Freshen up for summer time action
  |  First Published: December 2016

We’re in the middle of the barra closed season, but things are looking great across the stocked barra lakes where we can fish all year round. The northern lakes around Mackay are always a good option and even Tinaroo up in the Tablelands west of Cairns has shown it can still deliver exceptional fish.

Closer to the south east corner of the state, exciting times are underway. There’s been a big increase in barra numbers in Monduran, Awoonga and Callide dams. There are other options of course – these are the ones we hear less about due to remoteness or the lack of fishing pressure. Lenthalls Dam just north of Maryborough is a prime example.

On the bass scene, the fishing will be tougher across many of the lakes as the big schools break up and the fish scatter. This might sound like a problem for lure casters who rely on congregations of fish to boost their catch rate, but for the lure troller, this is the ideal time to whack big numbers of fish.

Golden perch lifted their game last month with some exceptional captures across most lakes. These fish love the warmer weather and will chase trolled and cast lures. They’re great targets.

Most QLD freshwater species love the warmer conditions and can be caught in good numbers. Mornings and afternoons will be the best times to fish. Avoid the midday heat and concentrate efforts on the peak bite times. School holiday time and Christmas are almost here, so be prepared to put up with the crowds or go exploring for less pressured areas.

If the major dams attract water sports enthusiasts and are a bit too busy for your liking, head for dams with motor or speed restrictions, or dams well out of the way. Plenty of us own kayaks and this can also be a good way to enjoy a quiet fishing session. If you choose to visit the busy lakes, take care and stick to the rules. Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel!

South East Queensland
Closest Town: Crows Nest

Cressbrook has produced quality bass mixed in with the smaller models. These fish are coming from the points throughout the dam’s basin. The popular areas are the first points out from the campground, the submerged ridge out from the shallow boat ramp and Deer Island. These are all visible from the boat ramp and easily accessible in a kayak or small boat.

If schooling bass are found, cast tail-spinners, blade baits and lipless crankbaits into the fish and work them with a slow roll or hopping retrieve. Soft plastics also perform well – ensure you use the right type and rigging method. The deeper bass call for the use of 1/2oz jigheads to get the plastic down to the fish quickly and keep it there during the retrieve.

Paddle-tail plastics or curl-tails around 75mm are ideal. There are heaps to choose from, like the Gulp Minnow Grub, Slider Grub, PowerBait Pro T-Tail, Squidgy Fish, Kietech Swim Impact Fat and Atomic Plazos Paddle Tail.

The warmer weather and extra boat traffic can both scatter the fish schools. Lure trolling will be successful when this occurs. Deep diving lures fished in the main basin of the lake will account for quality fish. Choose a lure that reaches the depth where the bass are holding. At times, the fish can be found suspended in the deeper more open water and here you may need to present lures at over 10m deep. The Poltergeist Crazy Deep, Blitz Bagas and Little Rippas are some of my favourites.

We’ve had a lot of success this year on all the bass lakes using a locally made lure called the JDK Rippa. These deep diving timber hardbodies are available through Highfields Bait and Tackle. Based on their performance, they’re well worth a look.

When trolling hardbodies, swim lures 40-50m behind the boat and use the petrol motor over an electric if you have one. The bass love the extra speed and increased action in the lures. If you have the lure swimming through fish but aren’t getting bites, try knocking the boat in and out of gear a few times to make it slow down and dart off again.

Bait fishing will be slow unless you locate schooling fish. Live shrimp are by far the best bait and can be purchased at most of the local tackle stores. Drop baits straight over the side of the boat to the bottom or to the depth fish are suspending in, in deeper water. When the bass aren’t playing the game, you can almost guarantee success with live shrimp. The trickiest part is locating the fish and placing the bait right on their noses.

