Cool Weather Brings on the Big Bass
  |  First Published: June 2007

In southeast Queensland, fishermen who endure it will be able to enjoy some glorious mornings albeit cold and frosty. You can’t beat the sun breaking through the fog and warming those numb toes and fingers.

Colder water also signals the start of the run of larger bass. Winter is when bass become well conditioned and roe up. A 50cm summer bass can pack on the weight and amazingly grow from 2.5kg to well over 3kg. These bass are impressive fish and the extra weight certainly doesn’t slow them down during the fight.

On the barra scene, boat traffic on the lakes will be a lot quieter. Most anglers will be struggling to achieve the same results they do during the warmer months. Trolling is a technique that will produce something but the action is much slower. Casting lures is the best way to target winter barra. The big fish will be lazing about in the shallowest and warmest water they can find. Slowing down the presentation and keeping in the zone longer is the key to winter success.

If you have any information about lakes that aren’t covered in the QFM or even those that are, then please send me an email - --e-mail address hidden--

Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

South East Queensland
Closest Towns: Crows Nest, Toowoomba

Despite the water level being low, there are still plenty of places to fish. The lake’s falling level is always revealing new spots that are worth exploring. Parts of the lake that were once too deep to hold good fish concentrations are now at the perfect depth. Many of these locations are close to the old creek beds.

Rises in the bottom just before the drop off to the creek bed are quite common and are locations that hold good schools of fish. The majority of fish hanging around these areas are small, undersized bass. Occasionally, the bigger ones will turn on and bite in the same area. Trolling lures is one of the best ways to stir up some action. Jackall Mask Vibe 60’s are ideal lures for this. Fish them 20 to 30 metres behind the boat while travelling along with an electric motor. If the fish are holding shallower, opt for a Jackall TN 60 or similar sized lipless crankbait. Beetle spins rigged with paddle-tailed plastics will also take their share of fish when trolling. Of course, when fish are located on the troll, it’s worth pulling up and having a few casts over the area. If the bass are confined to a particular area or bottom formation, casting can be the better approach.

Due to the high number of small bass it might be necessary to explore other options to target bigger fish. There are now a lot of flat areas that are in one to four metres of water. If you find such areas in your travels, cast soft plastics or lipless crankbaits up into the shallowest part and retrieve them over the drop off to deeper water. The best lures to use for this are TN60 Jackalls, 1/4 ounce rigged Slider Grubs and jerkbaits. When using plastics or jerkbaits, use a fast jerking retrieve to begin with and slow down the speed and jerks as the lure reaches deeper water.

Bigger bass may also be located in the deepest parts of the lake. The fishing areas either side of the pumping tower are worth a look. Use your sounder to locate scattered fish and pinpoint their depth. When you find some fish, you can either slow troll Jackalls or 1/2 ounce rigged soft plastic shads and paddle-tails or cast them over the most likely areas.

Sometimes when the water temperature cool down, the smaller bass slow and the bigger guys get more active. Try a mix of reaction lures like lipless crankbaits, jerkbaits and beetle spins and more natural presentations like soft plastics and you should score some better quality fish.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

Somerset is well known as being one of the state’s best winter fisheries. Big bass over 2.5 kilos are quite common and when they’re on the bite, you can catch plenty over 50cm in length. Golden perch activity in the lake will slow down over the winter period and they won’t become active until spring, although the odd golden will take lures meant for bass.

Somerset’s winter bass should be holding sizeable schools. A fish finder of reasonable quality will help to locate these fish. Sometimes it’s necessary to keep moving in search of new and active schools to ensure a high catch rate. Once a few fish are caught or stung, schools can quickly break up or move on.

Jighead rigged soft plastics and Jackall Mask Vibes will be two of the most popular lure types used to catch Somerset’s bass. Retrieving these lures through the schools should get the fish excited. Mix it up a bit using both lure types to find which is working best. A hopping retrieve with the Mask Vibe can be the way to turn stubborn bass on. In the past, I’ve found that plastics and retrieved Jackalls work well from the wall to the area wide of Beams Creek. From Beams Creek through to the flats wide of Queen Street, hopped Mask Jackalls seem to perform better than retrieved offerings.

