A few years ago, I decided to try and catch bass. I was determined to pursue these bronze battlers, because of a few fishing articles I read over the winter months. Pros would recount tales of run ins with 50cm brawlers that left their arms cramped. That’s how I found Brogo Dam.
I thought it was an ideal choice with its proximity to Canberra and the amount of fish stocked there. I was wrong. On my first visit, I caught no fish, didn’t have a bite and spent most of my time their searching what I thought were good spots in vain. In December, I tried my luck again. This time, I slowly started to figure out this beautiful fishery.
Brogo Dam in located near the town of Bega in NSW, which is close to Tathra and Merimbula. Bega is a large town and has all the usual amenities including a shopping mall, supermarkets, petrol stations, cafes and restaurants. It’s a good place to stop in and get some supplies. There’s nothing in or around Brogo Dam.
However, there is a ranger station at the dam where you can get information on where the fish are biting, or places to stop and picnic. There are also toilets and a BBQ area. The boat ramp is well maintained and launching the kayak is very easy, as you can drive your vehicle right down to the water’s edge.
Though Brogo rarely gets rough, it’s important to wear a life jacket just in case. Be aware that power boats are allowed on this waterway and do travel quite quickly.
Brogo Dam is chock full of bass ranging from very small fish through to 50cm thumpers. There are also eels in the dam.
The first time I fished the dam, I cast almost every lure in my tackle box and that was a mistake. The constant changing meant my lure was not in the water enough and the techniques I used were mostly related to slow rolling my lure along the snags.
Now I recommend using and sticking with 4-5 lures. Each one should work a different part of the water column. I take a 40mm Tiemco Soft Shell Cicada to cover the surface fishing, a Jackall D Cherry to cover the first 2-3m under the surface, and then I use a Squidgy Wriggler 80mm with a 1/8oz jighead to fish the deeper sections along with a small spinnerbait.
At dawn and dusk, I position my kayak a few metres away from the large weed beds, which sit out from the exposed reeds that line the banks of Brogo. I cast my surface lure on top of the weed bed and pause it once it reaches the edge of the weed.
Often bass will hit it just as the cicada imitation swims out from cover. If that doesn’t work, I usually head to the various rock walls around the dam and fish with my small diver (slow roll) and then follow it up with a soft plastic (twitch then pause as it sinks). I find that sometimes switching lures after a follow will result in a good strike rather than a weak tap.
By far the best colour to use in the dam is motor oil. This perfectly matches the colours of a baby bass/small baitfish, which the bigger bass feed on throughout the year.
The best thing about Brogo is that the water is usually calm, meaning you can fish it with a variety a different kayaks, even those that are not necessarily very stable. A paddle yak makes it easier to cover a lot of ground. In fact, with a paddle yak, it’s possible to fish almost all of the dam in one day.
I fished the dam in my Native Kayak 13 Slayer and it handled the dam with ease. We also used a Hobie Outback and it was an excellent choice as well. That said, all you need is a kayak that can carry a days’ worth of food and water to have a great time on the dam.
If starting from the boat ramp, head over the dam wall and cast surface lures over the large weedbeds. If this doesn’t work, drop a soft plastic through the gaps in the weed. Often you’ll get a hit on the drop. If you find the fish aren’t biting near the edge of the weed, try some of the rock walls down the end of the dam. There are some big fish holding in these areas and they will come up from deep to hit surface lures.
Brogo can be tough going, so if you have a sounder, you can paddle around and find a school of smaller fish and drop your lures on their heads. Make sure your yak isn’t positioned directly over the school, as it can spook the fish.
I use a Daiwa Harrier 1-3kg spin rod matched to a 1003 Daiwa Certate. I spooled the reel with 6lb and I use 6lb leader. This is a light stick and with only 2kg of drag, things can get crazy. It’s a lot of fun. If you’re new to bass fishing, I would recommend using a heavier outfit. If you’ve already caught a few, go light and use the yak to your advantage.
Brogo fishes well from early November through to March with a late flurry in April. During these times you can get good surface action and the fish are really active. Avoiding the dam in late winter/early spring as the fish are really shut down and are rarely tempted by lures.
Brogo Dam is not as difficult as I first thought. Though it can be tricky, if you stick to a handful of lures and work each section of a snag, you are bound to have success and could even hook up to a trophy fish. It’s a family friendly dam and a great place to introduce kids to kayaking. The scenery is stunning. It’s the perfect place for light tackle sportfishing.Reads: 2050