Lake Monduran – 9 November, 2013

Saturday

After a bit of work and a bit of time at home, I found myself on the road back up to Central Queensland, on Saturday. I often drive past the various arms of Lake Monduran, around Kolonga, but rarely have time to stop. But today I did have time and even though the sun was blazing and it was 10.30 am, I had to give this area a go.

Unsurprisingly, once back in Brisbane, I had been doing some tackle spending. I had replaced my G.Loomis GL2 with a G.Loomis Ultralight TSR Series , Fast Action, 2 to 6 lb, 6’7”rod. This is a beautifully crafted, incredibly light trout rod and even though it is a little longer than my preference, I think it will be a great Bribie Island flat’s rod. But I had also decided I wanted a fairly heavy shorter rod that would be easy to cast in the cramped, freshwater environments I have been exploring. It still needed to have enough power to subdue a big barramundi, if I came across one. Steve at Jones Tackle seems to now understand my light gear obsession and knows that I consider anything rated over 2-4kg to be really only suited to offshore big game fishing. After my recent bruising barramundi encounters, I recognised I was going to have to sacrifice ‘feel’ for strength but everything I tried seemed very stiff. In the end I compromised with a cheap 6’ Shimano Catana, rated 2 – 4kg. There is nothing very sophisticated about this rod but at $70 it was cheap enough to experiment with.

I parked in a shady spot pulled on some lightweight long trousers and my ankle boots and wandered off along the bank. The water was brown and still, almost every branch had a lizard on it and I could see tiny baitfish hovering around the fallen timber. I was not sure what would be in here. I was confident there would be fish of some kind. I tied on a GULP 4” Swimming Mullet in the Banana Prawn colour, on a 1/12th ounce, size 2 hook jighead. I was using 12lb fluorocarbon leader.

On my first cast I found a familiar species – the catfish. I moved along the banks casting at lots of snags and caught a catfish on almost everyone. I tried various plastics and it was the grub tails that were most attractive to the catfish. Whenever I let them sink and remain still on the bottom, for anything more than about 20 seconds, they would be hoovered up.

I walked towards an area where the lake opened up a bit and came across an enormous flock of birds escorted by a pretty big group of pelicans. This area looked really fishy with lots of fallen timber and presumably, some deeper holes.

There were lots more fish but they were all catfish – there were some really big brutes among them so the new Shimano Catana was christened with a good workout. After a couple of hours I gave up. It’s always good to explore and maybe a dawn or dusk session here might haven been more successful.

Walilly Creek nr Lake Monduran – 25 October 2013

Friday

After a week at home with no time to fish it was time to get back to work. Apologies to my regular Bribie Island readers, but I have not had a chance to fish on my home territory for a while. Whilst I am missing the best time for flathead fishing in the Pumicestone Passage, I am sure there are plenty of people out there catching good fish.

I was headed from Brisbane to Rockhampton again on Friday and decided to break the journey at a suitable looking creek to have a quick fish. I chose Walilly Creek just to the west of Lake Monduran. The Bruce Highway crosses the creek via a small bridge. I parked up to stretch my legs after a few hours driving and decided the sunken timber on the western side of the bridge looked promising. It was overcast but hot and it was about 11.00am.

I rigged up the light spin outfit and loaded it with an 1/8th ounce, size 1 hook, jighead on a 2.5 inch GULP Crabbie in the Peppered Prawn colour. I was fishing with 10lb fluorocarbon leader and 8lb original fused Fireline.

I cast the soft plastic at some fallen trees and immediately got snagged. People often ask why I used the softer, light wire TT jighead series (they come in the green backed packet). I like them because, as in this case, they give and bend when you apply pressure. This has a downside if you hook a monster fish but it means that you can often bend the hook slightly and pull it out of a snag, then bend it back into shape. This means you lose a few fish but you lose a lot less gear, while you are working out what is going on under the water. The problem with fishing soft plastics in the freshwater is that the fish are always buried deep in the structure, so you have to put your casts right into the middle of it.

I straightened the hook on the jighead, pulled it free and then reshaped it with my pliers. Don’t do it with your teeth – I learned the consequence of putting a hook in your mouth fairly early on – not good! I straightened the soft plastic lure so that it was sitting right and cast a few feet to the left of the fallen tree. As soon as I lifted my rod something took the plastic into the timber. I felt the leader pulling against the branches so I loosened the drag and waited for perhaps twenty seconds. I retightened and pulled the fish free. I saw the slime covered leader and realised it was a catfish. I think I can safely say I now know how to catch catfish.

I moved further away from the bridge and caught a catfish. I moved closer to the bridge and caught two more catfish. In fact, I caught about 8 in the next 30 minutes. I change soft plastics and tried some small hard bodies. The different soft plastics caught more catfish and the hard bodies did not get a hit.
I looked at my watch. It was time to get going. I had found another creek full of fish; the only problem was they were catfish. Still it was better than sitting at the service station with a bad cup of coffee!