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Action Simmering Away
  |  First Published: November 2013



With a warm and dry start to spring, some species have fired up early and we can expect consistent results due to stable water levels.

This may change a bit in coming months if the dry weather continues and we start to see dams and rivers falling as the water is released and sucked out for irrigation and town water supplies. Luckily, many feeder creeks are still running despite the lack of rain so it may take some time to see these falling water levels, which can have a negative impact on the fishing.

Golden perch have started to get more active and should really be at their peak over the next month or two. Barramundi have fired early and will continue to bite in the dams and rivers - provided we fish the right way to continue catching them as the water heats up.

Some of the bass schools around the dams have started to break up and scatter already so you can bet the lure trollers will be rewarded over the coming months.

There’ll be plenty of choices to make. Most locations are producing fish if you put in some effort. Some spots will perform better than others so read on before planning your next excursion. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

SOUTH EAST QUEENSLAND
CRESSBROOK
CLOSEST TOWNS: TOOWOOMBA, CROWS NEST

After a few quiet months, Cressbrook has started to fish a little better. Quality bass over 40cm have been caught throughout the dam.

Deer Island has been one of the more reliable spots. Some days the bass will be sitting on the point in 6-8m of water while at other times they can be wide of it and suspended in the deeper water. Casting 1/4oz jighead rigged plastics to the concentrations of fish will get them tapping away until they hook up. With suspended fish more common, trolling soft plastics can be one of the best ways to entice them.

When the fish are around 3-4m deep opt for a 1/4oz jighead, 5-6m deep a 3/8oz head, and 7m+ deep a 1/2oz jighead. Trolling speeds of 2-3km/h are ideal and are best achieved by using an electric motor. Boat speed and the amount of trailing line can be varied to get the lures running at exactly the right depth.

There has been a bit of action around the major points in the dam’s main basin as well as the Toilet Point up Bull Creek end and along the steep rock wall near Eagles Nest. If fish can be found, live shrimp will put plenty in the boat. The trick is to fish the bait at the same depth as the fish. This can be tricky if bass are suspending in very deep water. Try to measure the amount of line you let out as accurately as possible. A live, flicking shrimp right in their face won’t go untouched for too long.

If you are heading to the dam, don’t forget your $3 in coins to get through the boom gate and the 8 knot speed limit which is in place. For all your supplies, expert advice and to check on the boating restriction, call in at Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street, Toowoomba, or give them a ring on (07) 4636 6850. The boys at the store all compete in bass tournaments and really know their stuff.

SOMERSET
CLOSEST TOWNS: ESK, KILCOY

After a smashing start to spring, with some of the biggest bass ever seen, Somerset has started to slow down. The big winter fish will now start to lose their condition but that is not to say there aren’t still monsters to be caught.

Anglers tend to stop weighing their catch and go back to measuring fish once they start to slim up. With 50cm+ bass on offer, the attraction to tangle with arguably Australia’s biggest bass will still be there.

Schooling fish have been found around The Spit, Pelican Point, Eagles Nest, Bay 13 and Wide Queen Street over the last couple of months. There should still be some schools in these areas this month but I’m guessing the bass will start to break up and suspend in deeper water as well as the flats and drop offs they are known to hang around.

The better action has taken place towards Kirkleigh over the last two months. I’m tipping a swing and there will be a good response from the bass schools at The Spit.

When the bass are found, they are eating slow and medium retrieved soft plastics and hopped blade baits. This action will continue but results are going to be hit and miss. An awesome day can be followed by a tough bite for no apparent reason. This is just the nature of Somerset fish.

Anglers will be able to increase their success rate by slow trolling soft plastics. Trolling under electric motor power at 2-3km/h is a great way to keep the lures covering plenty of water when the bass schools scatter. It is particularly effective if the fish are suspended and you can work out the right jighead weight, line out and boat speed combination to have the lures right in their face. At a guess, I’d be aiming at trailing a 1/2oz 3” plastic 40m behind the boat on 6lb braid and travelling at 2.4km/h.

Some people consider trolling to be an easier and more laid back option. A switched on angler can really use it to their advantage and pinpoint certain fish holding at specific depths. Taking it to the next level, the angler can troll at a slower speed and use a retrieve and drop back during the troll to make the lure work more of the water column. I have found this technique works exceptionally well when bass are schooling up directly under the boat. As the boat moves over the bass, they move in to where the boat is but because it is slowly moving along, they drop off and stay bunched up in a line behind the boat. This effectively bunches heaps of bass in the areas right in the path the lure is about to take.

