The refilling of Lake Mulwala was scheduled to start in mid-July, allowing a full lake to finish out the cod season.
A quick trip here should not be discounted because persistence can be rewarded, especially at this time of year. Every living thing has to feed and you never know when the next big green fish is looking to snack.
Back in June, a half-empty lake and a flatlining temperature gauge meant fishing expectations were non-existent but nobody told the fish they weren’t meant to bite.
What loomed as a write-off proved a massive month for quality fish and emphasises that Mulwala is a year round fishery
Kev Brooks is very persistent and always takes things in like a sponge. After numerous chats to Rod Mackenzie discussing Winter tips, tackle and techniques, Kev engaged his plan.
He cast shaker blades towards river drop-offs and his overdue reward was a 103cm green fish that gobbled up his cast Snap Back Jabber Bait.
During June I hosted Rod Mackenzie, Ray Clifford, Brett Evans and Jamie Robinson for a week of serious cod hunting.
All reports pointed to a shut-down lake with only minimal action but these boys blew that notion out the window with 48 legal cod boated and Rod’s 101cm fish being pick of the stand. Many big fish were lost and many other hits failed to stick.
There was one common denominator among all these fish – they were caught on Bassman Mumblers with the trailer plastics changed to Tsunami Softies.
I managed to sneak in a couple of days on the water, including one with Kev Brooks, when we boated four fish in the 60cm range, three in the 70s and an 82cm. Cast shaker blades again did the damage.
To prove this was no fluke, two days later I ventured out with Vanessa and Cooper for another crack. Using the same techniques we caught three cod in the 60cm range before it got way too cold and we were blown off the lake.
The Grech brothers from Ballarat also figured out what turned on the fish. Over three days they boated more than 10 legal cod to 75cm and one of the fattest golden perch I’ve seen from this lake.
Then about 20 members of the cod-specific website murraymonsters.com.au travelled from near and far to chase a fish.
Expectations were high as the word was out what Rod Mackenzie had achieved the week before. Bassman Mumblers were again the lures of choice and they didn’t disappoint.
King of the weekend was Brad Pepper, who caught and released an amazing 114cm beast estimated to weigh around 30kg. Many other fish to 84cm were caught.
Local big fish hunters Pete and Wayne Collins and George Jovanovic were having their own fun with Pete boating a fit-looking 110cm beast that took a trolled Codger lure through the paradise queen trail.
The Queen’s birthday weekend is traditionally time to chase Murray crayfish and again crews from far and wide turned up with pots in hand looking for the elusive spiny-backed critters.
Reports varied but those that put in the time and effort were rewarded.
NSW Fisheries and NSW Maritime did a night patrol and handed out numerous penalty notices for varying breaches. Officers were in disbelief at the blatant disregard some had for rules and regulations and would like it know that they do not stop working when the sun goes down.
And remember, there’s a $75 on-the-spot fine for anybody who cannot produce their fishing licence and no grace period to produce the licence.
Fishing below the weir has been hard with the increased flow through the weir. Cod are still being caught around Mulwala although we are not hearing of many from further downstream.
Time will tell on how much damage has been done to areas like Echuca, Swan Hill, Robinvale, Mildura and the like with the blackwater fish kills.
Brad Pepper caught this 114cm Mulwala cod caught on a mul pink Bassman Mumbler.Reads: 470