Spring into freshwater action
  |  First Published: September 2015

Last month was a busy month for me. Unfortunately, I was busy doing other things, not fishing. I have been working like a crazy man making tail spinners trying and get enough stock to fill a few stores and be able to have the majority of September off for fishing.

The reason I want some free time is to take advantage of what is going to be on offer. September sees a few changes but probably the most exciting is the bass schooling and feeding so well. Impoundment bass never manage to go through with the whole breeding thing. They do however feel the urge, which makes them a little horny and sees them schooling up in big schools. Locate these schooling fish and there is a good chance they will be in the mood to eat lures.

The colder winter months sees bass and other species a bit lethargic. As soon as the water starts to warm, the fish spring to life and are keener than ever to chase down and crunch a lure. Subtle presentations like soft plastics will probably turn their heads early in the month but by the end of the month or moving into October, they will be keen on chasing reaction baits and faster, flashy offerings.

I have always had a sweet spot for bass. Over the last couple of years, I have spent more time chasing other species of fish. When September and October rolls around though, it’s back into the bass boat to search and catch those big thumpers. Due to females filling with roe, the weight of a big 50cm+ bass changes. A summer 2kg model can be a 3kg model during spring. If 3kg+ bass are on the menu, I’m there. Good numbers of bass should be available so if you are not able to locate the bigger fish on the sounder, it may be a case of filtering through a school of smaller fish until the one you are after turns up.

If heaps of big bass don’t make your casting arm all twitchy, there are plenty of other fish to chase this month.

Barra numbers should pick up at the first hint of the water temperature warming up. Golden perch generally go nuts later in the month and just about all the other freshwater species will be firing up.

Don’t forget the Murray cod, which have chewed well all winter, are now protected by the closed season that runs until 1 December in both QLD and NSW. Check out the rules and regulations regarding the cod closed season on your respective state’s website. By law, cod can still be targeted in some lakes. Wild bass in the tidal streams have just come out of their closed season and as of 1 September can be targeted again. These closed seasons are in place to protect our fish and give them the chance to breed up making more fish for the future. Respect them and we will all have more fish to chase in the years to come.

This month, there are no reports from the barra lakes but you can expect things to start picking up. Awoonga was quiet over the winter period with next to no boats fishing so the fish are well rested. Lenthalls is still closed. Monduran has been tough even in the lead up to winter but this could be the season it fires again. Further north around Mackay, Teemburra, Kinchant and Proserpine are all set to fire up. Being warmer further north, they all start producing the numbers earlier than the southern lakes. If you are feeling the barra itch, that’s where I’d be heading.

Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel!

Hot Bite Fishing

Hot Bite Lures no longer sells direct to the public. Jets and Willy Willy tail spinners will be available through selected tackle stores over the next few months. Already stores like Somerset Bait and Tackle (Kilcoy), Fish’n Bits (Toowoomba), Highfields Bait and Tackle (Highfields) and Warwick Outdoor and Sports (Warwick) carry them with plenty more stores likely to have them by the time you are reading this.

For more information on Hot Bite Fishing and where you can get your hands on the lures, check out the Hot Bite Facebook page or email me at --e-mail address hidden--

South East Queensland
Closest Towns: Toowoomba, Crows Nest

Schooling bass numbers increased last month. This is a good indication the bass will form into larger schools for the spring bite. Spots like the point near the camp ground, Toilet Point up Bull Creek and Opposite the Eagles Nest rock wall are all worth a look. Try sounding around in 7-11m of water keeping a close eye on the fish finder screen. Apart from heading to where other boats are, there is no other way to locate the schools and make the most of the action.

For information on quality sounders, go in and see the guys at Tackleworld Toowoomba. They can give you the right advice and ensure you are able to go out and locate fish of your own.

Cressbrook bass schools are finicky and best fished early in the morning or late in the afternoon when other boats are off the water. Getting to them first will ensure you get the bites you are after. Unlike other dams, the fish schools are dense and there are not many other fish in the nearby area. This means you have no choice but to sit with them and keep hammering the same spot. The constant presence of boats doesn’t go unnoticed by the fish and the longer you sit on the spot, the tougher they get to catch.

Soft plastics will get plenty of hits but if the fish are fired up, try hopping blades and tail spinner through them. Soft vibes with a bigger profile that imitate a bony bream can fool the bigger fish.