For all your fishing supplies and the latest reports on Cressbrook and the surrounding dams, call in to see the specialist tackle stores in Toowoomba. Tackle World Toowoomba in Ruthven Street on the north side and Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street on the south side have a great range of lures and fishing gear. Support these tackle stores, as they can direct you to where the fish are biting and offer invaluable advice.

Just remember, there’s a speed limit of 8 knots and a restricted area at Cressbrook Dam. Check out the signage to ensure you stay out of trouble and abide by the rules. The gate hours for the boat ramps and day use area will be extended this month, 6am-8pm.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

This is the time of year where Somerset fish can be unpredictable. Schooling fish tend to break up and scatter throughout the lake. Often these fish will suspend around the thermocline, which can be shallower in this hot weather than other months of the year. Paying close attention to your sounder will reveal the most comfortable depth for the fish, but it may change throughout the day.

Lure trolling is perfect for scattered fish. Diving hardbodies produce the goods and it’s best to use the smallest lure that can reach them. The suspended and scattered schools are often made up of a smaller class of bass. Bigger fish will remain in small schools around the usual spots – the Spit, Pelican Point, Bay 13, Eagles Nest and One Tree Point. Allow yourself plenty of time to locate them if you haven’t fished the dam for a while. Sounding out fish at this time of year can take a couple of hours and you may even need to visit the same spot twice, to see if fish have moved into the area.

Tail spinners like the Jets 18g model are hard to beat. These lures can be hopped and slow rolled through any schooling fish. The Jackall Mask Vibe and medium sized blade baits are also good. Soft plastics will also be worth a try, but aren’t always the best option.

Golden perch will be very active over the next month. These fish will be holding quite deep due to the warmer water. Jigging medium sized blades around deep timber is a good way to tempt the fish. Side imaging sounders are perfect for spotting potential fish holding structure. If the lay down you try has the occasional fish arch around it, this is all you need to pull a few goldens.

The fish move around these areas and will show on the sounder for a while before they disappear. Drop the lure to the bottom around the fishy area and use short sharp hops to bounce it 20-50cm off the bottom. The ZX40 is a very popular jigging blade, but other blades around the same size will also get bites.

Lure trolling in the basin and up in the timber north of Kirkleigh is likely to produce golden perch. Follow the old creek and riverbed edges, as these areas concentrate the fish. In the main body of the dam, opt for deeper lures that can reach 10m. Up in the timber, you can afford to run shallower lures, which run 7-8m deep.

Somerset is going to be one of the busiest lakes over the Christmas period. It’s not uncommon to have hundreds of boats sharing the water on the weekend. With jet skiers, water skiers and boating hoons mixed in with the fishers, it can be testing on the nerves. Despite the boating activity, the fish don’t mind the traffic. This is a normal scenario where stopping to fish them and parking on top of a school shuts them down faster than roaring over the top of them in your boat.

For the latest reports, check out Somerset Fishing Tackle online and on Facebook. The store is in Kilcoy, but they mail order fishing gear all over the place. For some of the most competitive prices around, visit www.somersetfishing.com.au .

Closest Towns: Esk, Fernvale

Usually Wivenhoe doesn’t get a mention at this time of year. The schooling bass tend to break up and become hard to locate. Last month there were still plenty around and it was just a matter of striking them on a day where they wanted to bite. With 100+ catch days reported last month, it’s worth a visit to see if they’re schooled and willing to bite.

The trend over the last two months has been for fish to venture down closer to the roped off no boating area between Billies Bay and the dam wall. Any of the deeper flats from Billies Bay and Platypus Cliffs down to the roped off area are worth close investigation. Pay particular attention to 10-14m of water around the old riverbed edges.

Fork-tailed catfish are very active – on our last trip we must have caught two dozen of these whiskery slime balls. Despite not being the target species, the bigger models put up a great fight on light bass gear. Fishing faster tends to deter their bites, but when they are hungry, they will take spoons, tail spinners and trolled lures. The catties often sit deeper in the schooling fish so keep this in mind as the bass which are mixed in with them will often be higher in the water column.

