Always use a leader!
  |  First Published: April 2007

Before I get on with this report, here’s a little experience that left me shaking my head and wondering why I had not listened to advice from some of the country’s finest anglers: “Always use a leader.”

My smart-aleck response was always, “I’ll worry about getting a fish on first before I worry about losing it.” Well, I had a monster Murray cod take my Bassman spinnerbait and proceed to swim around like it was out for a Sunday stroll. After about 20 seconds with boat in tow, it realised something was wrong and went berserk, shaking its head. Then, ‘Pop!’ Its raspy teeth had worn through 50lb braid like it was cotton. Lesson learnt.

It took years of chasing the ultimate prize, only to be undone by my own lack of preparation. Before I set off again, all tackle, including knots, line and leaders, will be checked to help give me the upper hand next time.

The past two months have been very busy with numerous fish reported. The only problem is when you sit back and have a look, the capture rate compared to the hours fished starts to look pretty average.

I’m sure that Mulwala cod population is very lure-savvy and only a few slip up and get caught. The fish reported tend to be from 40cm to 60cm with only a very few over 90cm being caught.

It’s time for the powers to be to introduce a larger legal size to give those 50cm fish a chance to breed at least once or twice.

I had the privilege of guiding Nick Duigan and Andrew Hart from the TV show Hook Line and Sinker. The filming didn’t begin well with the camera boat refusing to start. But we headed off fishing while my Dad went in search of another boat around town.

Incredibly, Nick managed a nice little cod of 42cms fourth cast of the morning and another strike soon after and then I landed a 41cm cod.

Dad turned up in another boat and we offloaded the cameraman. Dad protested that he should be able to a fish as well so he was given a rod and spinnerbait. Half an hour later he had become star of the show with cod of 51cm and 52cm to get some great footage.

Nick and Andrew were keen to jump into his boat but I talked them into staying. Nick’s lure got belted a couple of times but didn’t stay connected but this fish must have wanted to become a TV star. I cast into the same snag and brought a 55cm cod to the boat. It was a pleasure to be able to fish the boys and I recommend you tune in to their series, it has a bit of fun to it.

Surface fishing has been the recent boom around Lake Mulwala but over the past months the action seems to have slowed.

Weed has been a problem but the major factor has been water over 26°. The fish seem to have moved from the shallows into the deeper, cooler water. However, Pete Megarrity and GA Allen landed a beautiful 9kg fish off the surface and Jamie Roberts was blown away by a big fish off the top.

Below the Weir

Fishing below the weir has fired up. As they did this time last year, Yarrawonga locals Joe Lineham, David Rose and family have encountered many fish in the river and its backwaters. Numerous cod to 55cm and yellas to 3kg have been common on darker Custom Crafted lures and Bassman spinnerbaits.

Stephen Gaunt from Outlaw Spinnerbaits camped at One Tree Beach for 10 legal cod and some nice yellas while testing his lures. Have a look at his range, which will account for some great fish. Paul and Tom Hetherington gave the Outlaws a good work-out and picked up a Murray cod, trout cod and a yella, all measuring 48cm, within two hours.

The river is running very low at the moment. Many boats have encountered red gum snags while motoring at speed and some nasty damage has been done. These snags do not move.

Lake Mulwala

Fish will prove hard to catch for the next month or two as the lake continues to receive a lot of pressure from both skiers and anglers. The best bet would be to troll big lures in the deeper water. At present the lake is still near 100% and no decision has been made yet to lower or drain it.

The Murray River should continue to drop, making boating difficult and dangerous. For those exercising caution, cod and golden perch should be available to those prepared to cast lures around the snags.

If anybody has a good story or would like to report their catch, email me at --e-mail address hidden--

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