Winter, what a wonderful time of year to rug up and go in search for a Mulwala monster 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. Cod's metabolism slows with decreased water temperature, but they still have to eat. Right place, right time could see you in for a big shock and a fair bend in your rod.
Best bet it to upsize your lure presentation to try and entice a mighty monster into an easy feed. 100mm plus hardbodied lures or spinnerbaits with an added plastic trailer and stinger hook should be your preferred option.
Late April saw 58 of the country's keenest cod anglers converge on mighty Mulwala to pit their skills against each other in the Cod Nationals. The Nationals is a five-day event that see participants putting in 10 hour days chasing elusive Murray cod with varying lure styles and techniques being used on different days. At the end of the week, Swan Hill's Russell Aston and partner Steve Cook from Serpentine prevailed to take home in excess of $14,000 and prizes.
Russell was crowned individual champion whilst Craig Leehane (Ballarat) landed largest cod trophy with a monster that stretched the tape out to 101cm. In total 200+ cod with 75 of legal length were caught and released for the week.
Many anglers call in store with their fishing tails but not many happier than Brett Behan of Lancefield. Brett was fishing with his eight-year-old son Harry up towards Bundalong when young Harry's rod received a massive hit and he proceeded to do battle. The end result was an impressive 82cm cod that was boated, photographed and proudly released.
A great story came from a couple of young Melbourne fellas who are in town working for a while. Jai Kenny and Jamie Brockman, looking to fill in a Sunday afternoon called in store looking for a bit of info on how to fish the local area. After a quick yarn they decided to hire a boat and head out on the lake. Upon return they had grins from ear to ear after landing three cod with a beast measuring smack on 1m being their best. Full credit to the boys, 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 interesting 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 in at 70cm. His choice of weapon was a cast Mudguts spinnerbait.
A very surprising and common report of late has been the amount of golden perch being caught, especially in water with some current flow. These welcome by-catch have been giving a very good account for themselves and have been measured 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.
Cray season is now open with a general reminder that rules and regs have changed dramatically of recent times. It is important you are up to speed on the new implementations. Do your own homework to avoid a handsome fine when fisheries come calling, as ignorance is no excuse.
Young Harry Beehan with an 82cm cod from Bundalong.Reads: 2454