Spring is well and truly here and the fishing is getting better and better with barra on the chew, goldens lurking about the rock walls and timber, and bass and saratoga getting busy on the surface.
Surface fishing around the lake’s edges is one of the most exciting ways to catch bass at this time of year. Casting small poppers and stickbaits in the early morning and late afternoon will give you a good chance of boating some nice bass. With the warmer water, undersized bass are likely to get into the action, but play the numbers game and the bigger fish will turn up.
The deep water in the lake is holding plenty of bass around the thermoclines. Quite often the fish are more active below the upper thermocline, and even though there are fewer fish holding here, the results are often better. You’ll need to run lures 9-12m down and if you’re trolling, use thin braided or fused lines to let lures reach their maximum depth with less resistance. Ultra deep diving lures in colours like chartreuse/black back or black/white or gold stripes are proven fish catchers.
Casting is another option for fish holding in deep water. Slider Grubs rigged on 1/2oz jigheads and rolled through the suspended bass are worth a try. If the fish school below your boat, try vertically dropping a paddle-tail grub dipped in scent and rigged on a 1/4oz jighead into them. Jig these or other similar plastic offerings at the same depth as the fish. If the bites are finicky, tease the fish into striking by keeping the lure in their faces and pulling it away slightly when they nip at it.
Bait fishers can also have some fun on suspended bass schools. Drifting in deep water on a calm day with a live shrimp 7-9m down almost guarantees some action. Live shrimp are the best bait to tempt open water bass to bite.
The points also fish well for golden perch and small bass when using live shrimp or small crayfish. Position the boat in 7-8m of water and fish the baits directly below on an almost tight line. A size 1 wide gape hook rigged 30-60cm above a ball sinker keeps the bait off the bottom and in a good spot for cruising bass and goldens. If you’re chasing jew, a running sinker resting on top of the hook is the better way to go.
This is always a good time of year to target some of the lake’s big golden perch and trolling medium to deep running lures will cover plenty of water and increase your chances. The steep rocky banks around The Spit and The Hump area are worth a try, while trolling the old riverbed drop-off in the middle reaches of the lake can also produce the goods.
The lake is famous for its big bass and hasn’t failed to impress over the last couple of months. The best bass schools can be found from wide of Queen Street right down to the wall, while Pelican Point, the bay opposite The Hump and wide of Beam Creek are also likely to hold big concentrations of bass.
Casting spinnerbaits and Mask Vib Jackalls into the schooled bass should draw a reaction strike. Action on soft plastics can die off, especially as the water temperature rises. Paddle-tail grubs are useful for targeting suspended bass in deeper water. If you have an electric motor, try trolling plastics rigged on 1/2 or 5/8oz jigheads at walking pace through concentrations of bass.
Plenty of anglers have taken advantage of the lake’s great fishing over recent months, with exceptional catches of big bass.
The bass are still willing to eat but the annoying presence of the fork-tailed catfish makes it harder to single out the bass. Now that the water is warmer, the forkies are everywhere and eat most lures before the bass have a chance.
One way to avoid the catfish plague is to fish with heavier lures. Using a 6-10cm slice is a fast way to fish: these lures sink very fast and hopping them across the bottom often keeps them away from the catties. Big bass are able to attack these offerings with surprising speed.
Deep diving lures with a good strong action may help to deter the catfish. Troll these lures along the old creek bed to locate a school of bass, then cast into the school.
Take care when launching, as the concrete ramp is well out of the water. A car towing a small boat will do the job but a four-wheel drive is certainly handy just in case.
Trolling with medium running lures (3-5m) is a good way to boat some nice fish. Bass and yellowbelly can be caught trolling lures such as Brolgas, SMAK 12s and Merlins in the deeper water around the old creek bed drop-off. A slow troll using a heavy spinnerbait or Jackall can see even better results than the conventional style of trolling plugs.
There are plenty of fish to be caught in the lower part of the lake, but the top end is quite shallow so navigating can be difficult and even dangerous. Try spots like Bass Point, Lightning Ridge and between the two boat ramps.
Although baitfishing tapers off slightly as the water warms, if you dangle a live shrimp, the golden perch and bass will find it difficult to resist the temptation.
Lure casters could try the schooled fish in the lower parts of the lake. The best shows of fish shouldn’t be too far from the submerged creek bed; when you find a school, try plastics, spinnerbaits and Jackalls for bass and goldens. In the early morning and later in the afternoon, try fishing the edges with spinnerbaits and Jackalls. Cruise the edges under the power of an electric motor while making plenty of casts to explore their fishing potential.
