HOME OF WORLD RECORD BARRA
DENNIS HAROLD WITH HIS WORLD RECORD 44.62KG,134CM LONG,107CM GRITH
DENNIS CAUGHT THIS RECORD BARRA FROM HIS KAYAK AT LAKE MONDURAN IN 2010
Lake Monduran is the body of water held back by the Fred Haigh Dam and has been stocked heavily with Barramundi and Australian Bass over the past 12 years.
The Stocking has been very successful and now Lake Monduran has become Southeast Queensland’s Barra Capital.
The best time for catching Barramundi is in the warmer months from the end of September through to end of May although anglers still can catch them all year round they are not as active during the cooler months. During the cooler months anglers who visit Lake Monduran are able to target our large population of big Australian Bass as they become more active as the barra slow down.
But be warned you must be prepared to lose the odd bass lure when it gets smacked by a big Barra.
Lake Monduran is only about 4.5 hours drive from Queensland’s capital Brisbane and only 4 Kilometers off the main highway.
The closest town to Lake Monduran is Gin Gin. Gin Gin is a small country town that can provide everything the travelling angler requires.
The town has several fuel, food outlets, motels ,2 hotels , Tackle Store, Butchers, Bakers, Supa IGA as well as doctors, chemist and hospital. A SIPS [Stocked Impoundment Permit Scheme] is required to fish Lake Monduran, this is available at Foxies Barra Havoc or at the kiosk at Lake Monduran.
The one permit covers a married couple or de facto couples, persons under the age of 18 do not require a permit.
Lake Monduran Family Fishing Classic
On the second weekend in October every year the Monduran Anglers and Stocking Assoc [ MASA ] run the Family Fishing Classic at Lake Monduran. This is one of the biggest freshwater fishing competition in Queensland and is there major fundraiser for money to stock Monduran. Every year competitors keep on returning and introduce friends to what can only be described as a great family fun weekend. The big thing is you don't have to be a gun angler win a great prize as there are hundreds of give aways over the weekend and you could even tow away a new boat, trailer and outboard package by just entering and being there over the weekend. So this year come along for a great time and help MASA raise money to stock our lake.
LAKE MONDURAN INFORMATION
MONDURAN - THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON
It's full moon in a week, now it’s time to pack the gear up and head to Monduran with the hundred other boat loads of people.
I know the barra are suppose to bite better around the Full Moon but I believe that the Moon brings out more anglers than fish and this in turn means more people fishing equals to more fish caught.
The light you get from the full moon is great if you fish at night and also makes for easier travelling around the Lake, but I myself catch more barra around the new moon.
This month I will give you a run down on Fishing Lake Monduran at night around the new moon which I and a few locals believe it is the best time to catch barra.
One of the biggest advantages of fishing this time of the month would be boat traffic on the water. Anyone who has been there over a full moon knows there are a hundred cars at the ramp and at least thirty boats trolling the main basin.
Now compare that with the new moon usually by 7.30pm my Prado is the only car at the ramp and there are no other boats roaring around the Lake disturbing the barra.
It gets dark very dark which makes it hard to travel and to know where to cast to without getting snagged and caught up in the trees.
The first thing is you don’t have to travel too far, I do most of my casting within sight of the Dam Wall, but if you wish to travel further upstream then a good spotlight and GPS are essential.
The biggest barra I have caught at Monduran is 117cm and was caught on the new moon casting to small trees just 30 meters from where I had launched the boat and no more than 200 meters from the cabins.
Yes that’s right, one of my favorite spots is around the area we launch our boats from near the cabins and along the rock wall underneath the hill on which the cabins are perched.
One advantage of fishing this area is that you do have a bit of light coming from the cabins and the street lights so it is a little bit easier to see what you are doing.
The next spot to try is the small inlets that branch off the bay on the northern side of the wall, as this area also produces good barra and the odd solid bass.