There is no longer an entry fee at the boom gate but the 8 knot speed limit is still in place. Don’t forget the hours for boating have now been extended and are 6am to 8pm from the 1 September. Tackleworld in Toowoomba is a great place to stop and grab your supplies for a trip to Cressy or any of the other dams and rivers. You can check out their latest fishing reports on the Tackleworld Toowoomba Facebook page or online at their website.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

Last month, the bass were still pretty tough to catch. Andrew from Somerset Fishing Tackle had some reports filtering through of bass being taken around the Queen Street area on the flats. The better action was around the middle of the day and fish were falling for ice jigs and the 16g Jets tail spinner.

Bass numbers have picked up with more fish showing on the sounder around Pelican Point, Bay 13 and Queen Street. These fish numbers can increase at a rapid rate and then the action will begin. Soft plastics rolled along the bottom are one of the best ways to get the bites. 3” Shad tails like the Squidgy 65mm Fish and Powerbait Ripple Shad 7.5cm rigged on 1/2oz jigheads are ideal. Cast these over the school, sink them to the bottom and roll them slowly across the lake floor. The bigger bass seem to prefer a very slow retrieve where the lure is close to the bottom. If you speed it up, you may catch more fish but the smaller ones will get more excited by this style of presentation.

As the fish fire up more, reaction style lures will out-fish the plastics. Blade baits, soft vibes and tail spinners will be dynamite on these fish by the end of the month. Try all the schools looking for the bigger fish if that is what you are chasing. Other spots worth investigating will be The Spit point and the flats to the north of Kirkleigh before the timber.

I run a Humminbird 1198 sounder on my boat and find these units are ideal for predicting the size of the fish you are fishing to. Bigger fish put out a stronger return and I have my sounder set up to show them as a solid yellow arch when they are big; the more yellow in the arch, the bigger the fish. So far I’ve got it down to guessing fish in about 500g increments. As you can imagine, this makes you pretty excited when you see fish over 2kg or even 3kg on the sounder.

Golden perch numbers picked up last month. The timbered area north of Kirkleigh was producing goldens around the edges and along the old creek drop-off. The edges fished well with lipless crankbaits while in the deeper parts trolling hardbodies fooled plenty of fish. The golden perch fishing should only get better as it warms up. There have been some whoppers mixed in with the average sized models.

For the latest reports or best tackle to pull the Somerset fish, call in to Somerset Fishing Tackle. This is a new store at 5/43 Mary Street, Kilcoy. It’s only a short drive away from Kirkleigh if you need to restock the tackle box.

Closest Towns: Aratula, Boonah

Moogerah bass were chewing right through winter. The action slowed a little just before spring but you can expect this to pick up now the days are warming. Live shrimp will score you some bass and the occasional golden perch and catfish up in the timber and the main basin should be the place to explore with lures.

Bass will usually be holding in around 10m of water. Soft plastics were best last month but make sure you have some vibes, small blades and tail spinners when you venture out onto the lake. Early starts to ensure you are one of the first to the fish can be rewarded with heaps of hook-ups with bass taking lures on almost every cast. The action can get a lot harder as the fish are pressured. After that, they will bite in windows or select areas where they have received less fishing pressure.

There are competitions on this month and the extra pressure can slow the fish down. Try a mid-week session if you want to stay away from all the boats.

Closest Towns: Boonah, rathdowney

Bass were chewing around the weed edges on suspending jerkbaits. Lures like the O.S.P. Dunk, Jackall Squirrel and Cultiva Rippin’ minnow cast close to the weed edge and worked into pockets or down the face of the outside edge were smashed by quite a few fish.

The warmer water should see these fish willing to chase the lures a little more, so experiment with a mix of suspending jerkbaits, soft plastics, blades, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Mix it up as it will be a transition time for these fish and they can prefer one style of lure over another. I like to work 1/4oz rigged plastics attached to a beetle spin frame. This hybrid style lure caters nicely to the mood of a bass in transition time.

Bait fishers have been scoring bass when using live shrimps all over the dam. Golden perch numbers will pick up this month so if you have healthy, flicking live shrimp, you can expect a mixed bag.

