LOCATED in the hills just 30 minutes west of Mackay, Kinchant Dam is one of many dams in the region that are well stocked with barramundi that grow rapidly, largely thanks to a big population of bony bream.
After recently moving out to central western Queensland for work, drought conditions had dried up the fishing opportunities so a few days on a dam chasing barra was well overdue. I was half expecting to be there alone for the entire time but two mates, Jason Metcalf and Jason Ehrlich, were both on a fishing trip nearby so called in to fish the final day with me. Jason Ehrlich went on to give us a lesson in catching barra on plastic frogs. It was one of the most addictive techniques I have ever tried.
I have been “frogging” for a while now but getting a few tips from Jason was great and having barra chasing a frog zipping across the surface was awesome. There is no way a frog could move that fast over the water but the resulting reaction strikes from the barra were very aggressive. We were able to get the same barra to come out of the water to attack the frog three or four times. It was great to see happening right in front of our eyes, especially in a couple of foot of water in the middle of the day!
Jason Ehrlich landed a great 97cm fish doing just that. My favoured style is to chase big barra after dark so as the sun was setting, we moved to my "honey hole" where we worked a deep weed edge for barra that were using the deeper water to move around under the cover of darkness. It didn’t take too long before my arms were being stretched by 120cms of silver muscle - my second barra over the 120cm mark for the trip.
We worked hard for a handful of fish that night but the results were well worth it. The night fishing was done with standard hard body lures and with the fish being high in the water column we were twitching and dancing the lures to create as much flash and noise as possible. We worked Halco Laser Pros and Halco Scorpions in the shallow running models with my pick being a red and gold colour while Jason Metcalf was landing fish on green and gold Scorpions. Nothing fancy, but just lots and lots of casting, made so much easier when sharing a boat and good times with old mates.
Halco Laser Pros and Scorpions worked well under the cover of darkness.
Another technique that worked well on the trip was working Tango Dancers in a “walk the dog” style over the top of the weed, with the boat positioned in the deeper water. It was vital to know exactly where the weed edge was so that the lure could be paused as it met the with edge of the deep water. Pausing the lure for 20-30 seconds before retrieving it was necessary because some of the hits would come well after 10 or 15 seconds.
This technique worked well one morning where the hits were vicious, with a “boof” that could be heard across the entire dam during the still of the morning but unfortunately, not one single hit found the hooks. This is one of those techniques that can bring a sense of satisfaction without a single fish hooking up. I landed a couple on hard bodies that morning, included an absolute monster or 122cms, but those silence shattering “boofs” makes persisting with the surface lures well worthwhile.
Wardy with another nice Kinchant barra taken after dark.