All posts by Matthew Langford

Danger in Storms

Nothing beats a great day out on the water when the fish are biting and the weather is great. Ideally, people like to fish in prime weather conditions. Warm sunny days are the best days on the water but there are times when perfect weather conditions aren’t available. As you know, conditions can change rapidly and what started out as a beautiful warm summer day can quickly turn into a dangerous situation.

What’s the risk?

When it comes to fishing it’s always hard to put down the rod, but when a storm is approaching you have to think about what’s more important. Common sense would tell you to pack up you’re gear and get off the water as soon as a storm starts heading your way. It’s important to be wary and take in the warning signs associated with storms, in particular, lightening. Fishing with a rod in the air is almost as silly as fishing with a lightening rod or swinging a golf club in the middle of a storm.   There are serious risks to consider if you’re thinking about staying out when a storm is about to hit. My advice early on is don’t take the risk, get to shelter or get off the water as soon as possible. With that said there will be a few people who choose to take the risk.

Warning signs

Here are some warning signs that you may be at risk of a lightening strike:

Seeing lightening or hearing thunder: The obvious prompt to make you aware that you may be at risk is seeing lightening in the area or hearing thunder in the distance. If you hear thunder it may be a good idea to think about heading back in or at  the very least have a look at the many available weather sites or weather radars available on your phone. Best bet is to take the opportunity and get off the water early.

Floating line: When casting during a storm build up, braided line commonly floats unusually long. As the storm gains momentum the braid does not touch the water instead it rises into the air, caused by the static from the storm. This is a serious warning sign that you’re at risk of a lightening strike as the static build up can be so great that you become a prime target for earthing out and being hit.

Ticking in the guides: Static build up in the braid can also present as a ticking sound. As you wind your line back, the static can cause the braid to spark against the guides, causing a ticking sound.  In this situation get off the water immediately.

Hair lifting: Another warning sign of a lightening strike is static lifting the hair on your arms and legs some lightening strike victims even reported having a metallic taste in their mouth before a strike.

The above signals are all bad and should be taken seriously. As I said earlier the best action to take is to get off the water immediately. If you’re going to wait it out, I’d highly recommend finding a sheltered bay to hide out of the wind. The risk of deluge and capsizing is a major risk when caught out in the open.  Put all rods below deck and keep your body in a low position in the boat. If you can crouch on the floor of the boat, even better, this will help reduce your risk of being hit by lightening. Mother nature’s power should never be underestimated and I’ll always recommend getting off the water in the event of storm. If this can’t be done or it’s too late, please make sure you seek shelter, stay low and don’t take any risk.  

Remember that the second most dangerous place to be during a storm is on the water, the first is standing on top of a hill, so take storms seriously.

Written by Matthew Langford

Match the Bait, Catch the Fish

In our freshwater lakes and rivers there is a large variety of bait species that our larger freshwater species feed on. Almost every location has their own unique mixture of bait that the predatory fish commonly feed on. No two locations are identical. When I’m about to visit a dam that I haven’t been to I always do some research on what to expect when I get there. This will give me a rough idea on what lures to pack and where to start fishing when I get there. I will give you a run down on what to look for and what to do to increase your chances of having a good day out on the water.


As I stated earlier the bait in every dam or river is different. The bait itself needs habitat to live within or around and is a vital part of their protection and survival. The best way to discover a dam and it’s habitat is to go out and explore. Weed, timber, rock walls, points, laydowns, lilly pads all serve as great areas for bait to hide and congregate. Spend some time observing each one and always keep an eye on your sounder as there is much more to a waterway than what you can see from above. Submerged timber, drop-offs, creek beds, deep flats, boulders, weed flats and even deep water are all areas that can hold bait at any time of the year. If you observe a particular bait congregating around a particular habitat, it worth imitating that bait around that area to see what predators are lurking nearby.

