This year is gearing up to be a fantastic summer of fishing around Mildura, particularly for those targeting Murray cod in the mighty Murray River.
River levels are still high but have steadied. Flows are slowly subsiding and water clarity is satisfactory for luring.
Some very nice yellowbelly have been caught all around Mildura during warm conditions, especially around Merbein and Apex Park. It seems the warmer the better for catching yellowbelly, especially when humidity is high.
The fish have been caught on lures mostly, but bait fishos are having a great time as well bobbing a shrimp or two. Downsized lures intended for yellas have been working well around snags and clay banks, but recently the fish have been caught on larger lures, as by-catch to their much larger and more aggressive cousins, the Murray cod.
Biggest of the yellas of late has been 54cm, which is a great river fish. Others have been coming in at the usual 40-48cm range, typical of summer yellowbelly.
Large sized catfish are being caught on bait around Fort Courage. Reports from local anglers indicate that this iconic species are still around in decent numbers.
Murray cod season is upon us again and Mildura anglers are looking forward to the action this season should bring. Most anglers will be relishing the opportunity to catch a cod over the magical metre mark, but anglers are reminded to be mindful when handling bigger fish in the summer heat before releasing.
It is important to have all of your releasing gear ready to go in the boat before a fish is even landed. A decent pair of lip grips, large pliers and landing net are just some of the equipment needed to ensure the safe release of this majestical species.
Running a combination of 50lb braid and 50-60lb leader seems to be optimum for targeting big fish in the Murray. Lure size from 90-200mm in most colours should be an essential part of the cod anglers tackles box.
Lighter tackle will also see you land the big one, but can tire-out big fish too much making them stress and less able to survive.
The best smaller lure, which has been working the best lately to specifically target yellas, has been Koolabung 90mm codbait and Bassman ‘yella-man’ series of spinnerbaits.
Koolabung lures have dominated previous cod seasons, particularly the 120mm Codzilla and is still the go to lure for big cod. But other lure makes such as Bassman spinnerbaits, Muldoon and Balista should be the go to this season.
But whatever your choice of lure or tackle, this is set to be a cracker of a cod season. Officially opening on Sunday December 1, it won’t be until the next weekend that most anglers will take their annual migration to Mulwala for the 2013 Classic, amongst other venues and camps along the river banks.
Summer is a great time to fish for our special native species, but it is vitally important if you are heading out to carry the appropriate safety and medical gear appropriate to your crew and size boat being fished from.
Maritime are also going to be out in force over the summer, so do everyone a favour and do the right thing when on the water.
Brett Evans with a very nice Murray River yellowbelly caught on a Koolabung Codzilla. Quite a few yellas get caught on the larger lures every summerReads: 577