Cod Classic goes large with million dollar fish!
  |  First Published: November 2015

The 2015 Cod Classic will be the biggest yet, with an unprecedented addition to the massive prize pool – a Million Dollar Cod!

Yes that’s right, a cod worth a million dollars.

Never before has the Australian fishing tournament scene witnessed as much excitement and anticipation in the build up to an event as the upcoming 2015 Yamaha Cod Classic. With the amazing prize of a potential $1 Million dollars* for catching ‘Phil’ the specially tagged Murray Cod.

An ISUZU D-Max ute, seven boating packages, plus a list of goods too long to mention, make up the multitude of prizes on offer. The twin towns of Yarrawonga and Mulwala will come alive over the weekend of December 4th, 5th & 6th to celebrate the most eagerly awaited social event on the fishing calendar, the 2015 Yamaha Cod Classic.

History of the Cod Classic Fishing Competition

The Cod Classic is organised and run entirely by a dedicated and loyal band of volunteers from the Mulwala Football/Netball Club. The competition is used as a means to raise much needed funds to help keep the club afloat with majority of funds raised going towards the maintenance and redevelopment of the new multi-purpose community centre based at Lonsdale Reserve.

The idea of running a fishing competition for the club was first conceived by club president Brian McKee in early 2000. This idea was put to the committee and supported by all. Almost overnight the club was up and running with the idea and ‘The Big Catch’ was born. This event was held in late February 2000 attracting only 44 competitors. From that day on, the direction of the competition and the date of the event has changed to make it into what it is today – the ‘Cod Classic’– Australia’s richest freshwater fishing event.

The congregation of boats that can be trailered at the Cod Classic is an unofficial world record of the largest amount of fishing boats ever assembled at the one point at the same time. This is an amazing sight to see but surprisingly there is still plenty of room to fish on the lake and river.

In 2001 a massive fish release was instigated by the committee of the MFNC bringing together funds from Mulwala Football Netball Club, NSW Fisheries, Fisheries Victoria, and Rex Hunt Futurefish Foundation to see the release of 110,000 golden perch into Lake Mulwala. This was the first time cross border parties have come together in such a venture.

In 2009 the first ‘Fishing & Outdoor Expo’ was held in conjunction with the Cod Classic. With the addition of this feature, along with a huge fireworks display to celebrate 10 years of the Cod Classic, the largest crowd ever of 3,113 competitors assembled.

2013 saw the introduction of a $20,000 cash bounty for a lucky angler if they manage to catch ‘Brian’, a specially tagged Murray cod. The bounty for the tagged cod ‘Henry’ increased in 2014 to the choice of either a Ford Ranger or Ford XR6 Ute for the lucky captor. 2015 sees the largest prize ever offered within the Australian fishing tournament scene of a potential $1million cash if somebody can catch ‘Phil’ the specially tagged cod for 2015.

After the 2015 event, a staggering total of 89 boating packages will have been given away through Cod Classic history.

Fishing Options

Mulwala and the Murray River provide endless fishing options for those chasing a Murray cod, but don’t forget that golden perch and carp will all have you in the running for some great prizes.

Many anglers love to troll or cast lures for their native fishing fix, but an equal number like nothing better than sitting back in this beautiful area and watching a rod tip while carefully placed bait entices a fish or two.

Lure Options

There are two main methods of targeting cod in Mulwala with lures –trolling and casting.

If trolling is your game, look to the edges of the Murray River and the tributaries in the lake. Edge water supports countless numbers of fallen trees, tree stumps and weed edges that can be trolled around, over and through. Choose lures that run to a particular depth and find that depth. For example, if your lures runs at 15 feet (5m), look for edge water that is around 4.5-5.5m deep. This will have your lure on or near the bottom and will have it crashing through the sticks and stumps that Murray cod call home.

If you’re trolling down the river below Mulwala, you’ll need lures that swim a little more shallow as much of the water is less than 12 ft (4m) deep. Concentrate on trolling at a slow walking pace in relation to the current. Obviously at this time of year if you are trolling with the current you are moving fairly quickly, but don’t be afraid to swing it around and troll into the current. Don’t forget to troll slowly in relation to the current – and not to the speed you are going in relation to the bank.

Lure casting is a favoured option for many anglers and Mulwala presents one huge problem – there is so much structure it’s almost impossible to know where to start! A good clue is to work in water that is between 1-2m deep. Most casting lures (be they spinnerbaits or hardbodied lures) will cover this depth very well. If you’re just starting out, look towards the shallow edges of the main river course in the lake and cast at just about everything. Cod prefer a roof over their heads so pay special attention to fallen trees.