Bait Species

Most bait species that live in a waterway are likely targets for our hungry native fish. All are susceptible at different times of the year, moon cycle or day. Common bait species include Bonies (Bony Bream, or Freshwater Herring), Banded/Barred Grunter, Carp, Gudgeon, Freshwater Gar, Sleepy cod, Smelt, Shrimp, Yabbies, Red Claw, Cicadas, Mice, Lizards, Beetles, Insects and many other aquatic insects, small crustaceans and other native fish. At some time or another each of these bait species will become targets. Most common species like Bonies can be found out in the deeper water on the flats or the drop offs. A good sounder will be beneficial in locating these schools of bait. Commonly the fish won’t be far away. Smelt, gudgeon, shrimp and red claw are all very fond of edges, weed or lilly pads, and the fish will use these areas to ambush the bait. Particularly in winter when the fish tend to move up shallow. Banded grunter and sleepy cod can be found on the deeper flats. Yabbies and shrimp are also likely to make themselves comfortable around rock walls and rocky points. Cicadas, mice and lizards are obviously common around heavily timbered edges or areas with high grass, or areas that have recently been flooded. Standing submerged timber is also a congregation point for bait fish particularly in summer as the bait is down deeper and can hide within the branches.

Matching the Bait

Overtime, there has been a great expansion in the various techniques used to target fish in a wide variety of situations. Knowing and using these techniques will give you a great advantage when it comes to fishing. These are the techniques that I would use when fishing particular areas:

Deep water/ drop offs: basic cast and retrieve technique using soft plastics in lighter colours, spoons, lipless crankbaits, spinnerbaits or any vibration lures like blades or chatter baits.

Timber: spinner baits, lipless crank baits or swim jigs with a single hook to stop snagging.

Weed edges: cast a small jig head rigged soft plastic with a three-inch grub or paddle tail in green or clear to match a gudgeon. Cast tight into the weed and twitch it out.

Rocky points: skirted jigs with a three-inch craw trailer are a perfect yabbie representation that can be fished down rock walls and along rocky points. Slowly drag or hop these lures along the bottom to imitate a yabbie.

Surface: cicada representations, jitterbugs, poppers or surface stick baits are a great option if you notice bass feeding on the surface. Try surface lures after the dam has risen or has had some rain.  Also remember fishing around weed is good to fish surface. Just be careful in a dam that holds a lot of bonies as the fish may not have a look at your surface lure.

Flats: if the fish are on the flats close to the bottom they’re likely to be feeding on bonies, banded grunter, Gar or sleepy cod. Heavily weighted plastics fished slow with a curl or paddle tail are a great way to get a bite. Soft vibes or blades is another great option, even slow winding a spoon can get a fish to react.

Swimming the lure

Nowadays lures are designed and made to swim straight out of the packet. The biggest misconception with some lures is to impart an action that is unnatural to the movement of the bait or unnecessary for the lure. The best advice when swimming a new lure is to do some research or read the packet that will often give you instructions. A standard cast and retrieve with varying speed will suffice with most.

In saying this there are most certainly some lures that require a distinct technique or motion to be imparted on the lure. Fishing with soft plastics is a great lure to practice with. They can be swum with a standard retrieve but can also be fished a heap of other ways by varying jig head weight or even different style hooks. They can be fished within the deepest structure using weedless hooks. Fished in deep open water with heavy weighed heads. Fished up shallow along weed edges or even hopped along the bottom out on the flats.

As stated earlier its always best to do your research, talk to professionals or someone who has some success in the past with swimming a lure and getting great results.


Whilst there are numerous scenarios to consider and a myriad of bait fish in our lakes and rivers it takes time to break each one down to know exactly what’s happening at any given time. One of the biggest factor for success and working out this riddle is spending time on the water and being observant of what’s going on around you and in the water. Be mindful in every situation of factors like, weather, structure, bait, depth, lure selection and retrieval. Whilst it way sound daunting, take the time to use your senses and your technology to observe what nature is trying to tell you. Once you’re sure you’ve worked out what bait the fish are eating and your starting to catch a few fish, work your way around the location and look for similar areas that match what you’ve been doing. Repeating this pattern will usually always work, all the way around location your fishing. Nature will always give secrets away eventually and you may be onto something that will give you the satisfaction of catching plenty of fish and a successful day on the water.

