Blowering Dam is the talk of the freshwater fishing scene this year thanks to the high number of 1m+ Murray cod that have been caught there since the season opened in December. If you are on social media at all you’d know that there haven’t been many days where there haven’t been pictures of massive Murray cod caught at Blowering Dam.
Most fish are getting caught at night which is almost always the case with the big fish at Blowering Dam. The main technique has been trolling large lures but there have also been a few caught on the cast by educated anglers.
There have also been plenty of big fish caught whilst using yabbies from the bank. One particular angler borrowed a couple of yabbies from a mate recently and then came back up to borrow more a couple of hours later, because his first two yabbies had been eaten by two big Murray cod – an 80cm version and a 112cm specimen.
He then went on to land another Murray cod around 70cm shortly after. All were caught in the same place and all using his ‘borrowed’ yabbies.
My mate tells me that his trick was to swim his bait out into the centre of the bay and drop it down beside a just submerged tree. The three fish were caught within hours of each other all off that same tree. This proves that in the right environment Murray cod will happily coexist.
There has been a lot of talk about redfin numbers being down at Blowering Dam over the last couple of years, and speculation as to why that is.
I believe the drop in numbers is mainly due to the massively increased numbers of Murray cod in the dam. These fish gorge on the redfin schools and now appear to have knocked a massive dint in the population. The increase in cod numbers is party due to stocking but also due to the fact that Blowering Dam has stayed full or nearly full for the last few seasons. This has meant the Murray cod eggs deposited from spawning (or attempting to spawn) fish each spring didn’t get left high and dry like they normally would. Instead, they likely survived and hatched.
If authorities kept Murray cod lakes full, or at least prevented levels from dropping during spring, they wouldn’t have to worry about stocking these lakes. The Murray cod would self sustain, just like they do in most farm dams – or at least those dams that have some sort of structure for the fish to lay their eggs around.
But I digress. In spite of the increased redfin predation by cod, there are still plenty of redfin schools in the lake that are worth targeting. And we are seeing more and more when you are onto a good patch of redfin a bycatch of Murray cod isn’t far away.
Through the summer months the smaller redfin schools were plentiful around the lake’s margins and were caught in all manners. Bait fishing or spinning from the bank has been very good, as has drifting and casting to the edges from a boat.
Bait anglers are doing best on garden worms and small whole yabbies or big yabby tails.
Redfin will hit most lures when they’re in an aggressive mood but it is hard to beat small blades like the Ecogear VX and the ZX range. Other good casting lures are lipless crankbaits less than 65mm, and spinners like Rooster Tails, Celtas and Mepps Bugs.
Soft plastics continue to be reliable fish catchers. It doesn’t seem to matter what type of plastic you use when targeting redfin but it pays to keep it small. About 25-50mm is ideal around the edges where the fish are mostly small, but if you want to get a bigger fish you’ll want to upsize to a 75mm plastic. You will catch fewer fish with this size plastic but you will have an increased chance of catching the bigger fish from the school. It will also put you in with a chance at catching a golden perch or Murray cod.
When casting and retrieving lures for redfin it pays to mix up your retrieve. On most days a slow roll will do the trick but often to get the school fired up it pays to use a burn-and-kill retrieve. Simply wind flat out for a couple of seconds then stop or really slow down your retrieve, then wind fast again and stop or slow down. Repeat this all the way back to you. It will often trigger a reaction strike from the fish and once you hook one it will often send the rest of the school into a frenzy. Then they can be caught quite easily until they eventually shut down or you catch them all. The best colours for redfin are easily red, black, white and gold, and a combination of any or all of these is even better.Reads: 1794