Trolling deep diving lures is a great way to score a mixed bag of bass, golden perch and fork-tailed catfish. The lure I’ve had most success on is the JDK Rippa, which I bought at Highfields Bait and Tackle. These locally made timber lures are able to dive over 10m when fished on a long line and light braid. Other deep divers like the Blitz Baga, Imakatsu Deep Impact and Poltergeist Crazy Deep are ideal.

Once good numbers of fish are found, you can switch to casting spoons and tail spinners. Some of the best catches I’ve heard of have been on Halco Twisties retrofitted with assist hooks, Hot Bite Gang Banger Spoons and Jets tail spinners. On the ridiculous days, it can be a fish per cast, but most times you will need to work out how the fish want the lure presented. Hopping can turn them on, but as you get the lure closer to the bottom, be prepared for catfish. Slow winding up through the school is successful, especially with tail spinners and swimming spoons like the Gang Banger and Nories Wasabi Spoon.

Apart from the action in the deeper water at the bottom end of the lake, there will be other fish to chase in various areas. The steep rocky banks throughout the dam are usually close to deep water. Here you can troll up a pile of big golden perch and bass. At the top end of the dam around O’Sheas Crossing, kayaking for golden perch and bass will be popular. Fishing from a kayak allows you to troll slower, so towing a TN60 Jackall or similar lipless crankbait is a good idea if the fish aren’t responding to diving crankbaits.

Closet Towns: Boonah, Beaudesert

The biggest drawcards to Lake Maroon are the surface lure smashing bass. Tossing small poppers and stickbaits around the lake’s weed edges early in the morning and late in the afternoon will see you in with a good chance. This style of fishing works best during periods of low light. There are so many popper styles and all can be effective.

Cupped face poppers, walk the dog stickbaits, fizzers, wakebaits and bent minnows can all work, provided they’re a bite-sized offering for bass. Topwater lures should be around 60-80mm long. Work these lures through your chosen spot and allow a long pause of several seconds between movements. I like to throw in a lot of shorter pauses and give the longer pauses when the lure enters the fishiest spot.

As the light level intensifies, the fish will move deeper into the shadows of the weed beds. Quality bass can be caught by switching to spinnerbaits or beetle spin rigged plastics. Cast these lures around the edges of the weed where they drop away into deeper water. Polarized sunglasses are a must for this style of fishing. When the light is right, you can also pick out any deeper pockets inside the weed beds. These make great ambush points for bass, so explore them with your lures as well.

Sunshine Coast Region
Closest Towns: Tewantin, Noosa

Plenty of smaller bass have been caught at MacDonald over the past month. These bass are 30-35cm in length but mixed in with them are some chunky big ones as well.

Try working blades and soft plastics around the weed beds. Occasionally, schooling fish will be spotted on the sounder outside the weed in the deeper sections. The same lures can be used to get bites from these fish. Fish lures as tight as possible to the weed. Often a lure that touches the weed and is ripped out triggers a bite.

There were reports of bass taken on frog plastics worked on the surface through the weed. Surface activity is at its best during the warm months, but very short-lived due to the brightness and heat of the sun. The early bird catches the bass, so make sure you’re rigged and ready as soon as you hit the water.

Alternatively, try a late afternoon surface session and break out the topwater lures when the sun is below the horizon. It isn’t just plastic frogs that will score bites. They’re great because they can be worked through the thickest of weed. They will get plenty of bites, but hook-ups can be a problem unless the bass are really engulfing them.

It pays to run some of your more standard hardbody surface offerings in the open patches around the weed and lilies. Walk the dog baits like the Cultiva Zip’n Ziggy are ideal for open areas and over the top of submerged weed. For tighter pockets, I love the action of the Halco Roosta Popper 60. This lure can be twitched in tight pockets in the wee,d making plenty of disturbance with little forward movement.

