Hot Weather, Hot Fishing on the Bass to Barra Trail.

We’re well into our hot, stormy weather, and its been the same all up and down the East Coast. The hot weather and afternoon storm buildups, bring on some awesome opportunities for big natives. If you’re an avid lure angler, from now through to February is the best time to hit the water on the Bass to Barra trail.

Annette Montebello with a Cracking bass caught on a slow trolled 5/8 Bassman Spinnerbait.

Annette Montebello with a Cracking bass caught on a slow trolled 5/8 Bassman Spinnerbait.

Boondooma

The water temps on Boondoomba have been rising since the onset of the warmer weather. When its hot, the yellowbelly and bass like to sit in a zone called the Thermocline, or comfortable water, which is generally a depth of 15 to 25 feet. This zone or column of water is the water that the fish find the most comfortable, where the temperature is just right to sit in while its hot upstairs. With the majority of the fish sitting in this zone thoughout the dam, it opens up the doors for some fanstatic fishing opportunities.

If I’m out chasing bass the first places I’ll look are the deep water off any prominent points. I’ll use my sounder to sound the fish sitting in that optimal depth. When I’m happy that ive found a good concentration of fish, I will pull up and begin casting 3” to 4” soft plastics rigged with a ½ ounce or 5/8 ounce head.

With a big long cast over the areas that I found the fish, I will let the jig head sink 7 to 10 seconds and begin a slow retrieve back to the boat with a couple of twitches mixed in. The same can be done with a 12 gram Norries spoon.

Continue this technique until you start to feel a few taps on the plastic or spoon, when you feel a tap its important to keep that slow wind going until you feel weight on the line, slowly lift the rod tip until you feel the weight of the fish.

At this point the fish will know its hooked and make some great runs back down into the deeper water. Keep your drag fairly loose so that the hook doesn’t pull on the way back to the boat. Using this method over the holiday period will account for some big bass on Boondooma.

The Author with a cracking 50 tip length from the deep water near the dam wall on a Norries Spoon.

The Author with a cracking 50 tip length from the deep water near the dam wall on a Norries Spoon.

The timbered arms are holding good numbers of bass and yellow belly. In the arms they are holding very close to structure and you’ll need to get your lures in as close as you can to get a bite.

Look for spindly timber, or big trees out in the middle of the arms. Lures of choice for this scenario are, 5/8 or 3/8 Bassman Spinner baits, ½ ounce jig head rigged with a 3” soft plastic and any sinking lipless Crank bait. Give your lure up to 5 seconds to sink down and start a slow wind. Keep moving from tree to tree or structure to structure and persist as your lure WILL be eaten eventually by a hungry fish.

Leader sizes are important in these scenarios because it’s the difference between a fish of a lifetime or a broken heart. Fishing close to structure, I use 14 to 20 pound leaders so I have a chance if a fish rubs the line through trees. Otherwise, if I’m in open water I’ll decrease my leader size to 6 to 10 pound as I’m less concerned about a fish dragging me through trees or any structure.

Get right in amongst the timber if you’re casting spinnerbaits and be ready for that aggressive bite.

Get right in amongst the timber if you’re casting spinnerbaits and be ready for that aggressive bite.

Lake Cania

Cania dam is a hidden gem in the North Burnett region and is home to some of the best Bass and Saratoga fishing that you’ll find anywhere. The bass are in huge numbers but do take a bit of skill to find. If you have a good sounder it should only take you a short while to get onto some fish if you follow this advice.

The Author with a nice bas from a suspended school in the timber on a Norries spoon.

The Author with a nice bas from a suspended school in the timber on a Norries spoon.

The bass in the summer months like to sit in the thermocline (as mentioned in Boondooma report) and will hover around this zone consistently until the weather cools and they can hunt and forage up in the shallow water. Cast spoons, ½ rigged plastics and spinnerbaits. It’s important to make long cast in open water and let that lure sink down 7 to 10 seconds before making your retrieve. It shouldn’t be too long until you’re onto some fish, but remember to be patient, it may be 20 to 30 cast before you fire them up.

Saratoga are also a great target species at Cania and can be caught quite regularly if you know where to look. Toga are generally a surface feeder but will also take baits that sit just below the surface. Take your time looking around the dam for any heavy cover like thick spindly trees, weed with open patches throughout or big laydowns.

Cast any surface lures you have around these areas and you’ll be surprised what you get. Also don’t be afraid to cast shallow diving lures right in amongst the thick stuff and you’re sure to run into a toga or two in a session.

The Author with a monster Saratoga caught fishing in amongst some heavy structure.

The Author with a monster Saratoga caught fishing in amongst some heavy structure.

Lake Barambah

With a similar pattern to that of Boondooma, Lake Barambah is producing some great fishing as well. The fish are sitting in that 15 to 20 foot range and are very willing to take anything that is placed in front of them.

Because Barambah is a shallower dam you can target more areas and use a bigger variety of lures to catch a few natives. The Bass are responding well to 3” soft plastics, ¼ blades and 3/8 and 5/8 spinnerbaits. Some likely areas to target is the large flat area in front of the main dam wall, the Quarry and wide off Bass point.

In a recent fishing session, I targeted the lakes bass with a ½ jig head rigged with a 3’ soft plastic and caught dozens of bass and yellow belly. I targeted areas that were 15 to 20 feet and had timber or a drop offs adjacent to them.

I found that the bigger fish were tight to the timber in that depth or they were sitting on the down side to the drop offs and waiting for bait to swim over. Areas like this are prime ambush positions for native fish so don’t forget to give areas like this a go next time you’re out.

Some big yellow belly are being caught at BP particularly around structure.

Some big yellow belly are being caught at BP particularly around structure.

To finish off the session we put on a couple 5/8 Bassman spinnerbaits and trolled around the edges of the creek beds in the middle of the dam. Because a majority of the fish are suspended in the Thermocline at present the Spinnerbait was a great lure to get down in to that zone and attract plenty of attention. So if you’re not an avid caster make sure you have a few spinnerbaits in your box, preferably heavier ½ to 5/8, next time you come out for a visit. Trolling is a great way to catch plenty of bass this time of year.

Special Mentions

The Barra dams are worth a look, Lake Monduran and Lake Awoonga have been producing fish but some days you have to be very patient and just keep casting. Look around the timbered areas of the dam and around the weed beds casting Slick rigs and suspending hard bodies.

Lake Borumba has been producing some great bass and Saratoga. Try for toga around the weed edges and bass have been coming from the major points around the dam.

Let’s hope this report helps you get amongst some great summer fishing.

Tight lines and bend rods.

Matthew Langford

Matthew Langford

About Matthew Langford

I grew up fishing the rivers of Western Qld, chasing Murry Cod, Yellowbelly, Silver perch and Eel Tail catfish. As I grew older my passion for casting lures grew and I moved to Central Qld and developed my fishing further targeting Saratoga and Barramundi. I'm now based in the South Burnett Region and have access to some of the best impoundment fishing for Australian Bass in the country. My passion for freshwater angling is as strong as anyone I know and will be happy to share locations, stories and techniques to catch all varieties of our inland native species. I really looking forward to sharing with you all.

Matthew Langford Australian Fishing

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