Closest Town: Laidley

Lake Dyer bass and golden perch numbers will increase this month. Finding the school of bass will be the trickiest part. It is most likely these fish will turn up somewhere near the rock wall. Big bony bream can make finding the bass a little tricky as they litter the sounder all over the dam. Try sounding around and fishing in 5-8m of water.

Hopped blades, tail spinners and soft plastics will be good options in the deeper water. In the shallower sections try throwing lipless crankbaits as well. Trolling diving hardbody lures that run close to the bottom can be a good way to locate actively feeding fish.

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Closet Towns: Highfields, Toowoomba

Golden perch are likely to be hard targets this month. Cooby Dam always seems to kick off a little later than the other lakes. Out in the deeper parts (12-15m deep), live shrimp and saltwater yabbies have accounted for a few goldens. Jigging small blades can also tempt quite a few fish.

Trolling and casting spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits isn’t likely to pick up for another month or two.

The dam hours are now 6am until 8pm. 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. Tackle, lures and saltwater yabbies can be purchased from Highfields Bait and Tackle on the New England Highway in Highfields. Call in and see Doug and check out the great range of fishing gear, kayaks and accessories he has on display.

Closest Town: Warwick

Golden perch continued to bite right through winter. Bait fishers had most success with fish coming from The Black Boys, Ski Club and near the dam wall in the main basin. Live shrimp and saltwater yabbies were the best baits. Surprisingly, lure fishers were still catching quite a few as well. Hopped blades and mask vibes and trolled deep divers produced fish in the same areas.

September should fire up the fish even more and we will start to see a switch where the numbers taken on lures will be higher than those taken on bait. Hopping blades and soft vibes around the rocky structure or submerged trees will see the most action. Running a side imaging sounder is a great way to locate these features in the dam which otherwise has a barren bottom. If you can find these underwater fish attractors in close proximity to the old creek bed drop-off, you are almost guaranteed success. Golden perch go crazy for lures hopped in these areas but occasionally a big old Murray cod will scoff one down and test out your light tackle.

For the latest information and hottest fishing reports, call in to the local tackle store, Warwick Outdoor and Sports at 115 Palmerin Street Warwick. I was amazed at this shop when I visited for the first time last month. They only have a small space to display but a sliding wall of lures ensures there is plenty to choose from. For what I previously consider an out of the way shop, it is definitely worth the drive. A huge range of quality lures at a very competitive price would get just about every freshwater angler drooling.

Closest Town: Inglewood

Golden perch action was pretty slow last month but anglers weren’t complaining. The Murray cod were on fire. Big fish to over 50lb were regular captures. My brother Kerry from Kezza Lures reported 9 good cod falling to guys using his lures in the last fortnight. As I type up this report I make mistakes hurrying to finish as I’m hooking up the boat to give it a go as soon as I’m finished.

The best way to hook these fish has been to troll on electric motor at a slow pace through the trees. Run the lures short so they aren’t plowing up the mud too much and you’ll be in with a shot. The cod don’t bite all the time but when they fire up, guys have been landing several in a session.

Golden perch numbers will pick up this month and bait fishers will be rewarded more than lure flickers. Luring the fish successfully can take a little time and the action will slowly improve as the water warms up. Depending on rain runoff, the place is usually on fire around November when luring is so good you wouldn’t be bothered with baiting a hook.

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. The park now has an extra two new wheelchair friendly cabins to add to their older ones. Camping is also available near the boat ramp with toilets and hot showers to make your stay more comfortable. 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.

Sunshine Coast Region
Closest Towns: Imbil, Gympie

The big schools that have been hard to entice should be well and truly on fire by now. Bass schooling in the main basin and at the start of the trees will be hunting down plastics, blades, tail spinners and ice jigs. If it looks good and moves, they are likely to eat it.

Shrimp are everywhere in the dam and a few pots left in overnight will ensure you have plenty of bait. Live shrimp will work well on the active bass. You can try one of the many points in the main basin, around the yellow buoys or up in the timbered arms.

Closest Towns: Cooroy, Noosa

Lake MacDonald was early to fire up. The bass started to school in a few locations while others were still being caught around the weed edges. This is typical around this time when the fish are transitioning around a change in season.

