Cold mornings and Big Natives in the South Burnett.

The last few weeks in the South Burnett have seen the water temps slowly drop as Winter moves in. The fish are still active and still hungry but it pays to be smart about the way you approach your days fishing on our dams.  The edges and the shallow flats bite has really fired up and you should be able to bag yourself some really healthy Bass and Yellowbelly over the coming months. The great thing is this time of year the Bass and Goldens are getting fat and healthy and a whole new array of lures can be used to target the natives in our local dams.

Lake Boondooma

Recently, the best areas to hit are the shallow edges early with lipless cranks and spinnerbaits, rocky or weedy edges being the best to target. Early in the morning when it’s quiet and still is the best time for this type of fishing because the water temps are at their lowest and the dam is at its quietest. Some awesome yellowbelly fishing can be had at the start of winter along the edges, so if it’s Yellas you want, this is where I would start. Cast your spinnerbaits up to the weed or rocky edge and begin a slow roll back to the boat.

Harry Turner with a Cracking Yellowbelly from the edge of the Stuart Arm on a 3/8 Bassman Spinnerbait.

Harry Turner with a Cracking Yellowbelly from the edge of the Stuart Arm on a 3/8 Bassman Spinnerbait.

Later in the morning I would be moving off the bank and looking for active fish in 20 to 40 ft of water. When a school is located, position the boat towards the school and cast ¼ or 3/8 ounce Eco gear VX, ZX or Little Max blades, let the blade hit the bottom and use a slow hopping or roll retrieve.  Occasionally change it up and use a slow roll and kill technique as the fish will hit the lure when it’s close to the bottom, as it’s falling or just after it’s rolled off the bottom.

Later in the day (after lunch) when the water heats up, I’ve found that the bigger bass can be caught well using Nories tail spinners, 12 gram being the best. Cast the tails spinner out with a long cast and let it sink to the bottom, wind up the slack and slowly lift the rod tip then drop it back to the bottom keeping contact with the lure at all times. The fish this time of year love a bait that is falling in their face and the tail spinner suits the bite perfectly. The fish will hit the tail spinner generally as its falling after the lift so be on your toes for the bite.

The boys from a recent charter with a couple of cracking Winter bass from the shallow flats of Boondooma using 3/8 blades.

Trollers are getting some good Yellow belly in the arms of the dam trolling spinnerbaits. Troll in close to the timber near the rocks in the Boyne arm but make sure that you have a lure retriever handy because you will get snagged occasionally, but your hard work will be rewarded. 

Bait fisherman your best chance is to fish the trees in the arms of the dam in 20 feet of water with live shrimp. You can catch the shrimp using opera house pots with a bit of steak just below the Kiosk, or around the lakes edges, so it pays to get live bait, even better when you can get it from the dam your fishing in.

Lake Barambah

The fish have been up on the edge early when the waters cool and I’ve been catching some good Bass and Yellow belly using ½ ounce rigged grub tail plastics, ZX blades, skirted jigs and Jerkbaits. Look for edges with broken rock or pebbles as these are likely edges that hold bait and fish.

As the sun gets higher I always move to the deeper flats and target areas around points and flats, spots around the outside of lightening ridge, bass point and the Quarry are likely places to find fish sitting out deeper. If the regular deeper areas don’t produce it’s a good idea to sound around the outskirts of the dam and find those fish sitting in 10 to 20 feet of water. Once located, target them with the techniques that I mentioned for the Boondooma flats. Blades and tail spinners are the go to lures to use when the fish are sitting out deep. Both dams are reasonably similar but sometimes it does pay to experiment with your lure selection. The bass are getting bigger, models of up to 45 cm have been caught recently off the edges and out on the flats.

The Author with a big fat Bass taken wide of Bass point on a skirted jig.

The Ecogear ZX 40 is a real standout when the water is cold and the fish are close to the bottom

Trollers are getting some nice yellow belly of an afternoon but be very wary the water is starting to get shallow. Try to stick to the middle of the dam and create a troll run from the quarry to bass point.

Bait fisherman have also been having some success, they’ve been catching mixed bags of Yellow belly, silver perch and bass from the edge of the dam. Drop your bait to the bottom and slowly jig the bait, if your first spot doesn’t produce don’t be afraid to move several times until you know you’re sitting on some active fish. 

The red claw are still around but you’ll have to put in the effort for a feed, target rocky edges or spindly timber and use soft vegies for bait.

Fishing Charters

Don’t forget that you can book a fishing charter with me on BP and Boondooma dams. If you’d like a great day out and all the info and knowledge to catch Bass or Yellow belly in our two great dams make sure you give me a call on 0408658592 and I’ll be happy to take you out for a great days fishing.  You can also check out our website on www.australianfreshwaterfishing.com

Until next time, tight lines and bent rods.

