldn’t have made it. Thankyou.

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