Brilliant Brogo bass
  |  First Published: April 2003

Most anglers, local or visiting, head for the river or estuary in their boats or perhaps dangle a line from the shore. Then there are the others who head for the big briny in all sizes and types of craft looking for a good day’s fishing.

For a South Coast fishing day with a difference why not try to catch a native bass in Brogo Dam. Just off the Princes Highway between Cobargo and Bega, about 30 minutes south of Narooma, you will find the turn-off to Brogo.

The dam is open only during daylight hours and no overnight camping is allowed. There are rangers on site to provide assistance and information on the likely locations of fishing hot spots and on the history of the dam which is a water supply for Bega and a growing recreational fishery.

Sheltered tables and barbecues are provided as well toilets and there is plenty of space for non-anglers watch the wildlife or just relax. The kids have plenty of room to play while the others fish.

The boat ramp needs to be approached carefully if the water in the dam is very low. The dam has speed limits and they are enforced, so please take notice of the signs. The picturesque scenery and the wildlife are worth the boat ride on the dam alone.

It takes about 20 minutes by boat to get to the far end of the dam but along the way there are bays, gorges, rock walls, dead trees, snags, weed beds and creek mouths to explore and fish.

Bass like the peace and tranquillity of their environment so approach likely holding areas as quietly as possible. The wash from your boat breaking on the shore will make them spooky.

There are many small fish (about two years old) but there are fish of 30cm to 40cm which can snap the lures off your line. In the mornings fish can be caught in a particular spot and, later in the day when you give the spot another go, you can come up blank. This is because bass move around the dam as conditions change. Changes in weather, wind direction, food quantities, water levels, water temperature and barometric pressure all influence fish behaviour.

Rising barometric pressure can really bring bass on the bite, while falling pressure can make them very hard to catch. All the fishy haunts along the edges of the dam are places where to work to entice a bass to strike. The most enjoyable and heart-stopping way to fish for bass in the dam is on lures or fly. You just can’t beat the excitement when a bass, even a small one, hits a lure.

Lure fishing

Use small surface poppers (50mm) and Crazy Crawler styles or any type of lure that will create a ruckus on the surface. Work them along rocky walls, around snags, standing dead timber, protruding rocks and throw them well back into the small creek channels. Even though the channels seem very shallow they can produce quality fish.

When it comes to diving lures, use small ones that will dive to about three metres. Make sure that the lures float so that you can work them over and around rocks and snags.

If you do hit a snag, stop winding and wait – most times the lure will float off the snag or rock and come to the surface. To work the weed beds near the shore, cast the lure parallel to the bank in about one or two metres.

Retrieve the lure at different speeds (to the make the lure dive deeper) on each retrieve until you start catching weed or attract fish strikes.

You can also troll between and around the dead standing timber, varying your speed again to increase or decrease the working depth. Be sure you bring a lure retriever – otherwise it could prove an expensive trip.

Fly-fishing is carried out in the same areas. On early mornings with dead-calm conditions use surface poppers, Dahlberg Divers, Sliders and foam headed flies on a floating line (a six-weight is OK).

Later in the day, or for searching around snags and rocks or working weed beds, use a sinking line and a short leader around two metres. Vary your stripping rate to vary the flies’ working depth. Use black Woolly Buggers, fur flies, Clousers, shrimp patterns and small epoxy minnows on the sinking line.



Ian and Linda Smith from Narooma enjoying an outing on Brogo Dam.


The little ones are hungry and it shouldn’t be long before they’re big enough to stretch your gear


The author and a mate fly-fishing on Brogo.

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