Written by Matthew Langford

Surface Fishing for Australian Bass

When targeting Bass on surface there is a few key elements that must be studied before a great top water session can be achieved.  Over the years I’ve learnt the things that are required for a good bite and experienced changes that can fire the fish up, shut them down, or not hit surface at all. Below I will explain what I’ve learnt.

In my experience over the years fishing surface lures there is some favourable weather conditions that I look for and scenarios that suit the presentation best. From hot afternoons to freezing cold mornings, Bass don’t mind coming up and smacking a lure off the top. When fishing surface it’s always favourable to have little or no wind so that your lure is displaying its full effect on the water surface. There are many types of surface lures on the market but they will only work to their full potential when the water is at it’s calmest. Likewise for low light conditions, early morning and late afternoon is always the best time to be successful. When the light is low the fish are out hunting and are less timid, even fishing shaded areas during full sun is likely to produce fish.

As stated before there are more favourable conditions than others. I always love fishing surface in the early mornings than any other time. At this time the fish are generally cruising the shallows or the edges looking for an easy meal. If the water is dead calm you have to be sure to make your entry onto a bank with great stealth. Shallow fish are hyper sensitive to everything going on around them, so any unnatural noise or movement could ruin your chances. In these conditions, I like to throw a quiet, subtle; ‘walk the dog’ type lure. These are the perfect presentation for this type of situation. They are designed to glide across the surface with minimal water disturbance and are great imitations of a wounded or fleeing bait fish. ‘Insect’ type surface lures are also a great presentation to throw. Personally I like the cicada or small frog patterns as they tend to land softly and imitate the bait species perfectly. Small subtle movements are the best as the fish lay waiting in ambush, and will move fast and strike hard if presented correctly.

In a scenario where the wind has put a ripple on the water I’d lean more towards a lure that has a cupped face (popper), as this lure displaces water and pops quite well to make the fish aware of it’s presence and give them a target when the surface isn’t dead still. These types of lures can be used when it’s calm or rippled so it does help to experiment and get a feel for what’s working for you. Seasonal changes do come into play as well. In summer I like to target steeper banks where the water is deeper. Rock walls with over hanging branches are a great one to target when it’s warm. In winter I’ll target shallow, grassy banks or banks with a sufficient amount of weed. Fish tend to sit shallow in winter and this is a prime area to start on a cold morning.

Weather events can trigger a surface bite as well. When there is a storm build up, and the air is still and humid this can really trigger the Bass to stir and head up to see what the storm may push into the water. So many times I have heard a storm rumbling in the distance and had the fish switch to surface in a big way. Particular in areas where there are large tree’s overhanging the bank. Water influx into a dam can also be a major trigger for a surface bite. A dam that has had significant rainfall and a rise in water levels can see bait or insects washed into the dam and float on the surface. Many times after rain, throwing a cicada or popper has produced some good fish.

The general consensus between bass anglers is, that if a dam has bony bream or the fish feed heavily on Bonies they won’t bite surface. This isn’t entirely true, but I’ve noticed it does have an effect on how the fish will feed. Bass are ambush predators and are opportunistic feeders, if they see your surface lure as a potential easy meal they will hit it. Bass are also wired to hunt prey that is readily available to them. If a dam has Bonies you’re more likely to catch fish throwing a Bonie imitation. In this case if you want to catch a fish on a surface lure I’d be throwing it shallow, in winter as you’re more likely to have a reaction as they don’t have to move far. The most successful dams to target fish on surface are dams that hold gudgeon or smelt. The fish in these dams tend to feed more often as the bait is much smaller and more elusive. That being said a surface lure is generally easy pickings for a fish feeding up shallow on smelt. These are the general rules that I abide by when targeting fish on surface. The opportunity doesn’t always present itself but if you’re aware of your surroundings and mindful of the right situation you could be in for a very memorable session.

Written by Matthew Langford

Home Ground Advantage

Is home ground advantage, really an advantage?

