It is nearly time to put away the trolling rods because it’s time to start casting the snags for Murray cod.
As the winter rolls on, the days get shorter and the cold becomes hard to handle. As the Mallee landscape changes along with the seasons, so do the techniques employed by anglers to draw out those giant fish.
Some nice Murray cod have been caught recently in multiple locations around Mildura. The maintenance of the Mildura weir and the subsequent removal of the weir structure in early June meant that river levels above Mildura were extremely low making it difficult to launch the boat. Those who have been able to fish this water have been catching some very healthy looking cod up to 1m and yellowbelly up to and over 50cm. Most of these fish up to this point have been achieved on large trolled hardbodied lures.
Bait fishos have been enjoying some good fishing also with yellowbelly up to 50cm caught on shrimp and worm above Mildura. Of course, there have also been plenty of carp being caught on all sorts of baits including cheese and corn.
Reports of cod to size caught on bardi grubs have also been made recently in several locations around Mildura, particularly below. These smaller cod have been enjoying the flows at the moment and have been caught on the downstream side of snags and in the eddy currents.
As the river settles, anglers wait in anticipation for the weir to be fully put back in place so the river resembles what it did toward the end of May. Below Mildura has dropped a little bit but, is still good water with good to very good water clarity.
Even though a few nice cod are being caught, fishing is still relatively slow as the cod transition from summer habits into winter mode. Fishing is always fairly slow at the beginning of winter but when the cod do bite they are aggressive and are usually in excess of 1m. We will need to wait for the flowers to drop off the willows and a couple more frosts to hit in order for the cod to really fire up. This same change will see yellowbelly slow right down and fire up again in the spring.
Just remember, with this transition comes a change of technique for the angler. Where trolling has its place, casting is the thing most cod anglers are waiting to do and will achieve more in the colder months. There is nothing better than casting up an angry metre cod from the snags. Even though a few anglers have been successful on the cast of late, it may take another month or so for this technique to be ultra-effective.
Trolling of late has been most effective using large lures like Muldoon King Mongs and Koolabung Codzillas. The best casting lures this winter have been Bassman Spinnerbaits from 5/8oz to 1oz in whites and blacks, or a combination of both. Graphite rods from 4-10kg spooled with 50lb braid are ideal set ups.
So, get out the woollies and thermals and upsize your gear for one of the best winter seasons yet!
Luke Haaja, from Mildura, with a very healthy Murray cod caught on the cast using a Bassman Spinnerbait recently around Mildura.Reads: 1582