Matthew Langford

Cooler water patterns begin at BP and Boondooma.

It’s been an interesting month of fishing in the two impoundments of the South Burnett. With the cooler weather setting in, there’s been a lack of consistent fishing as the water and season changes. As I write, the fishing has improved somewhat, over the past few days and captures of good fish in both BP and Boondooma dams are being reported. The water temps are slowly starting to lower but constant warmer afternoons have started to make the fish bite well. It’s been a very warm month with only a few mornings cold enough to pull on the jumpers. The fish seem to be somewhat quiet in the mornings but as the day warms, the fish have been biting.

Boondooma

Boondooma has started to pick up, the bigger Bass and Goldens are starting to be caught on a variety of techniques as the fish begin moving up shallow and sitting on the flats. The last month has seen some inconsistency but some good fish are starting to be caught. The great thing about Boondooma is that you can catch fish fishing many different areas, covering a variety of techniques.

In the mornings, when its cooler, I like to head up the arms of the dam and fish the edges as this seems to be the best option for those feeding fish early in the morning when it’s cool. I’ll cast a 3/8 Bassman spinnerbait or a lipless crank to the edge, let it hit the bottom and slow wind it out. The fish tend to move up on the edge during the night and will generally feed until the sun hits the water and starts to warm. This can be a great way of catching some big fish early, especially if you’re up in the timbered arms and there’s a lot of structure near the edge that you’re fishing.

Another option is fishing the many weed beds that line the edge of the dam, Jerk Baits are a great option here. Cast the Jerk Bait up to the weed edge and crank it down a couple of winds, pause it and then begin a series of twitches as you wind. Remember that fishing close to the weed, you will come in contact with the weed regularly, so just give the rod tip a quick flick to get the Jerk bait free. Be patient with this technique as the Bass sitting in the weed pockets will eventually come out and hit the Jerk Bait hard. This is also a great option for catching some big Yellow Belly, particularly in the afternoon when the water is warm.

Lake Boondooma is currently at 32% (Image taken from Sunwaters website)

Mick Johnson with a good bass caught on a skirted jig.

Matty Johnson with a nice Saratoga from the Boyne arm.

After the sun has been up for a while and the day starts to warm, I always move out to the deeper sections of the dam and target the schooled fish sitting out on the flats. Sound around until you’ve located a good showing of fish, generally this time of year I’ll be searching around the 15 to 25 foot mark. When a school is located you have a few options to cast at the fish to entice a bite. ½ rigged plastics, tail spinners, blades, spinnerbaits and soft vibes all have their place out on the flats and it’s just a matter of trying a few baits until you have one that you’re consistently catching fish with.

Bait fisherman are still catching good numbers of fish up in the timbered arms tying off trees and fishing with live shrimps and worms as bait. Bait can be purchased at the kiosk and if you want the best bait, you can catch shrimp in the weed around the dam edges with opera house pots. 

Trollers are picking up some good fish trolling around the weed edges and along the rock walls up near the dam wall and in the timbered arms with spinnerbaits and deep diving hard bodies.

Lake Barambah

Fishing on BP has slowly been improving with some nice catches of Bass and Yellow belly coming in, particularly during the warmer afternoons. With the warmer afternoons and the cold morning the fish have generally been staying out deep in the 10 to 15 foot zone.

Depending on the day, if it’s cool in the morning, I will target the edges with spinnerbaits, blades and tail spinners. It helps if the edges have spindly timber mixed in with weed, as the fish tend to move up and feed around this structure early in the morning.

Bp dam is currently at 8% (Image taken from the Sun water website)

Later in the day, especially if it’s warm, I will move out deeper and target those fish sitting in the deeper flats of about 20 feet. The fish have been spread out over the flats next to Lightening Ridge, Bass Point and wide of the Quarry. The best way to target the fish out deep is using blades, tail spinners and soft vibes. Sound around these areas until you have a good show of fish on the sounder, then go through the above mentioned lures until you find one that gets you onto a couple of fish and stick with it. Make long casts and make sure the lure stays in contact with the bottom regularly. Use either a hopping retrieve, or a dead slow roll along the bottom. Persist with this long enough and you will eventually get a bite.

The bass have still been sitting in that 10 to 15ft zone but will soon move to the bottom or up on the edge as the water cools. (Image taken from a GARMIN sounder)

Trollers are picking up some nice bass trolling deep divers and spinnerbaits along the bottom in 12 to 14 feet over the above mentioned areas.

