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Bass the Best Option
  |  First Published: June 2008



South East Queensland
Cressbrook
Closest Towns: Crows Nest, Toowoomba

Over the past month, there have been plenty of bass eating surface lures. Most of these fish are under-sized but they are great fun to catch. Watching fish attack your floating is pretty exciting. Surface lures around 50-80mm in length are ideal for this type of work. The style of lure doesn’t seem to matter too much at the moment. Walk the dog action stickbaits, fizzers and poppers are all accounting for fish.

Casting other lures around the lake edges has been tough. When the water cools this month, there should be a lot more bass willing to play. Spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and soft plastics will be the main lures being thrown to these edge-dwelling bass. A better option may be a hardbodied lure. I’m predicting suspending lures like Jackall Squirrels and Cultiva Rippin’ Minnows will draw plenty of strikes from the better quality fish. Other hardbodies fished on light tackle are also likely to draw the desired result. Lipless crankbaits and Bullbats are ideal in profile and their diving ability should put them in the strike zone.

The bass in the deep water out from the pumping tower are likely to remain in the same area. These schools contain the majority of the lake’s bigger bass. These deep-water fish will eat cast lures like the Jackall Mask Vibe, Evergreen Little Max and Powerbait T-tails. A quality sounder is necessary to locate these deeper fish that can be quite nomadic. Don’t forget your two-dollar entry fee at the gate. This allows you to access the boat ramp, BBQ, picnic and playground facilities. The ramp is still in good condition with gravel all the way into the water.

Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street can help you out with all of the required gear and tackle for fishing Cressbrook and Queensland’s many other lakes. The experienced staff there will help you out with the most up to date information.

Somerset
Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

The majority of last month was again tough for those fishing Lake Somerset. It wasn’t until the last week of the month that the action seemed to turn around and the majority of anglers started brining in the fish.

There are plenty of bass schools in the lower part of the lake between The Spit and Bay 13. It looks as though these bass will eat a range of lures right through the winter period. For those casting, hopping will be the preferred method. Bass will also fall for jighead-rigged soft plastics.

Your success in casting lures relies on locating and holding on concentrations of fish. Trolling may be a better option if you feel that you don’t have these skills. Trolling can also be a good way to locate bass for experienced anglers. Once found, you can continue working the area by trolling or pull up and have some casts.

When trolling, the same lures used for casting can likewise be used. Fish them on light line such as 4lb Fireline to allow them to get down into the deeper water. Alter the length of line behind the boat and the boat speed to find the pattern that seems to be working.

Around two months ago there were bass and golden perch being caught from the banks north of Kirkleigh. These fish were falling for cast spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. Winter has always been one of the best times to fish these shallow waters. When the big bass are around you can have some great sessions. The fish put on condition over the winter period and trophy-sized bass are common.

Moogerah
Closest Town: Boonah

I took the opportunity to hone in on Lake Moogerah’s fish movements last month. It turned out to be a successful day’s fishing with my good friend Matt Sharpe. It was also great to see a few other anglers out on the water enjoying the autumn weather. We used a mix of presentations such as Jackall Bros TN60’s, Mask Vibe 60’s, 3” Sliders and 3” Bass Minnows.

June on Moogerah is a great time to be out on the water to test angling ability and skill. As water temperature goes below 20 degrees golden perch will start to slow down. Bass will be on the move and this month is a great time to target some of the lake’s bigger fish.

Fish will be found on most of the lake’s major points in the 5-7m mark. Using a good quality sounder can also help target underwater structure like rocky ledges and drop-offs. There are two different techniques to use when targeting bass on the points and drop-offs. T-tail presentations need to be rigged heavily enough to stay close to the bottom during a retrieve. A long cast can be made onto a point or above a drop-off. Let the presentation sink on a tight line until the bait touches the bottom. A slow, constant retrieve keeping the lure just off the bottom can draw hits from nearby fish.

Jighead rigged Bass Minnows can be used to target the same areas. Instead of a rolling retrieve short sharp hops will entice fish to the presentation. Varying between these two types of attack allows you to find which one suits their mood on the day.

