Australian Bass in Lake Gregory

By Luke Galea

When it comes to the impoundment scene, I must say that I am absolutely addicted to catching barramundi in my local barramundi dams, being Kinchant, Teemburra and Peter Faust Dam, just to the north of Mackay.

I have just returned from visiting family in Bundaberg and instead of visiting Lake Monduran like I usually would, I decided to deploy my little kayak in Lake Gregory to see if I could land a few bass out of my kayak. What can I say, this little lake (also known as Isis Balancing Storage) is simply beautiful. An aesthetically pleasing image of perfection nestled among pine forest. It is abundant with fishy structure including free standing timber, lily-pads, weed-beds and deep holes. Best of all though, it is thick with Australian Bass.

These fish fight out of their skin and can be caught using a multitude of different applications ranging from plastics, minnow divers, spinner-baits to top-water. Surely, the crepuscular phase dawn and dusk periods are the best times of the day for surface-water strikes and would have to be the most entertaining way to catch them but in all honesty I have had greater success working small, weedlessly rigged, 3 inch plastics in and around the dense structure.

Like barramundi, bass have large eyes that are quite sensitive to high light periods. It is at these times when the bass will tend to head into the deeper sections of the dam. Bouncing large, heavily weighted plastics, blades or vibes throughout the heat of the day are your best options. Also, something worth trying is adding weights to the nose of your spinnerbaits. Yes it will sink down to the depths and the fish at a faster rate, but the main point of it is the extra weight propels the blades around at greater speeds resulting in increased flash and increased vibration. This is a little technique we use when chasing large sooty grunter in the deep water of Eungella Dam, Mackay. Dawn and dusk though, definitely revert back to surface or shallow running presentations as this is the time the bass will rise out of the depths to feed.

When it comes to impoundments, Lake Gregory has got to be one of the smallest ones around which is great news for kayak fisherman. You can comfortably navigate the extremeties of the lake within a few hours. Those big flash skeeter’s and nitro’s used in the AFC bass rounds at this lake must literally cover the entire dam within minutes. Not a bad way to do it, but I honestly find kayak fishing extremely relaxing and rewarding knowing that every fish you find has come off the back off your own, self-propelled hard work. I’m no greenie, but I honestly think there is something therapeutic about casting your line out whilst your backside is mere inches from the water-line.

Light spin or baitcast gear is my preferred way to fish in the dam and definitely has its advantages over heavier gear. One being the ability to cast a light plastic or hardbody an absolute mile. I use a 2-6lb spin stick, coupled with my Shimano Rarenium 2500Ci4, 6lb braid and 10lb leader. When it comes to my light baitcast combo, I use a 4-10lb baitcast rod coupled with my Shimano Chronarch Ci4+, 10lb braid and 10lb leader. I refer to this as my heavier combo despite the fact it is still nice and light.

I am honestly a big fan of Shimano’s Ci4 spin reels and I must say that the Chronarch Ci4+ baitcaster (featuring X-SHIP) is an absolute winner. I would not characteristically use a baitcast reel for flicking light plastics and lures as I would usually just use a spin combo, but being a Ci4 baitcaster, it is extremely light, perfect for the job and is an important part of my freshwater fishing arsenal.

Live It....Breathe It....