Closest Towns: Imbil, Noosa

Bass are often the main attraction at Borumba but through the warmer months, there are few better places to try your luck on saratoga. Toga are great fish to target on surface lures, plastics, spinnerbaits, diving minnows and flies. Their ambush feeding and quick response to any prey entering their zone make them an aggressive predator.

The upper part of the lake is prime toga country. Here they love to feed around overhanging trees, lilies, snags and other vegetation. Quietly moving along the banks and casting lures to work the upper water column is the way to fool these fish. While chasing the toga in these areas, 60mm diving lures have accounted for quality bass. Suspending offerings like the Cultiva Rippin’ Minnow and Jackall Squirrel are perfect.

Bass fishers should find schooling fish around the start of the timber and just outside Borumba Flat. These fish are suckers for soft plastics, blades and tail spinners. Smaller schools may also be encountered through the deeper trees up both the Kingham and Yabba arms. If you spot fish in these areas, try rolling spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits through them. Fish tight to the trees if you’re having trouble getting a bite, as bouncing a lure down deep off the structure will often trigger the desired response.

Davo’s at Noosaville has all the gear you’ll need to tackle the fish at Borumba and Lake MacDonald. The store caters well for fresh and saltwater anglers. They can be found in the Homemaker Centre on the corner of Mary and Thomas streets.

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Closet Towns: Highfields, Toowoomba

The golden perch action has finally picked up with reasonable numbers of fish caught on trolled and cast lures. Bait fishing is probably the best way to guarantee success, but there’ll be quiet times between the bites, especially through the heat of the day.

Trolling medium diving lures late in the afternoon is one of the most effective and easy ways to catch fish. I love black lures for Cooby due to the clear water and black beetles, which often live in the weed. Any dark colours are my second pick. Models like the Poltergeist 50mm 3m diver and StumpJumper number 3 are perfect.

Work lures just outside the weed edges and keep a close eye on the sounder to ensure the lures are tickling the tops of the weed without fouling up. The tougher the action, the closer to the weed you’ll want your lures. If the fish are fired up, they’ll actively hunt outside the weed and presentation won’t be as critical.

Pay close attention to the action of your lure. Weed on the line or hooks will deaden the swimming action and alert you to its presence. A lure trailing weed is useless, so it needs to be kept clean if you want success. Some days are shockers for trolling the dam, as ribbon weed floats across the surface and it’s near impossible to dodge. A v-nosed boat tends to part this weed as it travels through and lures can be fished out the back of the boat (not to the sides) in the clearer water.

In the deeper parts of the lake, goldens can school up in numbers. If you find these fish on the sounder, try dropping a blade into them. Blade baits like the Ecogear ZX40 and ZX35 are great for jigging in these fish. Short, sharp hops off the bottom will get them interested. Bait fishing outside the weed edge with live shrimp or saltwater yabbies will fool eel-tailed catfish and golden perch.

The Murray cod have been quiet. If you’re on the water, you’re in with a chance. Trolling lures for goldens seems to produce the occasional cod, so it can pay to run a bigger hardbody or spinnerbait in your trolling spread if the weed allows.

Cooby Dam’s proximity to Highfields and Toowoomba makes it a very popular fishery. If you’re looking for somewhere close to home to drop the boat or kayak in, Cooby is definitely worth a visit. The dam hours are now 6am-8pm, which is perfect to fish into the dark for a late arvo cod. Just remember, no outboard motors are allowed to be used on the dam.

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.

Closest Town: Warwick

Leslie Dam fishing has been on fire over the last month. Big numbers of golden perch and a few Murray cod to 101cm have been caught. Bait fishing, casting lures and trolling can all score fish. This is the time of year when Leslie is at its best. The warm water temperatures see the golden perch fire up, thinking they’re going to spawn and eating everything in sight.

