Hard work hammers home
  |  First Published: May 2010

My last article might have sounded a bit doom and gloom but the fishing at Monduran is slowly improving. We must consider a lot has happened with the dam rising from 24% to 77% in two months.

This has been great news for everyone, especially farmers, but the poor old barramundi are struggling in their new environment. After good rains before the major downfall the ground was very fertile and the grasses were almost 1m long around the edges of the dam.

When more rains caused the water levels to rise, freshly drowned grass and saplings then broke down in the water, sucking out the oxygen. As a result the water in wind-protected areas of the dam has turned somewhat sour and gives off a sulphur smell. Fish kills have also been noticeable in these areas.

Most of the barra have gone to deeper areas of the dam to hang out in deeper water, and are usually seen on the sounder in up to 12m of water.

These fish are hard to target at this depth as witnessed in the recent barra tournament run by Matt Fraser. While the results of the competition were better than expected, the fish were extremely small; the 37 barra caught on the weekend had an average size of 61.6cm.

The winning team was Daniel Grech and Belinda Watson who blitzed the competition with eight fish measuring a total length of 686cm. Daniel and Belinda are a Rapala sponsored team and use hardbodied lures as their main arsenal. They won $1000 cash and one of the best barra trophies I have seen. Belinda also took out the prize for champion female angler at the barra tournament.

Coming second was team Halco with Jason Ehrlich and local lad Tommy Wood. The pair caught a total of five fish between them. Jason took out the biggest barra of the tournament with a 105cm barra and Tommy took out the junior angler award. They won $600 cash with other goodies for their trouble.

Lake Monduran is going to take some months to get back to its old self but when it does it will be a much larger arena with some of the best barra fishing on the east coast of Australia.

If you persist at the moment the best technique is to throw Rapala suspending lures in close to the bank in shallow water; suspending the lure for up to 30 seconds. Bouncing a Transam lure across the bottom also works as the fish hit the lure on the flutter down.

Changes to the dam occur daily, fishing around some of the shallow bays as the winter moves upon us will see fish caught in the shallow, warmer water.

Some fish are moving up into the wind blown bays but things are still very slow. But we have caught some fish on the 130 Slick Rigs once again. The smaller fish seem to love the smaller suspending hardbodies but you can still nail good fish on soft plastics.

As the water continues to cool the barra will stay scarce, but hardcore, dedicated anglers should still be able to find some fish to make their labours fruitful.


With barra fishing being tough at the moment I was happy to pick up my new offshore gamefishing boat. We also managed to christen the boat with its first blue marlin on a recent trip to the canyons off Fraser Island.

We had four strikes from blues and missed every one except for the final fish, which weighed about 130kg. After tagging the fish and taking a few quick photos we managed to revive the marlin for satisfactory release. It was a great result for Kai Sannholm who managed to finally get in the chair for his first blue marlin.

The blue marlin this time of year can be in good numbers around our waters off Fraser Island and also down around Moreton Island.

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