The change-up commences
  |  First Published: April 2013

Autumn is the season of change, when myriad colours reflect the pending chill that triggers all manner of life to hasten pace.

On the bitumen road, long strings of fur-clad caterpillars cross on a journey to who knows where. Soon to become bag moths, their scheduled road trek is an Autumn event that sets the tone for the start of the serious cod fishing.

Other creatures, too, are influenced by the season’s change; not least the army of shrimp that have kept the native fish well fed and content while the water was warm. The bite is now driven by the chance to feed up before the Winter shuts down the availability of easy prey.

Shrimp become harder to catch and the fishes’ predatory instinct now shifts into full gear as the native fish set their sights on larger prey.

Bony bream begin to school in numbers so thick they look like large underwater clouds on the sounder. Favourites of cod, they are also plundered by perch.

Several times we have come close to a double hook-up on large fish by running our lures through deep bait balls. Far from loners, large cod group at some locations and feed freely on the schooling bait.

I remember one such spot several seasons ago where in a couple of days, a stationary deep bait ball in one spot produced four metre-plus cod and several smaller fish. We also dropped several other good ones, so who knows how many we could have landed had luck swung our way.

Golden perch, too, can be marked on the sounder pushing bait mid-water and picking off the slow and injured.

Anglers in tune with this match the hatch and drop shad-style lures into the carnage. Often hit on the drop, the first they know of the bite is when they go to lift the line and work the lure.

Over the next month the aggressive feeding nature will increase to the point that perch become common captures on trolled lures as large as 120mm. Last season it was the norm to catch several in a few hours before being clobbered by truly huge cod.

Over the coming months, forget the finesse approach and go big – it’s what the native fish are doing.


Wemen on the Murray is starting to fish well again after a little down time. Several cod over 1m have been caught on trolled lures and a few to 80cm on bait. Robinvale remains somewhat of a mystery, with rumoured cod captures and good numbers of perch on bait and lures.

The Wakool River at Stony Crossing has fired with some excellent cod landed on lures, the biggest so far a well-conditioned 90cm model. Most have been caught on cast hardbodies.

Golden perch have also been hot to trot in this area, mostly on spinnerbaits. Some anglers are even hedging their bets and combining a little flash with a bit of wobble.

A recent trend that is working in many local waters is the addition of a harness blade like a Beetle Spin that clips onto the tow point of a hard-bodied lure. You then have a normal baitfish running action of the hardbody with a flashing blade riding just above.

This is not a new idea it’s quickly finding favour among anglers and fish.

As the weather continues to cool, we can expect the fishing to get even better. With good numbers of cod and plenty of perch on the bite, we are no doubt going to enjoy the great Autumn.

Big lures, big fish and plenty of action are my tip for the coming month and if you are into your cod fishing, there’s no time like Autumn.

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