For more information on the type of lures to use, call into the kiosk at the lake where they stock a great range of freshwater gear at a competitive price.
Trolling deep divers such as Blitz Bagas, Golden Childs and SMAK 19s is a good way to search for bass and golden perch, which tend to hold around the thermoclines in deeper water. A good sounder will pick up a thermocline (change in water temperature) as a horizontal line of clutter. Turn the sounder’s sensitivity up high until you can see it starting to appear and then run your lures at a similar depth.
If you find better concentrations of fish, casting lures works well. Alternate between soft plastics, spinnerbaits and Jackalls: you’ll find what’s working best on the day. On hot, still days, the fish can scatter and make it harder to catch them when casting.
Working spinnerbaits and Jackalls around the edges of the lake is an early morning and late afternoon option because the midday heat makes the fish move into deeper water.
The timber in the Boyne Arm is a good place to try livebaiting for jew, golden perch and bass. If you’re after golden perch, fishing a live shrimp close to the prominent rocky outcrops in the main basin of the lake is an effective method.
If you’re heading out to the lake, call in and see the guys at Bass to Barra Marine in Kingaroy. They stock a wide range of lures and tackle and can give you some tips about where they’ve been biting.
Surface and reaction style lures will be the pick of the tackle box for November. During the warmer months, early starts and surface luring for bass go hand in hand. Casting small poppers to the edges during low light periods in the morning and afternoon is an effective way to put a bend in your rod. Slow presentations are the preferred method, however a faster retrieve with a popper or walk-the-dog style lure can get sluggish bass to make a reaction strike.
Once the sun hits the water, you can continue to work the edges, but should start fishing spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits 1-3m below the surface. Bass are the most common species taken using this approach, while saratoga, yellowbelly and Mary River cod are a rarer capture.
Fishing can get pretty tough during the middle of the day at Hinze. Soft plastics fished in 3-7m of water should tempt a few bass if you’re prepared to put in the effort.
Flyfishing with poppers and shrimp patterns along the face of the weeds will take a few fish. Flies are particularly effective on Hinze’s saratoga, which prefer the bays in the upper reaches of the dam. If you catch one, please release it safely as they’re too precious to kill.
This month brings options galore for keen fishers and many styles of fishing will produce the goods. If you’re looking for more information on fishing the Hinze or anywhere around the Gold Coast, call in and see the guys at Gold Coast Fishing Tackle. They’re in Nind Street at Southport.
Lake Awoonga is an amazing fishery – its huge numbers of stocked barramundi keep anglers coming back time and time again. Now that the water temperature is well and truly warm, the fish are likely to bite well.
The early and late parts of the day are the best times to be on the water – unless of course you like to fish the hours after dark, when there is still some great fishing to be had. Casting lures across shallow banks or tightly against structure will entice decent fish, while trolling in open water is probably the best bet for larger specimens. This style of fishing is much easier for the inexperienced.
Trolling lures like Vipers close to the old riverbed up the middle of the lake is all that it takes. Look for other boats that have caught fish doing the same thing or ask for some directions at the caravan park. This should be a great time of year to visit Awoonga, so get in early and beat the Christmas and school holiday rush.
The fishing has been unusually tough over the past couple of months. With a bit of luck, the action should pick up in the near future.
Casting poppers and fizzers into the shallows in the early morning or during the night is a good option, with lures like 9cm Skitter Pops or Bill’s Bugs fizzers doing the trick. Be sure to upgrade their hooks and split rings as the lake’s monster barra will punish your gear and reveal any weaknesses. There is a big long spit that protrudes into the main basin of the lake and casting lures around the weed here is a great way to find some fish.
Trolling in the main basin is one of the easiest and most popular ways to hook and land the mighty barramundi. Here in the open water, there isn’t much in the way of snags and provided the hooks hold and the line stays intact, the odds are in the angler’s favour. One of the best lures to use for probing the open water is the RMG Scorpion Crazy Deep in fluoro green (R7).
Although there are few obstacles when fighting fish, braid of at least 30lb is recommended. Although they have a high breaking strain, braided lines are much finer than monofilament types, which gives lures the ability to troll deeper and work with a better action. An 80lb mono leader is recommended as this reduces the chance of the sharp gill plate cutting through the finer braid.
If you’re heading to Proserpine be sure to call in at Proserpine Bait and Tackle, located on the highway in town. Lindsay and the boys can set you up with the right gear and lures to tackle the lake’s big fish. It’s a big dam so a few directions wouldn’t go astray either.Reads: 707