Buckle up on Barra
  |  First Published: November 2008

One of the keys to catching deep holding fish is using the right type of line. I often stress the importance of using quality, fine diameter fishing lines. Try using 4-6lb line to ensure the lure runs nice and deep.

An excellent line that has just hit the market is the new Stren Camo Braid. So far, I have used the 6lb braid and I love it. The Teflon coating allows me to cast heavy lures like crankbaits, plastics and blade baits about 15m further than I could before. It might not sound like much but it means that each cast I make the lure spends 15mlonger in productive water – taking into consideration that during each cast the lure arcs back up to the angler during the latter part of the retrieve.

If you were to make 200 casts in a fishing session that were each 15m further it would have your lure in the zone 3000m (3km) more.Be sure to check out the new range of Stren braids.

Until next month, buckled rods from The Colonel.

South East Queensland
Closest Towns: Crows Nest, Toowoomba

The smaller bass at Lake Cressbrook have fired up and are providing anglers with plenty of thrills. These bass are patrolling the weedy edges and falling for a range of lures.

Early and late in the day, surface lures are effective. The Mazzy Popper is a great option. These lures can be worked on the surface or cranked down just below it. Using a combination of both methods has been accounting for plenty of bass from tiddlers to specimens up to 35cm.

During the middle of the day, the surface action slows and a deeper presentation is needed. Lipless crankbaits are ideal. These lures can be cast around the weed while motoring along on an electric motor. Fishing this way allows the angler to search a lot of water looking for active bass. Once they are found, you can slow down and concentrate on a particular area. Other lures that will work around the edges are beetle spins, small spinnerbaits, blade baits and hard bodied jerkbaits.

Live shrimp will catch stacks of small bass when you position yourself over a school. To look for the better quality bass try drifting in the deepest water you can find with the shrimp suspended 6m below the boat. The steeper banks will produce the odd golden perch when fishing around 7m of water.

The water level is very low but boats can still be launched easily from the gravel boat ramp. Speed restrictions of 8-knots in open water and 4-knots close to the shore are still in place. Don’t forget your $2 entry fee at the gate. This allows you to access the boat ramp and BBQ, picnic and playground facilities.

Fish’n’Bits in Alderly Street, Toowoomba can set you up with the necessary tackle and live shrimp. Tournament angler and TV personality Carl Jocumsen will be able to provide a more up-to-date report and help you on your way to scoring some decent catches.

Closest Towns: Esk, Kilcoy

It will be interesting to see how Somerset fishes over the next month as the action has been hot and cold.

When schooled bass are found they are usually pretty easy to catch, but the big schools of smaller fish have been stubborn. When the big ones are on, it can be awesome fun with bass over 3kg not uncommon.

These monster fish can be tough to target as they seem to just disappear. If you use a quality colour sounder the job of locating the bigger fish becomes much easier. And these sounders make it easy to identify bigger fish from the smaller ones.

Once bass are located, I believe it is important not to get too excited and start fishing right on top of them. I keep motoring in a straight line until I stop seeing fish on the sounder, then pull the boat up about 30m away. It’s then a matter of casting back over the fish using the boat’s wake as an indication of their direction. Somerset’s bass are known to follow boats around, therefore if you stop on a school, all the fish in that area will stack up below the boat in a trance-like state that makes them near impossible to catch.

Ice jigs will score these fish on occasions. Keeping the bass away from the boat keeps them unaware of your presence and in a mood that will make them more likely to eat what you present them.

Trolling is an option that also stops the fish following the boat. As the boat moves over the bass, they can often be seen lifting off the bottom. This is likely to be caused when the noise of the sounder passes over them. As the boat moves on the bass are left behind, now off the bottom and in a more catchable position. By slow trolling with an electric motor, the lure can be worked off the bottom and dropped back to it by the angler. Use a series of winds before dropping back by opening the bail arm.

