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article: bjelke - petersen dam by leeann payne
Dated: 26 November, 2002
Rattlin bibless lures such as this Daiwa Team Vibration lure accounted for the majority of our fish during our trip to Bjelke Petersen Dam.
There’s no doubting the season for bass is well and truly underway with plenty of good sized fish hitting all manner of arsonal thrown at them. There are no barriers as to what you can use on these fish as they are willing takers of shrimps, spinnerbaits, ice-jigs, soft plastics, metal jigs, bibbed and bibless lures.

Situated adjacent to the towns of Kingaroy, Murgon and Goomeri is Bjelke-Petersen Dam, a fish rich aquatic playground. For anglers, this dam is a fine producer of Australian Bass, Golden Perch and Silver Perch. Eastern Saratoga, Eel-tailed Catfish and Spangled Perch are other species that you may encounter.

From the south side of Brisbane where I reside, the drive to the dam takes approximately 3 hours travelling firstly along the Ipswich Motorway, through Esk and up through Nanango towards Goomeri (don’t take the Kingaroy road!!). The turnoff to the dam is well signed along the Murgon-Barambah Road.

The dam by no means falls under the "scenic" category but any water source whether it be a lake, river or the ocean seems to hold a certain attraction for anglers.

A late afternoon Bass taken on a bibless lure. The average size of the fish we caught was fantastic.
The fishing my husband Robert and I have experienced at B.P. dam has been mixed. Some days the fish bite their heads off while other days, you have to work hard to raise a scale.

The best day we have had on the dam was our first. We did however work hard in the morning only to hit the mother lode in the afternoon.

As with your first time at any location, the first couple of hours (sometimes days) are spent exploring, looking for schools of fish, baitfish, dropoffs and other interesting areas of structure. If covering deeper water in the middle of the dam, it’s handy to have a GPS on board to mark in the old river bed (drop offs).

Of course, the flats can often hold fish and when they are found, throw out a marker buoy (or use the GPS) to mark the location of the fish so that they can be easily found again.

We spent the morning trolling lures while looking for suitable fishing spots. An eye was kept on the sounder in the hope of finding a worthwhile show. Funnily enough, the couple of fish that were marked on the sounder had lockjaw and ignored our trolled offerings.

This yellowbelly succumbed to a slow trolled Hydrobug lure.
There were also plenty of weedbeds located along the edges of the dam and we cast towards a couple in several bays but to no avail. We also worked the points and found that we definitely were lucking out in a big way. The timbers were trolled with our deep diving lures which were once again noticeably ignored. We were really becoming discouraged!

Our prospecting finally led us to an area known as Treasure Island (we found it by mistake!). As the trolled lures were being hopelessly ignored, we decided to use the wind to our advantage. We cast out lures and slowly retrieved them as the boat drifted over the show of fish on the X-85.

On our second drift over the fish, we changed tact and added a little more exertion into our fishing using the T.D. Brass Vibration lures in the 18gm and 10gm sinking models. These were bought into the country by Daiwa and have since proved to be one of our favourite lures in the tackle box. The lure is not unlike the old bibless Cordell Rattlin Spots.

Where the other lures failed, the Vibration lure accounted for the first fish of the day – a Golden Perch.

The Technique

Casting and retrieving lures worked a treat during our best day on the dam.
I used a Strudwick TPS 6ft 1-3kg spin rod and Shimano Stradic 2000 spooled with 6lb Fireline with the 10gm lure. Robert used the 18gm lure on a 6’6" 3-4kg high modulus graphite spin rod and Regal-Z 2000 spooled with 6lb mono.

After casting the lures out, we lifted our rod tips quickly and then slowly lowered them, making sure that contact was kept with the lure at all times.

With the weight of the T.D. lure, it was very easy to stay in touch with the lure while jigging and the results started to improve. The first Golden Perch was followed by a second but then the Australian Bass tally started to increase.

The bass tally increased as the afternoon progressed however it was beginning to get late and we were due back at the caravan park as we were meeting someone.

With rods back in the holders we began our quick trip back to the ramp only to find an area where the fish almost totally blacked out the sounder

Other anglers were already in the vicinity and it was not hard to work out that this was the hot spot of the moment. We decided to make a quick troll through the area and Robert cast out Team Daiwa lure. Within five seconds, had hooked up to a 50cm B.P. bass.

Well, our friends back at camp would just have to wait a little while longer, we knew they’d understand – fishing always comes first, especially when they’re on!

The windy conditions of the early morning dissipated leaving a lazy breeze for the late afternoon session. Bony Bream were rolling everywhere on the surface and the fish did not stop biting.

This Brett Thompson Tournament Tailspinner accounted for plenty of fish.
Using the T.D. Brass Vibrations, constant hookups were made on bass ranging in size from 42cm to 48cm. All of the fish hit the lures whilst on the drop and on light outfits, these fish provided a good fight.

The majority of the other boats were trolling and besides three anglers in one boat who were regularly hooked up in approximately 16-18ft of water, the others seemed to be having a bit of a lull. It was very hard to leave such a great bite but we were now an hour late – bugger!

A decision was made to hit the water at dawn to try again. The early morning bite was nowhere near as exciting as the previous session so we tried a few alternative spots.

We caught a few smaller bass casting and decided to make our way back to the "hot spot" again while trolling lures.

I changed to a Hydrobug in yellow and black and caught several Golden Perch and bass in areas devoid of any structure in which to speak of.

Releasing one of the smaller fish of the day.
By the time we returned to the hot spot, there were plenty of boats there once again. We trolled to the points which we had marked on the GPS the previous afternoon and cast our lures again.

When the wind slowed, we jigged the lures off the bottom, lifting the rod tips quickly before slowly lowering them again. Several fish were caught using this method and once again, the light line made for an interesting morning.

Yallakool Tourist Park

The Yallakool Tourist Park provides accommodation in the form of self-contained cabins, "donger" style rooms, caravan park as well as camping areas.

A café is on hand which stocks bait, tackle, ice as well as a good assortment of popular freshwater lures. There are BBQ and picnic facilities, hire boats and a tennis court.

If need be, you can also book the local fishing guide on the number below.
Bookings for accommodation can be made on Ph/Fax: 07 4168 4746
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