Feel free to e-mail me at --e-mail address hidden-- and let me know how your trip to the lake throughout June was. – Chris Galligan

Maroon
Closest Towns: Boonah, Rathdowney

Lake Maroon has continued to be popular with tournament and social anglers. Last month, three Mini-Bucks Electric Tournaments plus the Variety Children’s Bass on Fly Competition were held on the lake. True to Maroon’s form, anglers’ winning bags didn’t bottom out the scales but plenty of teams weighed in their two-fish limit and had a great time doing so.

It’s excellent to see water lilies and weed beds forming in the shallower areas. It is a good sign of water quality and clarity improving. Maroon’s water level has also been quite stable for the last couple of months. This stability will allow bass to follow their normal movements that lead into winter.

The last few weeks in May saw the end of the shallow surface fishing around the lake as fish move into their spawning patterns. Unlike other impoundments, Maroon’s bass and goldens can be caught on reaction baits leading into the cooler months. Burning banks with lipless crankbaits is a great way to target some of the lake’s active fish.

Jerkbaits are also a great presentation to target any fish in shallow water especially during the early morning and late afternoon period. Finesse presentations will be the most consistent baits for bass. Jighead rigged T-tail plastics will produce good numbers of fish on a slow roll or hopping presentation. Other baits that can be used include Atomics 3” bass grub jighead rigged or even EcoGear 5” Short Curl Worms Texas-rigged for the heavier terrain. The Short Curl Worms are best fished with a slow lift-drop technique. – Chris Galligan

Borumba
Closest Towns: Imbil, Gympie

The exciting news is that the bass have started biting again at Borumba. Last month, anglers working their way right up into Yabba arm were able to tempt a few bass casting small crankbaits. At the time, there was still a lot of ski boat and jet ski activity in the main basin of the dam. If this wasn’t enough to scare the fish, it was certainly enough to persuade anglers to head farther up the creeks.

The cooler weather will have now chased the water sport enthusiasts off and the basin of the lake will be far more pleasant to fish. It’s likely there will be a good mix of productive spots. Casting lures will produce bass in the main basin and right up into the timbered arms. The saratoga and golden perch will be a bit quieter over winter but the odd one will still show up.

Borumba has always been considered a top lure casting lake but it is also a great destination to drop a few baits. One of the techniques favoured by the locals is to suspend baits like worms and shrimp under a float. The points and flats in the main basin are a top spot for this type of fishing.

Trolling small crankbaits will also produce plenty of bass when the fish are schooled up in the open water of the lake’s main basin.

Davo’s Bait and Tackle can provide all the gear and advice to ensure you enjoy a great day’s fishing on Borumba Dam. Davo’s stock a great range of fishing gear that caters for both fresh and saltwater anglers. The store can be found in the Homemaker Centre in Noosaville.

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Cooby
Closest Towns: Meringandan, Toowoomba

The fishing at Cooby has been pretty poor for the past couple of months. With the coldest weather of the year well on its way, the action will be pretty ordinary for the remainder of winter. It won’t be until spring that the action starts to take off again.

Although tough, fish can still be caught. Fishing live baits such as shrimp is the most successful way to catch a few golden perch. Anglers using lures have really struggled – the goldens will occasionally take them but it is the lake’s Murray cod that are most common. These beautiful fish are usually under-sized but there are some real monsters living in the lake as well.

Cooby has a boom gate at the entry that requires two-dollars in coins to open. The boat launching area has been maintained and a gravel ramp will get you safely in the water. All boating activities require the use of an electric motor or, of course, paddle power. Although outboards can’t be used on Cooby, they can be left on the back of the boat.

Coolmunda
Closest Town/s: Inglewood

Golden perch slow down in a lot of the lakes over the cold months, however Coolmunda is one of the few where they can be caught consistently over this period. The fishing action won’t be as hot as during the warmer months but most anglers will still get a few each session.

Lure trolling has already slowed right down and the fish are responding best to live baits. Worms and prawns will catch fish but if you want to increase your chances of success, try live shrimp. These can be purchased in Toowoomba at Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street or caught in the dam itself. Collapsible traps baited with cat food will put out a scent that shrimp are attracted to. Shrimping is slower at this time of year than during the warmer months. There will still be enough about if you have the time to put in to catching them.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 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. It’s the ideal place to relax with the family while being able to catch a few fish as well. 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
Lenthalls
Closest Town/s: Maryborough

Lake Lenthall is looking really good. At around 98% of capacity the water quality is settling nicely after huge inflows and outflows. Water temperatures are still reasonable considering some of the chilly mornings we've had lately. Expect these to drop off more over the coming month.

