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Peter Faust Dam Revisited by Jason Bird

After missing seeing the place in 2005 this year I just had to get back to where my love of chasing impoundment barra began and while Awoonga is now-a-days by far the most popular of the impoundments I just had to get back to 'Faust.
Lake Proserpine is where it all began for me and the place is still special even after fishing many other barra impoundments over the years.
The usual stop at the BP in Prossy for fuel and also Woolies for some food was done after the 13 hour run from Brisbane and then we pointed the Hilux out the road that leads us to the dam and of course our donga at Camp Kanga.
As we got nearer to the dam the memories I have of the place involving momumental bust offs in the sticks on big barra came flooding through and while those memories where not to be replicated this trip there was enough action at the right times of the day to keep us going back for more every afternoon.
On this trip I was joined by Mark Todd.
Mark is a mate of mine from Brisbane and keen barra angler who untill this trip had not boated a fish over 1 meter cast and retrieve from Faust, we didn't know then but he would go onto smash that goal during the 7 days we fished the dam.
After a quick chat to Jan at Camp Kanga and unloading the gear our first afternoon saw us scouting around the dam just checking out the place as we went as neither of us had seen the dam at the present water level we needed a few hours to get feel of the place again.
I recall Faust as being a huge place that bewildered me on my first trip up there and while there are still plenty of sticks to cast behind the tree line it is far from the maze of trees and creek lines it once was,with any luck this coming cyclone season will put some water back into the place.
We fished the sticks hard for two days in reasonable weather but we had arrived just as 2 weeks of very cold weather had chilled the dam a few degrees and we found the fish hard to excite in the sticks so we changed what we were doing.
I am big believer in the knowledge that barra have got to feed every day reguardless of wind, moon and any other bigger factor and I reckon you have just got to be casting when they do.
We again proved this theory with some great sessions in that magic period between about 5 o'clock in the afternoon and 9 at night on this trip hooking well over 30 fish in the process from a shut down dam and all big fish over a meter long.
Looking at the weed beds on the major point in the middle of dam and after talking to Lindsay at Proserpine Bait and Tackle we decided to attack the fishing just as we would do at Awoonga.
The wind was howling as we dropped the anchor into the weed bed just on dark and proceeded to cast both soft and hard bodied lures off a distinct weed edge, not long after a 100cm fish inhaled the 110mm Slick Rig I was casting.
That was the last fish I caught on a Slick Rig for the trip as I began to play with my favourite technique for any fish on lures and while far from being new information I love fishing suspending lures over or near a weed edge for big barra.
The lures I use for the purpose are not suspending out of the packet and need the hooks and rings to be modified so they behave in the way I want them to.
The Laser Pro 120 is the lure I use for this style of fishing and while I am not a subscriber to color making a difference after dark a few things I noticed on this trip cast a doubt on that theory for me, more on that later.
I like to have the Laser Pro just on the sinking side of suspending and there is a reason for me wanting them to sink and not slowly float.
If the lure is just floating up while stalled it drfts away from fish that are not quite in the mood, if you have fired up fish that are biting it doesn't matter what way it suspends but for quiet fish sinking is best.
As the barra follows the lure on the active part of the retreive it is more often than not just under the lure looking up at the silloette and contrast the lure makes, then as the lure is stalled and suspends the barra is still under the lure looking up.
I have seen barra in the middle of the day get disinterested with a slowly floating lure as it drifts away from the fish.
However if the lure sinks ever so slowly it is drifting towards a stationary fish that is typically just behind the lure and then the lure naturally is right in the strike zone and sometimes right on the nose of the barra, this works rediculously well on barra in all dams that I have encounted.
This is not new information by any means but most suspending lures sit still or just float. I find it can be more effective if you can adjust them to just sink and then cast them near a weed bed for a giggle, you will see the difference having the lures drift towards the fish makes.
I fish the Laser Pro weighted this was using short,fast winds and then a stall period of 20 seconds or more and then a fast wind again with some rod tip work thrown in for good measure.The extra weight I use for the Laser Pro (this can apply to most lures) for slowly sinking is no.1 6X VMC trebles on Halco 6X split rings and for just floating no2 6X trebles with 4x Halco rings.
The method I just outlined was far away the most sucessful on Faust on this trip with every barra I boated but for 2 taking a Laser Pro while it was stalled after dark,the thump and head shake one gets as a big barra inhales a lure that is sitting still is something every fisho should get the chance to do.
I mentioned color earlier,there is one color that stood out after dark in a big way.
Moe is what we call this color,in actual fact Halco call it Flamin Hot but myeslf and few mates call it a Flamin Moe after one particular Simpson's Episode.
It is the pearl white and Flouro Orange head you may have seen around the place.
I have wondered what it might be about this color that was working so well after dark and has done for me at Awoonga many times also.
I found out when I looked at the lure in the moon light with no artificial light source shining on it, the head on the lure becomes an oily jet black in the moon light and the body fo the lure remains bright white.
I have not noticed this kind of color contrast in any lure I have ever seen before under the moon light and I'm not sure if Halco knew what they had achieved with this color but it changed my thinking a little on the color debate after dark for barra as it was much, much more effective than anything else we threw at them.
All in all it was another great trip to where it all began and I enjoyed being able to fish the dam with only 5 boats on the dam at any one time.
I 'll be back to Faust……again.


Click on images for larger version

Related Links:
Lake Proserpine (Peter Faust Dam) info page
Fishing Fun at Faust Dam Article by Jason Bird
Faust Dam Express Article by Jason Bird
Gearing up for Big Lake Barra Article by Jason Bird
Winter Barra - Shallow or Deep Article by Garry Fitzgerald
Water Level Link - Sunwater

Copyright© 2006 Jason Bird. Sweetwater Fishing Australia