With the cool weather of winter here, now is the time to get onto some of the best bass lakes in the country because the fish will be hot to trot in the coming weeks.
The cold weather has certainly influenced the fishing and, as predicted, the bigger bass and goldens came on the chew recently. Casting suspending lures has been the best way to put the numbers in the boat.
With conditions remaining much the same, you can expect the same type of fishing for the rest of winter. The best lures to use have been medium diving suspending jerkbaits and ripping minnows. One of the proven suspenders has been the C’ultiva Rippin’ Minnow, with the Jackall Squirrel also bringing good results. Lures that have the ability to dive at least 2m seem to work best.
Cast these lures to the edges and work them with a stop-start action imparted from the rod tip. Vary the speed of the retrieve and the length of the pause until you find the most successful combination. During winter, the fish on the edges can be found throughout the lake so there is no need to rush around all over the place. I suggest picking a likely looking piece of bank, working a long stretch of water using an electric motor and sooner or later you’ll come across fish. Take note of the type of area they were caught in and then look for similar pieces of water. Bass and goldens often prefer the backs of bays, points, open stretches and deep or shallow banks, and it only takes an hour or so to eliminate the less productive areas.
Surface luring is worth a try in the early and late parts of the day. A situation where surface lures can work well in the middle of the day is around structure, so if you find any submerged bushes or trees (normally in the backs of the deeper bays) work a surface lure right beside them. The secret is to keep your distance and use a very slow retrieve once the lure reaches the structure. Give the surface lure a pause of twenty seconds and then move it just enough to create a ripple. Throw in plenty of shorter pauses and you’ll soon know if any bass are willing to play the game.
Fishing has been ordinary for those using lures. The bait fishers however, have been having a ball with some good catches of bass, goldens and jew.
The colder water conditions this month are likely to make the lure fishing improve. Casting lures in the deeper water at the wall end of the lake should start to produce plenty of bass. It’s hard to predict, but there is a good chance that the lure casting will go from very steady to awesome. Casting Slider grubs, Jackalls and spinnerbaits to the schools will be the best approach, with the water between the two boat ramps a good area to concentrate on.
On the edges, bass and goldens will make a more pronounced appearance. Casting lures like spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits to the banks in the lower half of the lake should produce fish throughout the day.
The bait fishing can only be described as awesome – almost all boats using live shrimp or worms are catching fish. Bass and goldens can be caught by fishing the bait off the bottom, directly below the boat (but if the bait rests on the bottom, you’ll still encounter these fish, and also some jew). Again, the best place to try is in the lower half of the lake. If you position your boat in around 6-8m of water and keep an eye out for other boats that are doing well, you’ll be in with a good chance.
Live shrimp are hard to catch anywhere through winter and with low water levels making the task even harder, buying them is a good option. Buying your shrimp rather than transferring them from one area to another eliminates the chances of cross-contaminating a waterway. Imagine tipping a bucketful of shrimp into the dam after the day’s fishing, unaware that you’ve tipped some tiny noxious species in as well. It’s simple things like this that have caused many of our lakes to be cursed with pest fish.
Buying shrimp from a store that purchases from a registered dealer, ensures that there are no nasty surprises about to enter our lakes. Stores that sell shrimp, such as the kiosk at Bjelke, make little money and often run at a loss when providing this service. They do so to look after our waterways and provide us with an easy source of the number one freshwater bait. The kiosk at Bjelke not only sells shrimp and tucker but an extensive range of fishing tackle as well.
Schools of bass can be found in the deeper water of the lake, in areas such as Pelican Point and The Islands. Looking from here towards the wall can reveal some of the better concentrations of fish.
As the level of the lake has dropped considerably, it has forced the majority of fish out into the deeper main basin of the lake. It is therefore likely that the bigger numbers of fish will find new areas to hold in, so take a good look around the lake and explore some areas that are not commonly fished.
Once you locate bass on the sounder, they can be caught on soft plastics. Bass and golden perch can be caught on the edges using spinnerbaits and Jackall lipless crankbaits. It is a good idea to try some of the steeper banks as these are more likely to have some weed growth on them which can, in turn, attract fish.
Bait fishing in the Boyne timber and around the rocky points in the main basin is a good way to target golden perch – and the odd bass as well.
If you’re travelling to Boondooma, you could call in at the new tackle store at Kingaroy. Bass to Barra Marine sells a huge range of fishing tackle and the owners can provide you with the latest information on the fishing at the lake. For info or mail order fishing needs, you can reach them on (07) 4162 7555.
The fishing has been steady for some time in Somerset and July usually signals the start of a big bass edge bite. The number of bass taken casting to the edges is low but the quality is exceptional. An electric motor is almost essential for casting lures to the edge in Somerset, as you need to cover a lot of gentle tapering banks in search of fish. Casting Jackall TN60 and TN70 crankbaits and big spinnerbaits to the edges and using a medium paced retrieve will normally pull a fish or two. The quality of the bass caught using this approach should be exceptional: 2kg fish are not uncommon and fish to 3.5kg are caught this way every year.
Schools of fish can be encountered from Queen Street right down to the buoy line at the wall. The majority of these are bass and can be found in the Pelican Point area. Trolling deep divers along the creek bed drop-off will pull the odd bass and golden, while the flats in these areas are also worth a try. Use soft and hard Jackalls or deep fly presentations when good numbers of fish are located.
Bait fishing around The Hump or steep banks close by will pull a few goldens over this steady period, but don’t forget the boating restrictions at the northern end of the dam. Maps are available at Kirkleagh for the speed zone in force due to the low water level.