As the majority of anglers opt to use the same lure types and the fish see them so often, it could pay to mix it up a bit. A slow rolled spinnerbait in the schools may be just what the fish need when they are being tight-lipped. This is a pattern that was working well only a month ago. When fishing spinnerbaits in this deeper water where the bass school up, use light line for the best result. Fireline from 4-6lb is ideal as the thin diameter keeps the lure down near the fish for a longer amount of time. After a dozen or so winds, drop the spinnerbait back below the fish and retrieve again. This keeps the lure in the zone for the whole retrieve. You’ll need to use 1/2 or 5/8 ounce spinnerbaits to keep them deep enough to be effective

Closest Towns: Fernvale, Ipswich

Already there have been great reports coming from Wivenhoe. Wivenhoe’s less pressured bass have turned on and are biting well on an assortment of lures. Anglers have been launching from the sailing club area at Billies Bay and from Logan’s Inlet.

The deep water adjacent to Billies Bay and across towards Platypus Cliffs on the other side of the lake will hold the majority of bass. To gain access to this water from the sailing club, you need to be a member and have your own key.

The launching isn’t the best due to the low water level but if you take care and use some sense you should be right. Remember that Wivenhoe isn’t as popular as some of the other lakes so you don’t want to end up bogged and needing a tow. Also remember that Wivenhoe is an electric motor only dam, though you are not required to remove your outboard.

Soft plastics, Jackalls, jigs and spinnerbaits will all produce fish. Trolling a Mask Vibe 60 Jackall is a good way to locate bass schools. There’s also a lot of fork-tailed catfish to make finding bass harder. Often the two species won’t be too far apart. When casting, a faster retrieve helps to keep the lure away from catfish but still excites the bass. To achieve such a retrieve, sinking lures that weigh at least 1/2 an ounce are the go.

Closest Town: Boonah

Chris Galligan has been getting in before everybody else and has taken advantage of some of the fishing on offer. Already he’s found some bigger bass starting to move. Following are some of Chris’s tips for this month.

Many anglers will be able to catcher better quality fish in Moogerah this month. Last month saw golden perch quite active with both lure casters and trollers getting into the action, though the goldens are likely to slow down due to the cooler water temperature.

Bass will be found scattered across the lake’s flats. Sounding around should detect any active concentrations of fish. Fishermen will need to be on the ball to score fish in these schools. By searching the flats and drop offs with Jackall TN50's, you should produce your fair share of quarry.

When a concentration of bass is found, a finesse presentation can be used to gain more hook ups. The latest trend in soft plastic use (possibly due to fishing pressure on impoundments) is to fish with almost bream weight terminal tackle. Lighter 2-3lb braids topped with around 4lb leader can be used to fish jig heads as light as 1/24 ounce. This presentation gives the lure maximum time in front of fish. When used in the open water, this technique gives the bait a natural look as it drifts on a slack line. Fishing light is suited to most hawg and stall bait type plastics.

Access to the lake is still reasonable. There are two gravel boat ramps. One is the extension to the main ramp which is quite flat and would suit smaller boats, while the other ramp is located on the main spit towards the dam wall. This ramp is quite steep which makes it possible to launch larger boats. If you are unsure of the lake’s low water level, take it slow as there are some obstacles just under the water in places.

Closest Towns: Boonah, Rathdowney

The water level in Lake Maroon has proved to be quite stable during drought times. This means fish movements are easy to predict throughout the seasons.

In winter, small schools of bass will be found around the lake’s flats, generally not too far from the original creek bed. Look in areas around 8m deep. Schooled fish can be tracked with the use of a good sounder and can be marked via GPS or marker buoy. Some golden perch hang with the bass in these schools and are a welcome by-catch. At times schooling fish can be fussy, so experimenting with different presentations should quickly find the best method of catching some fish.

Early morning and late afternoon is a great time to burn banks with reaction baits searching for active fish. Burning involves retrieving the chosen lure quickly and is a fast way to search for fish that will eat your lure. Burning banks in Lake Maroon is done by following the vast weed beds and hard banks. Cast baits to the more prominent structures like points formed in the weed, weed beds close to drop offs or rocky outcrops. Lipless and diving crank bait lures are best suited for this application as they have excellent depth control and can be worked rather swiftly.

Soft plastic finesse presentations can also be used around Maroon’s edges. Fishing soft plastics is a lot slower and requires patience. A small area can be thoroughly worked over to entice the more timid fish. Most soft plastic presentations that resemble shrimp or firetail gudgeons will work. Try Berkley 3" Drop Shot Minnows, Ecogear Power Worm Tube Baits and Power Worm Pad Tubes.