A common trend in the bass fishing world is seeing locals or regulars do very well in tournaments on their home lake. Dams or lakes near to one’s home is usually referred to as the home ground. In most cases the home ground advantage allows an angler to have a ‘Leg Up’ on the competition. In some cases, though, this can actually be a hindrance, as dams can change due to weather patterns, high pressure, boat traffic or dropping water levels. Let’s dissect this topic.

What’s the advantage?

The advantage is obviously having easy access to the lake to regularly fish. Spending time on the waterway is valuable to learning the habits of the bait within the dam and the feeding locations and habits of their predators, namely ‘Australian Bass’. Over time an angler who regularly visits a location gains an understanding of what the fish do at certain times of the year, the locations to fish and what baits to throw and when to throw them. An intimate knowledge can see an angler know what to do at certain times of the day, know where to target and when, from low light, full sunlight, overcast conditions and wind direction. The interesting thing about fishing impoundments is that no two dams are the same and it can be quite difficult to understand each and every one entirely.

What affects a fishery?

There are a number of elements that can affect the feeding habits of Bass. Weather is obviously a major influence on how fish react. In Boondooma, for example, the fish feed well when the weather is consistent, string a few days of sunny warm days together and you’re in for some good fishing. There are some instances when I have noticed major shut downs. Boat traffic from high powered motors or just high boat traffic in general can send the fish into quiet mode. Although this doesn’t usually stop them from biting for long. Cool weather events or steep sudden weather changes can really make the fishing quite difficult and cause the fish to shut down, add some rain and it becomes very difficult to put together a consistent pattern. Wind direction has also been a major player in destroying a good days fishing, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out and noticed a wind change and not get a bite for the rest of the day. This can also work in reverse if your mindful of the conditions.

With all these elements that can affect the way our target species feed, through trial and error the locals or regulars usually know what to do when these situations arise, where most may fail. This all come down to time on the water and experience.

Is it really an advantage?

In most cases locals are usually the ones to be at the top end of the tournament field. This doesn’t always mean that you’re going to win. The quality of talented anglers that fish for bass nowadays means that we have to work a lot harder for the advantage. It’s also very common for locals to get caught up in a pattern that’s working or been working to catch fish, but there’s no guarantees that this is going to be the winning formula. On many occasions I’ve seen anglers from NSW and VIC come to our dams and fish baits and locations not normally visited by locals and do very well. That happens particularly when we see one of the major events that change the regular fish feeding habits as mentioned above.

It’s usually the locals that are the ones that are more consistent due to the time spent pre-fishing and learning the dam’s habits.

In summary, most would agree that having a dam nearby gives you an advantage if you fish it an study it regularly. In fishing, there’s no guarantees, but having in intimate knowledge of a dam and having that home ground advantage will certainly put you in a good position to finish higher in the field than most.

Matthew Langford

Welcome to the home of Australian Freshwater Fishing Charters

Welcome to the home of Australian Freshwater Fishing Charters.

We are a family business operated out of Kingaroy in the South Burnett Region. We organise and operate fishing charters in some of the best freshwater fisheries in Queensland, targeting most freshwater species including Murray Cod, Australian Bass, Yellowbelly, Saratoga and Barramundi.

We cater for all experience levels from the beginner through to the advanced and will tailor a freshwater fishing charter to your specific needs.

Matthew Langford, your fishing guide, has a wealth of experience when it comes to freshwater fish and he will instruct and guide you to understand how freshwater fish operate in our Australian rivers and lakes and how to better understand the lures and techniques used to catch them.

We are available for Half and Full day charters as well as multiple day, all inclusive packages to suit the angler. A maximum of 3 people can come aboard our 19 ft Fibreglass boat powered by a 200 hp motor and experience the thrill of getting from one location to the next to maximise your fishing time. Not only that the boat is fitted with the latest fishing technology, safety gear and equipment and our guide offers you some of Australia’s best fishing gear and tackle to target your days catch.

If your keen for a great day out on the water and want to learn as much as you can about fishing, book a freshwater fishing charter today.

We can’t wait to hear from you.