The first right hand arm that runs up to the cemetery has been one of the more productive spots. Jerkbaits and soft plastics were getting the bite last month but try some faster, flashier presentations now the water is warming. Spinnerbaits, blades and topwater should work well around the weed edges. Keep an eye on the sounder at all times for schooling fish. If you spot a school, move off of them quickly and cast back over the area with a soft plastic or hop a small blade across the bottom.

The basin of the lake will attract some bigger schools this month. Last year, the bass showed up in force inside the Botanical Gardens bay but they could be anywhere in the nearby area. Look around noticeable drop-offs, concentrating on water that is 5-8m in depth. The bubble trail can also hold its share of fish and is a common hangout for golden perch as well as bass. When you find these fish try hopping a small blade. Last year at this time, I had an awesome session on blades scoring a fish each cast on a 44mm Berkley Powerblade until I reached double figures.

For all the inside information on chasing bass in the area call in to see Dane Radosevic who now works a few days each week at Davos Tackle in Noosa. Dane is currently ranked number one on the Australian bass circuit so he’s the man to answer your questions.

Baroon Pocket
Closest Towns: Maleny, Landsborough

Baroon will fire up but you will need to locate the schools to put the numbers in the boat. The tighter schools at this time can make scoring fish outside these schooling zones a lot tougher. A sounder to pinpoint their location will guarantee an awesome session. Baroon bass come in all sizes from undersized to older fish close to 50cm in length.

The lake is electric motor only so make sure you’re all charged up and have plenty of power to explore the place for the better schools. The bass are likely to be found in around 7-10m of water. Pay attention to points and drop-offs.

Wide Bay and Burnett Region
Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

Boondooma would have to be one of my favourite lakes to fish at this time of year. The bass fire up and the schooled bass fishing can be insane. Lure casting and jigging is the best way to catch fish at this time of year. Trolling will pick up fish but once you get a bite, turn around and work the same area thoroughly. A GPS or marker buoy is the way to go for working the fish when they are holding tight in schools.

Casters will need to use their sounder to locate schooling fish. Try areas around the lake’s middle reaches. The points and shallower tapering banks are the most likely haunts. Schooling fish will be found in 6-10m of water and at this depth can be targeted with a range of offerings.

When the bite is slow, stick with Smak Ice Jigs or 3/8 and 1/2oz jighead rigged plastics. Usually the fish will fire up throughout the day at this time of year. When this is the case, try tossing everything in your box at them. I like to keep several rods rigged with different offerings to mix it up. You can also fish a small lure clip on some of your rods to make changing quick and easy. Lures worth giving a run are the mask vibes, blade baits and tail spinners. At times the fish will take a straight retrieve but more often than not, hopping the lure across the bottom will trigger a better response.

Boondooma is a great place to camp right near the water and sit by the fire while enjoying the view. You could also stay in more style and comfort by booking into one of the cabins overlooking the dam. The kiosk at the main office does hot food and other basic items. For campsites, cabins and bunkhouse rooms call Corey and Niki on (07) 4168 9694.

Closest Towns: Murgon, Goomeri

Bass and golden perch are set to fire up this month. The fish have been fairly deep over the winter months but schools are likely to form in around 5-7m of water. Look for these fish around Bass Point and the middle reaches of the lake. The edges will also be worth a flick. Casting blade baits, small profile spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits will get the strikes. Most of the fish are fairly small but I’m predicting quite a few better specimens around 40cm to be on the lookout for a feed due to them being at the end of their breeding cycle. Spring really does get our freshwater fish moving.

The golden perch will also fire up and take lures a lot more often. It would be uncommon not to catch a mixed bag of fish when chasing just one species.

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. Bass 2 Barra stores stock an awesome range of gear suited to chasing our freshwater fish and the boys have all the knowledge to guide you on how to use it.

The Yallakool kiosk is all set up with a great range of tackle if you don’t happen to have the right lure or lose one. Be sure to call in and check it out. Give them a call for accommodation and camping bookings on (07)4168 4746.

Closest Towns; Maryborough, Hervey Bay

Lenthalls Dam has been closed to fishing and camping while work is undertaken and the area is a designated construction site. The closure started on 28 April and is expected to be in place for 5 months. For further information visit: www.widebaywater.qld.gov.au

The fish will be ready to chew after such a big rest so keep an eye out for a confirmed reopening date. With a bit of luck, it may be reopened late this month.

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