Before I go on to the next couple of spots one thing to remember is because it is so dark you cannot see what is going on around you so it is important to be quiet and use your hearing to help guide you to the fish.
It is amazing what you can hear on the water at night from gar skipping across the surface, boney bream flicking, catfish popping on the surface in amongst the grassy banks feeding on shrimp and of course barra feeding.
One thing I do when travelling from one spot to another, is to stop in the middle of the basin turn everything off and just listen, if the barra are active you will soon hear them.
One night they might be more active on the southern side of the Lake than the northern side or they might be feeding on the shallows up the western end of the basin not around the Dam wall.
By listening and taking note of where there is more barra activity happening you can move quietly into that area and improve you changes of a hook up.
The small bays on the southern also can hold a lot of surprises especially the one next to the concrete boat ramp.
When Monduran was very low back about 5 years ago, I remember standing on the bank casting lures across the bay to the feet of other anglers then retrieving them back, there would have been ten anglers there every afternoon for a week all catching fish.
Even today that bay although a lot bigger, still holds big fish and they feed around the edges and small inlets at night.
The far end of the basin around the small grassy island is another good spot to cast as the barra move up on to the shallows to feed after dark.
Another option up here is to tie up to one of the small trees on the island and hang back by doing this you can cast along the shallows as well as to the steep drop offs where the barra cruise before moving up onto the shallows to feed.
So you see even through it is not a full moon does not mean you can’t fish at night just change your options and keep your mind open.
Just a couple of other tips for fishing Monduran on the new moon, take a good spotlight, mossie spray, led cap lights are great, a GPS if heading up the lake, keep your boats deck tidy and make sure your nav lights work and turn them on.
MONDURAN CAN BE A CHALLENGE
Strong winds, overcast days, rain, dropping water temperatures all make for hard fishing conditions but the barra are still there and it is up to you to make a little bit more effort if you want to catch them.
As one visiting angler said to me “you can’t catch fish sitting in your tent” so the first thing is to get out there, hey you might get wet and cold, take a raincoat, a towel, have some dry clothes and plan for the conditions you may face.
Start by fishing your favorite spots if they are not working start looking for other alternatives, your sounder is your link to what is happening under you, pay more attention to drop offs and fish arches.
On my last trip up to Monduran I planned to fish in Diamond Bay, the Weather was windy overcast and raining.
When I travelled from the southern side of the Kolan River across to the entrance of the bay I noticed that there was a little hump in the middle of the River.
This hump had a lot of good fish arches on both sides, but I ignored this and spent a few hours in Diamond Bay for nothing.
Cold and disappointed I motored out the same way I had come in, again the same hump and arches but this time I took more notice and decided to tie up to a tree and have a cast.
As the barra were sitting at about fifteen feet, I decided to use a F18 Gaden classic deep diver in gold with red stripes, about eight casts and a couple of taps another two casts and I had Hooked a solid 90cm fish.
A couple of jumps and it was all over she was goooone, but this had given me enough incentive to stay and cast here longer.
After about fifteen minutes of casting to the edge of the drop off another strike this one was far more aggressive and a horse of a barra left the water more like a dolphin than a barra and headed straight into the timber, number two gooone, plus my lure.
I checked my braid replaced my leader and tied on a F18 guns and roses colour and within four casts another strike, this time everything held together the barra fought cleanly and stayed in open water and within a few minutes a nice 94 cm barra was boated and then released to fight another day.
In these conditions I was really happy with the result, but have to think if I have only taken more notice of the sounder and fished this spot earlier what may have been the outcome.
So when fishing Lake Monduran open up your mind to different options, don’t have your plan for the day set in stone, change with the conditions and sometimes think outside the square.
I would like a buck for the every time a person who is fishing at Monduran has said, that they were not catching any barra so have decided to target bass only to get there bass lures hammered and destroyed by barra.
Although most people don’t release it but they have just been given a very important clue in the way the barra are feeding, and instead of complaining about it you need to use it to your advantage.
