Lures working as river clears
  |  First Published: March 2012

It’s great to see the river at normal levels and with the reduced flow, anglers are starting to fish with lures in the clearing water.

Golden perch have been high on the list of captures as they belt and plunder all makes and models of lures, cast or trolled.

Even large lures get the nod when these fish are in the mood and our last outing was proof enough of this, with at least a dozen goldens scoffing a range of deep and shallow 120mm Koolabung Codzillas in assorted colours.

Of course we were not targeting perch and, yes, we did find a few cod.

After much work we have found several sections of water that still hold good numbers of cod, the only downside being the mentality of some of those fishing it.

After seeing a squillion dead cod float guts-up down the river last year, it would be nice to think that anglers would select cod for the table with a conservative approach. Seems not, because the catch-and-kill brigade is out in force donging everything that grabs a lure, including some true giants.

A couple of lucky anglers managed to nab a large cod using a method they described as stump-jumping. This massive fish was more than 38kg and its fillets only just fitted in the esky.

Next morning, these blokes were lucky enough to come up tight to another monster, at around 18kg a good fish nonetheless.

Not content with their pile of fillets, this fish too was added to the collection and off they went – they had no room to keep anything else for the remainder of the trip.

All I can say is while they were within their rights, thank Christ they didn’t have a bigger esky! No rules broken here, other than that of commonsense and perhaps filleting the fish riverside.

As I was told by another angler donging a giant cod with a hefty wooden club ‘You let go all you want, mate, then ask yourself how many of those fish you released over the years floated away dead last season’.

He said that he too had been releasing larger fish for several seasons but no more; he would rather eat them than see them go to waste the next time the tree-huggers get water releases wrong and a fish kill occurs.

He left, lure in tow, hoping to catch another.

While it’s great to see pockets of giant fish still in some sections of the Murray, it’s sad to see the changing opinion of many converted catch-and-release anglers.

Do you think it’s time that Fisheries implemented a slot limit and an even tighter bag limit of, say, one fish so that we might help maintain the numbers of giant cod left in the river?

As a reporter, I should be giving you readers the good oil on the whereabouts of these big-cod strongholds, but if you’re really into your fishing then you will already know half the fun of fishing comes in the finding.

I don’t begrudge anyone a feed of fish, but use commonsense!

As for all local waters, drowning bait has produced good bags of goldens, no end of catfish, tonnes of carp and a few cod. (Just remember that freshwater catfish in western-flowing NSW rivers are to be returned alive to the water – Ed.)

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