Bass are schooling up in 2-3m of water in Harwood and Sugarbag Creeks. Reports of solid and healthy bass up to 48cm being caught are coming back to the boat ramp. Sounding around the fringes has been the best bet to locate the loosely formed schools of bass. The minimum size limit for bass is 30cm.

Stacks of rat barra between 15-32cm are around in the shallows. These fish often take lures intended for bass. Remember to handle the baby barra very gently as they are easily injured or killed if handled incorrectly. The odd report of a bigger barra still crops up every now and then, with some anglers reporting some hard and fast bust offs. These are no doubt big barra are hitting the unsuspecting angler’s offering. A conservative approach by all anglers will be a sound investment in the future of the barramundi fishery here. Minimum size limit for barramundi is 58cm.

Land-based fishing has seen some good quality bass caught around the park with the baby barra also hammering bass lures. Anglers using dead baits have been catching eel-tailed catfish in good numbers over the past few days. Anglers are reminded that no live bait should be brought to Lake Lenthall. Some spangled perch have been showing up lately. They are taking very small diving lures and bibless minnows. These very aggressive little fish are great fun for the kids and easy to catch on light gear.

The trolling brigade has reported very little success though interestingly, they seem to be losing a huge amount of lures. This could be a result of all the submerged timber that Lake Lenthall is famous for.

A new spinnerbait that has proven its worth for many bass anglers is the Come in Spinner spinnerbait from lure manufacturer's Darryl Hohn and Paul Mundey. These lures are like nothing else available in tackle stores locally and are accounting for plenty of bass, both here and in the wild populations that are around the district.

Lure fishing is a very productive method in freshwater and the same old rule applies: the angler who puts in the time will be successful. The price is very pleasing with these lures and the savings alone justify the purchase. Anybody who wants to give these lures a crack can give Darryl a call on 0437 638 938.

All anglers are reminded that you do require a Stocked Impoundment Permit for fishing at Lake Lenthall. These can be purchased online or locally at tackle stores. Bag and size limits also apply. Check out the DPI and Fisheries website for further information regarding freshwater fishing regulations.

The Fraser Coast Fish Stocking Association Inc have gone ahead and released 3600 golden perch and 1200 silver perch into Lake Lenthall. This adds to the 12000 barramundi and 15000 bass already stocked this season.

For further information on Lake Lenthall, which is open daily from 6.00am to 4.00pm, please direct all enquiries to Wide Bay Water Corporation on 1300 808 888.

Bjelke Petersen
Closest Towns: Murgon, Goomeri

If you aren’t fortunate enough to own a boat and are limited to fishing from the shore, then Bjelke Petersen Dam is always worth considering. From the banks, anglers are able to lure and bait fish to successfully target a range of species. The better water for bank fishing is found between the two boat ramps and up towards the wall. Here the deeper water is quite close to the shoreline and access to the edges is very easy.

Baits like worms, shrimps and prawns will entice quality fish like bass, golden perch and eel-tailed catfish. If casting lures is more up your ally, then try some lipless crankbaits or 1/2 ounce Nitro spinnerbaits. Walk the banks and keep moving until you find the action – don’t wait for fish to come to you.

There are a few options for anglers fishing from boats. They too can cast for fish patrolling the banks. Reaction baits are best for this. If this area is slow then there are other options available. During the cooler months, the fish should pack into tighter schools. These fish tend to hold close to the deeper water of the main creek edge. The stretch of water between the boat ramps and a little further upstream can hold some big schools of fish.

If you plan to cast lures use a sounder to locate the better areas. If trolling, just toss out some lures and try to navigate along the drop-off to the old creek.

When it comes to casting and trolling, the best options in the way of lures are lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits. Because they sink, these lures can be fished to suit the depth the fish are holding. When trolling, alter either the speed of the boat or the length of line out in the water to have the lure swimming at the desired depth.

To check up on the fishing give Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy a phone call on (07) 4162 7555.

