Australia’s richest freshwater fishing tournament and most eagerly awaited social event on the fishing calendar, the 2014 Yamaha Cod Classic and Wilson Fishing Junior Cod Classic was held from December 5-7 at the home of Murray cod fishing, the stunning Lake Mulwala.
Yarrawonga and Mulwala literally come alive with 2500+ anglers and 1400 boats hitting the area to compete for the $150,000 worth of prizes on offer at the event.
Entering its 15th year, the Cod Classic continues to offer an amazing prize pool totalling in excess of $150,000 including 7 Quintrex/Yamaha boating packages plus the first ever vehicle package with the lucky winner having the choice of either a Ford XR6 or Ford Ranger Ute for catching ‘Henry’, a specially tagged Murray cod. Unfortunately Henry was not captured during the event, but all the boat packages were given away.
During the event all the usual features were run including Flathead Fred, ‘Cod Talk’ with Rod McKenzie and Gus Storer, the Australian casting competitions and the Fishing & Outdoors Expo where visitors could talk to and buy the best Murray cod fishing gear and lures and play with all of the accessories that make this style of fishing so much fun.
Friday night is traditionally a big night when all the competitors need to register for the event and receive their goodies bags. All Junior anglers receive a great bag this year with lures donated by Wilson Fishing in every Junior bag.
Dinner consisted of roast beef rolls and while everyone dug into their meals, the excitement was building as anglers talked up what they were going to do the following morning.
Rod McKenzie and Gus Storer held their Cod Talk, an informal chat about all things cod and the crowd simply loves these lessons from the masters.
The first random boat prize was drawn for early entrants and the giveaways had started: The Yamaha Cod Classic was on.
Saturday morning arrived with brilliant sunshine and light winds encouraging even the laziest of anglers to get on the water. With over 1,000 boats buzzing around Lake Mulwala and the Murray River below Yarrawonga Weir, there were few places that didn’t see a lure or a bait on Saturday morning and the results showed with plenty of fish being caught.
The highlight of the morning session was a sensational 104cm cod taken Rick Hughes, a cod that certainly had the potential to be the biggest for the competition.
The Yamaha Cod Classic is a catch and release event for all native fish and the organisers set up weigh in stations around the lake and down the river. These are staffed by volunteers who measure and make sure the fish are released in good health before issuing the lucky angler a receipt of their catch. Unlike previous years, the change in fishing regulations meant that fish over 75cm had to be released so a photograph with the competitors card on a measuring mat was required for verification of larger fish. This meant that all oversized fish were released on site and were given the best chance of a successful release.
The afternoon of day one saw a massive storm build up over Bundalong and this sent competitors running for cover from around 1pm onwards. Heavy rain, massive amounts of lightning and even some hail belted the top of Lake Mulwala before moving down to Wangaratta and then swinging back north to collect the bottom of the lake and the river. Needless to say, not too many fish were weighed in the afternoon, although some braved the elements and kept fishing hard.
Saturday night saw the drawing of the Wilson Fishing Junior Boat Prize and a stunned Reece Jones was drawn out of the barrel by Wilson Fishing’s Anthony Pavlou. With the draw over, most people took the chance to have an early night as the rain had set in.
Sunday dawned bright and sunny, again with little wind and those competitors who had missed the chance to fish Saturday afternoon were racing to their best spots for the short session.
The fishing was a little tougher on the Sunday with water temperatures dropping and the waters all dirtying up a bit, but anglers persisted and fish were caught, albeit at a much slower rate than on Saturday morning.
Luckily for Rick Hughes, no cod larger than 104cm were caught and that meant he became the Champion Angler for the largest cod of the event, writing his name into the record books for posterity.
The overall junior champion was Jackson Wheeler with 3 fish totalling 187cm (total length).
The final presentation was as smooth and flawless as we’ve come to expect at the Yamaha Cod Classic with all the boat packages given away to anglers who were mostly too excited for words. Over 300 random draw prizes were also given away over the event making this a truly remarkable fishing competition.
Thanks must go to the Mulwala Football and Netball Club for the hours of work that go into making this the biggest and richest inland fishing competition in Australia. It is a pleasure to attend whether you are a sponsor, a competitor or simply a visitor.
Check out the full results by logging onto www.codclassic.com.au. – Additional information and photos provide by Jarrod DayReads: 834