Closest Towns: Gold Coast

Subtlety, stealth and patience are the requirements for getting connected to some feisty Hinze bass this June. With the nights becoming cooler and the water temperature dropping, most fish will be in a non-aggressive mood. They will have to be coaxed into biting through patience and a willingness to try different things. Most fish will be located on either flats or around the ends of points. A good method for locating fish is to keep an eye on your sounder and explore the 5-8 metre depth mark off the end of any prominent features. Sharp drops which fall straight into the water which also have a good amount of cover or a creek bed running nearby, are well worth a look. In these areas, bass will smash lightly weighted soft plastics or deep fly on the drop.

Soft plastics have been consistent performers with no retrieve sometimes being the best retrieve. Dead sticking Basstrix soft plastics was a deadly technique for some anglers last month. Dead sticking involves sinking the lure down to the depth the fish are holding and not moving it. It should sit in front of the fish on a tight line. The subtlest bites often come from healthy fish around the 40cm class.

The saratoga have slowed down but there should be a few around in the upper reaches of both arms. Plenty of toga around the mid 70cm mark have been caught this year on small plastics, fly, surface lures and the occasional one on Jackall lipless crankbaits.

Overall, June is a fantastic time to hit Hinze. The fish won’t be hard to find. Getting them to bite can sometimes be a different story but most anglers should be rewarded with very little effort.

A license is needed to fish this electric motor only dam. Licenses are available from the council office in Davenport Street, the Kiosk at the lake or the ranger. Note that all outboards must be removed from boats that are fishing this lake.

For all your tackle needs, call in and see the guys at Tackle World Southport in Nind Street. The store carries one of the best ranges of bass, freshwater and saltwater gear around. If you’re chasing a hard to get colour or particular lure type there’s a good chance these guys can help out. Call in or give them a call on (07) 5531 0755.

Lake MacDonald
Closest Town: Noosa

The fishing at Lake MacDonald seems to have slowed somewhat over the past few weeks. This is particularly the case for lure fishermen and is likely to be due to the cooler weather. The dam’s early morning surface bite which was producing big bass will die off for the winter months. It may be a struggle to hook the better quality fish on lures. Having said this, someone is likely to stumble onto a pattern that will produce the goods.

Several weeks ago, Danny Manning cleaned up well using live shrimps for bait, landing forty or so bass, a couple of yellowbelly and a catfish or two as well. Danny’s best bass were both over 48 centimetres to the fork of the tail.

darling downs granite belt region
Closest Town: Inglewood

The fishing has slowed down over the last couple of weeks. This is usually the case over the cooler months. The most commonly caught fish will be golden perch and eel-tailed catfish. Live baits like shrimp are the best way to target these fish. Just like during the warmer months, the drop off to the old creek bed is the best place to try your luck.

Over the last few months, a few nice cod have been taken. These mighty fish will be active right over the winter period. With less boat traffic around, there might even be a better chance. Cod are also a worthwhile prospect in the Macintyre Brook below the dam wall.

The lake’s level has fallen and boat launching is now more difficult. Even with a 4WD care should be taken. Examine the banks and look for the harder, steeper ones to launch your boat from. There is a hard crust on the surface and once you break through this you’ll sink into the soft mud. The dam is shallow around the edges but the rest of the lake is safe to navigate around at speed. The last time the level was so low, it was cleaned of any obstructions.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only one or two kilometres away from the lake. The park is off the Cunningham Highway and 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. Why not take advantage of some great fishing opportunities in the lake and the river below and give them a call on (07) 4652 4171.

Wide Bay and Burnett Region
Bjelke Petersen
Closest Town/s: Murgon, Goomeri

The fishing at Bjelke should be quite good over the coming months for both boaters and shore-based anglers. Live shrimp and worms are likely to be the stand out baits for anglers chasing fish from the shore. Another option is to walk the banks while casting lures. Soft plastics, Jackalls and spinnerbaits should all produce fish. The golden perch will be a little slower but the bass should still be willing. The area between the ramps and right up near the wall are holding the majority of the lake’s fish.

Boats can still be launched below the far boat ramp. Take care, as the water level will gradually start to fall because the lake is no longer receiving recycled water from the Tarong Power Station. When fishing from the boat, use the same techniques; trolling will also work. Fish are concentrating on the drop offs to the old creek bed.

Closest Town/s: Proston, Kingaroy

The fishing at Boondooma should be quite good. There has been a stack of smaller bass making fishing fun for the whole family. These fish, many of which are undersized, have been hitting cast lures around the lake’s edges. Fishing the edges with Jackalls and soft plastics should have you getting into this action.