So now you know that the barra are there and feeding, and on what size lure, change down to that size lures or as every angler would have heard the saying“ match the Hatch”.
I have had meter plus barra spew up balls of shrimp while on a brag mat, so big lures does not always mean big fish.
Some of the smaller lures that I have found to be productive at Monduran are Little Lucifer’s, Killalure Terminator, Nils Master Spearhead and Predatek Spoonbill but there is a lot more on the market.
Not only changing lure size can improve your catch but also going from a lure that rattles a lot to one that has no rattles at all.
This can make a big difference especially after the full moon period when there has been a lot of fishing pressure.
What works in the way of lures last week might not be producing barra this week so if you need up-to-date information on what is happening at Lake Monduran call in and see myself or Jacky at Foxies Barra Havoc on the Highway in Gin Gin and we will gladly help you.
Cheers John & Jacky
Hot Weather Fishing Jan - Feb
January’s and Februaries weather can be hot, with air temps up as high as 44 degrees and with such high air temperature Lake Monduran’s water temperatures soar into the 30’s, one spot I found was a massive 35 degrees.
With water temps this high the barramundi do not hang around in the shallows for a long time, they come up to feed if there is bait fish there but then drop back into deeper more comfortable water to cruise and hang out.
When conditions are like this I look for a point that drops away slowly to a depth of about two to three metres over a distance of about fifteen or twenty metres but then drops off quickly into an old creek bed say four to six metres deep.
There are several of these points in the lake it is just a matter of taking your time and sounding around to locate one.
Once you have found your point the best thing to do if possible, is to tie up to a tree or anchor so that you can cast to both the point as well as to the old creek bed.
When fishing like this I usually have two or three rods set up with different type of lures so I don’t have to spent time changing rigs all the time.
The first rig is now usually some sort of soft Plastic like a five or six inch Berkley Hollow Belly or a Strike King Shadalicous, both of these I rig with an 8/0, 3/8oz Matt Fraser or TT jig head.
This rig is primarily used to cast towards the point but can also been used to cast into the deeper creek bed. When you use it this way just let it sink for a while, so that when you retrieve it the SP is swimming back down in the strike zone.
The second rig, which used to be my first choice until the hollow belly style SP turned up is the shallow diving hard body lures like the B52, Arafura Barra 120, and RMG Scorpion.
These lures can be cast to the point or out along the creek bed. The two main retrieves used are the slow rolling which is just a matter of firstly giving a few quick twitches to get it down and then a slow retrieve back.
The other retrieve is by giving the lure a few fast erratic twitches than let it float back to the surface, then count to about five or ten take up the lack line and repeat the process over and over, this retrieve works better over the shallower water.
The third rig I have set up is to use in the deeper creek bed and it has a suspending or very slow rising lure on it
One of the best is the Rapala X-Rap jointed, this lure can be cranked down into the strike zone and left suspended there while you count to eight or nine before giving it life with a twitch or a couple cranks on your reel.
This method is very successful as your lure hovers down in the strike longer than any other method of retrieve.
A lot of barra anglers including myself have turned some of our standard lures into suspending or slow rising lures, this can be done by many simple things like upgrading to heavier hooks, adding extra split rings or using sticky weight, to see if your lure floats, suspends or sinks just try it in a bucket of water.
Also remember that a lot of technology has gone into the design of lures and sometimes playing with them and adding or replacing hooks, rings etc can make the lure perform differently sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worst.
For the anglers who troll when the water temps reach the 30’s, troll the old creek beds that wind through the shallows, the south arm of “B” and “Bird Bay” are great places to work. Again look for water that is two –three metres with a deep creek bed running through it.
Troll lures that run fairly shallow, around the one – three metre mark, troll slowly and don’t put your rods in the holders, hold your rod.
Why hold your rod while trolling?
Because by holding your rod you can give your lure much more action, simply drop your rod tip back every now and again or by giving it a series of small twitches. Doing these simple things will draw much more attention from barra than just a plain old swimming lure.
