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Cod fishing heats up
  |  First Published: March 2015



An unexpected wet spell coupled with cooler conditions set the scene for some excellent cod fishing action in our local waters this past month. Normally I would not hit the water during the heat of summer, but the cooler conditions tempted us to target some cod and we were not disappointed with the results.

Glen Casey, the owner/operator of Bassman Spinnerbaits, made the trip down to Mildura to join us for a few days on the water, fishing several out-of-the-way locations. Unfortunately, after day 1 we were rained in and unable to get on the water, as the banks were far too boggy to launch the boat. While many bush destinations can produce extraordinary angling opportunities, they also lack the modern conveniences like concrete boat ramps and so on. We did manage a few good fish before the rain put a stop to the action, including a couple of rippers off the top.

With the river tracks back to normal, the fishing has continued to be very good in most areas. Swan Hill on the Murray has seen anglers getting amongst good numbers of cod on both lures and bait. Upstream of Pental Island, cod to 73cm have been landed on bait, with bardi grubs and cheese the pick. Some good golden perch have also been caught in this area on baits of river shrimp and scrubworms. Over to the Wakool River at Kyalite, anglers have been landing good numbers of cod on bait amongst the ski boats. Some respectable perch to 55cm have also fallen to bait, with shrimp bobbed around the snags at first and last light doing the damage.

The Murray River at Robinvale has cod to 82cm on bait and lures, also amongst a flotilla of wake and ski boats. Better to fish the shallow rocky sections of the Murray until the ‘look at me’ brigade packs the rooster show away.

Below the lock at Euston has continued to fish well, with several good cod landed on lures. The pick of these was a 117cm model caught on the cast using a 2m Koolabung Codzilla. Macey Evans from Underbool also trolled a couple of good fish on these lures a little further downstream of Wemen. Bait anglers have fared well, with some good fish coming in on grubs, yabbies and cheese.

Several of the smaller rivers are also fishing well; these include both the Edwards and the Darling. Good numbers of cod have been landed at both locations on bait and lures. The new Bassman 4x4 spinnerbaits have been the pick of lures, with grubs and cheese topping off the bait list.

It seems that cheese has once again found favour as a great cod bait and is readily being used by anglers. I remember the great Internet debate on the damage that cheese does to cod. The science behind this was backed up by several keyboard experts that claimed to have seen a cod once. Put simply, Murray cod have the ability to regurgitate anything they no longer require in their stomachs, including cheese. They regularly spit out freshwater mussel shells, golf balls and even tortoise shells that are too large to pop out the back end. I have seen cod regurgitate all manner of food items, both fresh and quite offensive to the nose. It’s not cheese that kills these fish; it’s the tight arsed anglers that feel the need to retrieve their five-cent hook from the fish’s gut with either a stick or some medieval hook remover. A simple snip of the line and, given time, most of these hooks will be passed by the fish.

It’s been a ripper season so far and looks like continuing so long as water levels remain fairly constant with good clarity. It’s also refreshing to see most anglers in tune with the new slot limits, with only a few poachers pleading the “I didn’t know!” line. All up, the fishing has been excellent.

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Dean Norbiato with a nice cod that smashed a Needle Nose lure in the Guns and Roses pattern.

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Rod Mackenzie with a ripper cod landed on the cast using one of the new coloured StumpJumper lures.

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This fish took a new plastic Koolabung Codwalker surface lure.

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