Boondooma
Closest Town/s: Proston, Kingaroy

The fish at Boondooma have been quite hard to catch over the past month or two. The cooler weather is almost certain to trigger a dramatic change in the fishing. In June the water should clear up and the fishing should return to its former glory.

Bass will school up to the point that they are easy to find. If you don’t have a good sounder, then look for other boats fishing close together. At this time of year, the bass prefer the comfort of deeper water. The wall end of the lake can be pretty barren with the majority of bass heading upstream. Look around areas like The Islands, The Junction, Pelican Point and the S-bend in the river up the Stuart arm.

When these fish are found, try casting lures into the schools. Lures like Mask Vibe Jackalls, 1/2 ounce blade baits and soft plastics rigged on ½ or 5/8 ounce jigheads are all proven and give you a good selection to play with. Rig these on a jighead designed for fishing the lakes.

Bass may be the most active fish but golden perch can be caught too if they are targeted. Fishing around the major rocky points and up into the timber in both arms can produce goldens. Casting, trolling and bait fishing will tempt a few of Boondooma’s yellowbelly.

Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy can look after all of your fishing needs. Call in and see the guys. The store is in Youngman Street and the guys can help you out and offer some useful advice. Bass to Barra Marine can also be found in Dalby. This shop stocks a great range of quality gear for bass and barra fishing and is located at Shop 2, Drayton Street.

For accommodation at the lake, give the managers a call on (07) 4168 9694. Boondooma has excellent amenities, bunk houses, cabins, powered sites and camping facilities that will make your stay enjoyable. Boats can be launched below the far boat ramp from a reasonably hard bank.

Cania
Closest Town: Monto

After a steady period, the dam action has picked up again. Bass have been the first to make their presence felt. They are taking lures all over the lake. It has just been a matter of finding fishy locations to guarantee good catches.

Casting lures to the edges can produce well. Some anglers have reported little success while others are catching plenty. The answer is that the fish are holding in specific areas around the lake. The upper area of the main basin and up into the narrower part is likely to have scatterings of bass in close to the lake’s banks. Casting 1/2 and 5/8 ounce spinnerbaits or lipless crankbaits to these areas until you locate the fish will be the way to go.

Schooled fish can also be found in the basin area of the lake. These fish will take the same lures used for casting as well as medium running crankbaits. A sounder is a valuable tool that will help with locating these fish.

There have also been a few reports of bass being caught right up in the timbered area at the top of the lake. Fishing to structure is great fun when trying to wrestle the lake’s big bass out into the clear.

Bait fishing has been a bit quiet. Anglers that have been able to find some live shrimp are likely to achieve the best results. Golden perch and saratoga have been quiet but expect them to be active as soon as the spring weather arrives.

To find out more about the lake or to book some great accommodation nearby, call the Cania Gorge Caravan and Tourist Park on (07) 4167 8188. There are excellent facilities including campsites, cabins, a playground and a swimming pool. It’s worth a visit to the park just to see some of the rare and beautiful wildlife that regularly drop in and live in the area.

Monduran
Closest Towns: Gin Gin, Bundaberg

The fishing at Lake Monduran has been testing over the past month. When the conditions are right the barra are willing to bite but when the weather is bad, the fishing has been tough.

Several quality fish have been caught using a mix of techniques. Trolling in the basin of the lake is worth a try. This area will have warmer water in the deeper parts in comparison to the skinnier water that changes temperature quickly with the weather. Here, trolling lures in at least three metres of water will score some strikes from some of the better quality barra living in the lake. It’s a good idea to look for signs of baitfish on the sounder and give those areas a thorough workout.

Trolling the edge of the tree line further up the lake may also produce. The water temperature here will fluctuate less than in the shallows. Lures like the Reidy’s Judge and 3m and 5m Halco Scorpion would be a good option in this water.

The shallowest parts of the lake vary a lot in temperature and the mood of the barra changes with the weather. Casting shallow diving lures into the shallow, protected bays is a good way to get a response. The shallows are likely to be quiet in the mornings. By lunchtime and later in the afternoon the sun will have had a chance to warm the water and fish up.

