Mother of a Time at Monduran
  |  First Published: October 2009

I have just returned from a great weekend fishing Lake Monduran whilst staying on a house boat. We were filming for the Channel 9 Win TV program, Fishing Australia, with Rob Paxevanos.

The opportunity to try different techniques in different places, at different times was very rewarding. It resulted in catching lots of fish, which in turn showed us specific bite times.

The moon was moving to full over the weekend so we also had a chance to fish the lead up and the waning period. This proved to be one of the better times to fish the Lake. The best bite time was still in the afternoon coming up to dark, which isn’t always the best time to film but we made the most of what we had. We also caught fish through the day but not consistently.

We started to set a pattern by day three; we were fishing in the morning and afternoons and relaxing during the day. This was the obvious advantage of fishing with the house boat as the heat of the day would leave you short of energy for the night sessions. I had a ball, we played cards and had a few beers around lunch before returning to fish the arvo. I couldn’t believe how relaxing it could be without the travel to the dam every day.

We took three Hobie Kayaks as well as my Skeeter. This gave us the opportunity to fish with stealth in the shallows. The night of the full moon was unbelievable with fish charging into the shoreline smashing up bait, which also gave us the opportunity to sight fish them under the moonlight.

We had bite after bite and hooked up on loads of fish, but the highlight of the night for my ten year old son Tommy was catching his PB on his Hobie Sports Kayak. Tommy tied up to a big tree and continually cast to a point whilst the northerly wind pumped in the fresh oxygenated water and, with small waves that crashed on the shore, the water was a muddy brown coffee colour. He yelled with delight as he hooked up, he was sitting backwards on his kayak with the front tied to the tree. He managed to untie him self and charged off after the fish.

The kayak was streaking through the trees at about 3-4 knots, we struggled to keep up with him using the electric to follow on the skeeter. The kayak was a good alternative to catch a fish in producing natural drag to handle a big fish. Rob was charging around trying to film the fish in the dark from his kayak we stayed back until the fish hit the surface I was concerned how Tommy would go lifting this fish into the kayak, his previous PB fish was 106cm which he managed to lift for the photo thanks to the adrenalin charge he had. The fish hit the surface and I charged in to offer support, this was a big fish I immediately thought so I charged in to net it for him. We pulled it onto the Skeeter it hit the mat at 120cm, Tommy was over the moon.

I have to say a special thanks to Rob and Kelly from Lake Monduran Van Park who looked after us so well with the house boat. If you would like to experience the only way to barra fish give Rob or Kelly a call on 0410599147 to book the houseboat, book soon as this is no secret so you will need to book well ahead.

Looking ahead

The fishing has been great and will continue to be in the months ahead. The colder nights shut down the fishing in the early mornings but these will disappear in the weeks ahead. The full moon is a great time to fish but alternatively the new moon usually offers just as good fishing and is generally better in the middle of the day.

The trolling hasn’t been great this year and once again the weed on the edge offers a better hiding habitat for bait and fish alike. In the past we have had large schools of birds on the bay feeding as the catfish would push large schools of bait to the surface and you would often see the barra under them on the sounder. We would also see lots of barra 12ft below the surface in the deepwater that would often fall victim to a shallow trolled hardbody lure. The last two years have not proved any good for trolling and the months ahead won’t be any different. You will still catch fish but not the numbers we did in past years.

Soft plastic lures are still the go and lures often become victim of their own popularity, not with people but with fish. I find that the heavier hooked lures that are weighted externally on the front have run their race and the newer styles with the lighter gauged hooks seem to swim better and catch more fish.

I think the poor old fish are a bit sick of the same old lures swimming by. Try some alternatives I have often caught fish coming in behind where people have already fished. This is sad but true that some people are so caught up in the fact that they caught a fish on a lure three months ago and aren’t keen to try anything else. But it does benefit me, by using something different with people casting different lures on my boat usually is enough to make the fish bite.

The lure that is my favourite at the moment is still the Storm Bait and Switch and the good old Shimano Slick Rig. These lures are very versatile, and the Storm has the lighter gauge hook for better hook penetration for more hook ups.

Try everything and all alternatives, these fish will bite anything that swims with vibration.

Side Scan Sounders

I have lived through one generation already with the implementation of GPS. When I was 18 years of age we had to use landmarks to find our reef spots, but then the new breed of cheaper GPS units hit the trailer boat market. This gave us the opportunity to fish much wider and more frequently with great results. This was back in the early 1980s and it was a great moment that transformed fishing and opened up the opportunity for trailer boats to move safely offshore.

At the same time, sounder or fish finders became smaller as the electronic/plastic revolution kicked into gear and they made smaller, powerful units with better resolution going from tubes to LCD to TFT screens. This made the fishing industry that we have today.

Well look out we have another revolution that is in its infancy the side scan sonar. For barra fishing this is superb. If you don’t have one of these you are missing out. These units give you the opportunity to scan to the left and right of your vessel. I can go around weed beds on the points and bays and see fish on the side of the weed or beside lay-downs.

If you haven’t got one and you barra fish, get one! This will save you a lot of time.

I have had my side scan sounder for two months now and Rob asked me what the different fish were and what size were the barra. I told him my interpretation on what we saw and he suggested that we should test the theory. I caught a 90cm barra mid day on our last day so Rob jumped in the shallows with the fish and stood about 2m in front of the weed bed. The results were great we could actually see the fish very well as it produced an elliptical white elongated circle.

I have not seen better images where you actually see the barra with a shadow that forms behind the image that is very close to the outline of the barramundi. This is not always the norm near weed and other structure. I believe in the years to come this will become exceptional. The downside for me at the moment is that these units only work while your boat is moving along in the water.

These units are great for mapping out areas to find particular lay-downs that are totally unseen on the surface. My first experience with these units was to actually understand why I caught fish in different areas and when I scanned these areas I found lay downs. Trees with broken branches also have lay-downs below the surface as you see the broken branches under the surface that you wouldn't know where there.

The submerged lay down against the edge seems to be the favourite haunt of the barra. I would suggest that you check these units out. I hear Lowrance has a new unit coming out and this would be worth checking out too.


Offshore fishing has been great; we have been hitting the shoal reefs for GTs and have been nailing them.

We have caught XOS GT, cobia and mangrove jack.

This summer we have a great special for barra fishers who would like to fish for GTs. We are offering a special price for two anglers, two days barra fishing and one day offshore on the shoals on our gameboat fishing for GTs for $3200. This price includes two people and you will be the only two on the gameboat.

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