Murray cod are one of Australia’s greatest native species. Inhabiting river and gorge country predominately, Murrays are a hot target for many inland anglers.
Although most commonly targeted on lures, Murray cod are prime targets for anglers chucking the fur and feather in both rivers and impoundments. They respond well to large bulky flies sunk down into the depths where they commonly reside. This month’s pattern is a great offering for those considering a trip west to target this iconic fish.
Murray cod will eat a broad array of aquatic offerings from crayfish to carp as well as many terrestrials that are unlucky enough to make a watery splashdown. Cod will opportunistically engulf most moving things that cross their path and are extremely responsive to both movement and vibration. Obviously, using patterns that provide these piscatorial prompts is a good ploy.
In the often-murky water where Murray cod reside, presence is enough to get a fly engulfed. As such, patterns that push a decent degree of water are desirable for a positive result. Bulky flies are the go is these waters; therefore the Cod Bod, and patterns like it are all exceptionally productive.
Weighted eyes or additional lead wound around the shank is generally a requirement to get these patterns down into the strike zone, especially when fishing faster flowing water. In this situation, the cod will be down deep, generally in the deepest section of the hole or behind some current altering structure. Here they can reside with minimal effort while hunting and waiting for a hapless food source to pass. Getting the fly down through the current and into this strike zone will often require quite a lot of added weight or possibly a long cast past the chosen area so that the fly can have time to sink adequately before being washed or stripped down past the possible cod haunt. Just finding a spot where you can cast a fly line is a hard task in some waterways. Limitations with delivering an adequate back cast are often a problem and you will commonly hook more foliage than fish.
Like many of the patterns I tie in this column, there are plenty of variations in colours, material type and size that can be applied. I have chosen a Gamakatsu Sl12S 6/0 for this fly as it is a very strong hook and possesses a slightly turned in point that is ideal for setting in the wide, tough jaw of a Murray cod. This hook is also ideal for barramundi, another suitable target species for the Cod Bod.
I must admit that I generally tie this pattern with a weed guard and find the slightly turned in point aiding the weed guard to do its job.
Eyes of many different types, weights and colours can be used however I have opted for a large, highly visible eye which will be ideal to get the pattern down deep yet still be visible.
For the tail I have used a combination of badger saddle hackles in 3 colours to provide some variation and an almost mottled appearance. Conventional saddle hackles could also be used but I would advise mixing up the colours, this provides good effect. I am not sure if this look works well because the cod are curious and mouth the offering to see what it is, or whether it looks like many of their food items, which can also be multi-coloured.
The collar is marabou, a natural material which wafts enticingly in the water when the fly is stripped or even when the fly is sinking. Another option would be some zonker strip, perhaps rabbit, hare, finn raccoon or angora goat.
Flash gives good effect to the fly in the water and you could use just about any kind or colour for this pattern including shimmerflash, polarflash or mylar.
Around the eyes I have wrapped some chenille, which adds a degree of flash and movement to the pattern and also increases bulk, helping it to push water, providing presence in the aquatic environment.
Place the hook securely in the vice and attach the thread with a jamb knot roughly opposite the hook point. Tie in around 8-10 strands of olive Krystal flash. Next, tie in 8-10 strands of rainbow coloured flash at the same point.
Cut 6 pink badger hackles of roughly the same length. At this same point, tie 3 to one side of the hook shank with the curvature facing inwards and then the other 3 to the opposite side of the hook shank in the same manner. When tying in hackle, start with light wraps to get the hackle in position and then several tighter wraps to secure it.
Cut 6 olive badger hackles, a fraction longer than the first if possible. Tie 3 in on one side of the hook shank, just in front of the last tie in point. Secure the other 3 on the opposite side of the hook shank, opposite its matching hackle.
Cut 6 olive badger hackles and repeat the last step with these so that each progressive set of 6 badger hackles are tied in fractionally in front of the last. This provides a degree of bulk to the pattern.
Get some nice, webby marabou, preferably turkey, and peel the fibres from along one side of the quill and tie this in on one side of the fly, just in front of the badger hackle. Repeat for the other side. You should have a good coverage right around the neck of the pattern. The more marabou you add the better, as it offers both movement and bulk to the fly. Whip finish but do not cut away the remaining thread.
Tie in the butt of your estaz chenille at this same point before wrapping forward to lay down a bed of thread up to the hook eye. Come back a few millimetres and then secure your eyes with a series of figure-of-eight wraps. Whip finish just behind the hook eye and add a little vinyl cement to the thread but do not cut away the remainder.
Wrap the chenille forward, filling the gap behind the eyes, in between the eyes and up to the hook eye. You may need to wrap some sections twice to create a uniform look. Secure the end of the chenille just behind the hook eye, whip finish, add a little vinyl cement and then cut away the excess thread and chenille. Your Cod Bod is now complete and ready to be sunk into the freshwater depths.
HOOK: Gamakatsu SL12S 6/0
THREAD: Flat waxed nylon- flouro green
EYE: Painted eye - large yellow
FLASH 1: Krystal flash - olive
FLASH 2: Krystal flash - rainbow
TAIL 1: Badger hackle - pink
TAIL 2: Badger hackle - yellow
TAIL 3: Badger hackle - chartreuse
COLLAR: Marabou - olive
HEAD: Estaz chenille - olive
FINISH: Vinyl cementReads: 3016