Lethal Trolling
  |  First Published: April 2008

These last two months have been exceptional for barra fishing in Gin Gin at Monduran Dam.

Trolling is the answer, I’m sad to say for the die hard casters. My favourite technique is to use the sounder to find fish while trolling, this enables me to cover a lot more ground than pin point fish areas. Bait is the first thing I look for, both on the sounder and by finding birds.

However just finding bait isn’t enough, as you often find catfish under bait schools. Try to look for barra feeding on bait schools, best represented on the sounder by arches penetrating the side of baits schools.

A good way to learn how your sounder works is to observe the local terrain and sound the general area when you catch your first fish. By travelling straight back over the same ground, it is likely you will find more fish in the same spot, and in turn localize the fish on the sounder.

To give you an example on a recent trip I have done, we caught two fish around lunchtime and upon catching the first we turned around and caught the second fish straight away. The next day I had a charter and caught a fish 5mins after starting fishing and went on to catch another four from five hook ups in the next two and half hours. These fish were all around the same size 75–80cm indicating to me that these were schooling fish feeding in the same area two days in a row. This method will reduce your casting or trolling times by finding feeding areas to fish.

This is the only idea that has worked consistently for me on Monduran Dam. I basically use the same principles on the impoundment as finding fish on the ocean – find the bait find the fish. Another important tip is not to leave bait to find fish. If you find the picture you are looking for on your sounder don’t be concerned that you don’t catch a fish straight away, you may have to wait until the fish are ready to feed. You basically have to think that you are waiting to ambush these fish on their daily routine of fishing.

I took the black watch out for a run up to the five-degree patch to check out if there were some Spanish mackerel around. It was amazing to see the fresh water extend out for 10nm. We trolled the edge of the fresh and saltwater but only received one bite from a mackerel that launched from the water only to dive on our swimming gar rig, cutting the fish in half just behind the hook. We trolled the five-degree area with lures and swim and skip baits coming up with nothing until we tried some slowly trolled live baits that resulted in some nice yellow fin tuna coming onboard.

The inshore reefs and in close to the beaches have seen huge schools of tuna. This makes for some exciting spinning missions between breaks in the weather.

The monsoonal weather conditions have prevailed along the coast and the locals have managed to push out to the reef to find some great fishing. Big reds are in huge numbers on the southern end of Lady Elliot Island. Good size trout are coming from the inshore reefs. The close in reefs are starting to show some small snapper and good size sweeties.

We can only hope for a good winter with the summer nearly over. The reef fishing will fire up in the month ahead producing great conditions with south westerly morning breezes ideal for heading offshore. Catch your barra before it gets too tough and enjoy the end of the last of the light tackle game fishing for the year.

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