Bait fisherman are picking up some nice catches of Bass and Goldens in the timber on shrimps, worms and yabbies.

Red claw are still coming in with some nice catches being taken from the rocky areas of the dam as well as some nice catches in the bays with weed coming out from the edge.

Fishing Charters

Don’t forget that you can book a fishing charter with me on BP and Boondooma dams. If you’d like a great day out and all the info and knowledge to catch Bass or Yellow belly in our two great dams make sure you give me a call on 0408658592 and I’ll be happy to take you out for a great days fishing. 

Until next month, tight lines and bent rods

Matthew Langford

Celebrating successful women in the South Burnett

March 8 was International Women’s Day, a celebration of women’s achievements and progress. It’s a day for all us to celebrate the things we and our female friends, colleagues and the women who inspire us, have done and will do on behalf of women.

An inspirational story that celebrates successful women in the South Burnett includes that of local lady Tiny Kenyon from Hidden Gold Homestead.  Tina’s story of heartache to happiness featured in f-magazine last week; a magazine celebrating female success.

Tina and her husband Clint own and operate an agri-tourism business in the Moffatdale region. They offer visitors  the chance to experience ‘health, growth and happiness’ on their farm by allowing them to interact with the animals and explore what it means to grow food the way nature intended.  For more information on Hidden Gold Homestead call 4168 4784 or to read the full editorial click here.

Legends of the South Burnett

Legends of the South Burnett – Boxing Legend: Arthur Cripps

When you think of boxing one name comes to mind… Muhammad Ali. Well sorry to disappoint but there was another boxing great who came from the South Burnett… Arthur Cripps.

Born in 1879 Arthur Cripps started his sporting career playing rugby. He played in one game for Queensland – a “dramatic” 25-11 win over New South Wales in 1901 (see even back in the early 20th century Queensland were beating New South Wales!) But footy just wasn’t meant to be for Arthur who turned to professional boxing in early 1902.

Arthur was trained by “Big” Jim Austin, who was said to be one of the cleverest trainers of the time. He claimed that because of this training he never suffered a black eye or bloody nose.

In 1903 Arthur Cripps claimed the Australian Middleweight crown. He would then win this title on and off between the years 1903 to 1909.

A property at Broadwater (Nanango) brought Arthur, his wife Mary and their daughter Violet to the region to begin a farming life. Arthur held boxing fund raising activities and assisted many young men in gaining expertise in the boxing arena such as Bill Ewart of Nanango.

In 1916 at the age of 35 (which was not the norm as the average age of men enlisting was 26) Arthur enlisted as a driver in the Engineers. This grabbed the attention of Australians with newspaper headlines reading “Arthur Cripps gone to the front!” (16 May 1917). He also made headlines again upon his return in August 1919.

After the war Arthur returned to Nanango where he was the Post Office Hotel Proprietor, Chairman of the local football club (1923to 1925) and Director of the Dairy Company (1923). However, before his daughter Violet was 21 years old he decided to move the family to Brisbane.

In 1934 Arthur Cripps passed away.

A mild-mannered man – a home lover – an ace high husband and father – and a wonderful glove fighter!

Arthur Cripps 3

Arthur Cripps with his wife Mary and daughter Violet (dress in white with pig tails)

Arthur Cripps dressed in his army uniform

Arthur Cripps dressed in his army uniform

Fun, Festive Season Fishing

The silly season has been and gone and the crowds have converged on our two great South Burnett dams. It’s the best time of year to be on the water as the temps are hot, beers are cold and the fishing is accessible to every angler of any ability. If you haven’t been out yet, make sure you start planning your next trip because this time of year is the best chance to get yourself onto some trophy size native fish from Lake Barambah and Boondooma.

Boondooma

Over the past couple of months, the fish have moved into the thermocline and are a real target for our avid trollers. The 18 to 22 foot zone is where you will find them when you’re out in search of some fish. The most productive areas on the dam are the deeper sections of water around the dam wall and the Buoy line. The most productive bite time is from lunch time through until dark when the day is at its hottest.

The key to finding a good school is using your electronics to slowly sound over likely areas. If you don’t have a sounder tie on a couple of deep divers or a 5/8 spinnerbait and start trolling. If you get a bite or fish, troll around the area that you had the action. Remember to be patient when looking for fish, as it may take a while to locate them if you’re not familiar with the dam.

corey

Corey with a 50+ cm Bass caught on the Troll

 

Lately i’ve been catching my best quality fish suspended in deep water. They have been sitting in the thermocline at 20 feet. I target these fish using a variety of baits, initially starting with a soft bait, a ½ ounce rigged soft plastic. I cast this out and begin counting to 7 seconds to let the lure sink into the strike zone. When the plastic is down to the desired depth I then start a slow roll and add a few twitches every now and then to change the swimming pattern, as the plastic glides through the water. Continue this until you get bites, but keep rolling the plastic until you get a solid hook up. If this method doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to change your lure until you are happy.