The big bass can turn up anywhere along the drop-offs and flats. Explore the water that’s between 7-13m deep from Red Rock to Queen Street. Once fish are located, troll or cast an assortment of lures. Proven ones include the Jackall Mask Vibe 60, 1/2oz Evergreen Little Max (blade bait) and 5/8oz Nitro Dam Deep Jighead rigged with a 3” Gulp Minnow Grub.

Closest Town: Boonah

Moogerah’s fishing is going to be hit and miss this month. With warmer water temperatures around the high 20’s, the lake’s fish will hold in deeper areas.

The lake’s flats have held some small schools of bass, with the odd legal fish amongst them. As November progresses these fish will disperse, holding on break-lines and underwater structure like timber and rocky points. Fast moving presentations like spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits or Masks are the most consistent baits on both bass and goldens.

Golden perch were caught in good numbers last month and should continue to be a consistent catch this month. The odd silver perch will also show up on lure presentations. These fish tend to hold on edges and can be caught on smaller reaction style baits like Jackall TN50’s or TD Vibration 50mm.

Recreational water sports will be plentiful this month. Trips on weekdays or an early morning session can be worthwhile to avoid the boat traffic. – Chris Galligan

Closest Towns: Boonah, Rathdowney

Plenty of anglers have been experiencing great fishing on Lake Maroon recently. With fantastic weed bed growth around the lake’s fringes and rising water temperatures, the consistent fishing is set to continue.

Plenty of bass and goldens are holding on the lake’s edges making them easy to target on lure presentations. Searching with fast moving baits is one key to catching numbers of Maroon’s bass. Fast moving presentations include spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits. Searching involves using a boat’s electric outboard to constantly move while casting. This allows maximum coverage of an area in search of active fish.

Targeting any of the lake’s bays with surface presentations will be successful during the lower light periods, and poppers and pencil baits are both good options.

As the days warm, bass and goldens will move to deeper water. In the past, these fish have responded well to deep soft plastic finesse presentations. Lightly weighted jighead rigged hawgs and 3” Bass Minnows represent Maroon’s main fodder species, the shrimp and gudgeon. These lures are perfect for luring the shy fish holding deep on the weed beds.

Maroon is a family friendly lake that hosts a number of accommodation options and picnic areas. It is easily fished from the bank and has an excellent boat ramp. – Chris Galligan

Darling Downs Granite Belt Region
Closest Town: Inglewood

There are plenty of golden perch being caught. The word is out and the lake has been busy with anglers trying their luck. Despite the warmer weather, the number of skiers hasn’t been too bad.

With an average size of 3-4lb, goldens are in good condition, and the bigger fish are up around 6lb. Lures will catch fish along the drop-off to the old creek bed.

Baits of live worms and shrimp or frozen prawns will all catch fish. Shrimp can be caught from the edges of the dam in traps. The roadhouse on the highway sells live worms and prawns.

Those lucky enough have caught some quality Murray cod. There have been reports of a 9lb, 15lb and 21lb cod in the last month. These fish take years to grow so don’t kill them just to boast to your mates. Take the camera along and get a photo before releasing the fish.

The Coolmunda Caravan Park is only around 1km 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. 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
Bjelke Petersen
Closest Towns: Murgon, Goomeri

Trolling lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits will produce bass and golden perch around the drop-off to the creek bed. The lower section of the dam will be holding most of the fish.

A lure that will produce the goods is the Smak Mini Coop spinnerbait. When trolling, alter the speed of the boat to keep lures at the right depth. A bucket over the side can slow down an outboard powered boat and get lures running deeper.

The edges of the lake will produce fish for those casting lures. A boat makes this much easier although casting from the bank can work well at times. Spinnerbaits, lipless crankbaits and hardbodied lures will all take their share. The fishing can be slow until you locate good numbers of fish.

Some fish can be caught from the steeper banks when shore-based fishing with bait. From the boat, try fishing baits around the creek bed drop-off. Live shrimp will provide mixed bags of eel-tailed catfish, golden perch and bass.

Don’t forget the campgrounds are open again or if you don’t like the idea of camping, you could book one of the comfortable cabins. If the fish aren’t cooperating, have a game of tennis or just relax in the pool.

