Fun at Faust Dam by Jason Bird
it was time again to pack up the car and boat and head north on
my annual October pilgrimage to Peter Faust Dam or Lake Proserpine
on the way I fished Teemburra Dam and also Lake Awoonga, this
was compiled over two separate trips two weeks apart.
Although I wrote a feature last year on the Faust it had changed
a fair bit with about 6 feet of water missing from the dam and
the fish are holding in different areas than last year.
For those making there way up the coast to have a crack at the
barra in the impoundments I would recommend making the time to
have a look at both Awoonga and Teemburra.
Teemburra is a great little dam west of Mackay right near Pinnacle
Point and although the water level is not what you would call
high it is still a great place for a fish.
We spent a day and a half on Teemburra and had a ball with barra
in the 85cm range belting lures from small bass style lures right
up to purpose bred 125mm scorpions and the Lively Lures Arafuras.
The need for what we call Faust class tackle is just not needed
here as there is not many meter barra in the place and the majority
of fish are in the 50 to 80 cm range.
I used 20 braid and 60 lb wind-on leaders for Teemburra and had
no trouble at all stopping the fish, apart from one.
I cast deep into a sunken cattle crush in about 5 feet of water,
I only got about 2 turns out of the reel and I was smashed and
promptly smoked by what was a good fish.
The Pinnacle Point Hotel is situated not far from the dam and
is easy to find, they have basic but comfortable accommodation
for those that would like to stay near the dam and as camping
on the dam is not permitted it is a good option. Another good
option is to stay at Mackay; we stayed at the Cool Palms Motel
on Nebo Road. Steve and Tracy Froome will look after you and they
have room for limited boat parking as well.
Onto Awoonga, this place is huge at the moment and has very freshly
sunken forests all around the dam and the best way to get a handle
on the place is to ask the ranger at the dam for advice. There
is a good mix of both small medium and very large barra in the
place so tackle needs to be what we would use for Faust fish.
The next and last place is my favorite and that is Faust.
This year I did the trip with my brother Nathan and two mates
Dave Price and Aarron Elks and the previous trip was with Randall
Gillbert, Steve Brown and Peter Swanson.
On the first trip we found the going very tough with strong cold
winds keeping the water temp down to about 22 degrees C and as
a result we didn't see many fish over the 5 days we were there
but we did work out the fish were not doing what they had done
In the previous year the fish were holding in the top of the many
creeks that flow into the dam as the water was clean and warm
up there but this year with the water at a lower level the top
of the creeks is very dirty and just looks lifeless.
I did pull an 112cm barra from the top of one creek on one afternoon
on the first trip but we soon found the fish had changed their
habits to suit the conditions.
The water out the front of the bays is still clean and warm and
this is where we found the fish, on flat open timbered paddocks
in about 10-15 feet of water.
The best thing we found this year was to find the warmest water
relative to the rest of the dam and then get to that magic depth
and start casting, we fished water to 28 degrees Celcius on the
I mentioned Faust class tackle earlier well this is what is needed
for these brutes of fish. I fish a custom built rod for these
fish but in essence it is an 8 - 12 kg bait-casting rod at about
6 feet long.
You don't want long rods for these fish as the leverage they have
on you is just too great to try and stop them from too far from
your body. They have a habit of going under the boat when you
think they are finished also so a strong rod is needed when they
do this but sometimes the best option here is to free spool and
then catch up with them when you have changed sides of the boat.
Reels need to be tough.
I used a millionaire for the last three trips and on the last
fish I hit of exactly 1 meter long it gave up and is now in need
of some new bits. I recommend the Shimano Chronarch or just as
good will be the new Penn low profile bait caster to be released
You will need 50 lb braid as a minimum for Faust, I watched many
people turn up thinking 30 will stop most things only to head
for Proserpine Bait and Tackle to get some 50 after fishing for
just one morning in the dam.
Lastly for tackle is the leader needed.
I use 80 lb leader and connected via and 40-turn bimini in the
braid and then an improved Albright to the leader, a hint is to
put a drop of super glue on all the knots to secure everything
Lures are a subject that could be talked about for days but what
we found to work were the 150mm scorpions, 130 and 150mm Lively
Lures' arafura, Barra Baits and we didn't bother with anything
else, all these lures are in gold or bleeding mullet color. One
bit of info I have is DO NOT trust the Classic Barra lures in
the 160 mm, we had a barra pull one of the things in half and
another fail, everything else stood up to these fish but the Classics.
Enough of the technical stuff, this is a passage of events from
the latter trip.
On one morning it went something like this, we pulled into a bay
where we found fish that we later named FS bay. We cast for about
10 minutes and then I got smacked by a big fish but pulled the
hooks as I started to apply serious pressure. Then about 4 minutes
later Dave got belted by another big fish, this time it was solid
hook up with two thumbs on the reel and really stretching the
50 lb to the limit the 80lb leader gave way on a tree the fish
had passed on it's rampage. If you can get these fish to jump
you are halfway there, it's the ones that put the head down and
charge that are truly unstoppable. Next my brother gets hits at
the boat, a small fish about 80 cm but the hooks are shaken pretty
quick, everything has seemed to settle down until Aarron got hammered
by a real big barra, this fish took line off a locked up drag
and thumb locked reel like it was in free spool and then busted
him off easily on a tree.
All this happened in about 20 minutes, two lures lost and no one
with a fish, awesome.
Next morning we headed back, same barra time, same barra channel.
This time it was Dave who got hammered first with a big fish jumping
at the boat but throwing the hooks early in the fight, we kept
casting. Dave gets belted again this time by a huge fish, we see
it take the lure and put the head down and charge. Dave jams both
thumbs on the spool and gives no quarter as the fish was headed
for some serious timber, you can hear the 50 lb braid cutting
the water as the fish belts away from the hurt and a huge boil
follows as the 50 lb braid lets go with a definite crack just
near the reel, lure and fish lost.
Shortly after Nathan boats a small model of 60 cm, nice work.
Then I get belted by a good fish as I watched it eat the lure
I knew I'd be in for it.
As I started to put hurt on the fish the reel lets go and I loose
control of the fish as it goes from snag to snag trying to get
rid of the lure. In the end after some panic and weaving around
I got a 100cm barra on the boat.
Trolling is still a very good way to catch a fish if you are sick
of getting smashed up in the timber, troll the tree line across
the dam from the ramp for good results or in the basin near the
wall as well.
place is awesome and if you have been toying with the idea of
chasing big barra Faust is the place to go with Awoonga and Teemburra
a great warm up for the belting you will get in Faust.
Proserpine info page with lake map
Link - Sunwater
Dam Express - Article by Birdy
Up for Big Lake Barra - Article by Birdy
Barra - Shallow or Deep - Article by Fitzy