Cod season in full swing
  |  First Published: January 2016

The golden days of January are upon us, and with the combination of warm water and afternoon thunderstorms we are guaranteed a season of fantastic fishing around the region. As a cod fisherman, this is the time of year that I love most, the cicadas are in full song as they drown out an otherwise peaceful riverbank and the baby birds of spring past are trying to leave the safety of their nests.

Unbeknown to those baby birds, a powerful predator lies waiting in the river below, the great Murray cod! These opportunistic times lead to the almighty ‘boof,’ the hook up that gets the adrenalin pumping and heightens our senses tenfold. A quick photo with these magnificent fish later, and they can be returned safely to the pristine waters they rule over. Cod fishing is a real buzz so I suggest you get out of your favourite stretch of river and pepper the snags with surface lures, you will not be disappointed.

Peel River

Stretches of the Peel River in recent months have provided some great fishing, and golden perch in particular have been active feeding on shrimps and yabbies. Lure fishing for these tough little natives has also been productive, vibration lures like the ballista juggernaut and jackal TN range are a great starting point.

The Murray cod in the Peel have been on the chew and are caught regularly on smaller lures aimed at the perch. If you’re serious about targeting the cod though, larger lures like spinnerbaits and diving lures will see you hook a few larger fish.

Chaffey dam

Chaffey Dam is a beautiful dam situated about thirty minutes drive from Tamworth and is home to both golden and silver perch as well as Murray cod, eel tailed catfish and European carp.

Although the dam holds very little structure in the form of timber, if you slow down and look around you will find fish. My favourite way to find fish in this dam is to locate the many weed beds scattered around the western foreshore of the dam and fish heavy tackle around the weeds. Small vibrating lures will be productive, but keeping them out of the weed is another story. Cod are also partial to bait and shrimp, and baitfishing can be as good as it gets for most species in this dam. Locally sourced rock worms are dynamite.

Lake Keepit

Keepit Dam has been sensational, over the last couple of months I was lucky enough to experience this first hand on a few occasions and the dam should continue to fish well right though till the end of summer.

Golden perch have dominated catch stats and the guys using worms and yabbies around the copious amounts of standing timber have been rewarded with bent rods and full bags.

We had a ball up the dam following the old riverbed and casting our lipless crankbaits past any likely looking locations and we definitely were on the money with this technique. Fishing deep and hopping our lures along the bottom rewarded us with fish pushing 60cm in length, and although there are Murray cod in the dam, I haven’t been lucky enough to find them. We have seen a few great captures of large cod taken from the banks using bardi grubs and large yabbies, so don’t be surprised if you run into a few brutes on your next outing. The European carp in the dam have finished their spawning season and are now in full force, so if you want to have some fun with the kids while doing the ecosystem a favour, then head out there with a tub of worms, some corn kernels and bread and hang on! The action will be thick and fast and you won’t be able to wipe the smile off their face for days.

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