January 20, 2020
by Matthew Langford
The festive season is a great time of year to be outdoors with family and friends and It’s also the best time of year to be on the water as the temps are hot, 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 on to some trophy-size Bass and Yellowbelly from Lake Barambah and even a Saratoga from Lake Boondooma.
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Over the past couple of months, the fish have moved into the thermocline and are a real target for our avid trollers and casters.
The 15 to 25 foot depth zone is where you will find them. The most productive areas on the dam are the deeper sections of water around the rocky walls and the buoy line near the dam wall. The most productive bite time is from lunch 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.
Lately I’ve been catching my best quality fish suspended in deep water. They have been sitting in the thermocline at 15 to 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 seven 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 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 12 to 20 gram spoons, such as the Norries Wasabi, Halco Twisties or Palms Slow Blatts, which are all great spoons for catching suspended fish in Boondooma.
Make a long cast with these lures and let them sink down for five to 10 seconds. Once the lure is down in the zone, start a fairly rapid retrieve with a few twitches every now and then.
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 Yellowbelly 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.
Redclaw have been a little slow but drop your pots around the rocky banks of the dam and also just wide of the weed beds.
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BP Dam has been very consistent over the past two months, producing good numbers of fish of varying species and sizes.
The fish are in great quantity, but it just takes a bit of moving around to put yourself on to some quality. Areas to target are the deeper water out the front of the dam wall, and the Quarry area.
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 Spinnerbaits and Chatterbaits have been working well on the bigger fish when you’re focussing on the reaction bite.
Some big Yellowbelly are being caught, but they have been a bit quiet. The key to catching a few Goldens when it’s quiet, is to focus on fishing the bottom.
In this case, tie on a blade and hop it gently off the bottom. The Yellowbelly are real suckers 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.
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 Lightning Ridge and around any prominent points.
Bait fishermen are catching plenty of fish just wide of the steeper rocky banks. But don’t try and head up the back of the dam as the water levels are low and you will get stuck in the mud.
Redclaw are still about and are coming from the steeper banks.
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The fishing of late at Bjelke-Petersen and Boondooma dams has been fantastic with most sessions producing numbers of fish and some great quality.
Boondooma has been producing a great mixed bag of species, so if you’d like to learn more about targeting a particular species, all you have to do is ask and make a booking.
Don’t forget that you can book a fishing charter with me on BP and Boondooma dams and many other dams in Queensland.
If you’d like a great day out and all the info and knowledge to catch Bass, Yellowbelly or Saratoga in our great dams make sure you give me a call on 0408-658-592 and I’ll be happy to
take you out for a great day’s fishing. You can also check out our website
Until next time, tight lines and bent rods!
[Photos: Matthew Langford]