With a warm spring just behind us, summer patterns will form quickly. This means early starts and late finishes with a lay-up time during the middle part of the day. This suits me just fine – I’ve been a devotee to midday naps for quite some time…
Extended periods of cloud cover can lengthen the bite windows of most fish at this time of year so keep this in mind when you are out on the water. Generally, once the sun gets up and starts to penetrate, the fish go deeper and search out cover – chasing the shade is a term I have used before. Basically as the sun rises and the heat increases, look to move to areas where shade is thrown from a western facing slope, or tree line on a river, it’s a real winner on bass. I’ve seen and caught bass off banks where the shade line is pulling closer to the bank. As the sun gets up, the fish get tighter to the bank which can be great fun until such time as a retreat to deeper water is the only option left.
Water clarity and the amount of cover available has a big influence on how deep fish will go after the sun rises. In Wyangala in the main basin, visibility under water may be down to 3m, I would add another 3-4m to that for the ideal running depth of a lure to troll during the middle part of the day. The backwaters of the same lake might only have an underwater visibility down to 1.5m so you could get away with trolling much shallower. The amount of cover available also determines where a fish will sit. Lakes such as Mulwala will see cod quite happy in less than a meter of water, during the heat of the day. It’s all relative to the water you are fishing, its only rule of thumb but a good thing to keep in mind.
Cod are such a great fish to target. The bigger models in pressured impoundment waters are very cagey and most will have seen lures, heard boats, and maybe even seen the inside of one. So it pays to think outside the square a little to catch these fish. Sure, there are times when conditions are absolutely ideal, when they throw caution to the wind and do something silly but for the most part it’s a case of look, listen, and feel from a distance before committing, especially in a deep clear water lake environment. Rivers and creeks can be a little more open book as far as cover and current are concerned. Picking apart structure is the key – where are the cod going to sit? Again light levels and water clarity still play a part. Early mornings and late afternoons may actually see them out on the prowl, but rest assured once that sun gets up they will pull back very close to cover, current can actually be a big help, at least you know which way they will be facing, presentations should be made with this in mind.
A good mate of mine, Rodger Miles is the best reader of cod structure I know. Current and the direction it’s flowing plays a large part as to where Rodger will place a lure. Cod may be at the top of the food chain but a lure cast from behind a fish and bought directly to the front end is more often than not seen as an attack – it’s much better to position your cast and retrieve so it comes from the side or the front.
I mentioned earlier about cagey cod in pressured impoundments. You can bet they’ve seen a great many lures in Wyangala on some of the popular troll runs. Good structure on these runs still hold fish and you can see them on the sounder, it takes a bit of common sense to catch them though. Stay away from the norm, maybe make some slight adjustments to timing – why not try super early, before the sun even gets up? Cut the main motor way out, troll with the electric if you have one, keep everything quiet and have your lures at the right depth well before the structure. Try a no bump no contact approach at first, a meter or so above, mix it up, kill the motor on the next approach so the lures are level with the structure try a twitch, twitch pause, even just a different trolling approach angle, different lures, maybe a longer slender profile lure that still gets down. Maybe even a 2-3oz spinnerbait trolled over or through the same piece of structure.
Depending on the depth of the structure try pulling up on the bank and walking to where it is, make use of the early morning low light levels and the fact that the cod just may be out cruising close by, remember these fish are well educated, good structure is good structure, and will attract quality fish, on a continual basis.
Hope to see you on the water soon – until then tight lines.Reads: 620