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Bring out the big guns
  |  First Published: December 2013



Now that the Murray cod season is finally officially open, it’s time to break out the big lures in hope of that fish of a lifetime. Over the past few months the target species has been golden perch, but this will change this month as anglers switch from small lure presentations to large ones to increase their chances of hooking into a Murray cod or two. If the amount of bycatch Murray cod over the last month or so is anything to go by, this season is shaping up to be as good or possibly even better then last season.

There were some absolute cracking Murray cod caught last season, with the pick of these being caught by persistent night trollers. Good numbers of smaller fish can be caught during the day either casting or trolling, but the really big fish are very hard to entice while the sun is up. These bigger fish are best targeted at night.

Trolling for Murray cod during the day requires a different technique from trolling for Murray cod at night. The reason for this is that most cod sit close to or right on the bottom, and almost always near some sort of structure, during the heat of the day. Yes, they will still feed if something comes close enough, but they generally won’t chase anything too far from the safety of their chosen snag.

On the other hand, under the cover of darkness Murray cod feel much more at ease, leaving the safety of their snag to cruise around in search of food. They can be found hunting in mid-water at times, and they are frequently encountered gorging themselves right up in the shallows.

During the day it’s best to troll your lures as close to the bottom as possible to give yourself the best chance of enticing a strike. At night, a lure that runs shallower and even in mid water will often give you a better chance of connecting to a fish then a lure that is runs along the bottom.

There are exceptions to this, as there are in all things fishing, but at Blowering Dam in particular this trend seems to be pretty consistent.

LURE CASTING

Casting lures rather then trolling them is becoming much more popular on the freshwater fishing scene, and this is most evident at Blowering Dam. Around 10-12 years ago you would rarely (if ever) have seen someone casting lures, but now it seems every third or fourth boat is giving the casting a go.

If you have never done it, I highly recommend it because the strike from a big Murray cod whilst retrieving your lure is second to none. Sometimes it feels like you have been shocked or even slapped, the hits are that violent! If you are fainthearted I probably wouldn’t recommend it as the adrenalin goes into overdrive and the heart almost always skips a beat or two – not just when the fish first hits, but also when you first see the true size of the beast you have hooked.

In saying this, I still haven’t described just how awesome the feeling is of that first big strike from a big native. Trust me, once you start this type of fishing you will be hooked. You’ll find it hard to go back to trolling.

The best lures for casting at Blowering while targeting the Murray cod are the ever-reliable spinnerbaits. These fish see a lot of spinnerbaits so I strongly recommend the use of single-bladed spinnerbaits. These spinnerbaits will still attract the fish but they won’t scare them in the process.

Other reliable casting lures are the under-used chatterbaits and the hard-to-beat lipless crankbaits. If you want to target Murray cod specifically, use 90mm-plus lipless crankbaits. If you want to hook golden perch and redfin with the outside chance of a Murray cod, lipless crankbaits around 60mm are ideal.

LEARNING ON THE FLY

If you have caught Murray cod on every conceivable lure and bait, and you’re looking for a new way to challenge or better yourself as an angler, why not try catching a Murray cod on fly this season? Flyfishing for Murray cod is not as hard as people will have you believe. You just cast your flies into exactly the same places as you would your lures, and you retrieve them in a similar way.

Simply cast to your chosen snag, weed bed, drop-off or other suitable fish-holding structure, allow your fly to sink into the strike zone, then slowly and methodically strip the fly back to your feet or the boat. On some days, fast, constant strips are what is needed, but generally the most productive approach is a slow but steady strip with the odd pause to allow your fly to sink back down into the strike zone.

You don’t need to be able to cast a million miles, either, because when fishing for Murray cod you often only need to cast short distances to cover the small snag that you think the fish is holding on. To learn to cast the short distances required for catching Murray cod, you can just teach yourself or watch an instructional DVD or YouTube clip. You’ll pick it up in no time at all.

Just like lure casting, once you start this form of fishing you will find it hard to do anything else.

Until next time, good luck, good fishing and tight lines.

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