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Big barra on offer
  |  First Published: April 2005



Cressbrook

Lake Cressbrook will fish reasonably well for small and mid-sized bass. These fish can be caught around the lake’s weedy margins as well as in the deeper water.

Some resident fish hold in the weedy areas for most of the year, though last month the edges were a bit hit-and-miss. This may be because the water temperature on the edges was a bit hot and uncomfortable for the bass to stay in the shallows for long periods. This month, fishing the weed should improve.

There are plenty of options to consider when chasing bass or yellowbelly in the shallow water. Casting lures is always the best approach. Spinnerbaits, Jackalls, beetle spins, soft plastics and surface poppers are all worth trying. Each of these types of lures will take fish – it’s just a matter of experimenting to find out which will work best on the given day. However, there are some general rules to follow. Fish surface early and late in the day, so try the reaction baits like beetle spins, Jackalls and spinnerbaits. If these fail to produce, it is worthwhile reworking the same areas with soft plastics. 3inch paddle tailed plastics rigged on 1/4ounce jigheads are ideal. A favourite for this lake is the Slider Grub in pumpkin seed. Soft plastics can persuade the inactive fish to bite and turn the day around in your favour.

Not all the action is taking place around the weedy edges - good concentrations of fish can be located in the deep water. These fish will be suspended around the thermoclines. Use your sounder to locate these bass before fishing. Areas to examine are the deepest water out from the boat ramp, the deep water at the start of the fishing zone in Bull Creek, the toilet point in Bull Creek and the middle of the last bend in Cressbrook Creek. If you locate bass, they can be caught using soft plastics and Jackall lipless crankbaits. Both casting and vertical jigging will entice these fish, while other less commonly used options include ice jigging, tail spinners and deeply presented clouser style flies.

The fish in the deep water can be easily targeted by trolling. Lure trollers can deploy their deep diving crankbaits and wait for the action to happen and this is also a good way to locate bass before using other methods. Trolling Slider Grubs on 1/2ounce jigheads while using an electric motor can work even better than deep diving crankbaits. Vary the speed and length of line out until you work out the combination that produces the most hits.

Bjelke-Petersen

It should be a good month to try your luck at Bjelke because the water temperatures should start to cool and more techniques will come into play.

Trolling lures for bass and golden perch will still produce fish but the action will be slower than at the beginning of the year as the fish tend to spread out and hold in different locations.

Bass schools can be found in the deeper water; try using your sounder around the boat ramps and out from Bass Point. The schools will tend to hold in this lower half of the dam and trolling these areas will produce the goods but lure casting may provide even more action. Casting soft plastics such as Jackalls and spinnerbaits to these fish should get them excited.

There is good weed growth on the edges of the lake. This will be prominent for quite some time, until winter causes it to die back. Casting reaction baits like spinnerbaits and Jackalls will fool the fish holding here. Expect to catch mainly bass with the odd golden thrown in.

Bait fishing will improve with the cooler water temperatures. Putting out some live shrimp is the best method although worms will also do the trick. The start of the timber and the edges are popular places to try and golden perch will make up the majority of catches.

For more up-to-date information, call in at the kiosk at the lake. They stock a good range of tackle as well as live shrimp and worms.

Boondooma

Plenty of bass will school in the deep water and can be found throughout the lake by using a quality sounder. The Islands and the Pelican Point areas seem to hold some of the best and most consistent concentrations. Once these fish are found, they can be caught pretty easily on soft plastics. Slider Grubs are the most commonly used plastics, while the new soft Jackalls are an awesome imitation of a bony bream (which are a large part of the bass’ diet). Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits worked through the schooled fish will often entice the strikes as well.

Spinnerbaiting in the timber is a good way to get a mixed bag of bass and goldens. The Boyne timber has the deeper water and is the better option, although the Stuart timber is okay for the first couple of hundred metres and is less fished by locals.

You’ll still take a few fish on the troll this month although the action will be slower. Both goldens and bass will be hanging around the points in the main basin so try trolling medium and deep running lures in these areas.

Matthew Mott runs guided fishing charters on both Bjelke and Boondooma and his experience will get you onto the fish. Take advantage of the good fishing on offer this month and give him a call to book a charter. A charter is the fastest way to learn how to catch our freshwater natives. You can reach Matthew on (07) 4168 4811.

