They say time flies when you’re having fun and that’s certainly been the case with the new cod season from December 1.
The three-month closure felt like three weeks with anglers not even thinking about the cod due to the consistent numbers of yellowbelly caught. Warmer water and a rise in water levels has kicked the yellas into a feeding frenzy with one angler reportedly catching and releasing about 30 golden perch casting lipless crankbaits at Kow Swamp.
Soft vibe lures in red and black have also been working well in the evenings while Custom Crafted Hammerheads in the 65mm copper colour have also been consistent takers.
It was standing room only on the weekends with anglers lining the banks as the word had got out that the yellas were on the bite. But these fish didn’t always come easily, one day taking only lures and the next day only bait.
Scrubworms and shrimp had been the pick, fished around the willows.
Redfin have also favoured the worms but most are small although some to 36cm have been caught in the Murray River on worms. Although they are noxious fish in NSW because they feed on the eggs of our native fish, they are still be the pick of the freshwater fish for a feed.
Dane Whitmore, 5, of Echuca, took bragging rights after camping with his family at Torrumbarry recently. Fishing from the bank with his hook loaded up with shrimp, Dane didn’t have to wait very long for his rod bells to ring and before long a golden perch of about 50cm was safely in the net. After a few rounds of ‘high fives’ through the camp Dane could sit back knowing he had caught the fish of the trip.
Les from Moama had a good afternoon above Torrumbarry Weir fishing from the bank, catching four yellowbelly of 38cm-44cm on scrub worms and keeping a couple for the table. These fish were full of yabbies; goes to show yellas can’t pass up a good meal.
Of the numerous fish caught around Echuca the standouts were a 53cm yella caught out the front of Winbi Resort on a small yabby, a 46cm yella caught under the Echuca Moama road bridge on scrub worms, a 51cm yellowbelly on scrub worms further upstream and a guest staying at Cadell on the Murray who took a step back after a massive boil around his lure and got a glimpse of a cod’s tail bigger than his outstretched hand.
There have been plenty of pre-season cod caught and released in the Murray and Edward rivers with the average fish 65cm-75cm and there have been yellas to 54cm caught at Mathoura. These fish have been caught in good numbers and have all been in tip-top condition so it’s shaping up to be a good season.
Waranga Basin has been hit and miss with some anglers picking up a handful of reddies one day and cleaning up the next. Shrimp and small yabbies have been excellent bait and with a population of golden perch in there as well, there is always the chance of tussling with one of them.
The channels out from the Basin have produced so good-sized reddies on Squidgy Wrigglers in the drop bear colour but the hot bites have gone off as quickly as they have come on.
There have been several reports of golden perch caught on yabbies in the smaller bays of Lake Eppalock. Evening has been the best time and the rocky points and edges have been consistent because they have warmer water due to the rocks holding heat longer.
Dane Whitmore from Echuca proudly shows off his yellowbelly he caught on shrimp at Torrumbarry.