Just weeks before the season opening, several incidental cod captures on bait and lures provided anglers hope that this season might be better than the last.
As the rumour mill rolled along the river, sketchy reports had cod to 80cm on bait at Swan Hill in the Murray. Downstream, Boundary Bend and Belsar Island had a few small cod and the rumoured loss boat side of an absolute giant quickened the heart.
If there is one then perhaps there are more and the rumours continued, resurfacing at Wemen where a 1m-plus one was landed on a lure.
Mildura had a few to 85cm and there was talk from Wentworth and beyond of metre-plus fish.
No doubt the next month will be a telling time as anglers convert these rumours into photographic facts.
It’s judgment day along the river and all will be revealed as anglers drown, drag and cast a variety of baits and lures in the hopes of landing a big one.
While most will be targeting cod in our local waters, it will be hard to thread a bait or lure through a flashing maze of golden perch that have kept anglers busy for a month or more.
Most areas along the Murray have fished well, as has the Wakool River at Kyalite with some very respectable perch of 3kg and more.
The Edward River has produced perch and the odd small cod on bait.
Catfish continue to be caught in most areas in numbers that have you wondering where the hell they have been hiding this past decade.
Unless they grow super-fast, explaining away the appearance virtually overnight of a squillion catfish to 50cm and more is a yarn I want in on.
Back to the cod, and other opportunities to catch one abound in waters that are only just now starting to reveal their angling worth.
The Kerang Lake system has exploded onto the scene, providing anglers some excellent fishing that continues to improve each week.
Cod of more than a metre and good catches of perch have anglers very excited indeed.
Add to this some thumping redfin and you have a lucky-dip fishery that’s full to the brim with opportunities, many of which are yet to be explored.
Most anglers fishing the lakes are drowning bait for good results. Shrimp, worms, yabbies and all the usual suspects are quickly scoffed when the fish are in the mood.
Lures however, have been the most consistent producers of big fish from the lakes, especially some very solid Murray cod.
In order of size, small blades and soft plastics are just slaying the redfin and procuring a feed is most often as simple as casting and winding.
Larger blades and 1/4 oz spinnerbaits are also racking up the bigger redfin, golden perch and some sizable cod.
The lakes are shallow and smaller lures are most suited.
However, there are some thumping fish to be encountered and many of these lie hidden in less than 1m of water so large shallow-diving lures are worth a try.
On a recent trip we flicked around a few of the Sébile Flatt Shads in the hope of a golden or two. Two casts to the same spot and the small lure produced two cod in succession, the second pushing 1m.
Talk about elephants eating peanuts! I will never work these fish out, other than to say that small lures become much bigger in confined space and depth.
More on that another time and hopefully more reports on Murray cod in our local waters in the next issue.Reads: 1616