What a wonderful time of year to rug up and go in search of a monster Mulwala Murray cod.
Fishing tends to slow this time of year until the end of the season but with a concerted effort, rewards are generally great. The cod’s metabolism slows in cooler water but they still have to eat. Right place, right time and you could be in for a big shock and a fair bend in your rod.
Best bet it to upsize your lures to try to entice a mighty monster into an easy feed. Hardbodied lures of 100mm-plus or spinnerbaits with added plastic trailers and stinger hooks should be your preferred options.
In late April we saw 58 of the country's keenest cod anglers converge on Mulwala for the Cod Nationals. The Nationals is a five-day event where participants put in 10-hour days chasing cod with different lures and techniques on different days. At the end of the week, Swan Hill's Russell Aston and partner Steve Cook from Serpentine prevailed to take home more than $14,000 in cash and prizes.
Russell was crowned individual champion while Craig Leehane, of Ballarat, landed the largest cod trophy with a 101cm monster. More than 200 cod, 75 over the legal 60cm, were caught and released for the week.
Many anglers call in to the store with their fishing tales but not many were happier than Brett Behan, of Lancefield. Brett was fishing with his son Harry, 8, up towards Bundalong when Harry’s line received a massive hit and he proceeded to do battle with an impressive 82cm cod that was boated, photographed and proudly released.
A great story came from a couple of young Melbourne fellas in town working for a while. Jai Kenny and Jamie Brockman, looking to fill in a Sunday afternoon, called in looking for a bit of info on how to fish the area.
After a quick yarn they decided to hire a boat and head out on the lake. They returned with grins from ear to ear after landing three cod, including a beast measuring smack on 1m. After a couple of quick photos it was released to fight another day.
I spent an interesting day on the lake with old friend Frankie Dance, along with another couple of characters. The most perfect day possible provided a lifetime of memories including broken ribs and busted teeth. To top it off, a wounded Frankie landed a beauty that measured 70cm. His choice of weapon was a cast Mud Guts spinnerbait.
It’s been very surprising to hear of the numbers of golden perch being caught as cod by-catch, especially in water with some current.
These fish have been giving a very good account of themselves and have been up to a very impressive 59cm. The best bet if looking to genuinely target the yellas is to fish from Majors Creek and above up to Bundalong.
Don't be afraid to venture out into the Everglades or a few other sneaky backwaters around the islands at the top end of the lake.
Murray cray season is now open, with a general reminder that rules and regs have changed dramatically. The only legal size now is from 10cm-12cm, with a daily limit of two and a possession limit of four.
Harry Beehan, 8, caught this mighty 82cm cod at Bundalong.Reads: 1554