The bigger bass will be holding in the deeper water down towards the dam wall. Try locating fish on your sounder suspended at 15-20 metres deep. These fish always seem to be on the move and you need to do some work to find them. Once located, try an assortment of lures like soft plastics, Jackall Mask Vibes and jigs.

Bait fishing for golden perch should still be okay in the lower part of the lake. The timbered arms are getting too shallow to be bothered with. Try around the rocky banks and points with live shrimp. The area between the second and third marker buoy is a prime location.

For the most up to date information, give the guys at Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy a phone call on (07) 4162 7555. The dam is always changing as the level drops. If you’re passing through Kingaroy, call in and say hello. They have an awesome range of freshwater fishing tackle.

For accommodation at the lake, give Bob and Deb a call on (07) 4168 9694. Boondooma has excellent amenities, bunk houses, cabins and camping facilities that will make your stay enjoyable.

Capricornia Region
Closest Town/s: Benaraby, Gladstone

Matthew Mott runs barra tours on Lake Awoonga and has a wealth of knowledge to share. To learn how to target impoundment barra and for the chance to tangle with Awoonga’s awesome fish, give him a call. For booking enquiries, call (07) 4168 4811.

Closest Town/s: Biloela

During winter, the barra action slows down. Callide is home to plenty of big golden perch. These stocky fish are suckers for live shrimp. Shrimp can be caught around the lake’s edges in collapsible traps – and don’t be surprised if some red claw crayfish manage to push their way into your traps. Opera house style traps are best for these freshwater delicacies.

The barra fishing will be a little hit and miss. Switched on anglers will be able to tempt the tougher winter barra while the less experienced will struggle. Trolling lures will be rather slow and casting is the preferred method at this time of year.

The best time to try your luck will be after a couple of days of nice weather. Barra prefer calm and sunny days while on the other hand they tend to shut them down in windy, blustery conditions. When casting, try the shallows where the water is warmer and the barra laze in the sun. The 3ft Classic Barra is one of the best lures around for this job.

Creek to Coast Fishing Tackle in Biloela stock a great range of tackle. The store services the lake, which is just a short drive away. For any tips or the latest information call in and say g’day at the shop. There are no camping facilities at the lake but Biloela is close enough to be a great home base for any trips to Callide.

Central Coast
Proserpine (Peter Faust)
Closest Town/s: Proserpine

After a period of slow fishing when the dam rose, the action has again picked up. There have been plenty of smaller barra willing to take an assortment of lures. This action is likely to taper off due to the cooler temperatures. Picking the best times to be on the water will boost your chances of catching fish.

The barra fishing in Proserpine during winter is influenced heavily by the wind. Winter winds tend to be cold and when they persist for a few days, the fish get very hard to entice. Picking the warmer, windless days will ensure you’ve taken all measures to increase your chances. There’s no need to be on the water at daylight as the fish will usually get more active around midmorning when the sun is a bit warmer. The action should continue throughout the day, depending on the wind.

The timbered areas were holding a lot of fish last month. Looking for the warmer water in the bays and protected points in this area will put you in the productive zone. Lures like B52’s, Rapala X-raps and pre-rigged soft plastics should draw some attention when fishing the shallows.

Working the tops of any submerged trees is another productive method. Look for spindly branches rather than the big heavy ones as these are what the barra prefers. Even though the water may be deep, use shallow running lures like the B52. If there are any fish around, they won’t be too far from the surface and will rise to take your offering.

Fishing the surface with walk the dog style lures was working quite well last month. The Cultiva Tango Dancer was one of the standout performers. The temperature drop may signal the end of this action but it would still be worth a shot.

If you’re looking for the latest information and tips on catching fish in the area, give Lindsay Dobe at Proserpine Bait and Tackle a call. Lindsay Dobe runs barramundi charters on Lake Proserpine. You can call in to the store on the highway in Proserpine when you are on your way to the dam or give them a call on (07) 4945 4641.

New England Ranges (NSW)
Copeton and Pindari
Closest Town/s: Inverell, Ashford

There have been some good catches of Murray cod and golden perch coming from both lakes. The lakes weren’t fishing well over the autumn period but recently they seem to have fired up. Most fish are being caught on live crayfish by anglers fishing from boats. The lure trolling and casting is likely to be slow but this is one of the best ways to target the huge cod living in these lakes.

For information about fishing and camping at Copeton Dam, contact the Copeton Waters State Park Administration Centre on (02) 6723 6269.

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