In the basin of the lake, anglers trolling medium diving hardbodies and TN60 Jackalls have scored good numbers of golden perch. When trolling, concentrate on areas where you have a bite, as the fish will hold at certain depths and in tight areas. Try to replicate what worked to get the first bite and landed fish shouldn’t be far away. Trolling is also a good way to target the lake’s Murray cod. These fish will take smaller lures intended for golden perch, so ensure your leader and knots are up to the task. When trolling you could also run a bigger spinnerbait or hardbody suited to big cod.

Jigging structure in the form of trees or boulders in the main dam basin can produce ridiculous amounts of golden perch. Black blades and lipless crankbaits were the best lures last month and this should continue. Blades will catch heaps of goldens, but don’t be afraid to scale up after you have caught a few. The underwater commotion of struggling fish will interest any nearby cod. A switch to a lipless bait like a Mask Vibe or Transam could be all it takes to get a bite from a hungry green fish.

Bait fishers have had success on live and frozen shrimp, saltwater yabbies and occasionally worms. The mornings and afternoons will be peak bite times as the fish are prepared to move around more. Golden perch, silver perch and eel-tailed catfish are the most common species encountered while bait fishing.

Boats will allow you to bait fish all day by giving access to some of the deeper structure. Shore-based anglers will be better off trying their luck early and late in the day from the banks around the Washpool Reserve. There was a report of several Murray cod caught casting lures from a steeper section of bank near the buoy line across the dam wall.

Along with getting a fishing report, stock up on all your gear while at Warwick Outdoor and Sports at 115 Palmerin Street Warwick. For a small store, it carries a great range at a very competitive price. Warwick is only a ten minute drive from the dam and you can pick up any supplies you might need.

Closest Town: Inglewood

The action has picked up a bit at Coolmunda with fish taken on live shrimp and saltwater yabbies. Lure fishing is worth a try, but the action is still slow with the dirty water. I’ve been keeping my ears tuned and eyes focused on the lake to let you know the moment it fires back up. Unfortunately, it takes a long time for the water to clear after a big rise in Coolmunda. This is what has slowed the fishing down. On a positive note, it’s returned the lake back to the level it fishes best at. Boats can easily access the timber or troll the old river bed and adjacent flats.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only one kilometre 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 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.

Wide Bay and Burnett Region
Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

Schooling fish in the basin of the lake have broken up, which makes lure trolling a good option. Deep diving lures worked between Pelican Point and The Junction have been effective. The Blitz Baga, Brolga and Golden Child are all worth a run and mix up the colours as this can make a difference. Purple lures are very popular but experiment with browns, greens and black variations.

Lure casters should find plenty of fish in the Stuart timber. These fish will take spinnerbaits cast around the trees and edges. There are quality fish mixed in with the bass and goldens in this area, so try running baitcast tackle and at least 10lb braid to help turn their heads. Anglers fishing the area have reported catching the occasional saratoga and there have even been whispers of cod.

Boondooma is a great place to camp near the water, sit by the fire and enjoy the view. You can 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, including an excellent range of proven fishing tackle. For campsites, cabins and bunkhouse rooms, call (07) 4168 9694.

Closest Towns: Murgon, Goomeri

Trolling will be popular at Bjelke over the next couple of months. Lures which dive 4-5m are ideal in the shallower lake. Working the edges of the creek bed and along the shoreline contours and points should be productive on bass and golden perch.

The lure casting has been tougher around the edges of the lake and more fish are now being targeted on the flats, drop offs and points. The area around Bass Point and the flats up around the dam wall have been reliably holding bass. These fish should eat tail spinners and blade baits hopped through the school.

For help catching Bjelke and Boondooma fish, call into Bass 2 Barra. The store stocks an awesome range of gear suited to chasing our freshwater fish. The staff have all the knowledge to guide you on how to use it. You’ll find the store at 119 Youngman Street Kingaroy. Matthew Mott also runs fishing charters on the dams and you can reach him through the store for bookings and enquiries on (07) 4162 7555.