Somerset

Somerset has been fishing fairly poorly, though if you can manage a trip during the middle of the week, the action is often a lot better. The bass are getting pretty smart and it’s not often that you experience huge catches. Even so, there have been plenty of reports of anglers catching around twenty fish for the day. When you consider the size of these fish (many over 40cm) it makes all the effort worthwhile.

I’d expect the fish that have been holding in the shallow water on the open flats from Pelican Point to Bay 13 to remain in much the same area. They were being caught in as little as 3m of water throughout the day, although they usually move between the shallows and deeper waters. Therefore, use the sounder to locate showings that are close to the drop-offs throughout the lake. These drop-offs make it easy for the fish to move from the shallow to the deeper water without needing to travel far. There have been good concentrations of fish holding in the middle of the lake out from Beams Creek, off Brad’s Bank and along the western creek bed drop-off, opposite The Hump.

Reaction baits have been the preferred weapon when targeting these brutes. Downsized spinnerbaits of 5/8ounces or the Jackall Mask Vibe 60 have been doing most damage. A lot of the diehard bass anglers haven’t been bothered throwing soft plastics but if you’ve got a spare rod, keep a plastic rigged up with a half ounce jighead. When you find fish that aren’t co-operating, it may just do the trick.

Trolling the steep banks at the wall end of the lake is worth a shot for golden perch, though this method will start to slow down over the coming months. Medium and deep runners in bright colours will do well and following the creek bed drop-offs in the Bay 13 area is worthwhile. Keep the lure close to the bottom as there is plenty of the submerged structure that goldens love.

Hinze

April should see the water temperature drop and the fishing improve after a relatively quiet March. With the onset of the slightly cooler weather, the fish should be more willing to take offerings throughout the day. Dawn and dusk will still remain the best times to be on the water.

Targeting saratoga in the upper reaches of the dam can be rewarding. One option is to use lightly weighted 2inch grubs in pumpkin seed colour, with small spinnerbaits such as the Ausspin Minispins and poppers also working well. Casting these around small shrubs or overhanging trees will normally produce some fish.

The bass will generally be hanging off the points with trolled lures being an excellent choice for this time of year. Casting and retrieving spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits with a slow retrieve, keeping them close to the bottom, should also see plenty of fish come to the boat. The stretch of water above the water tower and the points south of Ian’s Island should also be worth trying.

The guys at Gold Coast Fishing Tackle in Nind Street, Southport, provide all the right gear and more importantly, the advice on how and where to use it. When you visit the store, be sure to check out their range of Jackall lipless crankbaits. These Japanese lures are high quality and have earned legend status among freshwater anglers, particularly those chasing bass. While they aren’t the cheapest on the shelf, it is easy to justify their price when you consider they can often replace similar lures like lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits and tailspinners.

Lenthalls

Lake Lenthalls, north of Maryborough, is still closed for this month due to the upgrading of facilities. It is expected to re-open on Saturday, April 30. After a good spell of over two months, the fish shouldn’t be shy.

Cania

I’m afraid there’s not much to report on Cania this month. Many of the locals have been chasing barra in the lakes nearby and have given the bass and saratoga a spell. There is plenty of water in the lake making boat launching on either the concrete or dirt ramp easy.

Trolling medium diving lures along the rockwall opposite the dirt ramp is a good way to get into some nice bass. There are plenty of 40cm plus bass holding in this area.

The cooler water temperatures should see plenty of action around the lake’s edges, especially for those anglers who are casting lures. Soft plastics, lipless crankbaits and spinnerbaits will all take their share and the bonus of fishing the edges for bass is that saratoga inhabit the same water.

If targeting toga, look for weed, snags and even big trees such as those found at the back of the lake – they all work like magnets on the toga. Casting lures is the best way to fool these wary fish. Small spinnerbaits, and soft plastics are good tools for getting the job done, with surface lures another worthwhile option. By far the most exciting method – and also the least harmful to the fish - is to use flies. Try surface and sub-surface presentations, made using floating, intermediate or sink tip fly lines.

For all your fishing supplies, call in and see the guys at Creek 2 Coast in Biloela. They carry a range of tackle to suit all styles of impoundment fishing.

Awoonga

In the past weeks, Awoonga has been hit-and-miss due to the weather. Some wild and windy weather dispatched one of the houseboats to the bottom of the lake. However, when the wind settle down it provided excellent fishing.

