Cod fishing in a furnace town
  |  First Published: February 2016

The full wrath of summer has seen the fishing slow down considerably along the Murray, with temperatures frequently pushing through the 40°C barrier. Not much fun on the water, with most sessions aimed at first and last light. While angling conditions are less than favourable, spare a thought for the poor cod that are drawn up from the depths into the unnatural furnace like conditions of summer.

Large deep-water cod trolled at this time of the year have a better than even chance of dying due to extreme temperatures, both in and out of the water. For this reason, I tend to leave the deep-water fish alone during the hottest months, as the risks of fish mortality are not worth the thrill of the catch.

Larger fish in shallow or current rich water seem to have less of a problem, and few, if any fatalities occur in fish that are handled properly.

The Murray at Swan Hill continues to fish well for smaller cod on bait, and many anglers have reported that the fishing is at its best since the blackwater, several seasons gone. Cheese has remained the go-to bait, with some anglers landing more than a dozen fish a session. Most of these cod are undersize, but great fun none the less, and a welcome catch to those who have never landed a Murray cod before.

Anglers have also landed some excellent golden perch – mostly on baits of shrimp and small yabbies.

The Wakool Junction near Boundary Bend has good numbers of large perch on bait, with just a few cod to keep anglers guessing. Cod to 94cm have been landed in the Edwards upstream of Kyalite on the Wakool River on StumpJumper lures. A few good perch have also been caught in this area on baits of shrimp and scrub worms. Several cod have been landed in the Wakool downstream of the Kyalite Hotel on surface lures. This is one way to beat the heat, and very exciting if you can tempt a strike. Several cod have been taken from the surface at this location – the largest of which was a solid 87cm model.

Robinvale on the Murray has been ski boat central during the day, but come the evening those in the know have landed good numbers of cod and perch on bait. Below the loch at Euston through to Wemen, some great perch to 50cm+ have been landed on shrimp bobbed among the timber. Reports of cracking cod to 118cm abound – these gladiators fall to hardbodied lures and spinnerbaits both on the troll and cast. Most of the better cod have been angled close to or directly from rock bars, with the perch favouring the old timber snags.

Both StumpJumpers and Koolabung Codzilla lures in fluoro orange and Bassman 4x4 spinnerbaits have yielded great results.

While the weather remains hot for the next month or so, the bite will remain slow in the deeper sections of the Murray. I recommend you target either the smaller rivers, or tempt the shallow water giants in some of the current rich sections of the Murray River.

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