If there were a positive side to the low water levels in many of our rivers, it would have to be the quality of the water itself.
In some sections of the Murray River, I have never seen the water so clear. It’s almost a return to the good old days when, it’s claimed, a waist deep wade would provide visibility enough to see your toes. I cannot confirm a comparison as it seems middle age has provided my midriff a veranda – either that or my feet have shrunken to the point of invisibility.
What I can confirm is that over the past month, as the water clarity has improved, so too has the fishing. From Robinvale upstream to Boundary Bend and beyond has produced its hottest run of cod on lures for several seasons.
Several cod up to 30kg have been landed locally on the Murray on a variety of lures including gold StumpJumpers and 90ml AC Invaders in darker patterns. The metallic flash of the larger spinnerbaits is also creating a stir among the cod with a number of large fish also landed on these.
This good run looks set to continue as long as the water levels remain low and clear. Barometric pressure has played a role, as it so often does in many of the hot bites. Those fishing the rises in pressure are reporting plenty of action while a drop has seen the fishing taper off.
Bait anglers are also enjoying the bite, although the fish size is down a little compared with those taken on lures.
It seems the clear water has brought on the fish along most sections of the Murray. Golden perch have also been a notable catch with Wemen and Wentworth providing quality numbers of these great table fish on bait and lures.
Over the coming months, the fishing looks set to be nothing short of sensational. A real worry though, is the continual falling water. It is predicted that if substantial rains are not forthcoming, the river could stop running by May. One ponders its future if we have another dry Winter.
On a more positive note, we see all manner of strange happenings and bizarre instances while we pursue our love of fishing and this I’m sure is just one of many.
Now pardon the pun, but talk about your blind luck; it wasn’t that long back good mate and fishing companion Gus Storer landed his biggest Murray cod. The monster was a remarkable sight, the catch made even more memorable because the fish had only one eye.
The story of its capture has been retold many times over with each account a little more colourful than the last.
According to Gus, the skill level involved in landing such a fish goes well beyond the norm. Yep, it takes real skill to place the lure on the fish’s good side, Gus will explain as he rolls the wrist, a gesture of control in both cast and retrieve. Just a few feet the other way and the giant would have been none the wiser.
We were back on the Murray River just recently casting a few spinnerbaits around the snags. The fishing was slow with just a couple of small golden perch landed over a four-hour session. The methodical cast-wind routine was finally interrupted as Gus was blindsided with a strike that laid the rod flat and ripped line from the small reel at an alarming rate.
The dust-up was full-on as what had to be a giant cod refused to give in. Eventually the beast was tired out and led to the boat, an absolute humpty of a cod well over a metre long.
It wasn’t until Gus and another fishing friend jumped in the water to lift the fish for a few photos that we noticed this giant also had the misfortune to have lost an eye.
Talk about your ripping yarns! Two giant cod in as many trips, each caught at a different location on the river and both short of one eye.
Neither showed any physical evidence that their loss had effected their capacity to feed successfully. I did point out, however, that while they were in good condition their ability to be fooled by a novice was possibly in direct relation to these injuries.
Gus would have none of that nonsense, reiterating instead his good fortune on the skill factor involved.
After watching the fish disappear into the depths of the river, Gus reckons that things come in threes and after careful consideration, I decided there could be merit to his theory. He informed me that next trip out perhaps his skill might land him another of these one eyed giant fish.
I felt it my duty to correct his oversight, as the trifecta was already complete.
“How do you figure that?” he asked, a little confused.
“It’s simple, mate, two one eyed cod landed by an avid Collingwood supporter is as close to three of a kind as you’ll ever get!”
Gus Storer with his second one-eyed giant in as many trips. This big fella scoffed a Bassman Cod Series spinnerbait.Reads: 678