Golden perch will be a lot more active this month. Trolling deep diving hardbody lures like Blitz Bagas and Golden Childs will see good results. Because the bass are starting to scatter, you can expect a mixed bag of bass and golden perch. The flats, drop-offs and steep banks between the dam wall and Kirkleigh seem to be the best at the moment but it may also be worth a try up in the timber to the north of Kirkleigh.

The action on bait has been slow but it should pick up more due to the hotter weather. A mixed bag of bass and golden perch can be expected when fishing in 8-10m of water.

If tilapia or banded grunter find your fishing spot, they will quickly deplete your bait supply so move on if you want to catch something else.

BORUMBA
CLOSEST TOWNS: IMBIL, GYMPIE

The warmer weather will have the saratoga fired up. These fish can be caught up all the creeks. Yabba, Kingham and Borumba Creeks all hold good numbers of saratoga. Casting surface lures early and then spinnerbaits, beetle spins and hardbodies during the day should see you connected to one of these awesome fish. Toga love structure. Keep an eye out for submerged timber, lilies and weed near the edges of the lake. Overhanging vegetation is another favourite due to the fact it provides cover and delivers food. The toga’s eyes are always trained on what’s going on above.

Bass can be targeted around the start of the trees at the junction of the Kingham and Yabba arms. The fish are likely to be scattered and suspending through this area so you will need to fish lures at the right depth by counting them down and then retrieving. Soft plastics on 3/8 ounce jigheads are perfect and it’s hard to beat the 7cm Powerbait Ripple Shad or 3” Gulp Jigging Grub.

Bait fishermen will be able to pick up goldens and bass from The Junction and up into the creeks. Live shrimp are the best bait.

MACDONALD
CLOSEST TOWNS: COOROY, NOOSA

The bass should be on the move and loving reaction style presentations this month. There have been fish caught all over the dam with spinnerbaits doing a lot of the damage. The 1/2oz models are ideal for working the contours of the weed beds. Borer Creek, the 3 Ways and up around the Palm Plantation have all produced fish and should continue to do so.

Early starters can look forward to some surface action for the first couple of hours before the sun gets too high. Try fishing the same areas mentioned with walk the dog style stickbaits. The Zip’n Ziggy and 3B Scumdog 68 are ideal lures for this approach.

While fishing both surface and spinnerbaits anglers stand a reasonable chance of hooking a saratoga. Last month, an impressive 82cm toga was caught and released and there are plenty of smaller models cruising the lake.

MOOGERAH
CLOSEST TOWN: BOONAH

Early in the morning, a few bass have been caught around the edges on the western banks behind the timber. These fish have been quick to move out onto the deeper flats in the timber and can be caught on lipless crankbaits, soft plastics and blade baits.

Look for signs of fish in 7-11m of water by puttering around in the timber. Discard the deeper water and concentrate on the ridges and flats using the nearby trees as a reference point if you don’t have a GPS.

Trolling deep diving lures like the Blitz Baga, Kezza Freak or 8m Halco 50mm Poltergeist is a good way to explore for fish while keeping a lure in the water. Trolling can be particularly effective if the schools break up and scatter.

HINZE
CLOSEST TOWNS: NERANG, GOLD COAST

Hinze Dam has been fishing quite well with some of the better action taking place around the fringes of the lake. The edges have fished well for bass with anglers tossing reaction lures like lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits rewarded for their effort.

Spinnerbaits with a white base colour seem to be one of the best options available when cast to the shrubby edges of the lake. Early and late in the day should produce the best action with the hot, bright part of the day forcing the bass a little deeper. At this stage, try deeper offerings like blades, baits and soft vibes.

Early in the morning has been the time to get into some surface action. Bass are being caught on the Zip’n Ziggy and Sammy 65 stickbaits as well as various cicada imitations. Toga have been elusive but the warmer weather may see more of these fish being caught.

DARLING DOWNS GRANITE BELT REGION
COOBY
CLOSET TOWNS: HIGHFIELDS, TOOWOOMBA

Cooby has slowly started to improve. Where there was only the occasional golden perch being boated over the past couple of months, the fishing has picked up to the point where most boats are getting at least one or two fish on bait. Some boats are hitting the right spots and having a lot more success.

The bank opposite the boat ramp has produced quite well with boats packing in around the green pipe. Live shrimp and saltwater yabbies are still the pick of the baits.