If you’re planning a trip, try to avoid the south-easterly winds as they can shut a barra lake right down.

There are small barra coming from all over the lake. Catching these smaller specimens is a great sign of what the future will have to offer and many anglers have adopted the catch and release practice so these smaller fish will have the chance to fight again some day.

Some of the better places to target the lake’s big barra are Futter Creek, around Dingo Island and the entrance to Ivearagh Creek. Trolling has been producing some quality barra - try using lures like the Storm Deep Thunder, River Rat 20+ and the Predatek Viper 150. Whichever lure you choose, make sure the hooks and split rings are up to scratch. Upgrading to 6x strength trebles and replacing the split rings to suit is not overkill. Provided the lure is big enough to handle the extra weight and swim and balance properly, it will increase your chances of landing that monster barra.

Lake Awoonga will host the Barra Pro Am in October this year, which is an invitation only event. If you think you can mix it with the big guys, give Merv a call at the Lake Awoonga Caravan Park on (07) 4975 0155. Merv and his staff are always happy to provide up-to-date fishing reports. The Caravan Park is also building its own web site so keep an eye out for further details in the near future.

Proserpine
(Peter Faust)

There have been some odd occurrences over the past month. Anglers have witnessed hundreds of 1m plus barra feeding on the surface like schools of tuna although it’s impossible to know if this type of behaviour will continue into this month as well. It probably has something to do with the influx of water earlier in the year and where the bait fish were congregating. Barra veterans Lindsay Dobe and Jack Erskin experienced an unbelievably hot session, landing seven fish between 100 and 118cm in only half an hour.

Much of the surface activity has been taking place in the middle of the dam. If you’re planning a trip, keep your eyes peeled and when you see a fish, try casting or trolling that area. A troll through the deep water in the middle of the lake is as good a way as any to explore this territory.

It’s difficult to predict, but more barra should start to show up in the timber shortly. Good numbers were caught there straight after the rise but they migrated back to the open water after only a week in the sticks.

Some of the lures that are proven fish catchers are Killalure Barra Baits in 8 and 12 feet models, Halco RMG Scorpions in 125 and 150 Crazy Deep and the Laser Pro 120. For surface action, you can’t go past the 9-11cm Rapala Skitterpops and Bill’s Bugs fizzers. It’s certainly handy to have confidence in the lure you are using and these models have caught many barra from Faust in the past so would be a good starting point.

At this time of year, the spells of Southerly winds can really make the fishing tough. One bonus is that if the fish continue to hold in the open water, trolling will continue to be a good option as the wave action doesn’t seem to have as much effect. If calm weather does bless us, night sessions using top-water lures could provide the action that we all dream of.

As the lake’s fishing has been changing so much, it would pay to call in and see Lindsay Dobe at Proserpine Bait and Tackle, just off the highway, south of the turn-off to the lake. Lindsay always has good ideas based on his own experience running a guiding business. A stop here could certainly make your trip a more memorable one. If you’d like to get in touch with Lindsay to book a charter or make enquiries, you can reach him on (07) 4945 4641 or visit www.barramundicharters.com.

Callide

Lake Callide is proving to be a barramundi angler’s dream. For the southerners travelling north to fish, it is one of the closest stocked barra impoundments. Callide is not far from Biloela, and being one of the southernmost stocked barra lakes, it is one of the first to show signs of changing water temperatures.

When the water temperature drops in the lake, the barra start to leave their deep water haunts. They search for more comfortable conditions on the lake’s edges. Here in the shallower water, fish are warmed more by the sun, which makes them far more active.

Look for the patches of warmer water by using a temperature sensor on your sounder. Alternatively, try to find areas out of the wind that receive plenty of sun during the day.

The banks in Callide are fairly open and there is little in the way of structure. This makes landing those big specimens a bit easier than in some of our other tree-laden lakes. There have been reports of fish of 1.2m, while one impressive barra went 51lb on the scales.

Casting B52s in gold and silver is one of the hottest ways to succeed. Other lures that work well in the shallower water are the Predatek Sand Viper and the Richos 2m model.

For the latest on what’s happening, it would pay to call in at Creek 2 Coast in Biloela. Here you can pick up the latest information, as well as the right gear to do the job and to make your trip one to remember.

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