The Author and Ken Mills with a mixed bag from Boondooma.

The Author and Ken Mills with a mixed bag from Boondooma.

The Bass can be fussy when it comes to feeding when they are suspended in the column. I like to try plastics first and then move to a reaction bait. My preferred reaction baits for summer suspended fish are 5/8 Bassman spinnerbaits or a 3/8 Bassman mumbler/chatter bait.

With these lures, make a long cast and let the lure sink down 5 to 10 seconds. Once the lure is down in the zone, start a fairly rapid retrieve with a few twitches every now and then. Chatter baits and spinnerbaits are great baits to get a ‘reaction bite’. This is where the fish are forced to either ignore the lure or react out of instinct to bite as the bait zooms past. It’s a very effective method, with Bass well over the 50 mark regularly hitting the deck.

Trollers are catching some really nice fish using deep diving hard bodies and 5/8 Bassman spinnerbaits around the same areas as I mentioned earlier. The key is to be patient.

Bait fisherman are catching some good numbers of Bass and Yellow belly using live shrimp caught from the dam. Try to anchor over prominent points in the dam in 15 to 20 feet and also try the timbered sections of the dam.

Red claw have picked up in numbers. Drop your pots around the rocky banks of the dam and also just wide of the weed beds.

red-claw

Some nice Red Claw have been coming out of Boondooma of late.

Lake Barambah

BP dam has been very consistent over the last two months, producing good numbers of fish of varying species. The fish are in great quantity but it just takes a bit of moving around to put yourself onto some quality. Areas to target are the deeper water out the front of the dam wall, wide of bass point and off any main dam points that hold deeper water of about 20ft. The fish have been sitting in the 15 to 20 ft mark and on the bottom in the same zone. I’ve been catching the majority of fish using a ½ ounce rigged plastic, with the same method as explained for Boondooma. Also heavier spinnerbait’s and Chatterbaits have been working well on the bigger fish when your focussing on the reaction bite.

Some big Yellow belly are being caught, but they have been a bit quiet. The key to catching a few Goldens when its quiet, is to focus on fishing the bottom or the many weed banks that encompass the dam. In this case, tie on a blade and hop it gently off the bottom or out of the weed. The Yellow belly are a real sucker for a hopped blade and it won’t take long to catch a few fish using this technique. The smaller Bass also don’t mind this technique but it won’t be long and you’ll be in contact with some nice fat Golden Perch.

The Author, Dave and Kiel with a mixed bag from a recent session on BP.

The Author, Dave and Kiel with a mixed bag from a recent session on BP.

Trollers are getting good bags of fish trolling 5/8 Bassman spinnerbaits and deep diving hard bodies. Areas to target are the deep water around in front of the dam wall, Bass point, around Lightening ridge and around any prominent points.

Bait fisherman are catching plenty of fish tying off the trees up the back of the dam using live shrimp.

Redclaw are about and are coming from the steeper banks with scattered timber.

Make sure you book your camp site for the 2017 Boondooma Dam, Yellowbelly fishing comp being held on the 11th and 12th of February. $20 entry for adults and $5 for juniors (16 years and under). There are live and dead weight divisions with prizes for Bass, Yellow belly, Silver and Spangled perch. There are thousands of dollars’ worth of prizes up for grabs, with food and drinks available at the event. It’s one comp you don’t want to miss. Call Lake Boondooma kiosk to make a camp site booking on (07) 4168 9694.

If you’d like to keep in regular contact with what’s happening on the dams don’t forget to like the Yallakool and Boondooma dams Facebook pages.

Until next month, tight lines and bend rods

Matthew Langford.

 

SOUTH BURNETT BOASTS HOT EDGE BITE!

Another sensational month of fishing has gone by since my last report and the edges have really come alive with some cracking fish caught at BP and Boondooma dams. It’s a great month to be out on the water as the temps are comfortable and the fishing is red hot. No matter what type of fisherman you are the dams in the South Burnett Region have something to offer you.

