With the 2003/04 Boating Access Permits for Lake Samsonvale (North Pine Dam) now available, Noel Frost and Ross Cobb of the Pine Rivers Fish Management Association decided to provide some tips for newcomers on setting up a boat for impoundment fishing.
FOR MANY Brisbane anglers, joining the Boating Access Scheme for Lake Samsonvale might be their first experience with impoundment fishing, so we decided to write an article with some tips on setting up a craft for this type of fishing.
The types of vessels permitted under the scheme are canoes and small boats powered by either electric motors or paddles – no internal combustion engines – and craft must fit for the purpose and carry safety equipment as specified by Qld Transport. This is why selection and setup of your craft is important.
Impoundment fishing can include trolling, lure casting and anchoring up to jig or bait fish structure or a drop-off. Lake Samsonvale also harbours a healthy population of redclaw crayfish, so your boat and its attached accessories should cater for these different modes of fishing.
Your vessel needs to be light for ease of launching and retrieving, and able to be powered adequately by muscle power or electric outboard. Canoes and small alloy or composite boats are ideal. The boat in the photo is based on a Stessl 3.7m Vagabond hull, weighing approx 60kg.
You can use a boat up to 5m, depending on weight and thrust of the motor (power/weight ratio), but anything over 5m is testing the friendship for impoundment fishing. In this article we’ll concentrate on setting up a tinnie, although many of the comments apply to other craft.
Seating depends on the number of passengers allowable for the boat size, but should always be comfortable. Remember that progress is slow with electric power, so be prepared for long stints in the seat.
A carpeted floor adds to the comfort factor, but the downside is more weight. If you’re fitting a floor yourself, remember to make it tight fitting to keep those sinkers and swivels from getting below decks. Marine or outdoor ply fitted with outdoor carpet is all you need.
A casting platform is a great asset and is easy to add to most boats. Typically, all you need is 12mm ply and some carpet, a few stiffeners, and you’re in business. The platform provides a good storage area underneath and often provides an ideal location for the spare battery. You might also use this area for extra flotation to compensate for the battery weight. Rail-mounted storage bins are a good way of keeping the floor area free if space is a premium.
If you’re anchoring up to fish, you’ll need an anchor such as a 6kg ‘drop and stop’ lead anchor to hold your craft in the current.
Some launch sites may prevent direct access for your boat trailer, or perhaps you intend to carry your boat on a box trailer, back of the ute or roof rack. In these circumstances, a set of bolt-on or clamp-on trolley wheels is helpful, as are some of the loading devices on the market. Take time to browse around your local tackle shop or boat dealer – you’ll surprised at what’s on offer to make life easier and conserve your strength for the real task: landing fish!
Electric motors (Samsonvale is an electric-only impoundment) are rated by thrust, and are available from 30lb thrust (13.6kg) to 100lb (45kg). The boat in the photos is fitted with a Minn Kota 55lb Riptide long shaft model. 55lb is about the largest size available in 12V configuration, with larger thrust motors built for 24V or 36V. Saltwater versions are available with stainless steel components.
Apart from motor size, you’ll need to think about mounting configurations. Transom mount (usually tiller steer) and bow mount versions are available. The bow mount versions come with tiller steer or foot controls, and can include autopilot features to keep you on track while you cast to passing structure.
There are many other features including weedless props, built-in battery savers, extension tillers and so on. Talk to your dealer to get the latest information.
Deep-cycle batteries withstand the constant discharge/recharge cycles much better than conventional batteries, and are well worth the investment. Batteries come in lead acid or gel cell construction, with the latter able to be run almost flat, whereas lead acid battery manufacturers recommend not discharging the battery lower than 60% of capacity.
Depending on boat size, you’ll need a minimum battery size of 100amp-hr. The Stessl featured is fitted with dual 130 amp-hr lead acid batteries connected in parallel so that the motor draws on both equally. To achieve this, the motor is connected to the positive terminal of one battery and the negative terminal of the other. It’s wise to carry a spare battery, which can be smaller (e.g. 65amp-hr). Anderson plugs fitted to extension leads allow a quick connection.
To recharge batteries, you’ll need a 15-20amp charger with auto switching to trickle charge to prevent over-charging. There are some neat solar panel charges on the market, but they may not give you the power output you need for a fast charge. Plastic carryboxes are recommended for battery storage. Remember to keep your batteries off concrete floors.
Battery life is an ever-present issue for impoundment fishing. A motor like the one featured draws over 40amps at full throttle and around 15amps while trolling. With the setup shown, and allowing a maximum drawdown to 60% capacity, this should give around seven hours of trolling. The battery saver features on modern motors extend fishing time.
A sounder is almost mandatory. It allows you to identify structure, old river beds, drop-offs, and pretty much anywhere fish are likely to hold up. You’ll improve your catch rate if you locate fish schools, including bait schools.
Some motor features, such as battery savers, work off electric pulses and may interfere with your sounder. If you find this to be the case, run the sounder off your spare battery or get hold of one of the small 12V batteries used for electric starter mowers and emergency lights.
For trolling you’ll need some rod holders, and these range from a simple piece of plastic, aluminium or stainless tube to the nice adjustable models on the market. Add somewhere to store your rods and a live bait tank (bass love live shrimp), and you’re ready for action! All you need now is a Lake Samsonvale boating access permit and you can hit the water.
Queensland freshwater fishing regulations were modified in December 2002, and for more information you can contact the DPI on 13 25 23 or visit www.dpi.qld.gov/fishweb/. Boat users must also comply with the relevant Queensland Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Regulations.
For more information on setting up for impoundment fishing, there’s information in the archives on the Fishing Monthly website (www.fishingmonthly.com.au). Other freshwater anglers should be happy to give advice as well, and you might also want to visit the Tinnie, Tackle and Outdoor Show at the RNA Showgrounds from April 3-6. The PRFMA will have a display on the Northside Marine stand, and will be happy to answer your queries.
Anyone interested in the Lake Samsonvale Boating Access Scheme, or the stocking activities of the Association, can contact the PRFMA on 0417 742 023.
1) A casting platform is a great asset and is easy to add to most boats.
2) Lake Samsonvale is an electric-only impoundment. This 3.7m Stessl is fitted with a Minn Kota 55lb Riptide long shaft model.Reads: 1160