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All Aboard for the Faust Express by Jason Bird

IF it's serious sports fishing your after and you want to see fifty pound braid and eighty pound terminal tackle laughed at time and time again then look no further than the barra at Peter Faust Dam. I have recently came back from seven days at the place with a few mates and after fishing it I must say that you can read as much as you want about these fish and talk to people that have caught them but until you get smoked by sixty pound of fish that has knitted twenty meters of line though the twigs you have no idea what these fish can do.
Faust is situated twenty-one kilometers from Proserpine on Queensland's Whitsunday Coast on a road that leads no-where but to the dam and it is well signposted in Proserpine so getting there is not an issue. Once at the dam the best place to stay is at Camp Kanga, about 2 kilometers from the boat ramp at the dam and has basic but comfortable lodgings. With very neat amenities and a great public BBQ and kitchen all that is needed for a stay at Kanga is bed linen, cutlery and of course your food.
To fish Faust you need to be in possession of a Stocked Impoundment Permit (S.I.P.)that has you name on it , these are available at Proserpine bait and tackle and also the BP service station on the Bowen road right in town. If you get your S.I.P. from Proserpine Bait and Tackle make sure you see Lindsay and find out where the fish are biting or book him for a days guided fishing on the dam .I have seen his work and you should not be disappointed after a day with Lindsay, that's if you can stop the barra without getting smoked.
The fishing in the dam is simply mind blowing if you are casting the sticks but for a more relaxed version there are plenty of fish available on the troll in the basin fishing the afternoon and well into the night, some of these trolled fish are well over the magical meter mark and in excess of fifty pound. Just remember not to get inside the red buoys that mark the no-go zone right on the wall but you really don't need to as the fish can be caught well off the wall. I seen old bloke catch two fish over a meter each and he was well over a kilometer off the wall and in open country because of this ten kg tackle will suffice if it's trolling you like.
To get into the sticks it is a long stretch from the ramp to the tree line and as this is a big dam it's not a place to take just enough fuel, make sure you have plenty of fuel and more importantly drinking water and sunscreen. In the tropical sun you know all about the heat, we wore long sleeve shirts , full-length pants,hats,sunnies and carried enough water for six liters each of us every day and used it.
Tackle for the sticks starts with an eight kg or better rod coupled with a bullet proof reel, some of the Abu's will handle the strain, I used a Diawa Millionaire with no worries.
Fifty pound main line be it fused gel spun or braided gel spun connected to a leader of about 1 meter long and at least eighty pound breaking strain. Harro's new Magnum knotted dogs will do the trick; connected to bimini via a cat's paw loop these provide an easy and tough leader system.
Do not use a clip to connect your lures to the main line it's best to use a loop knot, these are easy to tie and are very strong.
When fishing this huge dam at it's current level there are quite a few creeks and bays that have formed that are not as apparent when it is full .We found our best success was to find a creek or bay that had warm water that was twenty six degrees or warmer in it and start throwing lures at the timber.
Best lures for us, well the ones that we lost to unstoppable fish were 150 mm Scorpions, Lively Lure's big Arafura, DK Barra, SK Barra and Killalure Barrabaits all in gold or chrome bleeding mullet colors. When gearing up get your self some extra strong trebles for you lures, for hard-core fishing I recommend VMC 6X trebles to be attached to you lures for pulling fish from the timber. You need to set yourself a week link in the chain and this should be your split rings as you will get you lure back if these pull out. Crushing the barbs will help in releasing the fish and if you get smoked sometimes the fish will throw the lure and you'll get it back with crushed barbs. We used 6X trebles and some 4X times trebles but beware these fish will tear the wire from any lure if hooked the right way so make the split your week link and NO, the hooks on the lures as you buy them will not do.

We had so may bust offs that is not possible to write about them all but here are a few to wet the appetite.
Up in one of the creeks in the middle of the day I cast a 150 mm Gold Scorpion into a snag pile and about half was back to the boat a huge fish has smashed me and run under the boat. I was fishing fifty pound screwed down so that you'd cut yourself before line came off the reel if you tried the drag bare handed and this fish tore line off the reel and ran under the boat, with this kind of pressure on the fish it slowed just enough for me to get up and lift the rod a little when it powered on again and came up behind me, about now I realize that the line is coming up between the electric motor and the hull of the Polycraft so I jammed the rod through the gap, now the sight of a graphite rod being bent like that doesn't please me at all but just as I though I might have been able to stand up and have a go I felt the line rattle through some sticks and about then everything went limp and came up with a shattered eighty pound leader. At no time was I even a little bit in control of the fish So as I'm re-rigging my gear while still shaking my brother Nathan is still casting away, he was throwing a gold Reidy's Big Boss that was later lost to a bigger fish. Anyhow just as I thought sanity might re-join us this monster barra is jumping about one meter from the boat with a Big Boss in it's gob, it throws the lure on jump number three and we are both left standing… we had nothing! This all happened in about fifty seconds on day two of the Faust trip.
Three days later a few of us where in another creek in the dam when Nathan cast a gold (yep gold again) SK Barra into some spindly sticks, well it was all over in about twenty seconds but in that time a fish had taken about ten meters of line from a locked up drag with fifty wound around it, found some big timber and took the SK to hang in the Pool Room.
A mate of Mine Steve (Bomber) Brown had a meter plus fish free jump at a lure as he was contemplating his next cast, if the fish had have hooked up it would have been a smashed rod and lost lure for sure and it goes to show when fishing this dam do not get distracted, no dot get comfortable, do not think it won't happen because these things are dead set animals and are at the pinnacle of freshwater sport fishing in this country.
For those that have had a bit to do with saltwater fish these barra have not got mind blowing power but imagine trying to stop a fifty pound king in timber that you sometimes can't push a boat through and your somewhere near the mark.
So if it's serious arm breaking fishing you want these fish are everything that you think they will be very powerful, fast, dirty and dead set tackle destroying machines but if it's a casual family experience you need to see then trolling the basin offers a great alternative, big fish but a less brutal form of fishing .The big fish in the basin go just as hard but you can give them plenty of room to play and thus are quite catch able for anyone.
Then there is the sooties in the dam as well. Most of you will know of the sooty grunter, the north's freshwater black tanks that pull just as hard as a jack. We got a few of these as buy catch but downsize you lures and cast the same territory and you will have a ball with the sooties. As the sun rises and falls the sooties are suckers for fizzers skittered across the top but once again beware of the bucket mouthed large jumping perch (barra) that also love to smash anything that moves on the surface.

In a word awesome fishing and well worth the trip for any serious fisho, I know I'll be back to get aboard one of the Faust express trains for a giggle.



Related Links:
Lake Proserpine (Peter Faust Dam) info page
Fishing Fun at Faust Dam Article by Jason Bird
Water Level Link - Sunwater

Copyright© 2006 Jason Bird. Sweetwater Fishing Australia