While trolling in these areas watch your sounder to keep you in the creek beds. If you have a GPS use the tracking feature to retrace your steps and to set up a troll pattern. Keep a eye on your sounder for where two old creek beds meet as this is often a place where different underwater currents join attracting bait fish and barra. Mark it on your GPS or remember the location as these spots are often prime areas to cast as well.
One very useful tool to have if using the above trolling method is the new Lake Monduran Map as it shows you the old creek beds and having longs and lats on it you can plan which area you want to go to back at camp. Just punch the co-ordinates into your GPS and this will save a lot of time travelling around the lake watching your sounder for the old creek beds.
Monduran Winter Barra Tactics Part 1
Chasing impoundment barramundi during the cooler months of year is becoming more and more popular with anglers as they start to realise that these great fish can be caught all year round.
Changes to tactics have to be made if you’re going to target barra in winter not only in the areas that you fish but also in the type of lure and retrieves you use.
This time of year to me produces some of the nicest times of the year to fish and there is nothing better than skimming across the glassed out surface of the lake on a cool clear morning heading to your fishing spot.
Where to Fish.
During the cooler months the shallow bays and areas of Monduran are the places to target and because there is less boat traffic during this time of the year there are a lot more options available.
The shallow areas close to the main channels now hold barra as they are not spooked by the constant boat traffic and noise that comes with summer.
The main reason for fishing shallow water is the water temperature, as barra are cold blooded.
When the water temp’s cool the barra become less active.
So by finding warmer water you are finding the more active fish that will be more inclined to feed and strike at your lure.
Also as the barra are less active, they are less likely to be cruising around feeding and more likely to be hunting by ambush so keeping this in mind.
Look for an area that has fallen timber or structures that can be used by barra to hide while waiting to ambush their prey.
Accurate casting is a must as a lure dropped short or wide of the snag won't be hit by a sluggish barra at this time of year.
Lures usually have to be right in their face before being smashed.
Remember impoundment barra are usually big and fat so they don’t have to chase prey to eat, but will strike if an opportunity arises to get a feed with not much effort.
Two areas like this that instantly comes to mind are the small bays on your right as you go through the first Cut Through and also the timbered area on your left. Both of these spots can produce good barra during this time of the year.
The next area like this is around the cattle yards near the second cut through and the timbered areas on your right as you go through the second cut through heading up stream.
Up in B there are a lot of bays to fish but so do Mum, Dad, the kids and their dog, so I usually head up the Kolan and fish the left hand side between C and D and up in the Two Mile.
There are so many timbered bays that are worth a fish, that are close to the ramp and ideal for smaller boats, places like SDA and Wiggle Bay both have good structure and timber to cast to and with the stiller conditions during this time of year they are a lot easier to fish.
Remember that you are fishing in shallow water and that stealth is of most importance as fish are spooked very easily, so use the electric when approaching, don’t bump and bang around the boat and even tone down the volume of your voice when talking.
What to Use
The lures of choice have always been shallow diving, slow rising hard bodies over the past few years but this year I think we will see a lot more soft bodied lures being used.
As you are fishing in three to four feet of water lures that run at the one to two feet mark like the Bombers, Reidy’s B52’s, Tropic Anglers and Mudeye Kamikazes are all good lures but some of them do rise to quickly when paused during the retrieve.
The buoyancy of the lure can be altered with addition of suspender dots or sticky weight to them, this makes the lure suspend or rise very slowly and this is what you want as it keeps your lure in the strike zone longer.
You can use either a slow rolling retrieve or if you’re using a neutral or slow rising lure then use a retrieve with short sharp twitches and a lot of pauses.
Depending on how fast your lure rises these pauses can be up to the count of eight before starting your retrieve again.
With soft plastics use either a slow rolling retrieve with a lighter jig head or rig your soft lure with a heavy jig head [½ oz].
