This conversation with Jason is ALF EPISODE 656. Check out our archives for more information on Fishing For Yellowbelly!

Jason Ehrlich Fishing Bio

Jason Ehrlich

Bass Specialist And Lure maker

Jason has been a Southeast Queensland freshwater fishing specialist for many years. A former bass guide and tournament fisherman, he’s written numerous magazine articles on Australian freshwater fishing and is currently the freshwater fishing field editor for Queensland Fishing Monthly magazine. His lure business “Hot Bite Fishing” produces a line of niche lures specifically for SEQ impoundment bass fishing.

Jason’s Tips For Cooby/Cressbrook Yellas

  • Cooby Dam fishing overview:
    • Located on the western side of the Great Dividing Range and only stocked with golden perch, Murray cod, and silver perch; no bass.
    • Electric motor-only, with opportunities for kayaks and canoes. Day use only, check Toowoomba Council website for opening times
    • Weedy areas, particularly around the boat ramp, and occasional ribbon-type weed. Features walking trails, a rock wall, and a pontoon as good land-based fishing spots.
    • Year-round fishery, adjusting techniques in winter and using more aggressive presentations in warmer months.
    • Potential for frisky behavior in summer, despite yellas not breeding in the dam. They feed aggressively at these times.
    • Focus on fishing underwater features and long flats.Productive long flat near the boat ramp, extending to 5 meters of water.
    • Weed edge is crucial; fish patrol weed edge in 3 to 5 meters of water.
    • At present fish are scattered; no specific secret spots; explore the entire lake and target depths around 20 to 24 feet (7 to 8 meters); fish found in varied locations.
    • Presence of sticky vegetation in some areas; golden perch favour these spots.
    • Utilize down image sonar for separating fish from structure; forward-facing sonar is a game-changer.
    • Golden perch’s familiarity with lures requires precise presentations. Teabagging worked in the past but isn’t working presently, casting is more effective.
    • Fishing success influenced by the stability of the weather; warmer months less critical. A run of stable air temps will encourage a bite.
    • Cooby can be challenging on windy days; fish bite during specific times that seem random, then bite shuts down.
    • Search for fish actively; relocate if they go quiet; surprise them after a break.
  • Cressbrook Dam fishing overview:
    • Located near Crow’s Nest, 45 minutes from Toowoomba. Picturesque dam surrounded by hills with multiple gullies and arms.
    • Historically known for bass, but current focus on yellowbelly. A good yellowbelly fishery with varying sizes, including small undersized and 45-centimeter fish. Rare presence of Mary River cod.
    • Changing weed conditions, with points being key fishing locations.
    • Gated dam with specified closing hours; check Toowoomba Regional Council website for accurate information.
    • Fish bite at any time of the day; bite times less predictable than Cooby.
    • Active searching using down image and forward-facing sonar; adjust lure presentations accordingly.
    • Spinnerbaits and lipless crankbaits work well at times.
    • Land-based fishing success less guaranteed compared to Cooby, particularly for lure fishing.

Jason’s Tackle For Cooby/Cressbrook Yella’s

  • A light graphite rod, approximately 7 feet long with a 3 to 5 kg rating, is recommended. Opting for a 2000 size spin reel makes casting lightweight lures easier. Braided line in the 4 to 10-pound range, with a 6 to 8 pound leader completes the outfit – although Jason often bumps the leader up to 14 lb in case a cod is unwittingly hooked.

Jason’s Top Yellowbelly Lures

  • ZX 40 and ZX 43 Blades: These small blades are equipped with assist hooks rather than trebles, and are highly effective. Yellowbelly are drawn to them due to their mimicry of shrimp and crayfish, enticing the fish to pick at the lures. Vertically jigging when fish are directly below, using short, sharp hops about 20 to 50 centimetres off the bottom. This has been less effective in Cooby of late, and it has been necessary to cast the blade 10-30m and work it back with hops and drops.
  • Jackall TN 60 Lipless Crankbait: A classic lure, darker colours like “brown dog,” prove effective. This lipless crankbait offers versatility, and both rattling and silent versions should be carried, a fish an show preferences on different days. Adjusting retrieval speed, experimenting with slow winding, and vary speeds to trigger different responses. This lure comes up off the bottom during retrieval, so wind ten or so turns and then stop and let the lure drop. Bites usually come on the drop.
  • Jackal Mask Vibe (Soft Vibe): A soft vibe like the Jackal Mask Vibe is effective when fish are deeper. It remains productive for yellowbelly, especially when imitating smaller baitfish like bonies. Cast, allow to sink and then work with hops and drops on specific fish with shorter casts, drawing the lure up and letting it sink back down. Or slow roll it close to the depth that fish are holding.

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