Keep your retrieves fairly slow to allow the cod (or golden perch) to see or feel your lure and react to it. Repeated casts to a good looking snag are sometimes warranted but I think most cod will smash your lure in the first three casts. Golden perch on the other hand can take up to 20 casts to get interested. It’s your call if you want to target a cod or a golden – both are great fun on cast lures.

In the Murray lure casting is a simpler process because you can target snags and eddies more easily. Look for bulges in the water in front of prominent snags as well as swirling water behind prominent snags. Both areas are likely to hold cod and goldens with the cod usually associated with thicker snags and the goldens found more often on the skinner snags. But the next cod or golden could throw this general rule out the window so expect anything!

Bait Options

Bait fishing is one of the best ways to connect to a cod or golden (or a carp). Baitfishing can be as simple as using a running sinker rig with the lightest sinker you can get away with (really light in the lake and much heavier in the river below), a short 30cm trace and a sturdy bronze hook that suits the bait being used. You can also change it up with a paternoster rig with one or two droppers or even dispense with the leader and run the sinker right to the bait.

Popular bait include worms, shrimp, yabbies and bardi grubs, but in recent years baits such as cheese, chicken breast and fillet steak have been used with surprising success.

The biggest tip when baitfishing is to use a hook that matches your bait. For bardi grubs a long shanked hook is perfect. For worms, shrimps and yabbies a suicide pattern is great. For the alternative baits, you can use whichever hook you like as most of these baits can be cut to suit the hook – one of the great advantages of non-traditional baits.

It’s a good idea to strike a little earlier than normal to reduce the likelihood of the fish swallowing the bait too deeply, but if this does occur, cut the line as close to the hook eye as you can and let the fish get rid of the hook itself. It’s not perfect, but it is the best way to reduce mortality of released fish.

Boat or Bank

All of the above tips and tricks can be used whether you’re fishing in a boat or from the bank. The structure and areas you look for remain the same, however a boat allows you to cover a lot more area.

If you are restricted to fishing from the bank don’t be worrid! My last trip to Mulwala saw a bank angler catch a metre-plus cod on a chicken piece from the bank. At last year’s Cod Classic we actually walked the bank below Mulwala and landed 2 cod and 3 golden perch on cast lures, so it’s always worth having a crack!

The Yamaha Cod Classic will run from Dec 4 – Dec 6, 2015, with the actual fishing occurring on Saturday and Sunday with the pre-event briefing being held at 8:30pm on Friday night.

Entry costs are

Pre-paid Adult:$95
Adult (on weekend):$100
Early Bird Entrants

All adults fully paid by 5pm, 20th November will go into a draw to win a 3.9m Quintrex Explorer Boat, 15hp Yamaha Motor, Trailer and Lowrance Fish Finder.

The winner will be drawn on Saturday 5th December at 9pm at Mulwala Football Ground. The lucky winner must be present.

Junior early bird entrants will go into a draw to win a special package of lures.

Don’t forget the essentials! Good fishing gear is crucial - rods, reels, terminal tackle, bait, and lures.

You’ll need an Esky, camera, and cash. Not to mention, a Lake Mulwala map, a sense of adventure and a dose of good luck!

For all information, please log into www.codclassic.com.au OR email --e-mail address hidden-- OR drop in to Lake Mulwala Fish Camp & Ski – 74 Melbourne Street, Mulwala.

The Cod Classic committee strives to make this the best fishing event on the calendar and guarantee anybody who makes the effort to attend the Cod Classic will not go home disappointed.

Recommended accommodation suppliers

Yarrawonga Holliday Park (Free courtesy bus)Burley Rd Yarrawonga 0357443420
Lake Mulwala Holiday ParkMelbourne St Mulwala0357441050
Paradise Palms Motor Inn119 - 121 Melbourne St Mulwala 0357432555
Capricorn Motor Inn255 Melbourne St Mulwala0357443813
Lake Edge Resort146 Melbourne St Mulwala0357438400
Sun Country Holiday VillageCnr Toc & Corowa Rd Mulwala035757431074
Club Mulwala Motor InnMelbourne St Mulwala0357442333, 1800035347
Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort UnitsWeir Rd Mulwala0357441911
Lakeside Caravan Park102 Corowa Rd Mulwala0357432888
Victoria Hotel35 Belmore St Yarrawonga0357443009
Westside Caravan Park254 Murray Valley Hwy Yarrawonga0357443314
Royal Mail Hotel MulwalaCnr Melbourne & Bayly St Mulwala0357443121
Ashleigh Court Motor Inn36 Corowa Rd Mulwala 0357442261
Yarrawonga Mulwala Accommodation Centre 1800188879
Woodlands Motor Inn8308 Murray Valley Hwy Yarrawonga 0357442355
Lake Mulwala Hotel Motel88 Melbourne St Mulwala 0357442499
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