The explosion at my feet was knee-trembling. I was left standing there with water dripping from my nose, heart thumping, hands shaking and an adrenalin rush rarely experienced in my short fishing career.
Two casts and a memorable battle later, over a kilo of bronzed dream lay beaten at the water’s edge. Well, that’s the way I remember it. The place was Brogo Dam and the fish was one of the first bass stocked there in the early 1980s.
Thankfully I’ve been lucky enough to have many bass grace my lures since then, with many from Brogo.
Brogo Dam was finished in 1976, to be used as an irrigation and water supply dam in the Bega district. In the early 1980s DPI Fisheries stocked the dam with 7000 bass fry, which at that stage was still very much experimental. Less than three years later, the fish described above was the result.
However, with no follow-up stockings, bass in Brogo were virtually non-existent for well over a decade.
In 1993 Fisheries stocked a further 13,000 fry into the dam, although with the vast food supply the area has to offer, this was merely a token gesture. Then in 1996 Brogo got the boost its fishery so badly needed in the form of the Far South Coast Bass Stocking Association (FSCBSA).
The FSCBSA was formed by a group of keen anglers throughout the Bega district solely for the purpose of raising funds to stock bass into Brogo and surrounding waters. Raising these funds hasn’t been easy, although through the work of the committee sufficient money has been raised to see many stockings occur thus far.
Working closely in conjunction with DPI Fisheries, which under a dollar-for-dollar scheme also supplies stock to match that the FSCBSA acquires, has managed to free 37,000 fry into Brogo Dam in October 1997.
With follow-up stockings there have now been 235,000 fry released in the dam over the past decade. A further 20,000 are planned to be released this month.
Brogo Dam’s rich food supply of native galaxias, minnows, shrimp plus lots of other aquatic life and terrestrial insects that thrive there in the warmer months are contributing to a fast growth rate.
In April 1999, some 18 months after the 1997 stocking, anglers were encountering bass up to 25cm in a fit and healthy fishery. As a result, the ‘Triple B’ Bass Tournament was introduced by the FSCBSA, which has monitored the growth rates over the past nine years in conjunction with DPI Fisheries. Fish up to 45cm have been measured.
The ‘Triple B’ stands for Brogo Bass Bash, a catch, measure and release tournament using lure or fly. It’s designed to monitor the growth rates of the bass and to raise funds for an ongoing stocking program for Brogo and surrounding areas.
This tournament is held on the first weekend in December each year and has been supported extremely well by competitors and the sponsors, who together have been largely responsible for the ongoing fundraising required to keep the fishery well-stocked.
Sadly, or not so sad, is the fact that the ‘Triple B’ has been supported so well that there had to be a limit put on the number of anglers participating. A special exemption also has to be obtained from State Water and the Bega Valley Shire to allow camping over the weekend of the event.
The participants have been limited to 100 for the event, which is easily catered for by the FSCBSA and funds raised have kept the stocking program progressing.
Over these events the largest bass caught and released was 45cm, with numerous tournaments producing over 400 bass over the day and a half. The smallest to date was a staggering 3.5cm, with the average fish being around 30 cm.
Due to the efforts of the FSCBSA and for those who have supported, contributed and sponsored the project, the future is looking a whole lot better than it did when I first caught a bass out of Brogo Dam. The FSCBSA gives special thanks to State Water, DPI Fisheries, sponsors, competitors and especially the present and past committee members.
Location: On the Brogo River, west of Bega, completed 1976, about 30km from Bega.
Capacity: 8980 megalitres
Catchment area: 400 square km. Surface area 10 square km
Wall: 43m high, 260 m long, concrete face and rock filled.
Boating: 8 knot speed limit, petrol engines permitted.
Activities: Recreational fishing, swimming, canoeing, bird-watching, hiking
Canoe hire: There is canoe hire available at the dam wall daily.
Guided Fishing: Available through DJ’s Estuary Adventures and Eco Tours, call 02 64934857 or 0427 934 688, email: --e-mail address hidden-- website www.bermifishinghut.com.au
Accommodation: B & B facilities available along the road into Brogo Dam. Nearest towns which have accommodation Bega and Cobargo.
Tackle stores: Nearest at Bega and Bermagui.
For further information on the FSCBSA, the Triple B or Brogo Dam contact the president, Darren Redman, on 02 64934857 or Mob 0427934688 or email --e-mail address hidden--
FSCBSA: Formed 1996 to raise funds to stock bass in Brogo Dam and nearby areas.
TRIPLE B: First event December 1999 and each December since. Invitation only. To monitor growth rates of bass stocked and raise funds for future stockings.
DSCN1164 used - The authors daughter Stephanie with a 37 cm bass taken in the 2006 BBB.
DJ fly bass - The author with an average fly caught bass.
DSCN0357 Used - James Caves with a surface lure caught bass in 2005