Closest Towns: Proston, Kingaroy

This month, trolling will start to fire up. Hardbodied lures like the Golden Child, Smak 16 and 14, Brolgas and Ridgebacks are good options. Boondooma’s fish like green, purple and black coloured lures so run a selection of different ones.

The rocky points in the main body of the lake should be given a thorough workout if you are looking to catch golden perch. For bass, try trolling the deeper water in the middle of the lake and look for suspended schools.

Casting lures such as vibration baits, blade baits and soft plastics can catch the suspended schooled bass. Try looking for these schooling fish between The Junction and the dam wall. There may also be scattered fish holding closer to the bottom between The Islands and Pelican Point. Rely on the sounder to find the fish before you start casting.

Bait fishing in 6-7m of water is another option. Worms, frozen prawns and live shrimp can be used to catch bass, goldens and eel-tailed catties.

Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy can look after all of your fishing needs. 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. It’s located in Shop 2 Drayton Street so be sure to check it out.

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.

Closest Town: Monto

It seems everyone who wets a line in Cania is being rewarded. There are fish being caught from banks and boats, and the fish-cleaning table at the Tourist Park has been busy.

Boats anglers are able to catch bass, golden perch, silver perch, eel-tailed catfish and saratoga. Lures like soft plastics and soft lipless crankbaits work around the schools in the main basin and will account for bass and golden perch.

Working the edges with beetle spins, spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits is the best approach to scoring saratoga and bass. To score a mixed bag of fish, try using bait around the medium tapering points in the main basin of the lake.

From the bank, there have been good numbers of eel-tailed catfish and golden perch caught on bait. Bait is available from the Tourist Park and they can probably give you a few tips for where to try your luck.

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, 9 hole par 3 golf course and a swimming pool. Each Saturday, the park offers wine tasting. On Saturday and Wednesday nights as well as all school holiday nights, there are outdoor movies on the big screen. 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.

Closest Town: Eidsvold

The bass have fired up at Wuruma and fish over 40cm in length are common. These fish are taking lipless crankbaits and soft plastics cast to the edges. People who are prepared to think outside the square and try different ideas are often rewarded. One of the locals has had success on the bass when using Prawnstars.

The undersized barra are still being caught on bass lures so be sure to release these. There is also the odd big golden perch getting in on the action as well.

Camping is allowed at the lake so be sure to bring your tent, swag or caravan for an enjoyable stay.

Closest Town: Gin Gin

With the warmer water temperatures, the barra will spend less time in the shallows and patrol 3-4m depths. This means there will be more fish at trolling depth.

When trolling, try the Bird Bay area, the point across from the boat ramps and parallel with the dam wall. Trolling the run from White Rock up to the Cattle Yards can also turn up some barra. When selecting a trolling lure, try to match the depth of the lure to the depth the fish are showing on the sounder.

Halco lures are one of the ranges that work well at Monduran and are ideal for depth matching. They come in a range of depths making it easy to choose the right one for the job.

When casting, head for the timbered areas. The bays and points are always worth exploring. Head up past B area or try around H. The 130 Arafura Barra and Tropic Angler (with upgraded hooks) are good choices. When the fish go deeper, lures that are able to search quickly for them will often trigger a reaction strike. Soft plastics like a jighead rigged 6” Powerbait Hollowbelly, Berkley Mullet or Slick Rig are ideal for searching for fish. One of my personal favourites for this dam is the Trollcraft Barra Dreaming lipless crankbait. When using these, upgrade the front and rear trebles with a similar sized Owner ST66.

Foxies Barra Havoc in Gin Gin stocks a great range of barra lures. The guys can provide some of the best, new stuff on the market. You’ll also find some different products that are very effective but can’t be bought anywhere else in Australia. 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. And 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 unpowered campsites as well as the 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) 41573881.

Central Coast
Closest Town: Mackay

The big girls at Kinchant should be well and truly firing in November with long hot days and stormy nights. Trolling seems to be the preferred method for landing these fish but for something a bit different and very exciting try throwing on a popper, fizzer or tango dancer. This provides some exhilarating and heart-stopping fun.