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. Give them a call for accommodation and camping bookings on (07) 4168 4746.

Capricorn Region
Awoonga Dam
Closest Towns: Gladstone, Benaraby

It’s been ages since my last visit to Awoonga Dam, but I tried my luck on the way through in October. I was rewarded with four barra and as many missed opportunities. The dam was looking very healthy and I found fish in just about every area I went to.

Deeper trees produced most of the bites. It paid to crank down suspending hardbodies to their full depth and suspend them for up to five seconds several times throughout the retrieve. The trees I fished were almost fully submerged in 7-10m of water and had spindly tops. The clear Awoonga water allows barra to see and travel a long way up to grab these artificial intruders, hence the need to pause for a long period.

Wind dictated the fishing spots during my visit, so we explored the weed edges on the Eastern side of the dam on the way down to Dingo Island. There are plenty of bays to hide from the howling wind and the winding bank forms plenty of straight weedy runs between the points and bays. We saw most of our fish in this area. We boated the biggest fish of the trip at 91cm on a Willie plastic from Happy Rock Softies.

The fish was hiding in the back of a wind pumped bay near a dirty water line. Just before that fish, I had a couple of bites from a solid barra (based on the amount of water it moved during the strike). On our run through this area, we spotted fish on side imaging, spooked them and saw the mud, bubbles and bow waves as they swam out from the weed.

The dam looked like it had a lot of potential – I’m busting to get back there and give it a try. Hopefully these fish don’t move out into water where they’re too hard to fish.

The weed edges should only get healthier and the fishing better. The numbers have certainly gone back into the dam, so there’s a good mixture of fish, from small right up to a metre long. The last fish I hooked was a metre beast after a long fight, which the fish was winning in the deep spindly trees. I applied a bit too much pressure and popped the loop knot to the lure. It’s excitement like this that makes you want to go back for more.

Mark from Awoonga Gateway Lodge has a few productive secret spots up New Zealand Gully. The Gateway Lodge is on the way to the dam after turning off at Benaraby. The accommodation is great with plenty of boat parking space right beside the comfortable air-conditioned, self-contained cabins. Each has its own veranda. To book a stay, give Mark or Lyn a call on (07) 49750033.

Mackay Region
Closest Towns: Mackay, Mirani

Kinchant barra haven’t fired up like they have in previous years. Plenty of fish have been spotted up in the weed and out deeper using the sounder. Persistence has paid off for some anglers and if you’re parked in the right spot at the right time, you could be very successful.

I’ve fished the lake quite a bit at this time of year and find fish can be caught in both deep and shallow water. During the day, I like to push up into the shallows and cast over the healthiest weed I can find. Working the surface with plastic frogs rigged on 4/0 weighted hooks is a good way to explore the pockets in the weed.

Look for weed growing to the surface of the lake with the occasional deeper pocket or broken section in it. This can be effective around the shoreline of the lake and in the deeper parts of the dam where weed grows up from several metres of water.

Rolling paddle-tails on slightly bigger and heavier weedless hooks over the top of submerged weed is my next go to method during daylight hours. I like to fish plastics quite fast at this time of year and cover plenty of water, so I add around 1/4oz of weight to a weighted 6/0 hook.

Plastics like the PowerBait Rib Shad or Keithech Fat Impact are ideal for buzzing through the tops of the weed. This technique covers heaps of water to search for barra that wait to ambush prey by darting out of their weedy hidey holes. If you have a bite or a hook-up, there’s a good chance other fish will be in the area.

As darkness falls, position the boat on a point and work plastics like the ever-faithful black and gold Slick Rig 130. Keep an eye on the sounder, as the fish will move through. When they do, you want a lure in the water. Bite windows are critical, so you can never stop fishing. Chances are, the moment you do will be when the barra decide it’s feeding time. If you fish with a partner, you can mix it up and have someone else throw a hardbody or soft vibe in case the fish prefer the extra vibration.