Boondooma

Boondooma is a well-known big bass fishery and this month has seen it really live up to its name. Good numbers of big bass and yellow belly have been caught all around the dam using a variety of techniques.
If you’re a keen lure fisherman the best place to start is on the edge, look for rocky points or weedy edges with a bit of structure and you’re sure to pick up a fish or two casting lipless cranks or spinner baits. I like throwing a Bassman spinner-bait 3/8 in Olive colour tight to the edge, let it sink to the bottom and use a slow wind back to the boat with a couple of rod shakes in between to entice a strike. In the warmer months the fish really respond well to a reaction lure so keep that in mind when casting to a bank. Mix up your casts and retrieve speed and adjust to what you’re getting your bites with. I like to ‘Burn’ or quickly crank a lure back occasionally to really get them to hit aggressively. If you’re doing this hold on to your rod cause the bite is usually hard and fast. Some cracking Golden Perch and Bass have been caught over the last month from the edge, so it will pay to start this way early on your day out.

The Author with a beautiful coloured golden from the edge at Boondooma.

The Author with a beautiful coloured golden from the edge at Boondooma.

Daniel Brooks with a couple of nice bass from the edge using Bassman Spinnerbaits

Daniel Brooks with a couple of nice bass from the edge using Bassman Spinnerbaits

The best way to keep catching quality is to move deeper as the day starts to heat up. The bigger bass have been caught out on the flats of the dam later in the morning as the wind starts to pick up, areas such as the junction through to pelican have been productive, as well as Death Valley the Barbour’s pole and Leisagangs ledge. Make sure to check with the kiosk if you’re unsure of the names of areas of the dam and they will be sure to help out. I like targeting the areas just wider of the flats as they start to drop off into deeper water. I’ve been finding the fish have been sitting on these ledges and are usually more willing to bite. Ambush points like this are great for our predatory bass, so keep this in mind next time you’re on Boondooma.

Patrick Conduit with a couple of big bass from the deeper flats of Boondooma using Tail Spinners

Patrick Conduit with a couple of big bass from the deeper flats of Boondooma using Tail Spinners

The best techniques on the flats and ledges have been Nories tail spinners in 12gram in Gold colour, ½ ounce rigged plastics in darker green or florescent colours, 5/8 ounce spinner baits rolled slowly along the bottom and ¼ and 3/8 ounce blades hopped or slow rolled along the bottom in silver or gold colours.

Bait fisherman have been bringing in consistent catches of yellow belly, bass and eel tail catfish fishing in the timbered arms. Best baits have been live shrimps, saltwater yabbies and worms jigged off the bottom.

Trollers have been starting to pick up some good numbers of Golden Perch trolling up in the arms of the dam using deep diving hard bodies. Make sure you have a lure retriever hand as you’ll be bound to get caught up in the timber eventually and this device will save you money.

Red claw have just started to pick up a bit with the consistent warm weather around the rocky edges using rockmelon, pumpkin and dog biscuits.

Lake Barambah

BP dam has really been making the customers happy with the Bass coming up from the deeper flats and creek beds to feed heavily on the edges. Most anglers have been reporting some great sessions and some cracking Bass and Yellow belly amongst them. The fish aren’t afraid to hit anything that resembles a bait fish. The consistent warm weather can be thanked for this ‘Reaction Bite’ and it’s only going to get better and better the further we move towards summer.

The Author with a good golden from the Flats of BP

The Author with a good golden from the Flats of BP

The best methods for getting amongst the action is to look for a good rocky edge, position yourself about 40 to 50 meters from the bank and cast towards the edge, let the lure sink to the bottom and start a slow consistent wind. I’ve found the best techniques have been lipless cranks, spinner baits, tail spinners, ½ ounce rigged plastics, jerk baits and blades cast up near the edge. Realistically, if you throw your favourite lure to the edge long enough it’s bound to get smashed by a hungry bass or yellow belly, the fishing is just that good at the moment. Likely areas to target are all over the dam from the dam wall all the way to the timber right up the back, just look for a rocky edge, sit out wide and cast towards the bank, it’s truly that simple.

Trollers are having the same luck by trolling the edges of the dam with deep diving hard bodies, most trollers won’t have to go far before hooking up with a fish or two.

Bait fisherman are in much the same boat with fish coming from most locations close to the bank using, live shrimp, salt water yabbies and worms fished closed to the bottom.

Red claw are also on the comeback as the water warms considerably.

Dam news

Next time you’re out at one of our dams in the South Burnett, keep in mind the brand new luxury cabins. I recently had the privilege of staying in one of the cabins and they were just fantastic. They were comfortable and a great way to relax after a hard session of fishing. They are fully furnished, have two bedrooms and can comfortably sleep up to 6 people and cost $150 per night. Also don’t forget that the festive season is coming upon us so don’t forget to book your site at YallaKool or Boondooma.

Until next time, tight lines and bent rods

Two nice bass caught by the author and Corey from the edge

Two nice bass caught by the author and Corey from the edge

Matthew Langford