With your soft plastics let them sink to the bottom and then jig them back up to the surface again and continue this pattern.
The reason I say to use a heavier jig head is that the lighter heads do not sink fast enough to give your lure that swimming action on its decent.
Top Five Tips
Fish the warmer shallower bays and areas
Look for fallen timber and structure, Cast accurately and close to it
Stealth - Fishing in shallow water means be very conscious of noise
Use shallow divers that rise slowly when paused
Enjoy yourself and the surrounds.
Take this few things into account when chasing barra in winter and I hope that they will help you make your trip more productive.
Live baiting for barra in saltwater has always been popular and very productive and is now becoming a popular and very productive barra fishing option at Monduran.
The first rule for live baiting is only use live bait that you have caught in the lake don’t import any species from outside as it may not be natural to the area.
Remember back in the 1930’s someone probably said “What harm can a few CANE TOADS DO?”
The most common and popular food sources for barra in Monduran are Garr and large shrimp.
Garr can be easily caught by using a float and a small hook baited with a small piece of bread or prawn.
Bread is also good to use for berley to attract the Garr around your boat.
As for shrimp a few shrimp traps set around the weed beds or rocky ledges will soon have you a good supply of bait.
Other good live bait available in Monduran is banded grunter; spangled perch and barra have even been known to hit small catfish.
The use of cast nets and bait nets is illegal in freshwater in Queensland so catching them by hook or bait traps is the only way to get your live bait.
Once you have caught your live bait keep them alive in a well aerated container of water, an ice box is ideal as they are insulated and this will help keep the water cool.
It also pays to change some of the water regularly so your bait stays as healthy as possible for their big mission.
For the best results live baiting is by far a method to be done under the cover of darkness.
Find yourself a good point or weed bed and tie up or anchor off it, then just float out your live bait and wait.
You can have two or three baits out at once or just one and do some casting while waiting.
Use the bread again at night as berley to attract more Garr and to create bait fish activity around your boat this should help ring the dinner bell for a hungry barra.
Just one tip don’t berley to much or you will end up with a thousand catfish around your boat.
Monduran trout, catamundi, catfish, call them what you like, but I doubt there is not to many anglers who have fished Monduran, who’s heart has starting pumping from getting a strike only to land a cattie.
Some anglers beat them to death others release them alive; I release them as they are part of the lakes ecosystem.
I suppose the best thing about catties is there are plenty of them and they are easy to catch on bait which makes them a great fish for kids to target.
Anyone with children knows how quickly most kids become bored with fishing after a couple of hours casting/trolling with no results.
What I have started to do is take a packet of prawns with us when on the lake and when the kids start complaining find a spot that mum can cast to from the front of the boat and you can fish with the kids for catfish from the back of the boat.
A bit of burley out the back, a prawn hanging under a float and it is not long before the action starts and the kids are having fun.
Now some of the catfish grow to Six Kilo plus and can put a great fight even for experience anglers , so this is a good way to hone the little fellows skill, teach them about the drag, how to keep pressure on the fish, how to pump and wind, and all the skills needed to land there first barra.
Once the catfish are on the bite change the prawn over to a cheap little lure and let them have a go at casting, retrieving and hooking a fish on lure.
Remember this is a fun way for a child to learn without the pressure, if the cattie gets away the most you have lost is a prawn and hook not a $17 lure.
If you fish for catfish you must always be careful as they do have three nasty spines on them that can produce terrible pain, and that’s the last thing you need.
The rules in our boat are simply no catfish to be lifted out of the water, all fish are held by me using lip grips while in the water and hooks/lures removed and fish released .
Other advise is don’t use a landing net on catfish as they stick out all there spikes and roll over and over twisting up your net and making it very hard to untangle.
The last thing to do after your child lands the fish is to praise and congratulate them and encourage them because if they enjoy fishing as much as you, you will have a fishing partner for life.
Winter Bass at Monduran
After a season of barra fishing at Lake Monduran our minds now turn to the relatively untapped Australian Bass fishery that Monduran has to offer.
