AFTER many years of hard work from the Monduran Anglers Stocking Association (MASA) the results are coming in. Over the past couple of months there have been some sensational sessions on barramundi, with many anglers catching and releasing up to 13 in an afternoon. The biggest I saw photographed was Sarah Beyer’s 90cm fish, but I've been told of a couple going over the magic metre mark. These fish are well fed, fit and strong, and if you’re going to target them in the timber, bring your brown jocks!
A couple of my mates have been kind enough to share their techniques for catching these dam barra. They’re very different approaches, and both work well.
Geoff Beyer, a talented angler from these parts, has put a lot of time and thought into getting the barra to cooperate. On a recent day fishing for barra at Monduran, Geoff's total was three landed, nine hooked and his lure collection down by three. You may not think too much about only landing three, but you must remember that this place is only four hours from Brisbane - and he hooked nine.
Geoff’s technique is to cruise with his MinnKota electric motor around the many scattered bays while casting lures. His most successful have been the Bombers, which he casts into the centre of the biggest and meanest looking sunken trees. Monduran was once a creek, and the old creek bed that used to be lined with large gums and other natives is now underwater. The dam is at only 5% capacity, so these big trees are making great cover for the barra.
Geoff’s point is that the nastiest of these big snags is where the barra hang out. To trick these fish into coming out to chase your lure, you have to get the lure in there first. Geoff prefers Bombers because they are very buoyant – which means he can float it over branches and snags – and also because they doesn’t dive deep enough to entice the Monduran trout (catfish).
To say Geoff is hooked on Monduran barra would be an understatement! He kept repeating to me how these barra smash the lure off the surface right in front of you, and then scream through the timber, leaving you shacking and lure-less. What a thrill!
The next technique was used successfully by two of Bundy’s keenest lure fisherman: Tony McDonald and Steven Peall. These guys targeted fish that were in one and a half to two metres of water. Working around the shallow bays under MinnKota power, Steve and Tony use B52s to entice the barra to strike.
Steve told me that once they moved into deeper water they noticed fewer schools of bait – a result of the cooler water. Once these guys pushed back into the shallow, warmer water, they found baitfish and the barra that were hunting them. They recommended looking out for isolated small snags on the weed edges because these hold a few fish as well.
Tony and Steven prefer the B52s over the Bombers because of the neutral buoyancy. This means the B52 is at eye’s height for most of the retrieve. The boys did mention that the Monduran trout liked the B52s, especially when using the really slow retrieve required to entice the barra.
This fishery is like an open book ready for anglers to start writing their log, and I’m very excited about having this opportunity in my back yard.
MASA has done an excellent job creating this great fishery, and it’s becoming a tourist destination that’s helping to make Gin Gin and Bundaberg a must-visit region. With the number of anglers increasing, and their willingness to travel to get to great fishing water, I can see many great stories, techniques and photos coming from this dam.
Monduran is also full of bass, some even getting to 45cm (though these are rarely targeted). It won’t be long before an angler pulls a 50cm bass and a metre barra all in the same day. I’m hoping that’ll be me!
This body of water is actually call Fred Haigh, with the actual dam wall called Monduran, but locals just call it Monduran Dam. Located fifteen minutes north of Gin Gin, it takes around four hours to drive from Brisbane along the Bruce Highway. You can get anything you need in Gin Gin, and there are two 24-hour service stations.
If you want accommodation, you can stay either in town or at the dam. There’s a council-run camping ground and residence that you can book by contacting John Fox during office hours on (07) 4157 3881. He’ll be happy to tell you where they’re biting.
If you want a shot at a Monduran barra, call me at Topwater Sportfishing Adventures (07) 4155 3357. It’s also prime jack season at the moment, so if you want a go at the trifecta - barra, bass and mangrove jack - call me and we can put it together. Barra are in their closed season (this doesn’t mean you can’t target them in the dam) so you can’t take them until February. Remember that you’ll also need a stocked impoundment permit.
1) Sarah Beyer with a 90cm Monduran barra.
2) Geoff and Jesse Beyer during a hot bite on the dam.Reads: 4520