With three months of green fish fever all but done, it’s time to immerse ourselves in all things cod fishing. The season is on and the chance to get tackle stretched and torn is but one short cast away. During the closure, the Murray and many of its adjoining rivers ran high and dirty, pushed to the point by environmental flows. While I was keen that the river might settle before the opening, it seems these flows will continue over the coming month. While they are not ideal for lure fishing, there is still opportunity if you do the hard yards. Bright rattling lures or large flashing spinnerbaits will still prompt a strike if landed on a cod’s nose.
The dirty water does little to deter bait anglers, as clarity matters not when a hungry cod is swimming up a current-driven scent trail sniffing out a bait. Large bardi grubs and yabbies work well early season, as the fish are still feeding up after the arduous job of breeding. Scrub worms too, will tempt a bite, as can a hookful of river shrimp. These transparent crustaceans are about in plague proportion along the Murray, so fresh bait is close at hand.
It was refreshing to hear of several big cod caught in the Wakool River near Kyalite before the opening. The largest fish, said to be at least 100lb, was caught on bait at a combined angling club competition. There were 2 other metre-plus fish landed at this meet and all were returned to the river in good health. To my knowledge these are the first large cod landed in this area since the black water of several years ago. It’s good news for the Wakool, as it’s a great fishing destination that can, once again, raise the hopes of all who visit its waters to chance that giant catch.
Along the Murray River, Robinvale and Euston fished well into the lead up of the cod opening, and should continue to produce fish over the coming month. While most fish were caught on bait, some anglers had small golden perch lures crumpled and ripped to bits. These were either destroyed by Jurassic goldens or overzealous cod; my money is on the latter. Wemen and Hattah are other Murray-based locations that fished well and will continue to produce now the season is open. Pay particular attention to the numerous rock bars dotted along this section of river, as they always hold cod.
The Darling River fished well towards the end of last season, and should continue to provide good action for anglers using either bait or lures in the holes. There is little to no flow, so it will be interesting to see what happens when the water starts to warm. I remember all too well the last massive fish kill along the Darling, and it seems that things are heading down that same path. Let’s hope not.
While it’s all things cod at the moment, there are still good numbers of golden perch to be caught if you’re so inclined. Anglers bobbing shrimp around the snags are doing well at most locations. Few perch have been caught on lures, but once again this is mainly to do with poor water clarity.
I look forward to the next month of fishing where heavy drags, beefed up lures and the chance to get the bejeesus frightened out of you is what the cod season is all about.
I hope everyone has had an excellent cod opening and an even better Christmas and New Year.
Rod Mackenzie with a hefty Murray cod that smacked a Carls Compact spinnerbait made by Bassman
Gareth Lynch with a nice Darling River cod that ate a large Bassman DT spinnerbait.Reads: 547