Clear river, hungry cod
  |  First Published: July 2013

The variables in fishing are often as fickle as the fish themselves.

One minute the river is shut down, the next it explodes to life as though it had just been stocked with a zillion fish.

May was a great month along the Murray with the water cooling off and clearing to the point you could see more than a metre down. Poor compared with most impoundments, but for the Murray it was brilliant and the fish responded right on cue.

It has been many years since I have seen the Murray flow so clean and this was evident as follow-up strikes on lures often came up to three times over a distance before the rod jarred down under the weight of a monster cod.

It was lure fishing at its best, with the majority of cod landed averaging 75cm-plus. They were great fish if you are a newbie to Murray cod, even better if you could spend the time and metre-plus models were also about in good numbers.

Large schools of baitfish hung in mid-water, often blacking out the sounder. With so much silver cod fodder in the water, you might wonder why these fish would strike a lure, but smash them they did.

Mulwala angler Vanessa Bennett made the trip down to target her first metre-plus fish and was not disappointed with her 115cm conquest. Not bad for your first mega-fish and all the more impressive when she hopped into the water with the fish to get her photo taken.

Large trolled lures in natural colours have been most productive. How big is too big is a question yet to be answered by our innovative lure makers, but I will tell you this: small lures small fish.

This was true for most fishing the Murray over the past month. Lures of 120mm and better have accounted for the majority of mega-cod with the smaller cod and goldens picking off any lure of smaller proportions.

Bait anglers have struggled on the cod but have done very well on golden by fishing close to the snags on the edges of the backwaters.

With shrimp hard to get in the cold water, they are of course the No1 bait. Small yabbies are a close second, followed by large scrub worms.

Most of the cod action has taken place below the weir at Euston, downstream through Hattah Kulkyne and beyond.

Golden perch have been good above the weir at Robinvale but the cod still remain quiet.


European fishing personality Jakub Vagner paid the Murray River a visit in late May in his quest to each of the planet’s 20 largest freshwater fish.

Vagner is a superstar abroad and for good reason, when you see some of the fish he has landed. He had his sights set on a giant Murray cod and was not disappointed, landing a 30kg-plus fish on his second day.

This capture and release was followed by several more metre-plus giants that ensured our most iconic freshwater fish will be showcased in all its glory on the Discovery Channel.

Rex Hunt, whom Jakub regards as his mentor, also spent a couple of days fishing with his mate and managed to score several smaller cod.

All up, the fishing has been brilliant and we can expect more as we plunge into Winter with clear rivers and some very good cod up and about for those keen enough to brave the cold.

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