If you plan on fishing Kinchant, Teemburra or Eungella, call in and see Bruce and Ash at Nashy’s Compleat Angler on Harbour Road, North Mackay. Ash works in the store, but also as a fishing guide on the lakes. Some firsthand information as to where they’re biting always goes a long way. Nashy’s has a great range of tackle suited to the dams, as well as all the other fishing options the Mackay area is blessed with. You can call the store for more information or to put some gear on hold on (07) 4957 2272.

Closest Towns: Pinnacle, Mackay

Teemburra Dam has also been tough – barra were hard to entice last month. Even the reliable full moon periods have been surprisingly tough. Persistence pays off and if you put in the time and effort to locate fish, you could be rewarded.

Explore the points throughout the dam, especially those exposed to the full force of the wind. These areas become feeding stations at night and barra will patrol them looking for a feed. Repeatedly casting soft plastics, suspending hardbodies or soft vibes across the points will entice a bite if the fish show up at feeding time.

During the day, try exploring the weed edges and fish tight to the weed with weedless soft plastics. Rather than sit it out in one spot, drop the electric motor and cover ground. Hunt for the fish that are more likely to be resting up than cruising about.

Closest Towns: Proserpine, Airlie Beach

Proserpine has been one of the better northern barra dams this year. The barra have been lean, but a little more responsive than their mates closer to Mackay. Fish have been turning up all over the dam with sweet spots holding good numbers in the upper parts of the river, throughout the timber and out in the basin.

Up in the Proserpine River, the weed beds are well established and barra can be caught by fishing the outside edge where the weed becomes broken. A weedless rigged soft plastic pulled through these deeper weed sections is the way to go, but don’t expect a fish from every likely looking area. It’s a game of many casts. Sooner or later, a hungry barra will be home and you should find yourself hooked-up.

The deeper trees along the river channel in the Proserpine River and other similar trees marking creeks throughout the dam are well worth exploring. Cranking deep diving lures into the trees and then floating them back up before twitching and cranking them down again can be deadly when the fish are home. There is plenty of water to explore, so if you’re able to side image a few barra on the sounder in your chosen area, this is a good start.

Humps inside the tree line which are close to drop offs are worth closer investigation. These can occasionally hold fish on top of them or close by in the deeper water along the drop off. These fish can be caught on soft plastics or by working soft and hard vibes in the area.

More fish will likely turn up in the basin of the lake. Try trolling deep divers around the thermocline for these fish. The clutter line on the sounder can move throughout the day from one end of the dam to the other, so adjust lure depths accordingly. Some of the better performers are the Poltergeist and Scorpion Crazy Deep.

The basin is a huge place to explore, so try working along the drop off to the old riverbed out from the dam wall and follow it back towards the tree line. If possible, spot barra on the sounder and work the better shows. Decent bait balls are always worth closer investigation, as dense bait schools will often have barra near them. If tighter concentrations of barra are located, casting big plastics or soft vibes can get the bites.

Night fishers will be able to score fish by tossing plastics around the main weed points in the dam. The weed has been slow to establish this year, so keep an eye out for any healthier patches. The points inside the timber and Faust Point are worth closer investigation.

Faust Point fished best in closer to the point last month with fish coming from under 2m of water. With warmer water temperatures now, it will be worth looking out wider on the point, especially where any of the gullies run into it. The point was hard to see last month, because the weed hadn’t reached the surface. Take care when cruising over the top of it, as it’s only a metre deep in places and extends well out into the dam.

For all your fishing supplies or a guided trip on the lake, call Lindsay or Dane at Barra World on (07) 4945 4641. The store has just ordered in heaps of new tackle and will stock a bigger range of gear from this month. Barra World is right on the highway in Proserpine and specializes in barra fishing tackle as well as catering to the needs of anglers fishing the nearby estuaries and offshore.

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