Wivenhoe has been fishing well for bass for quite some time now, and considering its past performances at this time of year, Big W is sure to fire up even more.
Schooled and scattered bass have been spread out across the flats in the lower half of the lake. Working water about 8m deep either side of the creek channel will produce the goods. The water between Logans Inlet and Platypus Cliffs is productive, with trolling a good way to find fish. Running lures that get close to the bottom is the key and one of the gun lures has been the Strike Zone Cicada in black and white.
If fish are located on the troll, casting lures is worth a try. Change between soft plastics, soft and hard Jackalls and spinnerbaits to see if you can get a response. When the bass are hard to see on the sounder, fishing into bait clouds can do the trick.
Deep plastics will be the lure of choice this month for most anglers fishing Hinze. The points should be holding concentrations of fish in around 7-10m of water and slow, erratic retrieves with two and three inch grubs will get them biting. Try 3” Slider Grubs in natural colours, but don't ignore the brighter ones.
Another option is using deep reaction baits such as spinnerbaits and Jackalls. Wind slowly and steadily through the schooled bass and occasionally vary your speed using a burn and kill approach.
A method to try on tight-lipped bass is drop shotting, as it is an effective way to suspend small plastics in front of a fish. With the lead at the bottom of the rig and the plastic on a worm hook above, simply shake the rod tip. Without actually lifting the weight off the bottom, the plastic comes to life and is all that is required to entice shut down fish.
A few Mary River cod will be caught this month. Multi-bladed spinnerbaits like those in the AusSpin range and large plastics are great choices for chasing these majestic fish. Live shrimp will also catch their share of fish with both bass and yellowbelly lining up to take a well-presented bait.
Overall, July can be one of the best months to get out on Hinze Dam and try your luck. Those anglers willing to experiment and try different patterns will be rewarded. For any tips on fishing the lake or anywhere around the Gold Coast, call in and see Brandon and the guys at Gold Coast Fishing Tackle. Their experience and great service will put you on the right track.
Cania Dam has been fishing consistently with good catches of bass, golden perch and saratoga. Some of the best lures to try are the River 2 Sea Twin Vibes, Team Daiwa Vibes, RMG Poltergeist and spinnerbaits.
Cania Gorge Caravan Park caters well for travellers and fishermen. There have been good reports of quality and numbers of fish caught over the past month, even from those with little experience. Cania is a quiet lake and would make a great winter getaway destination.
For all your tackle needs, call in and see the guys at Creek 2 Coast at Biloela. They can give you advice on where to fish and what type of lures to use.
Callide’s low water levels have exposed new structure, which has made for some good fishing. However, if water levels continue to drop, take care when boating in these areas.
Barra were still being caught last month from the cold water. The action now will be slow, but landing big barra is still a possibility. Try trolling River Rat 20+ lures in the Quarry area towards the back of the dam, as this has produced barra and big golden perch in the past month.
Something to add to the calendar is the Callide Fish Stocking Competition, which falls on the full moon in October on the 15th and 16th. You can expect some monster barra to be weighed at the comp this year. For further details on this or the fishing, call or see the guys at Creek 2 Coast in Biloela.
Trolling the open water with lures that dive to more than 20 feet has still been taking a few good barra. There is no pattern to the depth or area the fish come from so it’s just a matter of putting in the time in the open parts of the lake. You can use the birds as an indication of the location of bait schools that roam around in the middle of the lake – sometimes barra aren’t too far away. One of the best performing lures has been the green RMG Scorpion Crazy Deep.
Casting in the shallows is still an option and normally there is no rush to reach your spot, as the best action doesn’t start until mid-morning. Because the big predators like to have deeper water close to the shallows as a retreat and area of comfort, try looking around the flats on the edges of the feeder creeks at the back of the dam. When moving along, take care not to spook the fish. Look for bow waves and swirls on the water’s surface, as these signs of a big fish moving through shallow water. Casting shallow running lures like the new Reidy’s Big B52 or Classic Barra 160 should get you in the right zone.
Last year in July, the fishing kicked off toward the end of the month around the full moon. If last year is an indication, hit the water around the end of the month, as this is when the moon will be at its best. If this time coincides with light winds, it should present ideal conditions.
For up-to-date information or any of your fishing needs, see Lindsay and the guys at Proserpine Bait and Tackle. Lindsay also runs a guiding service and specialises in catching Lake Proserpine’s big barramundi.
While the water at Lake Awoonga has cooled over the past month some barra are surprisingly still being caught. Predatek 150 Vipers are some of the best performers, with the best colours being the Elton Jack, purple and pink, green and yellow and the reliable chrome gold.
For the best chance of success, try trolling at around 2 knots in the main basin of the lake. One particular area to try is the old creek bed leading up to Dingo Island. Working water up to 40 feet deep (13m) out in the open will give you a good chance of hooking up, staying connected and keeping out of trouble during the fight. Almost all the fish are being caught during the day and when the shallows warm up after midday, it may be worthwhile casting into the sticks.
Red claw crayfish are following last year’s trend, when significant catches were made over the winter period. Opera house traps are a cheap and easy way to catch these tasty critters. All sorts of baits can be used including cat food, raw meat and even half boiled potatoes.
For camping and accommodation, call Meg or Merv at Lake Awoonga Caravan Park. Enquiries about how the lake is fishing are welcome at any time. Winter specials on cabins are now available and don't miss out on the free campfire cooking and sausage sizzles. Call (07) 4975 0155.Reads: 654