Luring has been very slow with trollers lucky to even get a strike. Lure casters will pull a few fish on jigged blades and ice jigs provided they locate concentrations and don’t waste time fishing barren water.

Cooby is an electric motor only dam and is well suited to kayaks and canoes. The concrete boat ramp is on a shallow angle when the dam is full and can be slippery in places but a big electric powered boat can still be launched with care. Outboard motors can be left on the boat but must not be used. A boom gate at the entrance requires $3 to open and the dam hours are 7am-8pm. Live shrimp and saltwater yabbies can be purchased from Highfields Bait and Tackle on the New England Highway in Highfields.

COOLMUNDA
CLOSEST TOWN: INGLEWOOD

Coolmunda has been a little quiet but there are still fish being caught. This should change in the next month or two as Coolmunda usually fires up towards the end of the year with anglers bagging out on golden perch on both lures and bait.

Luring has been slow but there will be a notable increase in the fish being caught next month. Trolling out from the rock wall and on the flats between the boat ramp and dam wall be a good way to pick up a few golden perch. Up in the trees, trolling the drop-offs to the creek beds will require a little more skill and boat navigation.

Lures that dive 5-7m are ideal for Coolmunda’s golden perch and will also take a cod if you are lucky enough to drag it past one’s nose.

Casting lipless crankbaits to the trees will score some quality golden perch and there is a reasonable chance of hooking a big cod. Allow the lure to sink to the bottom before slowly retrieving it back to the boat. Once you have a hit, give the area a thorough work over as there should be plenty more fish holding there.

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.

LESLIE
CLOSEST TOWN: WARWICK

The golden perch activity at Leslie Dam will be picking up with the warmer weather, with more fish being taken on lures. Bait anglers will enjoy the action too.

With falling water levels the old spots like The Black Boys might be starting to get too shallow. Fishing back out towards the basin where the water is between 5-7m might be a better option.

The area around the dam wall (outside the exclusion zone) will be worth a shot with fish being caught there last month. Live shrimp and saltwater yabbies will see you getting plenty of bites.

Lure fishers will be able to cast and troll up the fish. Early in the mornings, the banks up towards The Black Boys will be worth a cast with small spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. In the deeper water casters can try hopping lipless crankbaits and blades along the bottom.

Trolling in 5-10m of water with lures running close to bottom will also bag some fish. If the action is slow, it is hard to beat a slow trolled lipless crankbait worked in 4-6m of water. Use an electric motor at a speed that has the lure just vibrating or opt for a stop/start trolling run to allow the lure to sink and then take off from the bottom as the boat speeds up.

If you are chasing any supplies for the dams in the Warwick area or want to tangle with some of the cod and goldens in the river, call in and see the guys at Warwick Outdoor and Sports. The store is in Palmerin Street which is the main street running through Warwick.

WIDE BAY AND BURNETT REGION
BOONDOOMA
CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSTON, KINGAROY

Slowly Boondooma is starting to pick up. The better action has been taking place up past the timber in both arms and the basin, which is dirty, has been quiet. Live bait anglers have accounted for most of the fish in the trees. A mixed bag of golden perch and bass can be taken on live shrimp.

Lure fishers are best working from the start of the timbers upstream. Casting Jackall lipless crankbaits and Smak Mini Coop Spinnerbaits to the edges in the mornings and afternoons should draw some response. During the middle of the day, try working deeper water and keep the lures closer to the bottom. Small blade baits hopped along the bottom are probably one of the best ways to fool the fish into biting. If the action is slow, slow down your retrieve using smaller hops and then pausing the lure on the bottom briefly before the next hop.

BJELKE-Petersen
CLOSEST TOWNS: MURGON, GOOMERI

A few competitions held in September/October were just what the dam needed to bring anglers back to the dam and find out there are still plenty of fish waiting to be caught. Most of the action has been taking place in the upper half of the dam up past Bass Point.

Casting lures to the edges has caught bass and golden perch. Lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits worked early in a session before a switch to blade baits will see the fish keep on coming. If you are not having any luck after 20 minutes on your bank, make a move and try another – unless the fish are on your sounder.

There have been plenty of just legal bass caught around the Bass Point area with bigger fish coming from the banks up near the timber at the back of the dam. While most of the bass are smaller just legal fish, there are a fair few 40-50cm models mixed in.