Over the past 12 years just as many, if not more bass have been stocked but have been largely forgotten about due to the success of the barramundi fishery that has become established.
As the weather and water temperatures drop and the barra become a bit dormant, the bass become a lot more active and school up in the deeper parts of the lake.
The main basin of the lake holds good schools of bass during winter and a lot of anglers motor full noise through some of the most productive areas whilst in their hast to head upstream.
If launching your boat from the creek ramp near the cabins the first place to have a cast or troll is just out from the point where the houseboat moors.
At this spot there is a small ledge or rise under the water with some now drowned black wattle trees on it and this is what the bass are hanging around.
By watching your sounder you can see the bass sitting around the top of the trees and pick out a lure that will reach them.
From this spot motor across the basin to the northern side and here you will find a point of land underwater that stretches out about 100 meters, this spot is also very popular during the warmer months with the barra anglers who troll along the edges of this point.
The other places in the basin are along the rocky cliffs on the southern side of the lake, the first being just before you enter SDA Bay and the second is on your left before going into Bird Bay.
Heading up the lake the grassy points in Bird Bay are always worth a cast early in the morning as are the small points around the island as bass feed around these areas until about mid morning in winter then move out into the deeper water.
Just before the white rocks you will see rocky cliffs on your right hand side as you motor up the lake, this is a good location to stop and cast bibless crank baits, spinner baits and soft plastics at.
By casting to the base of the cliff and letting your lure drift down the face, you will very often pick up a big bass that is holding up in the little caves and cervices that are hidden below the water’s surface.
As well as being a great place to cast it is also worth a troll with some lures that run at the 15’+ mark.
From The White Rocks up, there is a huge amount of timber underwater and a lot of trees still have a lot of small spindly branches that bass and baitfish love to hang in.
By casting to the underwater structures and walking spinner bait though the branches you can stimulate the bass to bite.
Besides the sunken timber there are also a lot of good points and ledges to fish in the upper reaches of the Kolan River.
A selection of lures for chasing bass in Lake Monduran should include spinner baits, bibless crank baits, soft plastics and small crank baits /minnows.
For the diehard barra angler there is still some nice fish being caught the only difference is instead of that big straw hat and an esky full of cold drinks it’s a beanie and thermos of hot coffee/tea.
Some good barra are still being landed and one of the great things about chasing barra in winter is it is all done in gentleman’s hours, no need to be out of bed at sparrows, as most of the action does not happen till afternoon.
One of the hot spots has been the bay on the right hand side as you head upstream just as you enter the first cut through.
Due to the shape and the way this bay joins on to the channel means it is usually protected from the wind which is one of the major factors in dropping water temperatures.
This bay in holding warmer water seems to attract the bait fish and in turn attracts the barra, slow retrieves and shallow diving lures work best, lures like the Tropic Angler, B52 and Richo extracta are among my favourites in winter.
Lake Monduran Holiday Park
Powered ,Unpowered Sites, Cabins and Holiday Houses
Information 07 41573881
Gin Gin (approx 20km from Lake Monduran)
Gin Gin Village Motor Inn
Motel rooms ,air conditioned, bbq area, walking distance to eateries, hotel ,etc in center of town.
Phone 07 41 572599
Gin Gin Motel
Motel rooms, air conditioned Com Kitchen ,24hr Food & Fuel next door
Phone 07 41572260
Gin Gin Central Motel
Right in the centre of town walking distance to everything, off street parking.
Phone 07 41572444
Choice Gin Gin
Caravan park with 3 bedroom air conditioned cabins just on the edge of town.
Phone 07 41572192
Lake Monduran Barra Charters
Based in Gin Gin local guide Jamie Bein knows Monduran well and runs full and half day charters on the lake. Fishing from a purpose built barra boat by Seajay, Jamie can fish a max of 4, great for families or for the serious barra angler.
Phone 0407 434 446