No shortage of big cod
  |  First Published: February 2013

The fishing in the Echuca district seems to be going from strength to strength with regular reports of cod captures from the Goulburn Junction downstream to Torrumbarry Weir.

From the opening of the season back in December there was no shortage of captures, with majority measuring over the legal size of 60cm and plenty more 70cm-80cm fish. Most of the bigger ones were caught by anglers trolling lures but the bait soakers also claimed a fair share, with the largest of 78cm caught near the old Perracoota Homestead on a hook loaded up with four good-sized shrimp.

Large yabbies fished amid the timber well into the night resulted in one bunch of happy campers landing close to 30 cod between two boats and talking of the best fishing they have had on the Murray in years.

Goobes from Moama had a good morning out from Picnic Point, Mathoura. He trolled a black Codger and it wasn’t long before a fat 80cm cod was in the boat, measured and sent back on its way.

Paul from Echuca trolled up a 64cm cod on a frog pattern Oar-Gee Plow upstream from the East boat ramp, while another angler boated two 60cm cod and another at 54cm using a blue and black Oar-Gee.

The best report came from Clay Jones, of Echuca, who trolled up a 103cm cod at Barmah. Clay managed to net the fish and keep the boat on track in the fast water on his own before pulling into a camp on the next bend for a few quick photos before releasing his catch; a top effort.

Over Christmas the reports kept rolling in with holidaymakers doing well on cod and yellowbelly, along with less desirable fish. The majority were caught on the usual baits like scrubworms, yabbies, bardi grubs and shrimp.

The shrimp in the river have really beefed up and it doesn’t take too many to fill a hook.

One family of campers landed a 53cm golden perch and an undersize cod as well as two over 60cm, all on an assortment of the above baits fished in the same area.

Yellowbelly have been out in big numbers in the Murray River and its offtakes. Scrubworms and shrimp have been the pick baits for those fishing from the bank, while crushed yabbies bobbed up and down among the timber have also been effective.

Benarca Forrest has fished well for yellas to 1.2kg, with one camp landing five for the afternoon on scrubworms.

Semmo and Wendy from Rochester have landed a few yellowbelly on the Campaspe River trolling small hardbodies and casting lipless crankbaits. Semmo also landed a healthy 80cm cod while on the last run before dark, Wendy picked up a 40cm cod on a surface lure she found up a tree on a previous trip – a productive evening on the water!

With the water temperature at a peak the fish won’t be as sluggish as they would through the cooler times. This affords a good opportunity to walk the banks into the evening and cast surface lures around the snags.

It’s a pretty exiting way to fish as the strike is just below the surface, usually followed by a ‘boofing’ noise and plenty of water splashed about. If you’re off daydreaming it can scare the living daylights out of you!

Pausing every few metres of the retrieve is the way to entice a cod. You can even let the lure sit for five seconds after it’s hit the water and then start your retrieve, making the cod think a duckling or lizard has just fallen from a nest or branch and is struggling on the surface.

Grab yourself a handful of surface lures and a change of undies and get ready for this addictive form of fishing; you’ll know what I’m talking about when it happens!

For more information on what’s biting in the Echuca and Moama area, drop into J.T’s Fishing & Camping, opposite the Border Inn Hotel, or phone 0354 803 868.

Clay Jones has his arms full with a 103cm cod caught at Barmah while trolling an Oar-Gee Plow.

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