There is something about metre-plus fish exploding the water underneath your lure in the darkness of the night that has you reaching for a new pair of undies. On moonlit nights, the dam seems to come alive with the sounds of bony bream flicking and barra boofing. If you can hear these noises, it means you’re in the right area.

The bait and barra seem to school up on the points of the large weed beds to the left of the ramp and the grassy points to the right of the ramp. Loud pops, small fizzing actions or just V-trails along the surface all attract attention of feeding barra. Vary your retrieves to produce different effects from your surface lures and this could be the key to landing more fish.

The warmer water has also brought back the sooty bite. Mornings and afternoons are definitely the prime times. Try using poppers or tango dancers for some awesome and exciting surface strikes. Fish around the weed edges and lily pads or along the rock wall and you will surely be rewarded. Although the size of the sooties isn’t enormous, catching them on light gear is a lot of fun. – Daniel Grech

Closest Towns: Pinnacle, Mackay

It’s finally here! Steamy hot sunshine and the Teemburra barra are biting.

The fish have really started to move and some good numbers are popping up with many local anglers enjoying the action. Over the last month, fish have been caught at all times during the day with most of the surface action being around dawn and dusk.

The use of the soft plastic surface frog is a relatively new form of surface fishing and it has migrated to Teemburra from the southern barra lakes. When the surface bite is happening, the use of a frog can come in very handy as a fish will follow, then give a spectacular strike. Although the hook up rate isn’t fantastic on frogs, they have the ability to make fish have more than one swipe. Tango dancers are also a very useful surface lure. Most strikes happen when this lure is paused or just after it starts to move again.

The weed is thriving and the fish love it. Weed is a great place for fish to sit and wait to ambush passing bait. Try fishing the gaps in the weed or working a lure through a weed bed. Often a barra will be waiting with an open mouth once a lure is pulled out of the weed.

In the early morning, try fishing the points in the main basin. There are a lot of newly drowned trees surrounded by lily pads that drop off into deeper water. These are easily fished with mid depth lures with great success. X-raps are really effective in these areas as they hold their depth and attract a lot of attention.

Although the fish may only be small in Teemburra compared to other barra impoundments around Queensland, they still pull hard and the sheer number of fish makes this dam a great place to visit. For any extra information on any of the dams around the Mackay area feel free to email me at --e-mail address hidden-- . – Daniel Grech

Closest Town: Proserpine

At long last, the barra have fired up in the dam. They have been hit and miss for some time but more regular catches are now being enjoyed.

A lot of the action has been taking place in the timbered areas. Working the bays gives the option of casting to the shallower water or concentrating on the drop-offs formed by drowned gullies and creeks. There are so many places to fish and explore so try concentrating on the fishiest of areas. Look for signs of drowned timber as fallen trees and log piles are more likely to hold good numbers of fish than the thousands of dead standing trees.

Many of the fish have been of a smaller class and can be landed quite easily if fishing with heavy tackle. These 60-80cm fish provide some thrills until one of the lake’s monsters decides to play. There have been plenty of 120-125cm barra caught over the last month.

You need to be on your game when you hook one of these monsters in the timber. They can quickly bust your line around the structure. Try fighting hard, then put the reel in freespool when the fish reaches the sticks, then give chase until it is in the clear again.

Surface fishing has been a standout technique this season. The barra are falling for big surface lures in the mornings and afternoons. The new Powerbait Hollowbelly plastics are proving to be very effective on barra lakes all over the state. It seems that the barra just love them. They can be fished on big wormhooks unweighted or rigged on a jighead in the more open areas.

As the dam temperature warms up, the barra will get more active in the main basin of the lake. Here there are plenty of weed edges to explore. Night sessions based around the full moon are the ideal times to be on the water.

For more information and all the right gear to fish Lake Proserpine be sure to stop and see the guys at Proserpine Bait and Tackle. The dam can be huge and frustrating to learn. Some expert advice will boost your confidence and help you to find some of Proserpine’s monster fish.

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