Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Winter Barra at Monduran

Recently, me and three mates headed up to Lake Monduran, near Gin Gin to try our hand at impoundment barramundi fishing. We towed our boats the 4 hours north from the Sunshine Coast and set up camp at the Lake Monduran Holiday Park.

We opted for a non-powered site as we were pretty self sufficient. The park facilities were good with the camp kitchen supplying electric BBQ’s, sinks and a communal fridge. The amenities were clean and the showers had a good and ample supply of hot water.

A stocked impoundment permit is required to fish Lake Monduran and these are available at the onsite kiosk. Lake Monduran is a huge body of water that extends 30 km from the dam wall. The dam is a maze of flooded forests and submerged timber which forms a perfect environment for the stocked barra.

Finding your way through the forest of standing tree tops can be quite tricky as it all looks the same and the submerged tree tops and stumps have taken their toll on many an outboard leg and prop. A GPS chart plotter and a keen eyed lookout is invaluable for getting out and back without too much damage especially when returning at night.

Our tactic for fishing Monduran was to fish the early mornings and late afternoons flicking soft plastics towards structure and weed banks in the shallow bays around the edge of the lake. Our theory being that the Barra would be seeking out the warmer water in the winter, however I have heard of other fishermen who have had success in the deeper water, even in winter.

The Monduran barra in these shallow bays are very easily spooked so we would motor to about two hundred metres from the spot we wanted to fish, use the electric to get us in to about 50 metres and then let the wind slowly push us through the shallow bay. Then we would cast for many hours each session. In total, we guesstimated that each of us probably cast 800 times over the two days we were there.

Casting like that is very pleasant with the sun warming your back. You tend to fall into a peaceful almost hypnotic trance, when suddenly bang, you’re suddenly snapped back to reality. By instinct, you strike hard and fast, the hook sets, rod bends almost in half and your line strips off the drag. Your heart is pounding pretty fast, but then jumps up another gear when you realise the fish you’ve just spent 3 hours flicking lures for is heading straight towards a jungle of half submerged dead tree tops.

Anyway, after screaming at my mate, Steve to drop the bloody video camera and jump on to the electric, we managed to chase my first Monduran barra through a maze of submerged tree tops and eventually landed a 104.5cm Monduran impoundment barra.

These fish look beautiful. They are big, fat and heavy and glistening silver like they are made of polished chrome. They are a magnificent fighting species and my fight incorporated lightning fast bursts of power, frantic head shaking and spectacular clearances out of the water.

After a few quick photos, I gently returned her to the water. A few rocks back and forth to get water flowing through her gills, she gave a massive indignant kick with her broad tail and swam off back down to her haunt.

All in all, we had a great weekend with 3 of us landing and releasing metre plus barra’s, mine at 104.5cm, Steve with one at 101cm (just enough to get him into the metre plus club) and Dude’s “horse” at 117 cm, a couple of monsters spitting lures close to the boat and two nice 40 plus Australian bass topped off the weekend. I was fishing a Shimano Stradic 3000FI with a Wilson LCS pelagic spin 7’, 20lb Yamatoyo SW super PE braid and 6” Berkley hollow belly in pearl white. Maybe my line was a bit light for the lake but managed to do the job on the day.

I can’t recommend enough a trip to Lake Monduran targeting these magnificent impoundment barra. It’s great fishing, a beautiful scenic place and it’s a fantastic feeling joining that metre plus club!

Cheers and great fishing,

Snap’s tips for fishing Lake Monduran

• Fish the shallower bays where the water is warmest
• Cast around structure and along the edge of weed banks
• Keep noise to a minimum
• Take a GPS chart plotter and good torch/spotlight
• Use an electric motor to get into the shallow bays
• Take a knotless or rubber meshed net with you
• Learn the correct way to handle your fish so that she can be released unharmed

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