Good lures for this type of work are the gold Laser Pro 120 and the lumo-coloured Tropic Angler. When using smaller lures that have three hooks such as Tropic Anglers or Bombers it’s a good idea to remove the small hooks and replace with two heavier ones. Put one at the front and one on the rear to weight the lure correctly. The weight of two heavier hooks will be the same as three lighter ones and the chances of landing big barra are greatly increased. Remember when fishing the shallows to use a painfully slow retrieve. The fish are docile and aren’t prepared to exert too much energy chasing food.

There have been whispers of some bass being caught in different areas of the lake. The details of such captures have been closely guarded as there are a few bass competitions soon to be held on the lake. Areas worth exploring are the tops of the sticks found straight ahead after entering Bird Bay and the first few kilometres of B arm.

If you’re on your way to Monduran, be sure to call in at Foxies Barra Pro in Gin Gin. The store has all the gear you’ll need. The staff here will be able to give you a few tips and steer you in the right direction.

Accommodation can be booked through Lake Monduran Kiosk and Tackle Shop. They look after all the cabins, houses, powered and un-powered campsites, as well as houseboats and boat hire. Bookings with Guide Lines, which is a guiding service specialising in Lake Monduran, can also be made through the store. The kiosk’s number is (07) 4157 3881.

Capricornia Region
Awoonga
Closest Towns: Benaraby, Gladstone

The fishing this month can vary at Awoonga, but effort and knowledge of the impoundment will see good results. Expect cool winds, late evenings and early mornings with clear nights and heavy dew.

The core temperatures will depend on the prevailing wind but generally low 20’s is the norm for this time of year.

As with every dam, there will always be fish doing something completely different, meaning some fish will be shallow, while others will hold deep. Keep your eyes peeled on the sounder for keys on where and how to fish.

Try fishing suspending hard bodies like the Stiffv bony bream. This lure accounts for a lot of big fish and is custom made for impoundment Barra. It carries Owner ST66 hooks and Hyperwire rings as standard, which is good value for money at $15.00. It can be fished using a heavy twitch or a slow roll over weed edges and shallow flats.

For reaction baits, the proven slick rig range and the Berkley mullets are working very well. In particular, the pro range slick rigs will allow you to fish nice and shallow.

Newly flooded banks and bays have once again opened up an incredible expanse of water. Do not be fooled into thinking the fish are in one area, as they are well spread throughout the dam.

Trolling is still a poor option on Awoonga due to the amount of suspended and floating weed that has broken off from the bottom and edges. Trollers are being frustrated with continually fouled lures so if you’re normally a troller, don’t be too shy to give casting a go.

If you’re new to casting then a great way to start is casting the edges with shallow running pro range slick rigs. They are easy to cast and a straight forward ‘rolling’ retrieve is all that is required to get the lure working. Once you get accustomed to the workings of the lure then you can add some twitches or rod flicks to liven up the action.

If it’s been longer than three months since your last visit, remember that Awoonga has come up nearly seven metres and is a huge expanse of water once again. Winds can pick up very quickly and conditions on the dam can become very dangerous in a short space of time.

I have started a charter business up on Awoonga, so if you are interested in getting a guide to fast track your knowledge of the species and impoundment dynamics, or are just busting to catch a barra, check out my website www.barramadness.com or contact me on 0420 846345. – Jason Wilhelm

Central Coast
Proserpine (Peter Faust)
Closest Towns: Proserpine

The water has cleared up considerably since the rises in water levels earlier this year. There have been plenty of smaller barra on the chew but the bigger ones have been elusive.

Shallow flat areas in the timbered areas have been holding good numbers of barra. The deeper water in the timber is also holding fish in specific areas. Find the bigger clumps of trees close to the drop-off and the fish won’t be too far away. Good lures to use in the timbered areas have included, but not limited to, Rapala Skitterpops, Tango Dancers and 12cm shallow diving X-Raps.

The action should still be good this month. Other barra dams may slow down due to cooler weather conditions but Proserpine’s fish will take longer to feel the effects. With the better weather and lighter winds around this month, there should be plenty of good days to experience the action on the dam.

Lindsay Dobe runs charters on Lake Proserpine. Lindsay also owns Proserpine Bait and Tackle, which stocks all the gear to successfully target the lake’s big barra. 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.

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