Think outside the box
  |  First Published: May 2012

The Murray River around Mildura is slowly rising, signifying a change in natures’ natural course once again.

Even though the peak of the water has not yet hit, water clarity is poor, as are general fishing conditions, and local anglers will need to think outside the box if they want to be successful over the next few months.

Up until this point some good-sized Murray cod have been caught around Mildura, many of which have been in excess of the magical metre mark. Most of these have been caught early in the morning or late afternoon when barometric pressure has been high. Cod have also been most active when the barometric pressure has fluctuated in rapid spikes.

A lot of smaller 70-90cm cod have also been caught in the same fishy haunts whilst targeting the larger models.

Spots for successful fishing have varied recently, but Merbein has been a great area to troll and cast for both cod and yellowbelly over the past month with some great results.

Bigger yellowbelly are being caught in good numbers, some in excess of 50cm; for the Murray River that is a great size. Anglers are reporting catches of yellowbelly everywhere from Hattah to Lake Cullulleraine, which is pleasing.

Catfish seem to have slowed down with the cooler weather and rising flood waters compared to what they were a month or so ago. However, carp are still being caught in their hundreds all around Mildura and Wentworth. This was especially evident in a recent local coarse fishing competition where the audience were treated to a different kind of fishing.

Most anglers in the competition on that day bagged 100 or more carp in a session. This type of fishing is a different game to watch but a very effective way of baiting these pests out of the river.

Both large and smaller models of Murray cod caught recently have been on the 120mm Koolabung Codzillas and 150mm AC invaders. These fishy lures are considered the ultimate cod fishing tool and they have picked up a lot of the larger yellowbelly also.

Trolling these larger lures in 6-7m of water has been a very successful tactic of late. Time on the water has also been the key with keen anglers putting 10-13 hour days but with good results.

River levels will continue to rise over the next month or so which will make fishing conditions as difficult as they were when the last floodwaters came through. Yellowbelly activity will drop off and trolling techniques will need to be adapted to suit the conditions such as using big-bodied lures with thinner profiles to cut through the current when trolling upstream. Even though lures usually dive deeper trolling down-stream, deeper bibs may be needed to get even deeper.

As the cooler weeks and shorter days roll in, Murray cod will become more active which will make casting large hardbodied lures and spinnerbaits a whole lot more exciting and challenging.

If the water clears up in time for the winter, we should see some of the best fishing around Mildura for decades.

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