Fishing Up North in December

By Dylan Brier-Mills

I’ve recently finished up Guiding for the year so it’s time for something a little different. After fishing in the salt for so long and staring at mangroves you get a little over it so it’s been all dam fishing for me.

Recently we have spent a few nights at our local dam Lake Tinaroo with great success using a variety of lures for Barra up to 133cm’s!! We experienced a couple of great little night sessions with half a dozen hooked fish in short bite periods just after dark. For these sessions we were sitting in shallow water casting all around the boat watching the Barra on the Sidescan and waiting for their switch to flick (feeding mode). Once that happened it was great fun with tail walking displays, surface boofs and bust offs. Sitting on areas for a while with fish moving through seems to be more effective lately then moving trying to chase them around. Our retrieves have been very slow with lots of pauses in between, sometimes pauses up to 10 seconds. After these sessions at night we decided that catching a few in the day would be cool. Tinaroo Barra can be caught during the day but it fishes much better at night so there was only one place on our minds, Peter Faust Dam.

On arrival to Peter Faust we had a little game plan but we were really just going to explore the place and have a good time. The first afternoon it poured with rain and blew like hell so we stayed put around Camp Kanga, once it cleared we did a quick lap of the lake figuring out what we were going to do the next day. The water seemed very low with weed everywhere; weed is something we don’t really have too much of at Tinaroo so it was time to adapt our techniques a little.

The next day the weather was better with showers and steady winds. We ventured over to a few likely looking spots and started casting, it didn’t take long before we rolled a nice fish in the weed. After this it was consistent all day with a few fish boated, multiple jump offs and heaps of bites. A great day casting the shallows around the weed edges again with a variety of lures but it wasn’t the epic day we were hoping for.

The last day the weather was even better, no rain and very little wind. We had a go at a few different areas but not much seemed to be happening so we had to try something different. We found a few pelicans in slightly deeper water and the Sidescan lit up with Barra underneath them. We stopped where we saw the most activity and it only took 1 cast to hook up. Little did we know what we were about to experience, the hottest Dam Barra bite my mate and I have ever had. It was a bite a cast for 2hrs with 16 Barra boated 12 over a meter and so many dropped fish and bites that we lost count. We left them biting mid afternoon as we had a fair drive ahead of us back up to Cairns. All these fish were caught on a slow worked retrieve, as for lure or plastics it didn’t matter they were eating everything! Right place right time, Pelicans feeding on Bony Bream and the Barra were feeding on the balled up Bony’s. As long as our lures got down to the depth of the bait we’d get a bite.

On the dams I use a heap of different combos but lately one of my favourites has been the Shimano Stradic 3000FK with 20lb Power Pro on a Gloomis E6X rod. Light enough to cast all day but when it comes to landing a big Barra it’s got plenty of Power. And for anyone that thinks ‘Dam Barra’ don’t fight maybe you should get out there and catch a few more because they fight just as hard as any Barra! A stand out for me on these trips has been the Ocea leader range, I have now down sized to 50lb Ocea Fluro Carbon and haven’t had any chew through. So much easier to work your lure with opposed to 60lb & 80lb in other brands that I was using.

Always think outside the box, keep casting and have a good New Year.