Golden perch have been sitting in around 7m of water in the same areas and at times can be found in big numbers. When this occurs, jigging blade baits and ice jigs vertically below the boat can see awesome results. Live baiting with shrimp is also hard to beat and will see plenty of goldens hitting the deck when you are in the right spot. Bjelke is still holding some monster goldens. Mixed in with the smaller class of fish are quite a few in excess of 3kg.

As the water continues to warm, trolling medium diving lures will be one of the best ways to achieve a mixed bag. Lures which run 5-8m worked upstream of Bass Point around the banks and submerged ridges will see plenty of interest.

For help catching Bjelke and Boondooma fish, call into your local Bass 2 Barra store. You can see Matthew at Kingaroy or Dylan in Dalby and the boys will have you all geared up and ready for action in no time.

CANIA
CLOSEST TOWNS: MONTO, BILOELA

Cania Dam is still fishing well in the upper reaches past the timber. Most of the action has started to take place in slightly deeper water with only smaller bass being caught around the lake’s edges. Schools of bass have been moving around in the timber and there are some quality fish in them. At times the fish are suspended at around 4m deep.

The suspended fish respond well to soft plastics and hardbody lures either cast and retrieved or trolled. When the fish are closer to the bottom, a hopping retrieve with a blade bait or soft vibe is the best way to draw a response.

While the bass around the edges have been smaller, the area may still be worth a flick with a spinnerbait, beetle spin or lipless crankbait as saratoga will be on the prowl in the mornings and afternoons.

Bait fishers working the timbered areas can expect a mixed bag of fish. Bass will be common but golden perch and silver perch will also get into the action. Try using live shrimp in 5-8m of 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 bush walking through the gorge a must, there is plenty to do when you’re not wetting a line.

MONDURAN
CLOSEST TOWN: GIN GIN

The barra have continued to chew well at Monduran with plenty of fish in the 40-80cm size being caught. Smaller suspending hardbody lures have continued to produce the goods. Halco Hamma 85’s and Jackall Hank Tune Squirrels are ideal. I’m a big fan of the Halco Hamma as it has an interchangeable bib system. The smaller bib is great for twitching and has the lure diving to around 1m. This is ideal early and late in the day. During the middle of the day, switch to the 3m bib, which sees the lure plummet and attract those deeper holding fish.

Most of the action has been taking place up past White Rock in the main river and its offshoots. Barra have been caught from there right up to F and in both the north and south arm of B. Structure filled bays with lilies have been worthy of a cast. Last month there were reports of fish closer to the ramp from bay areas like The Rainforest.

The tackle store in Gin Gin, Foxies, stocks a range of effective barra lures. The store will mail order and you can check it out online at www.barratackle.com.au. Be sure to call in and get directions to some of the best barra fishing in the area or pick up one of the detailed maps.

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. You can also make bookings for Guide Lines fishing charters through the kiosk, on (07) 4157 3881.

Jamie Bein runs Lake Monduran Barra Charters and fishes that dam more than anyone I know. His regular visits ensure he has a good understanding of what’s going on. Contact Jamie on his mobile, 0407 434 446 or through his website www.lakemonduranbarracharters.com .

CAPRICORNIA REGION
AWOONGA
CLOSEST TOWN/S: BENARABY, GLADSTONE

While the occasional whisper of a barra or two from Lake Awoonga has reached me, most of the action has taken place in the Boyne River below the dam. Plenty of anglers have hit the freshwater reaches and nailed some nice fish on soft plastics. Be aware that this area will now be covered by the barra closed season which runs from the 1 November through to the 1 February.

If you are keen on trying to tackle some fish in the dam 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
PROSERPINE
CLOSEST TOWNS: PROSERPINE, AIRLIE BEACH

Proserpine is in a transition phase where a lot of big barra will start to migrate from the timber up the back of the dam and into the main basin. Over the next few months some of these fish will eventually congregate up towards the dam wall where they are easy to troll up on deep diving lures.

Despite the fish being on the move, reasonable numbers are still being caught. Trolling and casting deep diving lures around the channel at the power line cutting and the 45 alley running off of it will produce some quality fish. The average barra has been around 1m long with some smaller and bigger ones mixed in.

Some of the better lures have been the 5m Poltergeist and the 5m and 8m RMG Scorpion 125. When casting to the structure, try upgrading the hooks to the Owner ST66 and add some belly weight with stick on lead strips to make the lure a slow riser.

Trolling around the full moon on the 17 November will definitely be worth a go. By this stage more fish may have congregated in the basin. If you are in the area 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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