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Big cod makes a hot summer of fishing
  |  First Published: February 2013



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

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

Large yabbies fished amongst the timber well into the night saw one happy camp land close to 30 cod between two boats and claiming the best fishing they have had on the Murray in years.

Goobes from Moama had a good morning while fishing out from Picnic Point Mathoura. Trolling a black Codger it wasn’t long before a fat 80cm cod was in the boat to be measured and sent back on his way. Paul from Echuca trolled up a cod measuring 64cm on a frog pattern Oargee while fishing upstream from the East boat ramp while another angler boated two cod in the 60cm range and another at 54cm while using the same lure but in the blue and black colour.

The best report came from Clay Jones from Echuca who trolled up a 103cm cod while fishing 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.

The Christmas period also kept the reports rolling in with holiday makers doing well on both cod and yellowbelly as well as less desirable fish being caught. Majority of the fish were caught on the usual baits like scrubworms, yabbies, bardi grubs and shrimp. The shrimp in the river have really beefed up in size and doesn’t take too many to fill the hook. One family of campers landed a golden perch measuring 53cm 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 both the Murray River and its offtakes. Scrubworms and shrimp have been the pick of the baits for those fishing from the bank while crushed yabbies bobbed up and down amongst the timber have also been effective. Benarca Forrest fished well for yellas to 1.2kg with one camp landing five for the afternoon on the scrubworms.

Semmo and Wendy from Rochester have landed a few yellowbelly while fishing the Campaspe River recently. Trolling small hardbodied lures and casting lipless crankbaits had worked well. Semmo also landed a healthy cod measuring 80cm while on the last run before dark Wendy picked up a 40cm cod while using a surface lure she had found up a tree on a previous trip; a productive evening on the water!

With the water temperatures at their peak at this time of the year the fish won’t be as sluggish as they would through the cooler times of the year. This makes it a good opportunity to walk the banks into the evening and cast some 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 which if you’re off daydreaming can scare the living daylights out of you!

Pausing every few metres while retrieving the surface lure is a method used which generally will entice a cod in waiting. Even letting the lure sit for five seconds after it’s hit the water and then start your retrieve can make a cod think that 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 Oargee Plow.

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